Accumulators

In material handling Accumulation refers to the need to temporarily collect or gather product. Most often accumulation is required based on the need to keep either an upstream or downstream machine running when there is a planned or unplanned disruption of material flow on the line.

An example of planned accumulation would be a wrapper that needs 2 minutes per hour to change out a roll of poly film without shutting down the upstream filler. Unplanned accumulation can best be thought of as an insurance policy. When things are going as planned, you don’t need it, but when there is a problem somewhere else on the line the accumulation is there to keep other critical pieces of equipment running allowing operators or maintenance personnel precious minutes to correct the problem without shutting down the entire line.

Another typical need for accumulation is when feeding a machine that consumes a “slug” of product, meaning one cycle of the machine is taking several products at a time to fill a carton, case or other package disrupting a linear flow. A similar situation can arise when human operators are performing a manual operation on an assembly line or manually packaging.

Accumulation can be either On-Line or Off-Line. On-Line accumulation can also generally be thought of as In-line, meaning that the product is temporarily stored on the production line in the order in which it was produced so that is immediately available when the line allows for product flow to resume. Generally On-Line accumulation is only seconds in duration. Off-Line accumulation will divert product off the main production line so it can be stored for minutes or longer, and then be reintroduced to the main line at a later time.

There are MANY considerations regarding accumulation. Do you need to maintain First-In-First-Out (FIFO) product flow? How does your product handle abrasion and can it withstand crushing from back pressure?  How will the product be reintroduced to the main line and what is the surge rate of the downstream equipment? How much floor space is available or is going vertical a better option? With so many different types of accumulation conveyors and devices available, trust Pack Air’s Sales and Applications Team to guide you to the right solution for your specific application.

Alpine accumulation systems allow in-line, first-in-first-out (FIFO) accumulation, and utilize vertical space instead of floor space. Alpine accumulation systems allow in-line, first-in-first-out (FIFO) accumulation, and utilize vertical space instead of floor space.

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