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Packaging World     VP/Editor, Pat Reynolds
SPONSORS: November 7, 2011 | Edited by Pat Reynolds

Fully automated case forming and sealing >>

The Little David LD-24 from Loveshaw is the latest in a series of industrial grade high performance case sealers. Designed to meet the case sealing demands of customers with high volume runs of the same box size. It's compact design is perfect for customers looking to take up less real estate between conveyors.


Glue applicator lays down adhesive much like a labeler >>

As an alternative to any sort of hot melt adhesive application, the Glue Dots SD-900 applicator automatically applies adhesive to individual packages much like a spot labeler. Watch video to see operation.

Glue Dots

Checkweigher with new filler feedback technology reduces giveaway for costly toppings >>

Download this application brief to learn about a new servo-based filler feedback technology available for checkweighers that can save money by limiting giveaway of costly food toppings. Provides precision feedback to upstream filling, slicing, cutting, or dosing equipment.

Thermo Fisher Scientific

New technology speeds changeover for auger filling lines >>

Video from Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery shows actual changeover of a new type of so-called split hopper auger filler. Stainless steel split hopper system that allows fast and simple product changeover, cleanup and maintenance. The end result is a significant decrease in both labor costs and equipment downtime.

Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery

Video shows low-level, medium-speed palletizer >>

Heavy-duty, medium-speed, flexible palletizer from Currie by Brenton LLP has a modular design, fully automated performance, and ability to accommodate multiple pack patterns. An optional integrated Orion stretch wrapper can be added.

Brenton Engineering

The PLC charade?

In a recent edition of Keith Camplell's popular OnTheEdge blog, Campbell had a thing or two to say about adding PLCs to machinery that, in his opinion, may not necessarily need it.

We need to question the ongoing practice of adding an unnecessary PLC to a complex mechatronic machine while maintaining the primary control software in another control platform. That primary platform will contain the motion control algorithms but could just as well perform the functions allocated to the PLC. Why are we permitting, or in some cases requiring, this added cost and complexity?

There are two reasons that I see that this occurs: one that serves the end user's perceived need and another that serves the machine builder's perceived need.

From the end users perspective, many customers are still of a mind that every machine must come with a PLC from their "preferred supplier". If a machine builder comes forward with a machine containing an integrated motion and logic controller from the likes of B&R, Beckhoff, or Yaskawa, the purchaser is likely to claim that the machine does not meet their spec which requires a Rockwell, Siemens or some other PLC. A work-around to this problem is for the machine builder to embed a primary controller that contains his software jewels in one controller (the swapping out of which in non-negotiable) and then to add a secondary controller, a PLC of whatever flavor the user prefers, to perform menial tasks that could just as well have been performed in the primary. This adds cost and complexity in exchange for an emotional "feel-good" for the buyer.

From the machine builder's perspective, there may be a concern about the user having access to the controller containing the proprietary control algorithms and safety controls built into the machine. In this case, even though the primary controller could perform all of the functions required, adding a secondary PLC increases the likelihood that the end user will only fiddle with the software they are most familiar with and not make any attempt to access the software in the primary controller. In this scenario we have added cost and complexity in exchange for a sense of security and reduced liability.

One may wonder out loud, however, if the end user doesn't intend to have access to the primary machine software, why does he care about what platform is in the machine? And if he does intend to access the primary software, will the two controller scenario really stop him? There are other ways of protecting that software in a one-controller design. I must also comment that it has been my observation that this two controller practice is much more common in the US than in other parts of the world.

My conclusion is that this is a PLC charade that, on the surface may look like a good idea, but really only adds cost and complexity to machines and makes US manufacturers less competitive.

NEW Automation Products

Remote connectivity subscription service

Support Connect is a remote connectivity subscription service from Mitsubishi Electric Automation that provides cost effective administration, predictive maintenance and remediation of remotely managed assets without an upfront investment in data center hardware, and ongoing infrastructure maintenance ... Read more

Ultra-compact I/O terminal for servo motor control

Beckhoff Automation's EL7201 servo terminal for the EtherCAT Terminal system integrates a complete servo drive for motors up to 200 W into a standard 12 mm I/O terminal housing, simplifying cabling and commissioning while reducing cabinet size requirements and costs ... Read more

Energy isolation valve for harsh environments

The Stainless Steel L-O-X® energy isolation valve from Ross is cast out of corrosion-resistant 316 stainless steel that resists salt-water and chemical degradation, and is also equipped with durable fluorocarbon seals, important in systems requiring consistent protection against contaminant ingression like pharmaceutical and food/beverage processing ... Read more

Frequency inverter with POWERLINK interface

Designed for complex machines and systems, B&R's ACOPOSinverter P84 features an integrated POWERLINK interface and a performance range of 0.37 to 500 kW ... Read more

Modular controller series for use in hazardous locations

Designed for data-acquisition and remote asset management, Red Lion's Modular Controller series has been approved for use in Class 1, Division 2 hazardous locations, including places where explosive gases, vapors and/or liquids may be present ... Read more

Hand-held area-imaging color scanner

Honeywell's Xenon™ 1900 Color Scanner, said to be the industry's first hand-held area-imaging scanner with color-imaging capabilities, allows users to capture color images and scan high-contrast color bar codes, while retaining quality scanning performance on black and white bar codes ... Read more

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