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Article | December 3, 2008
Small footprint, maximum functionality
IndraDrive Mi helps reduce footprint and add flexibility for a four-axis, top-load robotic case packer handling 120 packs/min.
Goodman Packaging Equipment (www.goodmanpkg.com) offers a complete line of packaging machinery ranging from case packers to robots to palletizers. Its machines pack a wide variety of cartons, tubs, and flexible packages.
A new addition is the Mini-Universal Case Packer, a smaller, more flexible version of Goodman’s Universal pick-and-place robot. To meet its design goals for a smaller footprint with increased flexibility and more advanced integration capabilities, Goodman specified the IndraDrive Mi integrated servo motor/drive platform from Bosch Rexroth (www.boschrexroth-us.com).
The four-axis Mini-Universal Case Packer is a top-load machine that offers modularity, quick changeover, and unlimited pack pattern capabilities. It was custom-designed to package moist towelettes for Playtex, but it has the flexibility to handle other products, including frozen foods, cheese, candy, and pouches at speeds to 120 packages/min.
The plastic tubs of towelettes move down a conveyor and are swept into one of two patterns or configurations containing four tubs. The entire group is picked up by a pick-and-place robot and loaded into a regular slotted carton. Goodman Packaging’s patented multi-axis technology, driven by Rexroth’s integrated motor/intelligent drive system, provides the flexibility to create patterns according to customer specifications. One, two, or even more cases can be filled at a time. Case patterns can be created with a simple selection on a touch screen, and product changeover is done in less than two minutes.
The IndraDrive Mi combines a traditional servo motor and drive amplifier into a single compact but highly functional drive unit. This design reduces the size volume by up to 50 percent compared to traditional servo systems that use a separate motor and drive. As a result, this greatly reduces the size of the overall machine footprint. Goodman president Billy Goodman says panel space was reduced by 33 percent and overall machine footprint by about 40%. The machine frame is 75 x 54 in.
The IndraDrive’s innovative cabling design significantly reduces the need for cable connections. Integrating the motors and drives into single units placed directly at each axis of motion and outside of the control cabinet allows the use of just one power and communications cable daisy chained from the control cabinet to each axis. Up to 20 integrated motor/drive pairs can be connected with a single daisy chain. Goodman expects to realize a 50% reduction in wiring.
“The IndraDrive Mi allows us to add functionality and flexibility that we could not achieve with traditional servos,” says Goodman. “So the Mini-Universal can be used as a core machine integrated with other devices and packaging equipment around it.”
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