All machines have an HMI, which is a networkable touchscreen PC running Windows 7 embedded plus an Allen-Bradley Micrologix 1400 PLC. Like all Sharp machines, parts are nonproprietary, available off-the-shelf.
The MAX 12 accommodates bags up to 12-in. wide and the MAX 20, up to 20-in. wide. These two models are quite similar and differ only in the width of the bags they can handle. The MAX Plus is the most mechanically advanced of the three models.
The MAX bagging system indexes Sharp’s specialty E-Z Bag, then feeds it through the machine where it is opened, filled with a product and sealed. The new system features a constantly heated sealing mechanism, which offers a longer life than impulse mechanisms, according to the company.
The MAX offers fast, efficient printing integrating the Videojet DataFlex Plus, a thermal transfer printer that imprints bar codes, graphics and alphanumeric fonts directly on the package. The controls for the printer are viewed directly on the bagger HMI.
The HMI, printer and PLC can be networked, so they can be accessed at any time from almost anywhere for remote label printing, production reporting, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) control.
Sharp baggers include closed loop sensor feedback for all critical motions. This approach allows the bagger cycle times to be minimized and provides advanced real-time diagnostic tools. Baggers use an ultra-quiet digital stepper drive to control the film feed and deliver smooth and precise control of the web.
The self-diagnostic tools have been completely revamped. If a fault occurs, the HMI displays a message with an explanation of what happened, why it may have happened and possible solutions in order to correct it. The operator and service manuals, along with component identification, are accessible from the HMI. There is also an interactive help file system that is intuitive and provides the desired information quickly and easily.
The company offers a maintenance package called Total Systems Care for all of its machines. This program includes: installation and training; free replacement parts for one year; two preventive maintenance visits; free telephone technical support; discounted labor rates; preferred service scheduling; and trade-in incentives for machinery. Parts and service are available through a network of distributors.