Overloading the Rotary Feeding Equipment
The production day at a dairy is beginning to take shape. But, before this even takes place, dairies have the arduous task of cleaning the equipment and filling lines to ensure the product is safe from harmful bacteria. This is a very time consuming task and is essential for the health of the customer. The dairies quality is excellent in this area. Just as demanding and mundane of a task this is, a small issue occurs occasionally. This little issue occurs when overloading caps into feeding equipment; bulk hoppers or smaller hoppers feed the caps that run through rotary feeding system and allows the filled products to be capped and shipped to customers. From time to time, a different color cap is placed on the bottle other than the current production color in use. How could this happen? This can occur after a color change, when the operator or clean up crew did not inspect the feeding equipment properly. This is a small problem; compared to major problems that can occur when overloading the system.
When production stops and the filler shuts off, the caps in the feeding equipment will continue to tumble if no shut off sensor is wired to the feeding equipment. The continuous tumbling and no relief from a full chute, caps begin to distort due to an overload of caps. The distortion will range from slightly ovalized caps to caps with broken ratchet rings which may not flow down the chute. When the production starts up again, the distorted caps may feed through the chute part way and stop, because the cap is damaged. The caps will also find their way to the bottom of the sorting wheel. When enough distorted caps are at the bottom or wedged between the sorting wheel and frame, this could be a potential for jamming up the feeder and blowing a motor out resulting in significant production down time. To avoid this potential problem, the operators and clean up crew need to check for caps in feeder. This is not an easy place to check caps but, it can be set up for preventative maintenance.
Another slight nuisance is a backwards cap. If the feeder has the too many caps, this can occur with the caps forced down the chute backwards. If the operator keeps an eye on the amount of caps, he puts in and the caps still come down the chute backwards, this may be a sorting wheel issue. Check the sorting wheel for poly tubing on every other pin. If there is no poly tubing, have maintenance insert poly tubing per instructions from either Blackhawk Molding or your equipment supplier. This would resolve the backward cap problem. Not overloading the feeding equipment during production will allow the dairy to run smoother with less down time. This will take a little time for adjustments but in the long run, it will pay off.
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