B&H Labeling Systems: B&H Labeling Systems: Labeler runs on electronics

B&H Labeling’s new Marathon labeler eliminates a mechanical drive, adds productivity-monitoring software, and slashes real changeover time.

Marathon's HMI offers an advanced software feature, Pro-Watchâ„¢ Productivity Monitoring, that tracks labeler productivity an
Marathon's HMI offers an advanced software feature, Pro-Watch™ Productivity Monitoring, that tracks labeler productivity an

Introduced at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2003 last fall, B&H Labeling Systems’ Marathon™ multi-axis servomotor labeler is off and running at operations worldwide. B&H states that its third-generation technology yields these benefits:

• A simplified design with 40% fewer mechanical parts for higher reliability and uptime

• More precise label application over the machine lifetime; guaranteed defect rates of less than 0.05%

• A new industry standard for fast change-overs—less than 15 minutes from one full production speed to another

• Enhanced self-monitoring diagnostics for maintenance and troubleshooting, and advanced software features.

The heart of the Marathon is the B&H SMARTdrive™ system, a proprietary multi-axis servo motion control system for wraparound labeling that uses servomotors from Siemens.

“We conducted label registration tests with several automation vendors,” says Chris Hamlin, B&H managing director. “Siemens’ servos were the best at meeting our stringent label cut and registration specs over a very wide range of operating speeds to 750 containers per minute.”

The machine uses a Siemens’ MP270B Simatic® Multipanel with 10.5” color touchscreen human/

machine interface. “We’ve designed the HMI screens with the operator in mind, and the screens have been professionally tested by an outside firm for usability,” says Hamlin.

The HMI screens offer intuitive features such as drop-down menus, pop-up keyboards, built-in security, universal language support, data storage with flash memory, and built-in Ethernet.

The machine is typically supplied with a Siemens programmable logic controller, though another PLC can be provided as an option.

Longer-term accuracy

The labeler’s placement accuracy of 1/32’’ remains as before. “However, we are much more confident that the accuracy will not degrade over the life of the system due to the usual stretching of drive belts and wearing of mechanical linkages,” explains B&H product manager director Bev Politzer. “This electronic drive system instantly corrects for wear or using ultra-high resolution, real-time feedback of the motor shaft position. Our expectation is that the SMARTdrive servos will really shine at high-speed operation.”

Another major improvement is in “true changeover time, the amount of time it takes to go from full production speed to full production speed for a new container type,” according to Politzer. This includes the time it takes to remove and install change parts. When a new product is run, a container-specific recipe is called up from the software database and downloaded to the system. Twenty machine parameters that used to require manual adjustment are now set electronically. B&H says it has reduced the true changeover time to 15 minutes, only half what it was before.

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