Compact, cost-competitive, reconfigurable conveyors

How to enhance versatility and reduce maintenance and floor space requirements.

The plastic modular conveyor components can be quickly repositioned to accommodate changing product handling needs.
The plastic modular conveyor components can be quickly repositioned to accommodate changing product handling needs.

Stanley Engineered Fastening, Chesterfield, MI, is a Stanley Black & Decker Inc. company, specializing in design and development of cost-effective fasteners, assembly tools, and stud and welding systems. Items in the diverse line include fasteners and clips for metals and plastics, screws and bolts, torque nuts, threaded inserts, and a range of other products to meet individualized sealing and securing requirements.

To convey these various items to packaging lines, Stanley had been using large static conveyors that were requiring significant maintenance and downtime for repairs. The company realized that it needed to convert to more efficient conveying equipment.

After evaluating alternatives, Stanley decided to try a DynaCon light-weight plastic modular conveyor system from Dynamic Conveyor. Stanley determined that this easily reconfigurable conveyor system could be purchased at a cost in line with standard conveyor prices, while offering greater flexibility and considerably reduced maintenance. The conveyors also are compact, requiring less floor space.

How it works
A typical product made by Stanley is a cable tie used by auto makers. It’s injection molded and then bagged. The bags later go into boxes supplied by DuraPack and Doug Brown Packaging Products, Inc.  Nathan Dietrich, Manufacturing Engineer for Stanley, notes, “With the assistance of our packaging and conveying systems suppliers, we have been able to achieve greater speed and efficiency. The Dynamic conveyors are used to deliver the products from the molding machine to the auto-packaging machines, where the products are poly-bagged and then conveyed to the boxing operations.”

By interfacing the conveyors with the injection molding machines on which the cable ties are made, the system can reverse the conveyors when the molding process goes outside of process tolerances. Suspect product then is diverted to a separate tote that later can be dispositioned by the quality control department. The good products are delivered to the bagging station where they are bagged in specific quantities. An operator transfers the sealed bags to another conveyor for channeling to the boxing station.

The multiple-conveyor system is engineered for one conveyor to take parts out from under the injection-molding machine and convene with a second perpendicular conveyor. The parts then are channeled up to an Eriez vibratory separator and then to a linear net weigher made by Dura-Pack. Beneath the weigher is a bagging machine from Automated Packaging Systems. Preset weights are entered into the touchscreen interface. In the case of the injection-molded cable ties, the weigher dumps 167 cable ties per cycle into premade bags. With each dump, the bag is vigorously shaken to make sure the parts settle nicely toward the bottom. After six dumps, a bag of 1,002 cable ties is heat sealed shut. It drops onto a DynaCon conveyor for transfer to a boxing station.

Why it helps
The DynaCon equipment provides Stanley with extreme manufacturing process flexibility to quickly reconfigure packaging lines to accommodate new products and processes. Dietrich says, “We often launch new products that require new packaging approaches, so we need to remain flexible with our material conveying solutions to efficiently reconfigure our packaging lines. We used to have a mix of different brands of conveyors, but in the past three years, all new purchases have been Dynamic Conveyors. With their exceptional customer support as well as the flexibility of the systems, the choice was easy. We have purchased about 40 units from Dynamic Conveyor in the past two years for various applications. Most of them have been 900 Series in multiple configurations and widths. The whole Dynamic Conveyor team has been highly reliable, and the service level has been phenomenal. And they have helped us develop our own library of spare parts so that we can easily reconfigure unused or damaged conveyors for new applications.”

Dietrich adds, “We have just begun integrating these conveyors into some newer automation equipment that allows for products to be diverted between two separate package assembly lines. As one station gets over-filled, product is diverted automatically to a second line.”

Stanley Engineered Fastening has special kudos for Dynamic Conveyors representative Tom Habetler, who regularly comes on-site to evaluate conveyor requirements and make improvement recommendations. Tom also is there to assist in new conveyor system installation, training, and start-up, and to facilitate design modifications on-the-fly. Dietrich says, “Tom is there to support us when we run into any issues and has always been able to provide a solution.”

More in Primary packaging