PACK EXPO is a little like Thanksgiving dinner – all that preparation,
all kinds of tasty stuff -- and then it seems to be over in the blink
of an eye. And yes, you're ready for a nap afterward.
Now that the last exhibitors' crates have been shipped back and the
show is a memory, what were the significant take-aways from the
perspective of machinery innovation?The awesome potential of robots
Delta robots are fascinating to watch, conjuring up images of spiders
and War of the Worlds. Even more awesome was the display of speed and
tool path guidance demonstrated by a delta robot at the front of ELAU's
There were deltas on display controlled by PLCs or motion controllers,
but this delta, powered by a PacDrive™ automation controller running
the company's popular robotic software library
, was the hands-down
winner. It evoked a need among showgoers to stop in the aisle, watch
the beam of light track complex motions on a rotating carousel, and
then snap a photo.
had seen the potential of this robotic control
technology months earlier when it determined to launch its
PacDrive-equipped Adabot™ robotic case packing system at PACK EXPO.
The beauty of Adabot (as in add a ‘bot) is the concept of plug-and-play
robotic cells. Up to 4, in fact, can run off the original robot's
PacDrive controller. If you need to increase throughput, you simply
add a ‘bot, or two or three. Imagine that any comparable concept would
likely require 4 separate proprietary robot controllers and at least
one PLC and motion controller for the line, but more likely one each
per module. So in this case, a single PacDrive automation controller
replaces from 6 to 12 conventional controllers. Modularity gains major momentum
You couldn't miss the theme at ELAU's booth – GET REAL. GET MODULAR. DISCOVER THE POWER OF MODULAR THINKING.
You read it, saw it on video, heard it from customers, and you saw
modularity at work throughout the booth – as well as at 40 customer
exhibits highlighted on the official show floor planner.
Why is modularity the next big trend? Fallas' Adabot was an excellent
example. And at PACK EXPO the packaging world would also get its first
glimpse of the new standard for hardware modularity, PacDrive iSH
Series Intelligent Servo Modules.A world first: The intelligent servo module
Although headquartered in Germany, ELAU selected North America's
packaging trade show to launch its next revolution in packaging
automation – the PacDrive iSH Series. And the company invited a
leading U.S. machine builder, Goodman Packaging Equipment
, to be its
lead customer. In turn, Goodman received tremendous booth traffic for
the PacDrive iSH equipped 3-in-1 Case/Tray Packer.
What's the big deal? In a pre-show review, ARC analyst Sal Spada
wrote, "Over 10 years ago, the first primitive integrated drive and
motor products appeared on the market from several suppliers where
these early versions simply attached the drive onto the motor frame.
Ugly, poor form factor and quite frankly a value proposition that was
difficult to identify.
Elau's isH Series has thankfully taken us light years beyond this and
is showing the motion control market how to design product. They have
taken the systems view to the integrated drive and motor solutions
which effectively leverages all the benefits of bringing the components
“The design is innovative and deserves a closer look by packaging
machine designers simply to appreciate the way they leveraged the
latest silicon devices, addressed power distribution, and considered
aftermarket maintenance and support."
For a brochure on the new PacDrive Intelligent Servo Module, click here
.ARC says ‘Goodman's modular case packer leverages innovation in servo systems'
Also in ARC's PACK EXPO report, “Goodman Packaging Equipment announced
'Three-in-One' Case and Tray Former/Packer/Sealer which integrates
three packaging modules within a unified frame to provide smooth,
synchronized packaging in minimal floor space. A critical component of
the ‘Three-in-One' is the machine designers' decision to leverage
integrated servo drive and motor modules,” referring to the world's
first machine running the PacDrive™ iSH Series.
“Integrated servo drives and motors simplified the mounting, reduced
component count and cabling, and reduced electrical cabinet size and
footprint compared to conventional servo motors and drives. A central,
shared power supply feeds the remotely located distribution modules
instead of a cabinet filled with servo drives and cable connections.
Each servo module receives all power and communications from its own
hybrid cable coming from a nearby distribution module. There are no
separate encoder cables, and each module is fully synchronized through
a digital motion bus running in the single cable. A big party -- with a purpose
Counting a number of highly respected packaging machine builders as new
customers, with a wave of support building among end users seeking to
overcome limiting single vendor control specifications
, and with
game-changing new technology, ELAU had good reason to celebrate this
year's PACK EXPO.
So they did, along with about a thousand of their closest friends at
the House of Blues® Chicago on Monday evening. This invitation-only
event drew the Who's Who of packaging for a night of Chicago blues,
great food, prizes and surprises.
The message was simple – as promised, there we no sales pitches, only
gratitude for the support of the packagers, machine builders and
industry visionaries who believed in the company and its business model
of specialization in packaging before it had achieved this level of
recognition and success in the North American market.About ELAU
ELAU equips over $1 billion worth of the world's best machines
annually, with over 30,000 PacDrive systems already deployed in
packaging machinery worldwide. PacDrive is the first truly integrated
automation architecture, capable of performing the functions of PLC,
motion control, robotics, temperature control, PLS, MES data interface
and more in a single, standards-based software environment.
For more information, visit www.elau.com
or email [email protected]