Reliable servo gearboxes capable of high-speed, continuous-motion operation became a top priority recently when Cloud Packaging (www.cloudps.com) acquired Robert’s Packaging, the maker of some of the fastest pouch machines in the packaging arena. The source that Cloud settled on is Wittenstein (www.wittenstein-us.com) and its alpha range of gearboxes.
“We have used a number of gearbox vendors in the past,” says Alex Waterman, engineering manager at Cloud. “Previous gearboxes have failed a number of ways. Sometimes the bearings aren’t strong enough to withstand our load. Other times, mechanical efficiency is lacking, or overheating issues surface, or seals leak, or backdriving capabilities are missing, or speed ratings are insufficient. Wittenstein gearboxes perform as promised at high efficiencies and speeds, and they stand behind their product. With high-speed, continuous-motion machinery like ours, it was important that they were able to handle our output RPM. They also have a line of gearboxes specifically for continuous-motion applications. They have a full line of different products to completely fulfill our needs and be a single provider for every servo gearbox solution.”
Cloud’s f/f/s pouch machines run at speeds to 5,200 pouches/min, the water-dissolvable pouch machines run up to 1,400/min, and the stand-up pouch machines reach speeds of 200/min. The machines currently use a range of inline and right-angle gear reducers, including the alpha SP+, the alpha TP+, and the alpha HG+
“We use right-angle, flange-mounted, and hollow-output gearboxes as well as servo couplings and torque limiters,” says Waterman.
Waterman also notes that he and his team at Cloud have built a great partnership with distributor Tekmatic Automation (www.tekmatik.com) to support, specify, and size Wittenstein gearboxes. “We switched exclusively to Wittenstein servo gearboxes on all Cloud machinery with Tekmatic’s support in 2009,” says Waterman. “Applications range from our food and beverage HFFS Performa and ServOriginal pouching machines to our water-soluble blister pack Hydroforma lines.”
Cloud offers both Rockwell and Siemens controls platforms due to customer requirements. “We do business domestically and overseas,” says Waterman. “North and South American customers typically prefer Rockwell, while European customers have specified that we use Siemens. Both are a good fit for Wittenstein gearboxes.”