Based on the ‘Waterfall’ technology, the OptiFeed modular platform has a kinematic set-up for individually handling each bottle cap or crown.
2017 version for sport caps and metal crowns
“Waterfall” technology is integrated in a packaging line to feed the capping machine. The machine grabs caps from the bulk storage in the hopper at ground level, brings them up on a belt with cleats, and orientates them by gravity.
Any improperly-positioned cap falls back into the hopper and only those that are correctly orientated continue their journey towards the capping machine.
Jean-Baptiste Grosperrin, cap feeder product manager, Gebo, told BeverageDaily, the existing Aidlin range will be gradually updated to incorporate the OptiFeed platform with the 2016 version for standard plastic bottle tops and a 2017 version for sport caps and metal crowns (glass bottles).
“The first cap feeders from the OptiFeed platform were delivered last month to our European clients before we gradually roll out this technology to our customers worldwide,” he said.
“The kinematic system offers a greater level of flexibility which is highly appreciated in the dairy and food markets, and ensuring we remain ahead in the beverage sector, which is our core market.”
The kinematic technology comprises four components: a cap hopper which feeds the machine, the Waterfall cap sorting system, the cap distribution and elevation system and an extender arm, so the height can be adjusted to fit the required connection point.
Its advantage lies in the ability to separate the sorting and elevating functions.
Operators access machinery from ground level
“This configuration has allowed us to reduce the total height of the ‘Waterfall’ cap sorting and elevating system to 2.1m, allowing operators to access the machinery from ground level,” added Grosperrin.
“Once they have been positioned, the caps are extracted from the Waterfall unit by a servo-motor powered belt. They are then lifted up in a controlled and reliable way, via a second belt with brackets.”
All motorized elements have been transferred to the base of the machine, which means all of the key components are accessible from ground level, making it easier for technicians to solve blockages or other problems.
Also accessible from ground level is the cap quality control system, previously positioned between the cap feeder outfeed and the capper infeed, now located at the entrance to the elevating system.
Grosperrin said the machine’s optimized ergonomic performance increases its energy efficiency.
“The kinematic system ensures there are no more blockages at the top of the cap feeder, while the modular design system has cut delivery times by 30%,” he said.
“The individual cap elevation has allowed us to get rid of the old compressed air or electric fan system formerly used to extract caps and crowns.
“It has three major benefits: lower energy consumption (air or electricity depending on the option chosen), reducing the carbon footprint and it has reduced noise output to 75 dB, below the 80 dB threshold at which hearing protection is required for operators.”