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Article | December 31, 2005
Software, servos, and controller breed a new kind of cartoner
Carton forming, filling, and sealing are all integrated in a single unit that occupies minimal space on the factory floor.
The Cavanna Cartesio Model G35EFC (see video) robotic cartoning system for chocolate bars integrates the forming, filling, and sealing of cartons in a single work unit whose footprint is about 16’ x 6’ x 6’. The system is driven by a total of 16 servo motors governed by a single PacDrive C600 automation controller. The controller and all servo motors and drives are supplied by Elau. According to Alessandra Cavanna, managing director for marketing at Cavanna, a traditionally mechanical machine would never have been able to deliver the fluidity and precise positioning accuracy that this robotic concept requires.Fed by a 600 piece/min flow wrapper that puts the chocolate bars in their primary package, the G35EFC is perhaps most impressive for its synchronicity. Each articulated robotic arm uses three servo motors. The other seven servos are responsible for tightly synchronizing an infeed belt, an oscillator device, a dual-belt racetrack collator, and a flighted carton infeed conveyor. All of these must be synchronized not only with each other but also with the motions of all three robotic arms.Learn about packaging innovation at The Packaging Conference in Orlando, February 3-5, 2014“Robotic kinetics” is what it’s called, and object-oriented software that conforms to the IEC 61131-3 standard plays a key role in making it work in this application. Modularity is the key distinguishing feature of an object-oriented software program. The idea behind it is that it is composed of a collection of individual objects rather than being viewed as a long list of instructions to the computer. Each object is capable of receiving messages, processing data, and sending messages to other objects. By adding to the application program in the PacDrive automation controller a robotic software object that conforms to the IEC 61131-3 standard, Elau frees Cavanna from proprietary software that often is inherent in traditional robotic applications. The robotic software object is part of Elau’s library of IEC-61131-3-conforming software objects, which are called Function Blocks. Elau supports all of the IEC programming languages, allowing them to be used together to their best advantage in the application program.
PacDrive’s hardware architecture also plays a key role. It’s based on an embedded Pentium M processor that can handle mathematical computations, file handling, and the sophisticated software structures available in Elau’s software library.
With the introduction of the G35EFC, Cavanna brings a new level of modularity to its packaging automation strategy. “We are proudly continuing the tradition of a successful family business,” says Riccardo Cavanna, managing director of product development at the Italian OEM. “Our success depends on our natural propensity toward innovation.”
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