Parker Hannifin Corporation, the globally known in motion and control technologies, and material handling equipment builder Flexibility Engineering have collaborated to create a new model of the Patented Anysize™ pneumatic-based positioning system. The initial Anysize technology has had a five year record of success and is now found on almost every pneumatic PET conveyor line. The technology frees users such as food and beverage plants from having to make time-consuming manual adjustments when changing over a packaging line to accommodate different bottle, package or case sizes. The newest addition to the line, the Compact Anysize™, is designed specifically to fit into tighter spaces for conventional mechanical conveyors.
Anysize is unique because users need only input a desired guide rail width, and the technology automatically makes a thousand or more positioner adjustments, to tolerances of a few millimeters from each other, down the entire length of the line. In the past, such dedicated lines handled just one or two products with either fixed guide rails or two-position pneumatic cylinders attached at three to four foot intervals along the conveyor for changing the guide rail width to a second size. When the number of available bottle sizes increased, bottlers continued adding more cylinders until they ran out of space to add anymore. This arrangement made it costly, difficult and time-consuming to add new products and was typically limited to four sizes. In developing a more versatile system, Flexibility Engineering first considered building an electronic “infinite positioning” technology. Infinite positioning systems can accommodate any bottle, package or case size within a certain size range. But, at $300 per position, systems that used traditional electronic linear actuators and stepper motors were prohibitively expensive for packaging or conveying lines that required multiple positions.
Anysize provides a simpler and more cost-effective approach because the technology is based purely on the pressure of the plant’s compressed air system. The air pressure acts on a positioner to apply force (up to about 10 lbs.) on a heavy spring, which moves an exact distance for a given force. Anysize also includes a control component called the Regulated Air Distribution (RAD) box that regulates air pressure. The RAD box includes filters to ensure clean dry air along with pneumatic components to smooth fluctuations in the plant air. Additionally, because Anysize has but one moving part per positioner, the system is reliable and robust.