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Servo cartoner delivers speed and accuracy

Z Automation’s latest Schneider Electric-equipped servo cartoner features motorized setup and remote diagnostics/operation.
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FILED IN:  Controls  > Strategy

It’s a vertical collating, continuous motion, full servo, horizontal
cartoner with automated changeover, centralized lubrication, GMP design
and bristling with scanners and sensors. And it will run multiple
blister packs with up to two additional inserts at PACK EXPO in Z
Automation Company’s booth N-3436.

With a maximum mechanical speed of 300 cartons per minute, the cartoner
will run 200 cpm in a single product configuration. In addition to 11
servos, the ELAU packaging automation solution also integrates 7
Schneider Electric stepper motors for quick tool-free, recipe-driven
changeovers, plus AC drives and Magelis PC based HMI panel.


As blisters are received short edge leading from a form/fill/seal
machine, they are reoriented 90 degrees for transfer into the vertical
collator. The multi-axis servo driven collator has the flexibility to
group multiple popular food, health and beauty product packs in each


The vertical collator has the flexibility to accommodate different
counts of products as well as a wide variety of product dimensions with
minimum changeover time. The collator also doubles as a small product
buffer in the event the primary equipment is down.

From there, 2 rotary feeders place additional inserts, such as booklets
and cards, into the dynamic product buckets, and a third rotary feeder
places cartons onto the carton track. A servo driven overhead product
loading unit transfers the product along with all the components into
the carton.

Automation abounds

There are 7 automated adjustment points to accommodate different
product sizes and configurations. Z Automation Company’s patented
dynamic product buckets reduce the need for product change parts while
the servo driven phase adjustable carton cell chain reduces the need
for carton change parts.

Adjustments made to accommodate the change in product or carton sizes
are recipe driven and made via the HMI. By automating the adjustment
points, the changeovers can be completed in 10 minutes or less. The GMP
balcony design allows all adjustments for changeovers to be made
primarily on the operator’s side of the machine.

The Magelis iPC features full Windows™ XP that allows full access to
the machine manual on screen. It also supports recipe management,
Cognex bar coder scanner configuration software, a web cam with both
visual and audio communication for remote diagnostics, and a Schneider
Electric energy consumption gauge that reads energy output and tracks
usage – earning the title of “green” machine.

The core control system enabling the cartoner’s speed and precision is
from Schneider Electric’s packaging specialists, ELAU. Purpose-built
for packaging, the ELAU automation system not only provides the
synchronized motion, but manages the host of sensors and automated

For example, bar code readers determine that the correct booklets and
cartons are being placed by the rotary feeders, while sensors verify
product and carton presence, correct product count and spacing so that
product is in the proper orientation feeding into the vertical
collator, and whether filled carton flaps are open or sealed. Once a
problem is detected, three reject stations take care of business.

Two separate servos control the leading and trailing lugs on the carton
cell chain, to assure perfect squaring as well as consistently accurate
carton size changes. Servos also synchronize transfer of product from
the collator, the product track, each of 3 rotary feeders, and an
overhead product loading unit.

In addition, a centralized, automated lubrication system makes it
impossible for maintenance personnel to miss awkwardly placed zerk
fittings and an enclosed glue unit makes for better housekeeping.

About Z Automation Company

Founded in 1996, Z Automation specializes in providing packaging
solutions to both simple and complex customer requirements by expanding
beyond conventional methods of automation. A member of Packaging
Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), ZAC is setting new standards
in the areas of design, inventive solutions, and craftsmanship.

Z Automation’s packaging designs provide significant benefits with
respect to reliability and output efficiency. Everyday end-of-line
packaging challenges are addressed by applying available technologies
to packaging solutions in an effort to stream-line the mechanical and
electrical systems.

For more information, visit or email [email protected].

About Schneider Electric’s ELAU Packaging Solutions

ELAU, Schneider Electric’s packaging specialist, equips over $1 billion
worth of packaging machines annually. Currently, over 40,000
purpose-built ELAU packaging automation systems are deployed in
machinery worldwide.

Through ELAU, Schneider Electric is the only controls supplier with a
dedicated business unit focused exclusively on the automation of
packaging machinery.

The market demands packaging operations that are more flexible,
efficient and sustainable to fulfill marketing, supply chain and global
business strategies. ELAU innovations have enabled a revolution in
mechanical, software and hardware modularity to deliver these agile
packaging systems.

For more information, visit or email [email protected].


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