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Packaging World     VP/Editor, Pat Reynolds
SPONSOR: Aerotech, Inc. May 9, 2011 | Edited by Pat Reynolds

Single- and multi-axis motion controllers scalable to your application >>

From the economical single-axis Soloist stand-alone controller, to the 1-10 axis stand-alone Ensemble, to our software-based 1-32 axis Automation 3200, Aerotech has a scalable, easy-to-use controller to fit your packaging needs. All of our high-performance controllers use a common software platform.

Aerotech, Inc.

Linear and rotary servomotors and drives >>

Aerotech U-channel and flat linear motors meet the needs of the most exacting applications, while our brushless rotary servomotors provide precision motion with low torque ripple, smooth velocity, and maximum torque and acceleration. PWM and linear drives are available, and controls, for a complete motion package.

Aerotech, Inc.

Integrated machine control with Aerotech's MotionPAC >>

The Aerotech MotionPAC integrated machine control system offers a 30% to 50% reduction in development time, high-performance motion fully integrated with the standard PLC environment, easy-to-use diagnostics and tools, is based on IEC61131-3, is programmable in .NET, and is PC-based.

Aerotech, Inc.

ACT series high-speed linear motor actuators >>

The ACT is a high performance, cost-effective linear-servomotor-driven actuator that is faster and more accurate than a ball screw or belt-drive without the costly, time-consuming maintenance. As an integrated, assembled mechanical system, ACT also eliminates the design complexity of assembling individual components.

Aerotech, Inc.

Automation control solutions brochure >>

The brochure highlights automation controllers and software, drives, linear and rotary motors, and positioning mechanics.

Aerotech, Inc.

Integrating controls systems in the pharma sector

In the current edition of OPConnect, the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation, consultant Dennis Brandl explains why OPC Foundation's test lab is good news on the controls front for Pfizer and the pharma industry.

Dennis Brandl has done a lot of work with manufacturers in pharmaceuticals, packaged goods, steel, and electronics. One of his recent clients was Pfizer, where collecting and transmitting complex, multi-dimensional data quickly became an automation headache. Integrating control systems to collect the necessary data cost 10 times the cost of the automation components themselves—all due to interoperability issues, according to Brandl.

Brandl's work with Pfizer was in the area of process analytical technology (PAT), which refers to how to design, analyze, and control pharmaceutical manufacturing, all in the name of quality control and ultimately patient safety. In Brandl's words, PAT is "using the knowledge of the process itself to control the quality of the process."

PAT requires collecting data that's more than just single-dimensional data such as temperature or pressure. Instead, data is complex and multi-dimensional. An example might be a particle size analyzer, which will return a distribution curve—e.g., a certain percentage of particles are one micron, another percentage are two microns, and so on. Knowing when a certain threshold of particles are a certain size indicates when a granulation process is actually finished, for example.

The 10x cost multiple for integrating instrumentation and control systems to collect this type of data is slowing down the adoption of PAT in the pharma industry, said Brandl.

OPC UA paves the way for providing and communicating data in a standard interface. Integrating OPC-certified components would "cut Pfizer's time to integrate devices by a significant chunk," said Brandl. "Instead of integration being 10 times the cost of the devices, it night only be one or two times the cost."

End user perspective: Why certification matters

Speaking from the perspective of automation end users like Pfizer, Brandl said "We want to have assurances in place that the pieces that are supposed to work together actually work together. Before now, there was no independent way to make sure vendors implemented the OPC UA standard in the same way. That meant there was a lot of integration effort on the end user side" to iron out interoperability problems.

The advantage of OPC's certification lab is that "If [a product] passes the test, we have a strong assurance of interoperability, and we don't have to worry" about spending time getting devices to work with one another.

Will certification become a purchasing driver? "I think it will as certification becomes much more common," said Brandl. "Once you get a critical mass, say 10% to 15% of vendors certified, there will be strong pressure on everyone else, it will become a stopping point" for purchasing a given product that lacks OPC certification.

"If you don't have it you may not be able to get the jobs," said Brandl.

"[Certification] is something that has been needed," Brandl added, "and I'm really glad to see OPC Foundation is taking the time and effort to make sure things that are supposed to work together actually work together."

NEW Automation Products

Enclosed switching power supplies

The SPP1 Series Enclosed Power Supplies from Carlo Gavazzi complement the company's SPD Industrial DIN-rail and SPM Low Profile Power Supplies. Along with their compact size, the SPP1 power supplies provide high efficiencies up to 87% resulting in more energy to the DC load... Read more

Touchless rotary position sensor

The Vert-X 22 Series of touchless sensors from Novotechnik feature a permanent magnet that is secured to the rotating object so that there is no direct mechanical linkage between the shaft and the measuring system, resulting in no wear... Read more

Long-range inductive sensor

Balluff's Q40 inductive proximity block sensor with Factor 1 technology delivers sensing ranges up to 40mm to solve difficult application problems. ... Read more

Decentralized inverter drives

The compact Lenze 8400 Motec and 8400 Protec are decentralized inverter drives equipped for all drive functions and can be installed at the point of use, directly on the motor or an adjacent wall... Read more

Machine-mounted inverter

B&R's ACOPOSmulti65 inverter comes with IP65 protection, making it possible to attach it directly to the machine. The switching cabinet only contains the power supply modules and the necessary electromechanical components... Read more

Option card adds MPI connectivity

Red Lion's G3MPI option card increases the communications capabilities of G3 operator interfaces, allowing G3 HMIs to communicate with Siemens' devices that support the MPI protocol, without requiring the use of a converter cable... Read more

Leadership in Packaging

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Upcoming events:

IoPP Packaging & Leadership Council
Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Rosemont, IL. New for 2011, the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) is offering packaging professionals the utmost in value by creating a two-day conference that combines IoPP's most dynamic events, held May 10-11.

Interpack 2011: Processes and Packaging
Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre, Düsseldorf, Germany. Messe Düsseldorf North America. Phone: 312/781-5180, held May 12-18.

Healthcare Packaging Conference & Workshops
Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, Princeton, NJ. Healthcare Packaging Conference & Workshops, produced by Healthcare Packaging magazine, will feature operational and package design strategies for pharmaceutical and medical device packagers, May 26.

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