Brewery needs canning line to run smoothly
Too often manufacturing companies view repetitive downtime consisting of replacing failing systems as a necessary procedure rather than a process that requires improvement. This was not the case for a major domestic brewing company, who recognized their problem of failing ball bushings on their de-palletizing system as requiring an immediate solution.
After brewing, beer is filled into cans using an automated de-palletizing system. The cans are set up in stacks of pallets with several layers of empty cans in the stack, waiting for the cantilevered de-palletizing arm to move the empty cans into the filling station. The forward movement of this arm is propelled by a cam roller and linear bearing system. This allows the arm to cycle through the pallet stack, feed the cans through the filling station and remove any plastic interleave material from the stock. This linear motion application required a tolerance for high shock load and vibration under constant reciprocating stroke for optimum performance of the palletizer.
The original linear motion system on the de-palletizer was composed of linear rollers and ball bushings. High shock loads and vibration resulted in severe fretting corrosion. The high loads created by the cantilevered weight of the pallet stack would wear the ball bushings and spall the shafting, creating accumulated particulate. These fine metal shavings would build-up within the ball bushing housing, causing the arm to stall and bringing the whole palletizing process to a grinding halt. Replacing the parts and stopping the production process resulted in significantly increased production costs and time; along with steadily decreasing profits.
The PBC Linear Solution
Redi-Rail® cam rollers and linear plain bearing pillow blocks were the solution recommended by PBC Linear. The smooth, sturdy anodized rails of Redi-Rail provided rigid linear guidance of the palletizer. Steel inserts along the rail ensured tolerance of vibration and load, allowing the Redi-Rail rollers to glide smooth, quick and accurate.
For the linear bearing system, PBC Linear used plane bearing pillow blocks to replace the ball bushings. Composed of no rolling materials, Simplicity technology provides even disbursement of load as opposed to the small point of contact created by ball bearings. This wide point of contact eliminated damage to the shafting and ensured smooth, wear-free operation. Simplicity products are also designed to absorb vibration, handle 20 times the load capacity of conventional ball bushings and push potential contaminants off the shafting, making them an ideal product for the application.
Results / ROI
The final installed Redi-Rail and linear plain bearing pillow block solution performed above expectations. Coincidentally, Redi-Rail's mounting holes were perfectly lined up with the previous ones, making the replacement that much easier. Unscheduled shut downs and stalling were eliminated; allowing for more cans to be filled and profits to increase. The brewing company manufacturer was so pleased they immediately began integrating the PBC solution in plants across the country.