How Packfeeder automates the feeding of filled bottles to secondary packaging lines.
When we think about the initial head of a packaging line, almost all of us think of empty containers, without cover or label. It may seem even illogical for a packaging line to start with bottles that are already filled with the final product. But this does happen, and although it is not the most common it is more frequent than it seems, since there are not a few companies that have the filling and labelling or cartoning processes separated. This separation is classically known as primary packaging (filling) and secondary packaging (cartoning and equivalents).
Normally the production process of a product, the production line, begins with the bottle unscrambler. Then, these bottles go through the filler, capper, labeller, cartoner, packer, palletizer, etc. But is not always like this and in some cases this process is carried out in two independent lines:
In the first one, the empty containers are positioned in line for being filled, capped and often also labelled later. And then, in a different production line, the cartoning takes place. It is in that moment when the filled containers need to be unscrambled in order to be labelled and everything that follows. When the bottles are already labelled, the cartoner will come directly after the unscrambler.
Thus, the typical and basic order that a packaging line would follow is: in-line bottle unscrambler, filler, capper, inspection, labeller, cartoner, and palletizer.
When the processes are separated, it means having two totally different production lines.
1st Line: unscrambling empty bottles, filling, capping and inspection.
2nd Line: unscrambling filled bottles, labelling or cartoning, packaging and palletizing.
Requirements for unscrambling filled containers:
In both typologyes the first step is sorting the bottles, but this does not mean that the processes are the same. The equipment for unscrambling containers is not always prepared to work with filled bottles. Even if is the same format, the fact that the bottle is filled changes everything. In the case of Packfeeder, our equipments adapt to both options. All these images are examples of some projects that we have done for sectors such as pharmaceutical, cosmetic and personal care.
In this type of projects, the exquisite treatment of the containers offered by the Packfeeder’s bottle unscrambler becomes a critical aspect. So, obviously, the damaging of the filled container must be avoided to prevent waste and to guarantee a maximum quality of the finishes in a practically saleable product.
Another very important point to take into account is the care of the label. When a line starts with the containers already labelled, it has to be ensured that they will not suffer any damage. Our equipments treat exquisitely the bottles without damaging the labels, so they are suitable to go directly to the cartoner, like in the following video.
In conclusion, packaging lines can present many different typologies. Is the result of adapting to the type of product produced and to the producer company, taking into account aspects such as available facilities, logistics, costs, suppliers and many other variables.
In any case, whichever is the followed process, in Packfeeder we always aim to adapt as much as possible to our client in order to continue offering the best service.