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Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Hi forum,

First time poster.
I am currently on my co-op work term, and I am to design and implement a new system that orientates upright bottles correctly when it comes off the hopper.
It can either come upright or upside down. I'm not familiar with this type of machinery and in way over my head with this project, and would like ideas.

What are current solutions that have proven to work consistently and that are most simplistic to implement?

Any help is appreciated.



RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Don't ask us.
Go to the factory/ bottling plant/ whatever. Go to several if you can.
At each line, find the person who watches the invert station or whatever you call it, and the person who cleans up the mess when it fails and the line stops.
They will have plenty to say, and they will be mostly right, even if their grasp of physics might be a little tenuous.
Do not argue with them.
They may use words that you find offensive. Do not react; it is their local language.
If you like, record what they say with their permission; but be aware that recording devices cause many people to withhold information, and to 'act'.
Better to jot a few notes, or better, none, while they are talking, then find a quiet place to write out a detailed narrative right after the interview, while things are still sort of fresh in your mind.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Sorry, didn't first notice you were talking about a vending machine, not a bottling line.

Same advice applies; find the guys who test them in the build line, and the guys who fix them when they screw up in the field.
Listen. Learn.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

You will have to look at the process supplying the containers and think of a process to go from current delivered state to properly orientated state. The size and weight of the container will determine many processes such as a vibratory delivery system. The shape will also have an effect.

The best solution is not having to add special equipment to orientate the container. Maybe the previous process can deliver the containers already orientated?


RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Thank you for the great suggestions.

It is a bottle line.

Currently the system dispenses the bottle properly about 60% of the time, is way too sensitive to properly run effectively and only works for one type of bottle production. There are also many jams that occur within the existing apparatus.

When the 2nd production starts, the system cannot be implemented because the 2nd bottle is too light and tall and needs to be manually fed onto the conveyor.

The manager would like to increase the amount of success for the bottle orientation as well as being able to use the device for the 2nd production.

So ideally, the new system needs to have easily configurations to dispense 2 bottles of similar shape but one is lighter and taller and have a higher rate of upright orientation.

I've attached pictures of the current system.

Thanks again for the discussion.

RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Can you find the original drawings for that station?

I'm guessing the flapper comprising a barn door hinge with bolts for counterweights was not part of it.

Where I'm going is, figure out how the original designer intended for it to function, and what sort of container it was originally designed for. Then try to evolve the mechanism 'on the drawing board' before you start, er, hacking.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Plastic bottles like that would be best if you took them from the tote into an elevator.
The elevator will drop them into the hopper of the bottle orient-er.
The hopper is a tilted centrifugal, it spins at a variable speed and forces the bottles to the outside of the hopper walls...
The walls are much taller than the bottle, and there is a center plate on the bottom that is a smaller circumference than the hopper. The bottles fall into the space between this plate and the hopper walls.
The hopper rotates so the bottles will fall between the plate and the walls, and be transferred to the exit ramp.
There may be a rotating wheel to knock down the bottles that are upright, the bottles should exit the hopper laying flat.
The bottles will be pinched between a large padded wheel, adjusted for the bottle width.
There will be a spring loaded ring which will catch the neck of the bottles that have the neck sticking out, this ring will spin the bottle upright.
The other bottles are already upright
The bottles transfer to a hugger belt
The hugger belt transfers the bottles, upright, to the transfer conveyor.

Now that I've managed to confuse you with the operational description, you may have questions. This is done all the time, everyday.

It sounds like you need to rebuild the orienter or make change-out parts to fit the bottles. Usually, the center plate is made to fit the width of the bottle, if not the system will not work. If the bottle is too light to travel on the exit transfer, then we can install mechanisms to move it along. There is only so much adjustment you can make, and trying to solve this issue over this forum would prove to be difficult without a video.


RE: Bottle Orientation for a dispenser

Wow, thanks to all the helpful replies.

I don't think I would need a complete redesign of the dispensing unit just add multiple components to make it more functional.

The flapper was 'installed' there by the previous co-op student since the bottles exited on an angle and too fast to stand upright. The hinge is too unreliable, ideally I would like the bottle to exit successfully without this hinge.

I will take more technical pictures and a video tomorrow at work and post it here with a complete breakdown.

Thanks again for the replies, its been really helpful.


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