As one of the last remaining black boxes on the beverage can filling line, the filler and seamer is an area that we frequently hear about from customers. When problems happen on this part of the line, the damage to cans can be significant, leading to everything from dents, to wrinkles and gull wings. That kind of damage is costly for manufacturers, so it’s no wonder companies are looking for better quality information that will help them troubleshoot this area more effectively.
Smart Skin has been using the Quantifeel System to help our customers pinpoint problems on their canning lines for several years, but there has never been a way to study the forces that cans experience inside a filler and seamer.
But there’s good news on the horizon. As a result of our investigations into this problem area, Smart Skin have developed a new patent pending technology that can show you exactly when sidewall damage is occurring during the filling and seamer process, and where on the can that damage is being done.
This new seamer drone design has a cavity in the top of the unit to accommodate the filler valve. A disposable cup is fitted into this recess before the run and is held in place by a convex bulge, which locks it into the drone cap. The cup simulates the rim of the can body and correct can height for sealing onto the filler valve. The cup cavity allows the filler valve to protrude into the system and captures product during the fill process.
As the unit passes on through to the seamer, a lid is dropped and seamed to the plastic cup rim in the same way as it would be to a normal can. This allows the system to pass through unobstructed and without interfering with normal operations. As it passes through the system, the drone can transmit data including sidewall pressure, tilt and spin, giving real-time information on the forces acting on cans in the filler and seamer.
While the current drone model is sized for the North American 12oz can, other can sizes are in development. Trials have been conducted at sites in North America with positive results. Studies so far have shown significant forces on the sidewall of the can in the middle of the seaming process. Smart Skin is working with filling line personnel to help remedy each specific situation through filler/seamer mechanical and control changes. Through this collaborative process, Smart Skin will be publishing a best practice document to guide customers during this drone’s use.