Date of implementation: Q2 / Q3, 2021
Project goal: High capacity gas line.
Our task was to provide the customer with a line for filling aerosol cans with gas in a fully automatic mode with a capacity of at least 60 pieces per minute for large volumes (over 400 ml). This is the third major project implemented in the last four years on behalf of our client from Poland, who is a leader in the lighter gas, camping and gastronomy industries.
The design and construction of this line involved the creation of several new machines - including a pipe valve sorter and a bottle cap jig - and a re-approach to gas dosing and weighing into the cans to achieve the intended performance.
We started out with research into new machines - this phase of the project required the most design and testing. We tested various ways of dosing gas into the cans, testing various solutions in a semi-automatic form at the stage of preparation for the project, before signing the contract.
Where did this decision come from? At Solmatic, we never promise something that we are unable to deliver. That is why we are often happy to conduct various surveys for customers - especially for regular ones. Such frequent research also allows us to constantly improve our machines. Precise measurements of the times and parameters of the valves used by the customer allowed us to determine the number of gassing modules that must be installed in AMR to ensure the desired performance.
It should be noted that normally, for higher capacities, we would probably propose the customer a rotary machine. However, due to the wide range of products offered by our client on the market - including mixtures of various gases - it was necessary to dose different fuels to one can in the same production cycle. This, in turn, in the case of rotary gassing machines would require the installation of several similar machines. This would mean much higher costs, so after consultation with the client, we decided to provide a device operating in the indexing mode. As a result, despite the limitations of much higher capacities, the customer gains more flexibility than when using a rotary machine.
During the tests, it turned out that, depending on the product configuration and the amount of gas dispensed, the fastest may be dosing in a different number of steps - 1/2, 2/2, 2/4, 3/3. Thanks to the use of an intuitive line management system, the operator is able to easily adjust the operation mode of the gassing machine. Such a large project also became an opportunity to re-approach the machine in the area of quality control, i.e. automatic scales, which we have offered to our clients for years.
When it comes to measurement, Solmatic devices have been reliable for years and successfully work in many industries with various requirements and regulations. However, it was necessary to ensure increased stability of the device for higher efficiency and to maintain the measurement precision. So we've compiled all the potential challenges that may be involved in producing heavier cans at higher speeds. Then we created a new scale, which was equipped with:
- wider base,
- different cans insertion angle,
- convenient place for eliminating cans outside the acceptable measurement range.
A common solution in the industry are the so-called drive-through scales. They are placed in a row of conveyors on the production line, which themselves are equipped with a conveyor and a transfer tray, which, unfortunately, usually takes up a lot of space. Our device works in indexing (step) mode, which allows to significantly reduce the space needed for the scale.
However, we faced a problem. Due to the L-shaped "pipe" that the valves have, it is necessary to position them before throwing them in, because they can only be placed in a can in one position at a specific angle. In the case of pipe valves, it was necessary to design a 3D prototype and conduct simulations, and then conduct extensive tests on the finally built machine. We are one of only a handful of companies in the world that has successfully built a machine that is able to reliably sort and throw this type of valve into cans.
We started working on a flat cap jig (an alternative to a standard cap used in the gas production industry for threaded valves) with an analysis of sorted and embedded elements. We always try to use one of our existing machines first. Unfortunately, in this case, the way of mounting and the shape of the cap meant that it would be necessary to build a new machine. As a base, we used a rotary cap jig, but we completely changed the setting system. Standard tapping blocks have been replaced with a clamping prism.
The entire high capacity gas line consisted of many devices and we approached each one with the greatest care. The above description applies only to new and prototype devices that required additional research and testing.
The result of the project was the delivery and installation at the customer's site of an innovative line for filling aerosol cans with gas. The line has been equipped with a newly designed, larger feeding table, which is able to accommodate the entire layer of a euro-pallet of cans at a time. Thanks to this, in the future, the customer will be able to expand the line with an automatic depalletiser. In addition, we used newly developed specific valve sorters in the line and improved the gas filling speed parameters by over 30%.
The entire line is managed by an intuitively designed operator panel, and numerous sensors monitor many production parameters, ensuring the safety of production and customer employees. This, in turn, is particularly important in an industry where large amounts of flammable gases are involved.
The delivered line runs at a capacity of just over 60 pieces per minute for large cans, while being heavily used - often even for three production shifts. The line delivered by Solmatic allowed the customer to increase the factory's efficiency by several dozen percent. We are in constant contact with the customer and provide constant access to spare parts that are exposed to wear and tear during intensive use.
Machines used in the project:
- Large side loading table SPZ
- AMR inserting and clamping
- Valve elevator
- Threaded valve sorter
- Sorter of "pipe" valves
- AMR gassing 9G with variable pitch
- Automatic weight
- Cap / bottle cap elevator
- Cap sorter
- Rotary Cap Placer
- Vibrating cap sorter
- Rotary cap jigging machine
- Drive to the printer
- Large rotating receiving table
Do you need a solution for yourself? Are you looking for a competent partner? Contact our engineers! We will certainly match the device suitable for your line. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +48 32 307 07 41.