450 blisters per minute!

18/06/2014
PLC, motion control, drive as one unit: A complete solution for PG Express described by Alexander Hack, Market Development Manager,Kollmorgen, Ratingen (D). Bringing in latest technological innovations, Kollmorgen is participating in strengthening the packaging & metal forming market segment in a big way.
Alexander Hack

Alexander Hack

It is in this pursuit of excellence, Kollmorgen has supplied the complete automation solution to IMA PG for their PG Express machine. IMA-PG India Private Limited is a pioneer in the field of Thermoforming machines in India having introduced its first machine in 1978. It is today well-respected for its ability to innovate and engineer solutions to meet constantly changing demands. It offers a complete range of packaging solutions that includes machines for applications such as cartoning, rotary vacuum forming, rotary sealing, flat sealing and tube-filling besides of end-of-line packaging. Kollmorgen has been associated with IMA PG for the last two years where they have supplied Automation Solution products like Motion Controller, HMI, Servo drives, Servo Motors, I/Os, etc. Through world-class knowledge in motion, industry-leading quality, and deep expertise in linking and integrating standard and custom products, Kollmorgen provides OEMs with the competitive advantage they need to succeed.

AKD PDMM brings high performance PLC and Motion Control into technologically advanced machines.

AKD PDMM brings high performance PLC and Motion Control into technologically advanced machines.

It is in this pursuit of excellence, Kollmorgen has supplied the complete automation solution to IMA PG for their PG Express machine. IMA-PG India Private Limited is a pioneer in the field of Thermoforming machines in India having introduced its first machine in 1978. It is today well-respected for its ability to innovate and engineer solutions to meet constantly changing demands. It offers a complete range of packaging solutions that includes machines for applications such as cartoning, rotary vacuum forming, rotary sealing, flat sealing and tube-filling besides of end-of-line packaging. Kollmorgen has been associated with IMA PG for the last two years where they have supplied Automation Solution products like Motion Controller, HMI, Servo drives, Servo Motors, I/Os, etc. Through world-class knowledge in motion, industry-leading quality, and deep expertise in linking and integrating standard and custom products, Kollmorgen provides OEMs with the competitive advantage they need to succeed.

PG Express – a backgrounder

The machine can now produce upto 450 blisters per minute thus making production much faster. Currently the P G Express machine is installed at a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in India and is running successfully from last eight months...

The machine can now produce upto 450 blisters per minute thus making production much faster. Currently the P G Express machine is installed at a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in India and is running successfully from last eight months…

PG Express machine is a blister packaging machine which is used for forming blisters. Blister is a pack of some tablets (e.g. 10, 4, 5, 1 etc.) made as per design which is used to hold the tablet. This machine is manufactured by IMA PG from the last three to four years but this was the first machine where Kollmorgen supplied the entire automation solution. It is a 3 axis machine used for Indexing, feeding and punching the blister. Major flow of machine operation is formation of blister, dropping of the actual tablet, sealing of the blister and finally cutting of the blister. Kollmorgen has improved the machine speed through excellent system performance. The machine can now produce upto 450 blisters per minute thus making production much faster. However, the OEM started developing obstacles in controlling the temperature which is a critical aspect of this machine because sealing is dependent on the effective temperature control. If the temperature is not controlled properly then the quality of final blister would be bad & it won´t be sellable in market.

Reliability right from the start
When the OEM approached Kollmorgen with this problem, they were quick to respond. An inbuilt function for temperature control was installed which is around 15 times faster than the external controllers. This saves additional PID controller  costs and more importantly it results in better quality and less wastage.

The program is controlled using AKD PDMM controller. This is a drive based motion controller with integrated PLC functionality, which is specially designed for small and compact machines typically used in packaging machines. AKD PDMM brings high performance PLC and Motion Control into technologically advanced machines. The integrated Motion Controller can synchronize up to 8 axes with 250 µs cycle time. It supports various motion control functions from simple point to point positioning to linear and circular interpolation. PDMM can take care of PLC logic, temperature control, motion control, HMI control & drive control for entire packaging machine.

To allow the highest flexibility and freedom of programming, Kollmorgen Automation SuiteTM software has been used where PLC logic, HMI programming, Motion control & drive control are all integrated at one place. It complies with IEC 61131-3 standard for programming languages.

To make the machine user friendly for the OEM, easy software development was done using the Pipe NetworkTM which is one of the key differentiators by Kollmorgen. The software development was done in just 10 days as compared to 45 days by competitors thus saving valuable time and money for the client. With the Pipe NetworkTM it is possible to get rid of mechanical components (e.g. gear, cam) in the machine by defining equivalent motion blocks in the software. This is extremely user friendly, easy to implement & easy to troubleshoot. The user simply needs to draw the scheme & ultimately connect to the machine axes as per requirements. All necessary interconnections are done automatically in the program. The biggest benefit for programmer & end user is the ease of programming & troubleshooting with clear visual understanding of the scheme.

After-Sales Service & Support
At Kollmorgen, the »after sales service and support» to the customer is of prime importance. In this case the first commissioning of the machine was done with the help of global expertise in this kind of application.

Major flow of machine operation is formation of blister, dropping of the actual tablet, sealing of the blister and finally cutting of the blister.

Major flow of machine operation is formation of blister, dropping of the actual tablet, sealing of the blister and finally cutting of the blister.

Senior application development engineers from Germany did the entire conceptualization & programming. It was because of the hard work and dedication of the Kollmorgen team that the actual time for conducting trials & finalizing the performance took just 10 days (against 45 days taken by competitor).

Currently the PG Express machine is installed at a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in India and is running successfully from last eight months. From the beginning, Kollmorgen has kept a dedicated application & sales engineer for IMA PG.

After the successful implementation of this machine, Kollmorgen subsequently got two new prototypes- PG Super & C350 and successfully executed the same. It was a moment of pride when Kollmorgen recently got the serial production orders for PG Express.


Quieter, more efficient, and improved controllability!

02/06/2014
Dr. Petr Osipov, Product Management Motors, Kollmorgen (D) tells how Multivac relies on Kollmorgen for pneumatic to electric transition

An increasing number of companies in the packaging machine industry have chosen electrical servo technology – mainly to replace motion axes previously powered by pneumatic systems. “Servo technology increases controllability and reduces noise emission. These systems also help us to increase the number of production cycles”, Guido Spix, CTO Multivac, recently emphasized during a packaging show. The packaging machine company uses motion control solutions from Kollmorgen to reduce energy consumption, increase the overall machine effectiveness and improve safety of packaging processes.

Author: Dr. Petr Osipov, Product Manager Motors, Killmorgen.

Author: Dr. Petr Osipov, Product Manager Motors, Killmorgen.

Optimised motorgear box combination.

Optimised motorgear box combination.

From meat stock to finished packaging…and all processed electrically. Compared to traditional, mostly pneumatic-driven lifting units, the new lines of R2XX to R5XX machines utilise a motor-gearbox combination to deep draw and seal the foils.

From meat stock to finished packaging…and all processed electrically. Compared to traditional, mostly pneumatic-driven lifting units, the new lines of R2XX to R5XX machines utilise a motor-gearbox combination to deep draw & seal the foils.

A motor-gearbox combination achieves a bonding pressure of 20 tons in the high performance R535 packaging machine. Being a strategic motion control partner for Multivac, Kollmorgen implemented a compact unit of their AKM servo motor series and a cycloidal gear drive for the lifting axis. The high power density of this unit allows for compact dimensions.

A motor-gearbox combination achieves a bonding pressure of 20 tons in the high performance R535 packaging machine. Being a strategic motion control partner for Multivac, Kollmorgen implemented a compact unit of their AKM servo motor series and a cycloidal gear drive for the lifting axis. The high power density of this unit allows for compact dimensions.

Kollmorgen was able to cover most of the transportation and rotary applications in meat processing and subsequent packaging processes with two standardized solutions: The AKM servo motors with washdown and food grade option – available also with the innovative single-cable technology.

Kollmorgen was able to cover most of the transportation & rotary applications in meat processing and subsequent packaging processes with two standardized solutions: The AKM servo motors with washdown and food grade option – available also with the innovative single-cable technology.

The AKMH™ stainless steel motors (http://www.kollmorgen.com/en-gb/products/motors/servo/akmh-series/akmh-stainless-steel-series/) provide a scalable solutions portfolio for motion applications in the packaging, food processing & pharmaceutical industries.

The AKMH™ stainless steel motors provide a scalable solutions portfolio for motion applications in the packaging, food processing & pharmaceutical industries.

Secure packaging:
Besides machine and operator safety, for Multivac, this also includes safe packaging processes. The excellent traceability and controllability of Kollmorgen’s servo technology for example, helped Multivac to design a more efficient sealing process for deep drawn packages with the additional benefit of improved food safety. This solution is currently used on the high performance deep draw machines, designed for mid-size to large loads.

Compared to traditional mostly pneumatic-driven lifting units, the new lines of R2XX to R5XX machines utilize a motor-gearbox combination to deep draw and seal the foil. These units utilise a knee lever mechanism to lift the molding tools – some weighing several hundred kilograms. They withstand the high bonding pressure of up to 20 tons, ensuring the two foils seal securely. Being a strategic motion control partner for Multivac, Kollmorgen implemented a compact unit consisting of an AKM® servo motor  and a cycloidal gear drive for the lifting axis. Kollmorgen calculated and selected the optimal motor size and gear drive type in close cooperation with Multivac’s engineering development teams.

Two important aspects for the drive train selection were the overall unit length and overload capacity. The model HKS03 six-point lift unit features a servo gear motor with brake having a total length of 307mm and an acceleration torque of 1400 Nm. These results are possible thanks to the high power density of the AKM servo motors, the ideal overall length of the cycloidal gear drive and the fact that the unit comes without end bells and clutches. Piston rods convert the rotary to linear lifting motion. This solution has three significant advantages. Firstly, the energy efficiency of the machine increases because the pneumatic system was replaced as the power source to create the required pressure for the deep draw and sealing operation. Secondly, the geometry of the piston rods creates an extreme closing force at the end of travel which improves food safety. Finally, the high sealing force results in a more secure and thus reliable sealing process.

“Perfectly Clean” inside and out
The two-component epoxy coat used for the hygienic design conforms with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 and is resistant against acids, bases and established cleaning agents with a pH range of 2 to 12. In a long term test performed by the company EcoLab, this coat withstood exposure to an equivalent of more than 2000 washdown cycles including disinfecting treatments. Kollmorgen’s washdown gear motor comes standard with a white coating, significantly improving the machine operators’ ability to detect dirt and biofilms on the surface during cleaning operations.

A stainless steel-like coating is offered as an option. The surface of both coats is water repellent (hydrophobic) and aqueous liquids will run off more easily, which leads to decreased formation of residue on the surface. Hence, Kollmorgen’s standard of a “perfectly clean” gear motor can seamlessly be incorporated in the MULTIVAC Hygienic Design™ concept that is rigorously applied to all deep draw packaging machines.

From Co-Engineering to Production
Multivac has a global distribution network with about 60 subsidiaries and offers a variety of different machine models with different features. Managing this variety with extensive standardization requires strategic partners that are able to cover a large range of machine applications with their technologies. The Kollmorgen washdown gear motor solution is a perfect example for how a project based custom-designed and custom-built product becomes a standardized, ready-to-install module. The concept of the current motion and automation technology used on the deep draw machine follows the requirements of the new Multivac solution: more flexibility by being able to combine several axes interchangeably and at the same time, smaller control units, plus an increase in dynamic performance for better productivity. In summary, thanks to Multivac’s and Kollmorgen’s close cooperation in this project, the entire pneumatic system was replaced by a highly efficient electrical solution. After the first successful practice runs, Multivac determined a reduction in energy consumption for the R 095 e-concept of at least 20 percent compared to similar models.


European packaging machinery market

29/05/2013
Industries’ focus on process control and efficiency boosts European packaging machinery market

The high standard of living in Europe has popularised packaged goods, including packaged food, beverages, toiletries and cosmetics, thereby spurring demand for packaging machinery in the region. The need for packaging solutions for products of different shapes and sizes, along with manufacturer focus on automation to enhance process efficiency across industries, will sustain investments in the market.

packgingNew analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s, Analysis of the European Packaging Machinery Market, finds that the market earned revenues of more than €9.73 billion ($12.62 billion) in 2012 and estimates this to reach €11.28 billion ($14.63 billion) in 2016. The research covers filling, closing, and filling and closing (FCFC) machinery, form-fill-seal (FFS) machinery, wrapping machinery, group packaging machinery, and palletising machinery. End-user segments include chemicals and petrochemicals, food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, confectionery and tobacco, and toiletries and cosmetics.

Demographic changes such as an aging population and the increasing number of small households in Europe drive the need for single-portion packaging, leading end-user sectors to turn to specialised packaging lines and machinery.

“Intense competition and the economic downturn have forced industries across Europe to optimise their production processes and decrease operational costs,” said their Industrial Automation and Process Control Research Manager Sivakumar Narayanaswamy. “Automation packaging machinery that eliminates labour, generates less waste, and enhances productivity is, therefore, becoming widely accepted.”

Sale volumes have gone up further with the advent of multi-functional packaging equipment that reduce costs and provide better space management. Integrated systems also have greater operational flexibility and can adjust to new production specifications.

However, mature markets such as Germany, France and Italy are already well-equipped, and, likely to generate limited orders for these advanced packaging machines. High taxation and labour costs in these countries also dissuade foreign investors and limit green field projects, curbing new equipment uptake.

In southern Europe, the downturn has affected process and discrete industries. End users are looking to trim operating and maintenance costs, and are unwilling to invest in non-crucial automation processes.

“Machine suppliers need to concentrate on regions that have not been affected by the economic downturn,” concluded Narayanaswamy. “The markets in Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Britain will offer the highest scope for adoption due to their stable economy and end-user growth.”


Putting feeling into drugs safety and handling

08/06/2011

Most applications we cover on the Read-out Signpost have to do with the actual production of product, say in a pharmaceutical process. However the products eventually end up in the hands of health professionals or patients and the correct handling of these in this area can be as important as in the earlier period of production. This application is one designed to help at this user interface.

When product integrity is paramount, packaging has a key role to play. It has to be secure enough for protection in all likely scenarios, but has to be easy to open in possibly high tension situations.

When using diagnostic fluids on ill or nervous patients, hospital staff are likely to be feeling the stress and will not take kindly to bottle tops that proves difficult to open. However they will want them to feel secure enough that they can be confident of the fluid’s sterility.

To this end specialist capping machines have been developed by Cap Coder, which not only tighten bottle caps within precisely defined tolerance but also log every detail of every bottle that is capped by one of their machines. And they have done it with a minimum of fuss, using an off-the-shelf technology and associated software.

“Our machines are essentially simple,” says Roger Brown of Cap Coder. “Filled bottles are presented to a torque head, which quickly screws on a cap. But the devil is in the details.

“A batch size is typically 10,000 bottles, which we have to cap at say one per second. Every cap has to be done up to the same torque, and we have to provide proof of this performance. Sterility has to be ensured – the machine may even be working in a high vacuum to ensure that no bacteria or other contaminants are present.

“Put all of this together and you end up with a need for a highly engineered machine.”

As the need for traceability emerged, Cap Coder realised that it would have to develop a standard solution, which while not quite identical for every machine, would be based on the same technology deployed in the same way. And because exports are the lifeblood of such an OEM, flexibility to meet different counties’ standards had to be designed in from the outset.

Even the largest bottle tops are not that big, so handling them at the speeds required can appear impossibly fiddly.

“Our philosophy is to have a simply machine design that avoids extraneous parts,” says Roger. “This lead us to the idea that we’d like the torque sensor to be wireless.”

Looking at torque sensors available on the market, one, TorqSense from Sensor Technology, stood out as meeting all criteria: simplicity, robustness, high speed and wireless. The company was contacted and design meetings set up.

Mark Ingham of Sensor Technology takes up the story: “Basically we could use TorqSense ‘as is’ for this application; we just needed to work out mounting arrangements. Similarly, the associated software was ready to go after a bit of calibration and some front end graphics.”

The sensors that attracted the attention of Cap Coder depend for their operation on surface acoustic wave (SAW) transducers. These transducers comprise two thin metal electrodes, in the form of interlocking “fingers”, on a piezoelectric substrate such as quartz. When an RF signal of the correct frequency is applied to the transducer, surface acoustic waves are set up, and the transducer behaves as a resonant circuit.

The key feature, however, is that if the substrate is deformed, the resonant frequency changes. When the transducer is attached to a motor drive shaft, the deformation of the substrate and hence the change in resonant frequency is related to the torque applied to the shaft. In other words, the transducer, in effect, becomes a frequency-dependent strain gauge.

Since the transducers operate at radio frequencies, it is easy to couple signals to them wirelessly. Hence, TorqSense sensors that incorporate the SAW transducer technology can be used on rotating shafts, and can provide data continuously without the need for the inherently unreliable brushes and slip rings that are often found in traditional torque measurement systems.

With the Cap Coder project, software was required to do two things: run the torque up to 10kgcm within tolerances of 10 percent, and record the actual value achieved. This secures the cap to the bottle at a level of tightness that will ensure security and sterility, yet is at a level that can be opened relatively easily by an adult. The logged values are saved to a hard drive to provide a permanent record for traceability purposes.

Roger explains: “Diagnostic fluids are distributed widely, typically to every hospital in the country, where they may be stored for months before use. Tracing each bottle’s origin would be practically impossible without full records being automatically produced and saved to a central location.

“We found a solution to this complex but critical problem using an out of the box technology. And what amazes me is the diversity of other fields in which TorqSense is used – its really any machine with a rotating shaft.”


UKIVA joins PPMA

21/08/2009

Vision organisation amalgamated

On the 3rd August 2009, directors of the Processing and Packaging Machinery Industry (PPMA) and UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA) directors signed a Memorandum of Understanding about the amalgamation of UKIVA into the PPMA as a special sub-group. This follows a similar amalgamation of the British Automation & Robotics Association (BARA) earlier this year. PPMA CEO Chris Buxton said of the proposed amalgamation; “… it was combining and consolidating the strengths of all three parties.” The decision to pursue this amalgamation was agreed unanimously by UKIVA members at their AGM in March, and it is anticipated that it will be ratified at an EGM on 15th September.

About the PPMA
Founded in 1987, the PPMA is the national trade association for suppliers of processing and packaging machinery to the UK market and now represents over 350 member companies. Recently co-joined with the British Automation & Robotics Association, (BARA), its principle objective is to promote sales of machinery and robotics, both at home and abroad, through various projects and services of mutual benefit to both members and their customers. In addition, the PPMA plays a pivotal role in helping to progress the overall standing and importance of processing and packaging machinery and automation & robotics technology within the many industries served by its members.

UKIVA Chairman, Mark Williamson, said of the alliance; “This is a real opportunity to strengthen both UKIVA and PPMA. The combination is much more than the sum of the parts. Vision technology is taking a more important role in many applications served by PPMA and BARA members. Combined, UKIVA, BARA and PPMA members now have a wider network of resources (people, financial and knowledge), background and profile to be able to make a real difference to UK industry”.

“The initiative will be of great benefit to both parties”, explained Chris Buxton. “With ever increasing pressure to respond to the global market and the inexorable growth of the low overhead economies, the need for UK machinery suppliers to innovate and differentiate themselves from what is now world-wide competition has evolved from being a preferred option to one that has become essential”.

The presence of UKIVA as an integral part of the PPMA, though retaining its own identity, represents a positive move by the two associations to recognise current market trends and it will augment the PPMA membership to provide a community of like minded members better equipped to address the challenges that face them whether they be, technological, political or environmental. Members from both associations will have opportunities to engage with their new colleagues and take advantage of the new events that this initiative brings; many existing members of PPMA are users or prospective users of vision systems, and the association between robots and machine vision goes back to the late 1960s.

Any new or existing PPMA member may become a part of the UKIVA-led vision and imaging subgroup free of charge. They will have their own council of representatives and there will be a new PPMA: UKIVA board director with a portfolio for vision and imaging. The current economic climate is slowly making the government realise that SMEs are the backbone of the economy. The union between PPMA and UKIVA can only strengthen this voice and position in this constant battle to improve the lot of UK industry.

In one sense this amalgamation is going full circle because the UKIVA was administered by PPMA from its formation in 1992 to the end of 1994, though as a totally separate entity, and indeed the UKIVA Memorandum and Articles of Association were based, with full agreement, on those of the PPMA. From 1995 to the present the UKIVA has been administered by one of its founding members, Don Braggins, who will continue to provide technical advice as an accredited consultant to PPMA.

Another significant benefit of this initiative is the incorporation of the UKIVA Academic members, who are leading University Departments or other not-for-profit organisations, within their sector and who have a particular interest in the industry. PPMA will continue to accommodate these Academic members.

“Whether they are simply interested in exploring the world of automation for the first time or are well established users of this technology, existing PPMA and UKIVA members will find a warm welcome from their new colleagues. This is both a market and member driven initiative which will do much to further the interests of the industry and will significantly enhance the benefits of PPMA membership”, concluded Buxton.