Automated guiderail systems provide a simple and cost-effective solution to facilitate quick product change overs to accommodate many different product shapes and sizes on the same manufacturing conveyor line.
Guiderails, as reflected in the name, guide and control the product along the conveyor line maintaining orientation to avoid bottles or packaging to topple over, jam or to fall off the line. Many food and beverage producers could have up to 200 SKUs with various items in production at any point in time requiring frequent product change overs.
The adjustment of guiderails to accommodate a new product on the manufacturing line can, however, present an issue to operation teams. Adjusting the width of the rail for optimal product flow can take significant time when done manually and is prone to operator dependant variation.
This is not ideal and can be quite costly due to the lengthy downtime in production, especially on longer conveyor lines or systems with difficult to reach configurations.
From a safety perspective, adjusting guiderails can be a simple task at floor level but when the production line is off the ground it can present a significant safety hazard for operators.
“We have recently installed an automated guiderail system at a packaging manufacturer to eliminate the need for operators to manually having to adjust guiderails at three metres height. It took a team of operators over an hour on each occasion to carry out the task on the 36-meter-long conveyor line.
Apart from the lengthy downtime, accessing the line at such height required operators to climb up on ladders presenting a significant risk to the operators. We were called in to offer a safer and faster solution to the client.
With the installation of an automated guiderail system, we managed to reduce downtime to a couple of minutes. But above of all, the guiderail could be adjusted to the required
width at ground level with a simple push of a button.” explains Brian Gilmore, sales director at FlexCAM Pty Ltd.
“The product was also particularly challenging due its shape with guide rails needing to be accurately adjusted to avoid turning and ensure proper presentation downstream. The automated guiderail system we installed was able to achieve consistent settings across the line ensuring trouble free production flow and rapid change over times.” said Gilmore.
Guiderail systems are available in both aluminium and stainless steel to suite any production environment and can be retrofitted to existing conveyors. They can range from a fully automatic, power driven solution to a basic manual winding system depending on budget and operational requirements.
Overall, automated guiderail systems offer an easy automatic resetting of product guiding systems in production flows improving operational efficiency by saving time and money for manufacturers