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Packaging Machinery Case Studies

See how Control Techniques solutions enhance throughput, precision control and finish quality

50% Increase in Throughput to Unidrive AC Drives

The upgrade of a ketchup bottle labelling machine, at one of Europe's leading manufacturers of machinery for filling, capping and labelling of bottles, has increased its throughput by 50%, significantly increased its accuracy and eliminated product wastage thanks to servo drives supplied by Control Techniques.

The company was experiencing some problems with a machine specifically designed for the labeling of ketchup bottles, with photocell failures because of intensive wash-down procedures and misalignment of labels because of line speed variations. The machine was producing some 100 labels per minute.

The machine applied three labels onto bottles of ketchup -front and rear plus another on the bottle-neck. There is an input conveyor and a movement 'star' on which the labels are applied in turn by three servo-controlled labeling heads.

The solution comprises three sets of Control Techniques 1 HP (0.75kW) Unidrive AC drives in servo mode, twinned with Unimotors to control the three heads of the rotating head labeling machine. Each drive is fitted with an additional Universal Encoder module to monitor the absolute encoder feedback of line speed, as well as a programmable Applications module to provide powerful on-board machine controller.

The drives communicate using Control Techniques' high speed drive-to-drive network and are precisely synchronized together as well as being locked to line speed. The weakness of the photocells is eliminated, since the output speed of the labels is monitored in relation to line speed and a 20-position label buffer has been incorporated for label call-off.

Now, with Control Techniques servo solution, the machine is totally flexible and can cope with all types of labels needed through a simple configuration of the touchscreen HMI. It is no longer necessary to make any mechanical adjustments on the machine since all of the trim controls, to a fraction of a millimeter, are made on the operator screen. The machines can be supplied separately or as an integrated line and can achieve a high throughput of up to 3,600 bottles per hour. And the machinery can be customized to liquids as varied as soup, wine, olive oil, liquor and shampoo as well as many others with the machine versatility meeting the needs of a variety of industries including food and beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical

 

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A Fresh Approach to Packaging

An award-winning machine for the delicate, yet high-speed, automatic packaging of fresh fruit owes its precision to intelligent drives from Control Techniques.

Control Techniques’ motor controls are behind the groundbreaking new feature in this highly complex automated packaging machine. This delicate packaging process, which, traditionally, has always been carried out manually, is now completely automated and under the control of Control Techniques’ precision drives.

Each installation, features Control Techniques' technology to control a number of pick-and-place axes and other movements throughout the machine, is custom designed to meet specific customer requirements. Care is given to make it easy-to-use for operators who will be able to carry out adjustments and/or maintenance with simple keypad operation via an HMI.

Digitax servo drives control the various pick & place and shifter axes, while 1-1.5 HP (0.75-1.1 kW) Commander AC drives coordinate all steps to prepare and package fragile, easily bruised products that must be handled with the utmost care.

 

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Servo Drives Key to Vertical Packaging Revolution

Leading packaging company is using the speed and accuracy of Control Techniques' state-of-the art Digitax servo drive, at the heart of each of its key ranges of vertical form, fill and seal packaging machines.

The Control Techniques Digitax servo drive that runs the crimper motor settings and film feed so that the appropriate amount of film is fed for each batch. The accuracy of this operation is so precise and repeatable, that it can be replicated meticulously over time, ensuring that bags seams are perfect each time, every time. The stainless steel machines, designed primarily for the food industry, have an output rate in excess of 150 packages per minute.

Control Techniques’ drives also feature on the automatic dosing and filling system for foodstuffs, suitable for use in-line alongside any type of flowpack machine such as thermo-forming and heat sealing machines. The drive of choice in this instance is the Commander variable AC speed drive, in vector mode, giving outstanding flexibility and fast fill rates. The system is customized to ensure perfect alignment with the containers used, and is fitted with a pneumatic clean-edge system to keep the edges, that are usually heat-sealed, perfectly clean.

 

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Servo Control Improves Flexibility of Shrink Wrapping Machine

Leading manufacturer of packaging machinery has incorporated high accuracy servo-drives from Control Techniques for its latest shrink wrapper.

Control Techniques worked closely with this manufacturer to produce a machine that can quickly and easily be set-up for different bundle/pack sizes and different configurations and even different products. For example, it can be changed in seconds from a format for wrapping 6 x 50 once (1.5 liter) bottles of mineral water to 24 x 17 once (0.5 liter) packs – at a throughput of up to 40 packs per minute. The machine can also be supplied with a carton pad dispenser or with a tray-maker.

Bottles or other containers are fed into the machine by conveyor and marshalled by a pneumatic separator into blocks of the specified number. At this point, a chain driven by a brushless motor conveys the bundle into the wrapping area. The heat-shrinkable plastic film is unwound under controlled tension from a roll; the film is cut from underneath into pre-determined lengths using a rotary cutter mechanism driven by brushless motor. The cut edge is drawn forward and held precisely in place by toothed suction belts – a bar lifts the leading edge of the film up, over and behind the advancing bundle of products – and it moves into the shrink tunnel, where it shrinks into a secure package, and on to the after-cooler. This wrapping action is also controlled by brushless motor.

Each of these actions requires high precision, highly repeatable movements. The advancing bundle of products must synchronize with the cutting stroke and the cut film must meet the advancing bundle at exactly the right moment.

For the control of the three brushless motors in the shrink wrapper, our customer’s engineers selected Digitax servo drives, which not only provide precision control, but also allow fast and straightforward re-configuring of each of the brushless motors, to accommodate different configurations of product. Each drive incorporates an Application module that provides PLC functionality at drive level. For instance, the CAM-profiles required for different products are all stored in the wrapper drive and changing product configuration is as simple as selecting a different recipe on board the drive. All of the characteristics of each drive – distances, axes, motion control and CAM-profiles are stored on board, reducing the overall level of PLC control and giving the end user maximum versatility of control. This also gives the machine designer flexibility in choosing the communication bus to suit the needs of the client as the drives operate down-stream of the bus.

 

Case Study

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