a device designed for the assembly of unit loads from individual items. Usually a part of automated assembly lines, packaging machines are the final step in the manufacturing process and the first step in the transportation process. They may be automatic or semiautomatic and can handle materials packaged in rigid, semirigid, or soft containers and materials not packaged in containers, such as metal castings, sheet metal, rolled metal sections, and lumber. The machines can be set up to handle items of a given standard size or items within the same range of standard sizes, with the necessary adjustments being made either manually or automatically. They can be used to make up unit loads on auxiliary devices, such as pallets or skids. There are machines that only assemble loads, and there are machines that both assemble and break up loads.
There is great variety in the design of packaging machines. Among the factors that influence design are the specific features of the manufacturing process and the properties and dimensions of the goods. The unit load consists of a stack of individual items that have been collected in sequence in accordance with the load-sorting plan, which determines the relative positions of the items. Further development of the design of packaging machines has been based on matching the dimensions of packaging materials to those of the as-yet-unpackaged goods and on considerations of the size, shape, and weight of the unit loads. Such standardization makes it possible to select the optimal industrial methods for machine packaging, which is, in turn, a prerequisite for the design of unified and universal packaging machines. The first packaging machines appeared in the USSR and abroad during the 1940’s.
Packaging machines are used for the assembly of unit loads from sheet goods, from bulk goods in sacks, and from individual items in the metallurgical, printing, and wood-products industries. Such machines may be designed to assemble unit loads horizontally, vertically, or in a manner that combines horizontal and vertical operations. In machines designed for horizontal operation, the goods from the conveyor belt, guided by the distributor in accordance with the work plan, are conveyed into the collector. There the goods form a layer, which is moved by the carriage of a twin-chain conveyor to the flaps of the stacking device. The flaps are then opened, the layer of goods is lowered onto the pallet, and the stacking device is readied to receive the next layer. After the last layer is stacked, the load proceeds to the delivery conveyor and from there to the exit conveyor. The distributor makes it possible to carry out sequential sorting of items of various standard sizes according to a variety of programs by making the required adjustments in the control system.
The productivity of Soviet and foreign packaging machines is as high as 2,000 unit loads per hour.
REFERENCERidel’, A. E., and E. I. Ridel’. Paketoformiruiushchie i paketorazbornye mashiny-avtomaty. Moscow, 1969.
A. E. RIDEL’