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A new take on distributed, modular motion for packaging machinery

A new development from B&R overcomes previous limitations and contributes to modularity, machine flexibility and packaging line reconfigurability.

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It’s not uncommon today to see servomotors with the drive electronics onboard in low power configurations. Benefits include reduced cabinet size, simplified wiring and support for modular design concepts.

But what about applications where a linear motor or a torque motor or a stainless steel motor is required? Or where more power or speed is needed than heat-sensitive motor-mounted electronics can handle?

Enter a category of IP65 rated, distributed drives -- B&R Industrial Automation’s ACOPOSmulti65 series. Instead of mounting the drive to a mated motor, the drive is mounted directly to the machine in a convenient location and is connected to standard catalog motors.

Retains existing benefits, adds new capabilities
This approach preserves the benefits of integrated motor drives. It also adds a more practical performance range, onboard distributed I/O handling, and the freedom to use the right motor and feedback for any application. They remove the mounting space constraints and heat dissipation requirements of onboard drives. And in some tight machine configurations they can remove the cable strain limitations of a star cabling topology.

The B&R design allows daisy chaining with no special ordering of motors by power rating. And they can be used in combination with a choice of active or passive power supplies as well as conventional multiaxis motors and drives in the ACOPOS family.

Good news for packaging line architects and owners
The result is added design flexibility, as might be expected in the evolution of distributed motion control. And according to Tom Jensen, technology evangelist for B&R Packaging Solutions, there are significant advantages for packaging system designers, integrators and owners.

For example, machine modules can be designed with no electrical cabinet, only IP 65 sealed motor modules and connections boxes mounted directly to the frame. The infeed or outfeed or other module is connected to the main machine control cabinet with a single snap-fit cable. Additional I/O on the module, including format change steppers, can be connected and powered by IP 65 remote I/O blocks through the motor modules.

Because B&R’s fully IEC 61131-3 compliant development environment, Automation Studio, the corresponding control software modules for each machine module are written once and work with high end, mid-range and low-cost controllers. And, machines can be built to meet all the OMAC Packaging Guidelines, including PackML.

Trend-setting technology enables packaging trends
This design philosophy fits many current trends in packaging. These include automated conveyor rail adjustments. Temporary integration of OEE data collection or high speed camera modules to analyze machine performance. Easy line reconfiguration from feed screws for case packing bottles, to smart belts for collating packs, to stackers and banders for creating multipacks inline.

The IP65 drives are ideal for rotary servo machines because the power and communications in and out of the module requires a bare minimum of slip rings. Whether monobloc or individual machines, it is possible for a single controller and control program to tightly synchronize filling, closure fitment, labeling, along with ancillary systems such as retorquing, coding, leak and level detection, checkweighing, metal detection, and vision systems for orientation, inspection and serialization.

The synchronization and performance of the IP65 servos work equally well for high inertia turret drives and case packer conveyors as they do for delicate dual-component filling/container turning, torque-sensitive capping heads, and preprogrammed bottle plate motions for recipe-driven labeling of different container geometries.

Packaging and beyond
In fact, this class of distributed drive technology has the power to extend upstream and downstream of packaging into the converting, manufacturing and warehousing processes.

It’s a whole new way of looking at machine design. The savings in cabinetry, floor space, installation and troubleshooting add up quickly. Perhaps even more important, the increased flexibility -- from fast format changes to complete line reconfigurations – future-proofs the investment in packaging machinery in a market where both package and product life cycles will only get shorter.

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