Accuracy Improved In Auger Filling

21. Nov, 2016

A push for improved accuracy is what recently led Indianapolis-based Servaas Laboratories to replace an older model volumetric filler with a rotary powder filler.

spee-funnelsSupplied by Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, the filler ensures accurate fills of the powder cleanser ,which is critical to upholding the solid brand reputation Bar Keepers Friend has earned for more than 130 years.

Its story begins in 1882 when an Indianapolis chemist noticed how clean and shiny his tarnished pot was after cooking rhubarb. Using an active ingredient that’s found in the plant, he formulated a talcum-smooth cleanser and sold it to the city’s taverns. So pleased were his customers with how well it worked on bar fixtures, the product was dubbed the Bar Keepers Friend. Today, every container of Bar Keepers Friend is still formulated and filled in Indianapolis – although the process is much more automated than it was back in the late 1800s.

spee-augerThe process begins by gluing three strips of cardboard together and forming them into tubes measuring 2-7/8” in diameter. From there the tubes are cut to one of three sizes in whcih Bar Keepers Friend is available: 12-, 15- or 21-oz cans. Also applied is the appropriate label. Then a conveyor system moves the cans along a path that allows the labels’ adhesive to cure. Formed into a single-file line, caps are automatically applied to the bottom of the cans. Guiding along the single-lane conveyor then flips the cans right-side up, where they accumulate on a large roller conveyor. From there, they again get funneled down into a single lane in preparation for filling.

A conveyor moves the cans into the filling room, where they enter the rotary powder filler. The cleanser is formulated and manufactured on site, mixing in two-ton batches at a time. Bucket conveyors bring the powder cleanser up into a large holding tank, where it is then moved into the hoppers for filling.

A timing screw is used to create the proper spacing between containers. The servo timing screw is electronically synchronized with the infeed star wheel that transfers the containers from the infeed conveyor to the filler turret. As the cans are transferred, they ride up an inclined rail that compresses the can against one of the 18 sets of container adapters and funnels. Between the adapters and funnels are flexible urethane bellows that provide compression and a positive, dust tight seal without damaging the top of the composite cans.

The cans are filled continuously by the servo-driven twin-auger filler. Containers are then vibrated to settle the product and create head space for the cap. Containers are removed from the turret by the outfeed star and are placed back on a single lane conveyor where they transition to the integrated Spee-Dee checkweigher, which automatically compensates for trends in the product bulk density by increasing or decreasing the RPM of the twin auger filler.

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