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Dealing with the challenges of quirky packaging

10 September 2017

While packaging designers and marketers do a great job of producing food packaging that shows the product off to its best advantage, many of these good looking designs go on to become a headache when it comes to handling them during production. 

A good example of this has been provided by Western Mechanical Handling (WMH). The company was approached by a large dairy product producer to help re-organise a production line following a supermarket audit.

The container for their desserts and sundaes was tall, with a very small base, which made them very top heavy and prone to tipping at conveyor transfer points.  WMH was able to overcome the problem at most transfer points by creating side-by-side transfers and gently guiding the product from one conveyor to another. 

However, there were several points in the line where end-to-end transfers were necessary, and this led a WMH designer to develop a novel and compact transfer unit to move the pots without tipping. The solution needed to be compact, able to cope with a range of product heights and had to be easy to maintain.

The resulting solution comprised a pair of parallel driven belts on an adjustable height mechanism, to support and convey the pots under their top lip. All of the drive components for the unit were mounted below conveyor height which helped make the unit as short and compact as possible to be retro-fitted between existing conveyors with a minimum of line disturbance. The unit is manually adjustable, via an above belt adjustment wheel, to enable quick changeovers between the different products.

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