As consumer demands evolve, the need for more nimble changeovers and greater efficiencies on bottling and canning lines is on the rise.
This in turn means that quality change parts are becoming an increasingly important part of the food and beverage landscape.
Change parts are typically needed to accommodate a new type of bottle, jar, can or container on the line, or to maintain line efficiency, especially when using older equipment, according to Alan Smith, the general manager of Alternative Engineering, a Melbourne based engineering company specialising in precision-engineered components.
Custom manufactured change parts are also a good option when OEM parts are no longer available for older equipment, and sometimes even when OEM parts are available, Smith says.
That is because OEM parts are designed to work on equipment as it was running when new, rather than with the equipment in its current condition.
“Wear and tear over the life of your equipment can cause alignment issues with OEM parts, especially if it’s been relocated or refurbished,” Smith says.
This is where experienced change parts manufacturers can step in. When deciding to go with a change parts designer, manufacturers must look for a company that offers a high level of accuracy, according to Smith.
Part accuracy prevents costly and unnecessary downtime and stress, less container damage, and improved improving production and bottling efficiencies.
With this in mind, Alternative Engineering designs its change parts using a proven problem-solving process that taps into all the latest technology, materials, and solutions, Smith says
“Our engineers and account managers have the ability to make on-site visits to digitally measure up existing equipment and machinery to get exact information,” he says.
“By having in-depth discussions with our clients about what they require, we are able to design the best solutions for them.”
The quality of materials used to manufacture change parts is also important, Smith says, as is the type of material selected, which can vary depending on the type of container in use – glass, aluminium, HDPE, or PET.
Also, the material must be able to withstand the tough conditions found in food and beverage manufacturing.