What are Bottle Unscramblers and How they work with Packaging Machines?


Before talking about the operation of a PET bottle unscrambler, we must say that rotary unscramblers, more popular in Europe than linear unscramblers that are more accepted in Anglo-Saxon markets, can be classified between those that use systems with “random” or random bottle classification or those that use bottle pre-positioning systems.

Bottles Unscrambler

At Traktech we are specialists in rotary Unscramblers for bottles with random or “random” system that in turn can work with or without “pucks”.

When choosing an unscrambler for a production line it is important to know the four phases involved in the positioning of a PET bottle, to choose the best positioning option.

Our Rotrak Unscramblers can handle a wide range of plastic containers with cylindrical, oval and rectangular shapes. Based on the geometry we design machines for processes from medium to high production reaching 20,000 BPH, always depending on the capacity of the filler of the line.

Phases of operation of the PET bottle rotary Unscrambler

Loading bottles to the Unscrambler

The bottles enter inside by a bulk elevator/conveyor. It is important to determine the volume of the hopper for the autonomy of the machine.

Tangential pre-positioning of the bottles on the upper disc.

The badly pre-positioned bottles are expelled to the disc again by the air of the machine’s own turbine.

In most cases compressed air is not used with the consequent energy savings on the part of the user.

Bottle housed in the selector

Accommodation of the bottles in the selector according to their geometric shape that forces the bottle to fall standing up through a specifically designed funnel.

Changing the packaging format

The format change can be done in two ways: manual or automatic.

The manual consists of adding the new funnels to the base funnel. This operation does not require tools.
The automatic format change, in the AAF Packaging Unscrambler model, the different formats are predetermined in the machine.

The Unscrambler with automatic format change has solved the problems of line stoppage due to format change, or the reduction of space due to being a very compact machine (1 meter in diameter for productions of 60-80 BPM), and also space saving by not requiring storage of funnels for different formats to manufacturers who use different containers.



The outlet of the containers to the filler

With this rotary unscramble table for bottles, the containers can go out to the filler with or without pucks.

The exit of the bottles from an unscrambler without pucks is by means of a conveyor belt with vacuum to ensure the stability of the bottle.

For the output with pucks for small and unstable plastic containers, he works with the model known as “loose pucks” that does not require a robotics system (label pucks) for the manipulation of the container in the puck.

When the positioning system of the machine is random, the pucks filling efficiency is approximately 75-80%, so a return system of the empty pucks is designed, recirculating by means of an intermediate conveyor in the form of a “U” and a gate system with brakes.

For asymmetrical bottles, a linear oriented is installed, our OL-180 model, with a vision camera detects the incorrect position of the bottle and corrects the position of it by means of a system of shovels or belts according to speed.

bucket unscrambler for bottles

What is the Role of Unscramble Table for Packaging Machines?

Unscramble tables for bottles, vials, jars, and cans are of irreplaceable role for packaging machines. Especially when it comes to cartoning machines.

Let’s say, the unscramble table can be a connecting device between a bottle-filling machine and then the cartoning machine. Uncrambler can organize the flow of bottles toward downstream so that the packaging machines there can receive them at a timed manner. To put it in a word, unscramblers are essential to cartoner machines for bottles.

Uhlmann – the World’s Leader in Bottle Cartoning Machine

Uhlmann is a leading global systems supplier for the packaging of pharmaceutical products. The portfolio comprises a wide range of blister machines, cartoners, end-of-line packaging machines, as well as packaging lines for tablets in bottles

uhlmann bottle cartoning machine

The C2205 cartoning machine belongs to the continuous cartoning machines for the cartoning of small and medium batches.
Convincing attributes include the GMP cantilevered and pharmaceutically compatible design with V2A stainless steel coating of the internal surfaces, the modular structure for subsequent upgrading of separate stations, as well as the constant separation of the drive elements and operating assemblies.
Thanks to the patented TwinStar and TriStar cardboard feeders, the cartoner offers consistent quality and productivity, not only under ideal production conditions, but also when processing critical quality boxes.
The C 2205 cartoner is designed for a maximum production of 250 boxes/minute with an option of up to 300 boxes/minute.

Find more information here: https://www.parenteral-packaging.com/cartoner-lines/cartoners-for-bottles-vials-and-ampoules/


Bottle Unscrambling Machines: robotic or mechanical

The origin of its range of robotic bottle scrambling lies in responding to the growing need of certain industrial sectors for greater flexibility, versatility and functionality, added to how the industry has changed year after year.

  • Flexibility: customers increasingly need to introduce packaging formats more frequently to their production lines. In addition, they want to do it as quickly as possible and with the lowest possible costs. For example, multinational cosmetics companies often release new products frequently in new packaging formats, in these cases robotic bottle unscramblers are better suited to such requirements.
  • Versatility: an Unscramble table with the ability to work any type of geometry or container (bottles, jars, vials, tubes), any material (plastic, glass, aluminum) any size, any weight and, even, that allows positioning objects (lids, cutlery). So the possibilities of automation are practically endless, and most importantly: in any case immensely greater than those offered by mechanical packaging feeders.
  • Functionality: many times the process of orienting containers requires complementary functions such as introduction into the right orientation of asymmetric containers, cleaning, laser marking, and traceability that mechanical unscramblers are not prepared to easily integrate. In addition, the robotic unscrambler table for bottles do not require more space in the packaging room by including these functions because no modules with such specific functions need to be added.
  • Time of change of format: the manufacturing batches are getting smaller every day and the conditioning line changes packaging more often, even several times a day. For these reasons, the need for format change times to be minimal or even non-existent increases, since they mean periods in which production stops. This scenario is enhanced by the increase in ecommerce business volume, which demands small production batches for its agile distribution.

unscramble table for bottle packaging

The mastery of robotics and the most advanced artificial vision systems allows them to develop a unique system with the added value of the house brand. The highest robotic and intelligent processing technology is used to devise a solution that maximizes the capabilities of its different sets. This increases the efficiency, which is the best on the market and with the smallest machine size. In addition, it solves the inefficiencies of older, less developed robotic systems. With all this, Packfeeder once again provides differentiated and specifically developed solutions for the packaging sector, with a high added value and through a commitment to the real needs and limitations of the sector.


So, what does the robotic unscrambler consist of?

The main reason for its existence is flexibility, since it seeks to work on very diverse product ranges and from high to low speeds. Packfeeder’s unique system is based on three main elements that allow it to be a benchmark in the sector:

  • Advanced artificial vision that identifies the position of the container and gives the coordinates to the robot to pick up the container.
  • High-speed robots that, depending on the information they receive from the vision system, pick up the containers with a high-speed vacuum suction cup system.
  • Intelligent transfer carousel that picks up the containers from the robot and transfers them to the output belt in a vertical position and in a stable way.

The excellent combination of these three elements allows maximum performance with the minimum space occupied in the packaging line. This is a critical aspect for many sectors and manufacturers of cosmetic, pharmaceutical or home care products when developing or renewing their conditioning lines.


For what needs is the mechanical Unscramble Table still better?

In monoformat lines or with very few formats, in which only a few different geometries are packaged. In packaging lines with large production batches that have the same packaging format for several days or weeks. In line with no forecast of working new packaging either in the short or medium term.

For example, because the type of product does not require it since marketing related to packaging has little weight. When the types of geometries of the containers that the line works with are linked to the classic concept of a bottle. In lines where the material of the bottles to be worked is usually plastic and at most cardboard or aluminum.

When many additional functions such as laser marking, aspiration, traceability, etc. do not need to be integrated. In packaging lines that do not have qualified personnel to work with 4.0 technologies.


What other benefits does the robotic Unscrambler provide?

It is a technological bet for the future at the level of automation, since it is the global trend of productive processes due to the great long-term advantages it brings.

The great ability to adapt will allow solving the needs of today and also those of the future without having to change the equipment.

The client’s own technological positioning. For copackers or third-party manufacturers, it provides great productive flexibility and an image that end customers value.

At the cost level, far from being a stagnant technology, it looks like they are going down year after year. The prices of high-tech materials have a bearish trend both in the short, medium and long term.

It adapts to a multitude of different formats including tubes, jars and other geometries. It allows working with glass containers as well as plastic, cardboard or aluminum in the same line.

From Packfeeder and together with the major players in the industry, we are fully convinced that the path to robotization is already a proven reality that will mark not only the long-term future of the sector but also the current present in permanent change and adaptation process. In this sense, our commitment is the result of our knowledge of the market, which is filled with meaning with all the robotic Unscramblers projects carried out together with those that are ongoing and those that have to start.

The future and the present of bottle positioning is robotic, and from Pack feeder we are committed to this path. We will be glad to be able to help the sector with our solutions and developments.