Strategic Partnerships: How We Collaborate With Customers to Optimize Production Lines – Part 1

Every production process is different. In our 50+ years of designing conveying and accumulation systems for various industries, we can definitively say that we’ve never worked on two projects that were identical. That means every system we’ve built has been customized to meet our customers’ unique needs.

At the same time, we’ve moved toward standardizing our equipment to include best-in-class designs for solving common challenges, like product instability and damage due to collisions.

This two-part article series explains how we combine standardization with customization to provide our customers with the best solutions on the market. Our approach is the reason our customers think of us not as just equipment suppliers, but true strategic partners.

Customer testimonials

Here’s what some of our customers have to say about working with us:

“We were very impressed with Garvey’s dedication to making sure the equipment was right and everyone was satisfied.”
~ Yusuke Futakuchi,
Shibuya Hoppmann

“As an engineering team, we went back to the drawing board a couple of times. These discussions showcased Garvey’s commitment to putting the customer first.”
~Josh Kosmala,
Good Foods

Standardization: Incorporating best-in-class designs into all of our equipment

The first Garvey conveying system was built in 1967 to support the local glass industry. That system was just the first of many “firsts.” Since then, we’ve introduced a number of design elements that have transformed the industries they serve by allowing manufacturers to run their lines faster, and we incorporate these game-changing designs — several of which are patented — into every machine we make.

Standardization helps us deliver value for our customers in two main ways:

  • By providing the best available solutions. Because we’ve been in the industry a long time and have worked on many different types of projects, we know what works and also what doesn’t. Our standard equipment is based on what we believe are the best designs based on our extensive experience.
  • By shortening our delivery times. Standardizing saves our engineers from having to do repetitive design work, so they can focus on customizing the details to meet customer requirements.

Here are three examples of design elements that come standard on Garvey equipment.

No conveyor transfer plates, aka dead plates

Most accumulation systems on the market have dead plates, or stationary flat surfaces between conveyors. The problem with dead plates is that they contribute to product instability and cause collisions. This, in turn, limits how fast you can run your line — if your products are unstable (e.g., tapered wine bottles, small glass vials, lightweight plastic containers) as they move across the dead plates, the only solution is to slow down. That means fewer products, which means lower profits.

So, why do most OEMs still use dead plates? Because it’s just plain easier to mount the bearings and motors driving the conveyors on the outside of the equipment, which means the conveyors can’t lie flush.

At Garvey, we believe in doing things the right way, even if it’s not the easy way. We put the bearings and motors inside the equipment frame to get them out of the way so that the conveyors can lie flush. According to company president Thomas Garvey, “This design feature makes Garvey conveyors the best in the world at handling unstable products.”

Pressureless loop technology

Dead plates aren’t the only places where collisions happen. On many accumulation systems, the products are constantly colliding. For proof of this, just listen to most accumulation systems at work. The sound of glass clinking indicates that micro-collisions are taking place.

These collisions — and the damage that results from them — are the result of backpressure. Once again, on many systems the only way to compensate for this backpressure is to slow down your line.

As we’ve written in the past, “you shouldn’t have to slow down your line to accommodate your accumulation system.” That’s why we use a patented pressureless loop technology to eliminate backpressure on all of our equipment.

A patented slowdown lane that enables high-speed outfeed

So, there is one place on an accumulation system where slowing down is actually a good thing! By incorporating a slowdown lane, which runs 10-15% slower than the rest of the table, we’ve been able to help customers increase their overall line speeds by 200-300%.

How?

On most accumulation tables, all of the lanes run at the same speed. As a result, the products become nested. This is fine when the products are moving around the table, but it causes a problem when they reach the pick off point (i.e., the point where they’re redirected to the outfeed lane) because denesting the products creates turbulence, which can lead to damage. As in the previous examples, the only way to reduce turbulence on tables like this is to slow the whole process down.

There’s a better way. By slowing down just the lane adjacent to the outfeed lane on our accumulation tables, we can actually increase the overall line speed. With the slowdown lane, the products denest on their own. This eliminates turbulence at the pickoff point, so you can ramp up the speed without fear that your products will be damaged.

To learn more about how this works, see the visuals and the video in our recent article “3 Key Features of Garvey Accumulation Systems.”

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Posted in Blog, Equipment.