We were contracted to develop a new method of counting candy. The previous system used a weigh scale to randomly mix candy by weight. The marketing people wanted to have an exact count of candy using 6 different flavors in a 40 count container. We built different prototype machines to test different concepts.
One used vacuum cups with switches to pick them up and see how many were present. Because of the shape of the wrapper it was not able to pick up enough candy.
We tried vibratory feeders but were unable to singulate them fast enough for production. We built “speed up” conveyors to separate and count them but they were traveling too fast at the end and we were concerned with product damage.
One of our engineers brought in an old treadmill and we elevated it (with wooden supports), added some pins to the tread belt and used cardboard guides to test the concept. It worked. We then built a prototype machine and tested it extensively. The specification was 1000 counted +1, -0. It passed and we built 5 more machines.
Each has four hoppers with an individual weigh scale. It tares on startup and at specified intervals. Each of the 6 machines drop their load of candy into a special indexing conveyor we built. When it reaches the end, the 40 pieces of candy drop into the container.
Previously we built a complete fill line for a candy manufacturer in Scranton, PA. It singulates buckets, fills them, tamps the product, lids the bucket and labels it. Their productivity was increased by 72% with a 12% reduction in manpower. One picture of that line is included.