Brewery needs a more efficient canning line
Too often, manufacturing companies view repetitive downtime that involves the replacement of failing systems as a necessary procedure rather than a process that requires improvement. This was not the case for a major domestic brewing company. They were very aware that ball bushings on their de-palletizing system were failing, and they needed an immediate solution.
From empty cans to full beers
After the brewing process is complete, the beer is filled into cans using an automated de-palletizing system. The system consists of several layers of pallets containing empty cans that are ready 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. The palletizer’s linear motion system utilizes a constant reciprocating stroke, and requires a high tolerance for shock loads and vibration for optimum performance.
The bearing buzz-kill
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 particulates. These fine metal shavings would build-up within the ball bushing's housing, causing the arm to stall and bringing the entire palletizing process to a 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
For the overall solution, PBC Linear recommended its Redi-Rail® cam roller line, in conjunction with linear plain bearing pillow blocks. The smooth, sturdy, anodized rails of Redi-Rail provided rigid linear guidance of the palletizer. Steel inserts along the rail ensured a high tolerance of vibration and load, allowing Redi-Rail rollers to glide quickly and accurately.
PBC Linear used plain bearing pillow blocks in place if the original ball bushings. Composed of no rolling materials, Simplicity technology provided an 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.
Quality parts, quality beer
The installation of Redi-Rail and linear plain bearing pillow blocks have performed above the customer’s expectations. Coincidentally, the mounting holes for Redi-Rail were perfectly lined up with the previous components, making the upgrade a simple process. Unscheduled shutdowns and stalling have been 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 Linear solution in other plants across the country.