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Flexible filler doubles pack speeds

Dual-head auger filling system with integrated checkweigher easily adapts to different powder density, humidity, and temperature conditions.
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FILED IN:  Controls  > Strategy
     

CytoSport Inc., Benicia, CA, manufactures and packages a range of powdered and fluid sports drinks and protein supplements, including fruit-flavored drinks, teas, and milk/whey drinks. Powdered products in fill weights from 400 g to 2500 g are packaged in composite paper/foil canisters and high-density polyethylene containers sourced from multiple suppliers. The products have an estimated 18-month shelf life.

The company wasn’t fully satisfied with the operating efficiencies of its single-head clutch-brake filling equipment for powdered products and started looking around for alternatives. After careful evaluations, CytoSport decided to install a Model DHA-SV dual-head auger filler from All-Fill, Inc. (www.all-fill.com) equipped with an integrated All-Fill Alpha checkweigher.

The new filler was installed at the Benicia plant in the Autumn of 2006. According to CytoSport maintenance manager Scott Silberman, “The design of the filler is so simple and straightforward that we didn’t need All-Fill technicians on-site for the installation and start-up. Whatever questions we had were easily resolved via phone conversations with the All-Fill staff.”

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At the plant, the filler runs in conjunction with a twin-feed auger system engineered by Valley Welding (www.valleywelding.com), an induction sealer from Enercon Industries Corp. (www.eneconind.com), threaded cap application equipment from Pack West Machinery Co. (www.packwest.com), wraparound labeling equipment from Mateer Burt (www.pneumaticscale.com), and date/time coding equipment from Linx Printing Technologies (www.linx.co.uk). 

The servo-driven auger filler is engineered to deliver accurate, repeatable filling of powdered, granular, as well as liquid products. The All-Fill Model DHA-SV incorporates a brushless, direct-drive servomotor and state-of-the-art motion control electronics to control the auger plus a PLC-based control system to monitor and adjust fill accuracies. Programming is done via touch-screen.

By eliminating the clutch, brake, belts, and pulleys used by the previous filler, many mechanical maintenance problems and associated costly downtime also are eliminated. And the built-in checkweigher was a very attractive quality-control feature for CytoSport.

The new filling system is performing very well for CytoSport. So well, in fact, that the company is anticipating addition of a second filler in 2007.

Silberman says, “This filler with the integrated checkweigher is easy to program for handling different powdered product densities, adapting on-the-fly to variations in humidity and temperature conditions, and is easy to changeover and clean. Fill accuracy is plus or minus 1%, so we have very minimal product waste or giveaway.”

He adds, “We’ve doubled our packaging speed so that it is now about 30 to 40 containers per minute for our one-gallon (2.5-lb) containers. That, in turn, has enabled us to cut back one shift and save on labor costs.”

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