Rovema USA a maker of baggers fillers cartoners and case packers has grown its business in the past few years with minimal increase in personnel. Moving from multiple control systems to a single standardized controls solution played a key role.
According to Travis Holley director of engineering at Rovema the problem with having multiple controls suppliers was that controls components often “spoke” different languages. “We were sometimes unable to make changes in a timely manner and could not provide full support for our machines with internal resources” says Holley.
Management was convinced that the only way to expand its product line and deliver reliable customer support was to standardize on a single controls solution that would permit Rovema personnel to do 100% of the programming in-house. The controls solution selected was Allen-Bradley® ControlLogix® from Rockwell Automation.
At Pack Expo 2000 Rovema USA showed one of its vertical form/fill/seal machines with a newly developed controls solution from Rockwell: Kinetix Integrated Motion. It included an Allen-Bradley ControlLogix-based system with a SERCOS fiber-optic interface connecting the controller to the machine’s Allen-Bradley digital servo drives. Soon after that show Rovema received a multiple-machinery order for its VPI intermittent-motion vertical baggers with the Kinetix solution. Rovema engineers developed all programs in-house using Rockwell Software® RSLogix™5000 programming tools.
“The ControlLogix programming environment is simple to use with tag-based structures and comfortable ladder logic” says Holley. “Because the logic and motion are integrated into one package we didn’t have to program two different controllers and then figure out how to make them communicate.”
With the success of the Kinetix-based VPI Rovema quickly moved to implement this control solution on its continuous-motion vertical bagger the VPK. Again developing the controls in-house Rovema utilized the Logix program and data structure from the VPI and ported it to the VPK.
By this time Rovema engineers were confident they had chosen the controls solution that would position the firm for future growth. Their confidence was tested in early 2002 when a large dried-fruit processor turned to Rovema USA for a display-pack machine with Allen-Bradley controls. About one year earlier Rovema had demonstrated such a machine at Pack Expo except that it had a PC-based controls system from Rovema Germany. No matter. The display packer the Das-WA was quickly converted to Rovema’s Kinetix solution including ControlLogix and 14 axes of servo motion control.
“We were again able to port program and data structures from our VPI and VPK machines saving development time” says Holley.
Seeing the success of the VPI VPK and Das-Wa machines Rovema USA was authorized by its parent company in Germany to expand its machine offering in North America with the Kinetix solution.