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Actuators bring automatic size changeover and more to line of cartoners

When it’s time to go from one carton size to another on this cartoner, the operator completes much of the task by simply making a selection at the HMI.

ConCENTRiX® Horizontal End Load Cartoner
ConCENTRiX® Horizontal End Load Cartoner

The ConCENTRiX® Horizontal End Load Cartoner from ADCO Manufacturing is notable for, among other things, the extent to which changeover from one carton size to another is automated. Playing a key role in this automation picture are the high-performance compact AG05 actuators for automated positioning, which are made by Siko. Depending on the specific cartoner model, there might be as many as 11 or 12 of these actuators involved. Each has its own brushless DC motor, gear box, and controller.

Thanks to the recipe handling capabilities of the cartoner’s Rockwell PLC, all carton parameters for each carton variety are stored in the PLC. So when it comes time to change from one carton size to another, the operator simply goes to the HMI and picks the carton size desired from a menu of options. The Siko actuators then receive all necessary target values from the PLC so that they can automatically reposition themselves.

Some aspects of the size changeover—for example, repositioning the Nordson hot melt adhesive applicators—are still done manually. But the automatic repositioning saves a lot of time compared to having an operator perform all the tasks manually. Moreover, the opportunity for human error is greatly reduced.

Among the machine parameters that get automatically repositioned on the ADCO cartoner are what ADCO’s Scott Reed calls “overhead rails.” These play an important role in making sure the carton blank gets set up nice and square as it moves through the machine.

“Repositioning these overhead rails automatically is one of the biggest benefits we gain from the AG05 actuators,” says Reed. “There might be four or five of these rails on a cartoner, once again depending on the specific model. It can be pretty time consuming to change these if you are doing it manually. It might be in the order of 80% faster when the actuators take care of it automatically. It’s really as simple as hitting a button on the HMI.

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