Clamshell plastic containers are commonly used in bakery applications. Common packaging lines require special tooling to automate the filling and closing of these containers, resulting in lengthy changeover times between package sizes. A bakery customer was looking for a solution to eliminate these changeover times and increase packaging rates versus their existing system.
Computech designed a custom clamshell dispensing and closing system that eliminated changeover time and the requirement for multiple tooling plates. Computech created a recipe-driven clamshell conveyor system that automatically changed pocket size using servo-driven linear slides. Selecting a recipe on the HMI adjusted the pocket size, eliminating manual tool change operation. The conveyor system includes a de-nester to load the open clamshell onto the conveyor. As the clamshell progresses down the conveyor line it is folded over and eventually pressed down to engage the friction fit closure. The 50-foot long conveyor/closure system was fully validated on Computech’s manufacturing floor using actual product. After the runoff, the guys who helped design and build the system had an opportunity to sample some of the goods!
The client saw results immediately after installation and startup. The required setup and production goals were achieved, reducing changeover time from >3 hours to less than 15 minutes, minimizing tooling requirements, and doubling production rate over the legacy system.