Centrifugal sorting machines for medical final packaging

When designing customer-specific machine solutions, we are often faced with special challenges that require a combination of technical and industry-specific expertise, innovation and experience as well as absolute precision. This was also the case with the success story of a centrifugal sorting machine for the medical technology sector for final packaging. The customer needed a solution to convey different needle sizes together with other products into a carton pack. We were therefore faced with the task of designing a solution that could be easily retooled and was also capable of sorting sensitive products at high speed and with high precision and making the products available in the correct position. All of E+K's expertise came to bear in this project. With our extensive experience and in-depth technical knowledge, we took on the challenge and developed a machine that could handle the customer's complex requirements with flying colors.

The Machine

  • Dosing elevator with 60L capacity and ergonomic filling height for an autonomy of up to 60 minutes
  • Double centrifugal sorting unit with object detection
  • Total output: 300 objects per minute
  • Intelligent distribution of products from two to 8 lanes
  • Objects are provided horizontally and individually for the customer's packaging machine for final packaging
  • Ready and expandable for two product formats with just one format section

The Task:

Our customer needed a solution that would provide eight needles in each machine cycle at a speed of 300 needles per minute, side by side, separated and isolated for the packaging process. This is necessary so that robots and tools can handle and process the needles efficiently in the subsequent process. The customer's machine uses a toploading process in which the products are picked by a tool and conveyed into the packaging. It is crucial for system uptime that the next eight needles are provided during this packaging process. Another requirement for the sorting and feeding unit was that it must be able to process objects of different formats with as few changeover format parts as possible.


The Challenge:

The challenges were the high performance requirements and the horizontal provision of the needles on multiple lanes, as centrifugal sorting machines are technologically limited to single-lane provision at the exit of the centrifuge. The most difficult task, however, was to simultaneously provide eight objects next to each other and separated. These requirements demanded a technically sophisticated and extremely versatile overall concept. The design also had to ensure that the machine unit could be quickly and easily converted for other object formats.


The Solution:

To overcome these challenges, we developed various concepts, including the consideration of a sorting bowl or a centrifuge. Due to the high performance requirements, the centrifuge was eventually chosen as the best solution. We solved the requirement to provide eight objects next to each other, separated and free-standing, with the help of a versatile concept with fast-switching diverters. This not only provided the required speed, but also minimized the number of format parts required to ensure quick and easy format changeovers.

The Result

Our final solution features a dosing elevator with a capacity of 60 liters and an ergonomic filling height. This elevator distributes the needles to two centrifuges. The two centrifugal sorting machines are equipped with object recognition and each has an output of 150 needles per minute, which means that the target total output of 300 needles per minute is achieved. The needles are distributed to eight lanes via six diverters and delivered horizontally for final packaging on a customer machine. The sorted needles are transported in a linear manner via vibration. The process is synchronized to ensure smooth further processing: while the gripper feeds the needles to the packaging, the feed unit is already preparing the next 8 objects. All this enables our customer to process and pack its products efficiently and precisely. This success story is the result of a well thought-out concept, innovative technologies and close cooperation with our customer.

More About This Project

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