When RNA were contacted with a request to handle one of UK’s most famous food condiments JIF Lemons, it was both a challenging and interesting project to tackle. JIF lemon juice comes in a squeezable yellow lemon shaped plastic container. The irregular shape of the components posed the most challenging part of the project. The request from the customer was to feed 50 components per minute from two outlets and present the component axis vertical open side uppermost two at a time.
The system was supplied with twin bowl feeders, a puck loading station, orientation station, transfer linear and accumulation conveyor. Two opposite handed bowl feeders feed the lemons at random into pucks. Each bowl releases a lemon on demand via a Tic Toc type escapement, the lemon sits in the puck either way up. The puck is released to a further station where a sensor checks for the presence of the open end of the lemon. Open side up lemons are released onto an accumulation conveyor and the open side below lemons are blown out of the puck into a tube which is fitted to a vacuum generator. This tube inverts the Lemon through 180 degrees and drops the Lemon into a waiting puck resulting in the correct orientation.
The JIF Lemon ‘puck’ system features a simple reliable accumulation and a consistent output rate. The ‘pucks’ allow reliable and robust movement of the lemons around the system with no damage to the outer container. Efficiency for the overall machine and process line increased dramatically with a reduction in downtime, resulting in higher output and shorter lead times to the high street.
Jason Moore Unilever Maintenance Manager commented:
‘RNA worked with us in a flexible manner and cooperated closely during the design process.’
‘The resulting final overall design showed initiative in the way the solution was delivered and great effort was put into simplifying the equipment.’
‘The People within RNA are very cooperative and helpful.’