Food processing is complex, which is why these types of facilities are often huge and require multiple types of movements, from transport and sorting to lifting and rotating. Speed, reliability and sanitation are critical for processing facilities, especially if they handle perishables. In this environment, a compact cylinder provides several distinct advantages.
Solutions in Motion™
The bore shape of a compact cylinder can make a big difference, in both performance and costs. With a traditional rod-style pneumatic cylinder, the rod is attached to a round piston inside a sealed tube, allowing the rod to extend and retract through a cap in one end of the tube with each stroke.
The problem is that the rod can rotate slightly as it slides because the round piston that it is connected to rotates. Rod rotation reduces the cylinder’s performance by pulling the intended thrusting force off-line. Over time, off-center loading can cause premature or uneven wear on the seals and rod bearings, or cause the rod and/or piston to bend. The cylinder can also fail if the rod de-threads from the piston.
In certain industrial applications, rod rotation can be an especially serious problem. One solution is a guided cylinder that uses guide rods and guide blocks mounted parallel to the piston rod to hold it in position as it strokes back and forth.
If you need push/pull pneumatic automation in a tight space, take a look at the new OVLPROTM Low Profile Cylinders from W.C. Branham.
OVLPRO cylinders are compact, lightweight and repairable. They are pre-lubricated for high duty cycles, and the new OVP25 series may be just what you're missing.
In many industrial equipment designs, moving parts are mechanically connected to one another. But for some torque-transfer applications, it’s best if the two shafts do not physically meet. This is particularly true in wet, high-pressure, or other harsh working environments. Magnetic coupling provides a valuable alternative because it transfers torque via a magnetic field rather than physical contact.
This type of coupling is typically used for liquid pumps and propeller systems because it keeps the two shafts apart, effectively separating fluid from the motor operating in air. Magnetically-coupled cylinders are ideal for food processing and packaging equipment, thanks to their clean surfaces and their ability to withstand rigorous washdown. In fact, for car washes or other operating systems that are continually exposed to water and caustic chemicals, magnetic coupling offers both reliability and durability.
If you’re a fan of old “I Love Lucy” reruns, you likely know this famous scene: the pies are coming down the conveyor belt faster and faster. Lucy can’t keep up, and pies are piling up. It’s a mess. Hilarious, right? But not in real life – say, if your packaging equipment goes awry and the product is dumping all over the floor instead of neatly into boxes, or your bottling line malfunctions.
It’s not just a mess, it’s a serious safety hazard. Emergency brakes are critical for industrial environments, such as industrial packaging.
Efficient material handling is critical in modern manufacturing. A century ago, moving materials from one place to another depended primarily on manual labor. It was cumbersome and time-consuming. Today, advanced technologies and equipment design innovations automate much of the work. To remain competitive, however, manufacturers must constantly search for ways to further streamline their operations.
Cleanliness matters in all manufacturing facilities, but in certain situations, extreme sanitation is priority number one. Food and beverage processing, for instance, cannot allow contaminants to accumulate on equipment because they could get into products. And pharmaceutical manufacturing requires sterility down to the microbial level. Therefore, in all these environments, equipment must be washed down frequently.
Wash down involves high-pressure cleaning with very hot water and/or chemicals. This process is designed to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Since it is both frequent and intense, it’s imperative to have industrial components that can withstand such harsh conditions as well as deliver desired performance reliably. Food packaging equipment, for instance, generally requires components that can achieve high-speed actuation and withstand the rigors of repeated, caustic washdown.
Equipment often has to meet stringent standards set by an array of government and industry entities. Those standards also directly affect equipment design and component choice.
Machine builders are being asked, or sometimes pushed, by their clients to do more, which means the automated machinery they design needs to do more. Machines need to have high throughput, better accuracy, improved reliability, more
It's no different with components used in automated machinery. Machine builders desire performance and value of the components they use. Let's look at pneumatic rodless cylinders, which are commonly used in various types of automated machinery.
At W.C. Branham, we're all about "Solutions in Motion." For more than three decades, we have engineered and manufactured components that enable all sorts of machines to move, many of them in industrial applications. Providing versatile components and choosing the right pieces for the intended motion is vital when creating the most appropriate solution. Take packaging machinery, for example.
Packaging facilities might handle anything from sealing roasted peanuts in bags to shrink-wrapping pallets. Processes involve multiple steps, and machines have to move in a multitude of ways as they transport and coordinate products and wrapping materials. Gearboxes are the “traffic cops” that keep things moving so processes function smoothly and seamlessly. Helical and spiral bevel gears are both used in packaging machinery but for different purposes.
As an industry, food processing covers a lot of ground. It’s candy bars in wrappers, potato chips in bags, shrink-wrapped meat, and any number of prepared products in cans and boxes. It’s beverages, too, with production and bottling of everything from water to beer or wine in plastic, glass or aluminum containers. And these containers must be flawlessly sanitary.