Roy Fowler and his international company UPM Conveyors have updated their conveyor technology and processes to suit the changing market.
According to the company’s MD, simpler, traditional belt conveyors are becoming more and more obsolete as bespoke engineered solutions become necessary due to shifts in the industry.
The conveyor expert has witnessed the change where processors require more integration of belt conveyors into fully automatic cells incorporating product orientation; singulation and counting prior to presentation to assembly machines.
“The days of offering a simple belt conveyor to transfer parts from the moulding machine to a stillage have virtually disappeared,” claims Fowler. As a result, UPM have established a product testing area in conjunction with 3D software to simulate the customer’s production environment.
This advancement works to prove the viability of a solution and allows UPM to offer a Performance Guarantee based on equipment performing to the agreed specification. In the event of any issues arising, UPM then supply labour and parts to remedy the situation totally free of charge.
Such tailor-made solutions naturally require more sophisticated control systems which may cater for vision; barcode reading product positioning; interfacing with robots and orientation requiring PLC programming allowing an operator single point use of a complete cell with data capture to a central PC.
Fowler endorses this change in demand from moulders, to the extent that UPM are now classed as system integrators. The infrastructure caters for total turnkey projects, as demonstrated by their project for Lindal Group who invested $3.5 million in Mexico.
Each moulding machine has an under press reversing reject belt conveyor to operate via the machine SPC control. This ensures only good products are transported via swan neck belt conveyors to high level conveyors which minimises floor area occupied. Then, they move through a firewall to assembly / filling lines with over capacity storage facilities, subject to high level detectors. Should the reject parameter from the SPC be energised, the under press conveyors reverse the transportation of potential rejects to a holding bin, ensuring only good product is transferred to the GIMA assembly machines.
Total versatility of operation is provided for all products from injection moulding machines to be transferred to the fully automatic assembly and packaging machines. This is completed without any manual involvement. It’s achieved by the incorporation of multi-way diverters which are based on the unique conveyor design, uniquely developed by UPM which resulted in the business being awarded the A Queen’s Award for Innovation.