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All-Fill filling machines continue to stand alone as the one and only industry leader, with a focus on future designs and advancing technology.

WHY A LAB TEST DURING A FAT?

March 15th, 2016

Our onsite Testing Lab is a feature that All-Fill provides for free. The Testing Lab allows us to test fill the product into the desired container by finding the best filler for the application. Another feature about the Testing Lab is that we can test product for customers and provide them with the right tooling and accessories for the job. Even the best filling machine in the industry can cause the worst packaging nightmare because it is utilizing the wrong tooling and accessories.

Another feature of All-Fill is the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT). This test allows you to see the machine you ordered in action. Either as a standalone model or fully-integrated, a FAT is always recommended. Customers are able to see it perform to the specifications that we quoted and in addition to the specifications they request to see. Depending on the application, certain add-ons might be pertinent to achieving the best possible line and this would be the time to make these changes.

Once in a while, during a FAT, it becomes apparent that the set of tooling (auger, funnel, and accessories) may not be ideal for the machine at hand. Although it’s rare that this happens, it’s nice to have our test laboratory on site when it does. This is another benefit of doing an FAT right here at All-Fill. It is much more difficult to diagnose an issue with tooling in a customer’s plant, this is simply because they do not have access to every size of auger and funnel as we do here in All-Fill’s Test Lab. In our test lab we have each and every size auger, funnel, agitation blades, high speed blades, and cut-offs to test on our laboratory BS-SV-600 filler with no hopper cover.

The issue may be that the tooling is too large or too small, or maybe the auger speed (RPM) is too fast or slow. This is where the “SV” in the name “BS-SV-600” comes into play, the “SV” represents its servo motor. Since our lab filler has a servo motor it only takes the touch of a button to change from 600rpm to 750rpm. If the customer’s machine is a clutch brake machine, the fill belt would have to be moved from one pulley to another on the fill motor. This is much more time consuming than switching the speed on the HMI like you can do on a servo machine.

The reason we do not have a hopper cover on the lab filler is so that we can easily and quickly dump product in, or remove product for a short run of sample weights. This lets us by-pass the customer’s in-feed system for a more efficient test. It also gives us the ability to look in the hopper and see how the product is reacting to the tooling, it maybe the agitation blade is moving the mass of the product. This is a common problem that negatively affects weights and can be easily over looked when one cannot see the product inside the hopper. Luckily, it is also an easy problem to fix; we normally remove the “upper ear” of the agitation blade or apply a knife edge to the stem of the leading edge of the blade.

Being that this is a problem with fill-time, or speed, we have two options: we can try running the auger at a faster or slower speed to improve the efficiency of the product output, or we can try switching to larger set of tooling. We would most likely attempt to run the auger at a different speed first, primarily because it is the most efficient and expedient solution for both All-Fill and the customer. If this is the case we would only need to change the RPM of the filler as opposed to making a new set of tooling for the customer. If this does not solve the problem then we would try a larger set of tooling in the lab filler with the customer’s product, 99% of the time a larger set of tooling will decrease the fill time.

Now we can take a set of sample weights (usually 20-30 weights) from the lab filler. This is where the “S” in “BS-SV-600” comes from, that stands for “Scale”.  Our lab filler has an offline scale used to measure the weights and record them directly to a clean, organized lab report on an attached computer. The reason we conduct a run of sample weights is to determine the standard deviation of the weights, and ensure that with this larger set of tooling we can still meet the customer’s specification on accuracy. If this new set of tooling improves our speed and also meets the accuracy requirement, then we would move forward, supplying the customer with this size of tooling and go one with the rest of the FAT. We hope this helps to prove the benefit of a mid-FAT lab test!

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