Oscar called to tell me his capper was hungry.
“Well, you better feed it,” I told him.
“I’m trying but my cap feeder just won’t keep up. It is starving the capper,” he told me.
“I’m on my way.”
A bit later I was on Oscar’s floor with eyeballs on the capper. It had a vibratory cap orienter/feeder to supply the caps. These are pretty simple when you look at them as an inverted pendulum and understand how they work. Trouble is, not many people do understand them and think they work by magic.
The first thing I noticed was that it was noisier than I thought it should be. It sounded like the cross-arm was hitting the solenoid coil. There can be a couple possible reasons for this. The coil gap looked OK so the next thing I did was carefully examine all the supporting spring plates.
“Fiddlesticks on hungry feeders,” I told Oscar. “You have a cracked spring plate. It is a wonder it is working as well as it is.
“First thing you need to do is replace the spring plate. Next, check the gap between coil and cross-arm and adjust to the manufacturer’s specification. Then you will need to tune the feeder so that it vibrates in sync with the power frequency. Sixty hertz plant power gives 120 solenoid pulses per second.
“Keep your feeder vibrant and your capper will stay well fed.”
KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of Changeover.com, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.