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Optimising Can Filling Lines with Dry Lube

 

Effective conveying of cans between high-value pieces of equipment (filler, pasteuriser etc) is an essential requirement of running an efficient can line. 

Traditionally, wet lube (a water and detergent solution) is sprayed onto packaging conveyors to enable cans to glide and facilitate filler speeds of up to 2200 cans per minute. But, spraying water onto the conveyors creates the ideal environment for biological growth and results in wet, slippery floors. It also has a negative impact on water:product ratios and is becoming increasingly expensive as water and effluent treatment costs rise year on year.

Operating can filling lines with a Dry Lube dry lubrication system will deliver against all performance criteria. On lines where an alternative dry lubrication system has been unsuccessful in the past, we are confident of meeting your expectations in production efficiencies.

Our customers will testify that we deliver the following:

Drier, Safer Floors

Dry Lube’s conveyor lubrication system is operating completely water-free on can lines world-wide. Any water is restricted to the filler/seamer (and pasteuriser if there is one) carry-over area.

More Hygienic Operations

Minimising the volume of water on the packaging conveyors, the conditions for biological growth to form are reduced and wet areas (eg seamer outfeed) can be specifically targeted during standard cleaning/CIP procedures. One customer (a CSD producer) has removed their drip trays because “we have absolutely no requirement for them any more”.

Reduced and Managed Friction

Our lubricant has been formulated specifically for use in beverage packaging operations to reduce friction between the base of the package and the top of the conveyor belt.

Additionally, our optimised volume distribution and application method allows us to achieve target coefficient of friction (CoF) depending on the characteristics of each ‘zone’ on the line. For example, in areas of mass accumulation, lubricant distribution is managed to achieve a low CoF to help reduce can wall damage and manage the load on the conveyors. But, to influence can behaviour going into the packer(s), generally a higher CoF is required.

Improved Asset Care

As a result of our application method, which lubricates the top and underside of the conveyor belt, a protective ‘layer’ is applied to the belt and this has been proven to improve plastic chain life by 100%.

As a direct result of reducing the volume of water and wet lube chemical on the conveyors, deterioration of bearings and other parts within the chassis is decelerated and replacement frequency is reduced.

Achieving Production Targets

Dry Lube’s H1 and NSF approved food grade lubricant is applied by our proprietary distribution system to achieve precise coefficient of friction (CoF) from the depalletiser to the packers, improving package stability and encouraging throughput.

The diagram below shows the recommended CoF for each section of the line and the reason why.

coefficient of friction for a can filling line

Area CoF Reason
Depal & mass conveyors 0.05 – 0.06 Low friction as less pressure is required.
Filler infeed 0.1 Achieve required pressure to drive cans into the filler with no gapping
Seamer outfeed 0.1 Achieve required pressure to pull cans out to achieve high throughput
Deceleration conveyors 0.08 Balance the weight of the full can as it decelerates from the fast moving seamer outfeed to the slower moving mass conveyors
Infeed to the twister and through the twister 0.1 Maintain pressure for fast throughput
Infeed to pasteuriser – low level 0.1 – 0.12 Maintain pressure on slight incline
Infeed to pasteuriser – high level 0.11 – 0.15 Maintain pressure on steep incline
Pasteuriser outfeed – low level 0.1 – 0.11 Maintain balance on decline and deceleration
Pasteuriser outfeed – high level 0.11 – 0.13 Maintain balance on decline and deceleration
Filtec 0.1 Maintain pressure for fast throughput
Mass conveyors 0.05 – 0.08 Low friction to reduce can sidewall pressure, ensure no scratching to the base of the can or impact on can lacquer
Infeeds to packers 0.08 – 0.14 Low friction when slow moving on mass, increasing to control direction into the packing machines

 

How much lubricant should be used for can line conveyors?

Dry Lube application on conveyorsMinimal volumes of lubricant are required for can line conveyors. It is important to note that the biggest change in operating packaging lines with dry lubrication is visual: because operators cannot see the soap and water it is sometimes assumed that the system is not working. Dry Lube’s technology creates a very thin film on top of the conveyor which is barely visible; at no time should wet conditions be emulated.

We assist with change management through knowledge transfer sessions with line operators to provide them with confidence in the technology.

Full Service Engineering Support

Dry Lube’s conveyor lubrication systems are provided under a service maintenance contract which includes a Dry Lube packaging line engineer who will make sure all the settings are optimised and CoFs are on target. Visit frequencies range from every 2 months to every week depending on the complexity of the line.

Dry Lube’s engineers become an extension to the in-house engineering team.  Their depth of knowledge gained by servicing all types of packaging lines and years of experience enables them to provide insight and advise on line improvements and efficiencies.

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