"The star wheel system enables us to get more containers through per minute, per revolution of the head of the machine. We are the only company that has a machine labeling cylinder from 15 inches in diameter up to a meter. Now this gives us an ability to offer you six various kinds of machinery using the same principals."
Malthouse continued, "Driving these star wheels by servo control enables us to home them to exactly the label size and the particular container that you are going to run. That's a giant step forward. It also enables...our large labeling system...(to) run 600 cans a minute, controlled by ELAU controls.
"The advantage that ELAU offers us in applying servo control to the web register is that we use a stationary knife. The ELAU program enables us to draw the web back from the knife cutting station and, and also push it forward to make up for that difference when you start up from a new run of production.
It enables us to put more labels on the cylinder head because it's a closer pitch. We've got better control over the container whether the containers have a variance in diameter. It also gives us a vertical stability for unstable containers.
"If you are a beverage company and you want to change from one size to another, and they do that often, then a half hour, one hour -- it's time lost and you can never get it back. Homing the stars gives you an ability to do it simply. Push the button, the stars go where they are supposed to be and you are ready to start production. ELAU enables us to home the stars for every star we need. Each one is driven individually by a servo drive.
"Many companies that we spoke to relative to this next step for our company, really said, yes, we can do it, but they walked away from the final issue," said Malthouse. "ELAU decided to work with us jointly to develop this machine and they have done an excellent job." And as for modular software, "Their (function) block system seemed to be the right approach for tackling these problems and their software engineers were very diligent and worked with us extensively to solve the problem and they have solved it successfully."