- Contract Packaging
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Article | August 8, 2010
Control system brings flexibility and throughput
Pneumatic Scale Angelus—a division of Barry Wehmiller and the world’s leading manufacturer of can-seaming machinery—knows how important product quality and productivity are for the customers that use its machines.
The engineers behind those machines are also aware that their customers are continuing to look at innovative product packaging designs as an opportunity for competitive differentiation. Accommodating this growing trend meant that Pneumatic Scale Angelus needed to design a machine that could easily adjust to changing product needs while offering greater throughput, accuracy, and reliability.
“We wanted to provide additional flexibility so customers could use the same machine on a wider range of can shapes and sizes,” says Ed Varatip, manager of electrical engineering at Angelus. A control system from Rockwell Automation helped this machine builder deliver the kind of machine its customers were seeking.
In its newest can seamer, the Model 12M, Pneumatic Scale Angelus implemented the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable automation controller (PAC) along with Allen-Bradley PowerFlex drives. Based on the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system, the ControlLogix PAC shares a common control engine, networking technology, and communication services to improve functionality, scalability, and flexibility while helping to reduce costs.
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ControlLogix programming software uses real names with structured, tag-based memory rather than physical addresses. By doing so, critical information is logged and displayed in an easy-to-understand format, simplifying troubleshooting to the point of identifying exactly where a problem exists and how it needs to be fixed. As part of the new design, customers can choose an electronic servo control option using Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6000 servo drives, which provide the machine with seamless, high-speed, coordinated motion control and improved system synchronization. The flexible servo drives allow operators to quickly and easily adjust the speed, position, and timing parameters, resulting in a more controlled motion profile and improved machine throughput. With the servo-control capability, Pneumatic Scale Angelus machines can quickly and easily be shut down and brought back online, even after being disconnected. Once the machine is reconnected, it is automatically repositioned right where it left off, eliminating the need for manual positioning while reducing operator errors.
To simplify design and setup, Pneumatic Scale Angelus employed DeviceNet along with Allen-Bradley Point/IO modules and Allen-Bradley ArmorBlock I/O modules to connect and mount various components closer to the machine. This reduces the wiring and overall complexity of the system, enabling Pneumatic Scale Angelus to provide easy service access to this I/O within a stainless-steel safety enclosure.
Using Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus interface terminals running Rockwell Software FactoryTalk View HMI software, Pneumatic Scale Angelus can significantly improve ease of use by enabling operators to monitor machine and motion control functions. This provides operators with expanded monitoring capabilities, including trending, data logging, and animation.
“Our goal was to design a system that seamed 1,800 cans per minute,” concludes Varatip. “With Rockwell’s integrated architecture, we can exceed 2,000 cans per minute on this 12-station machine.”
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