The Rhino 12 modified-atmosphere tray-packing machine from UltraSource is for washdown environments and high-capacity applications. Its extra-wide seal area accommodates up to four rows of #3 sized trays, and this capacity makes the machine especially suitable for medium-to-large commercial production environments. Its cycle times are rated at up to 7/min for vacuum/gas flush mode, 8.5/min for gas flush mode, and 10/min for seal-only mode.
A stepper motor controls film advance with + .5 mm repeatability. This reduces film breakage to near zero and tightly controls advance distance from the uncut side of the film for optimum conservation of film. The Rhino 12 comes standard with the UltraSource patent pending Seal Tight® film clamping system for assured sealing. A unique pivoting discharge conveyor provides for easier maintenance access to the inside of the sealing area than comparable high-capacity tray packers. Changeover can be accomplished in less than 15 minutes thanks to a single-tool changeover strategy.
Through a partnership with Festo, the company’s pneumatics solutions partner, the machine was designed to have the highest level of motion system performance and reliability. UltraSource Machine Design Engineer Scott Lickteig explains.
“Contaminants and moisture can have a significant negative impact on the performance and energy efficiency of pneumatic-based motion actuation in washdown environments. We worked closely with Festo to specify pneumatic components that would set the Rhino 12 apart in terms of uptime and performance. We believe we have the best, most reliable pneumatic solution on the market for this class of high-capacity machine.”
At the heart of the Rhino 12 pneumatic system is the Festo D series air preparation system that filters, regulates, and lubricates compressed air and ensures peak performance. These units are easy and cost-effective to maintain, including replacement of filters. The cleaner and more regulated the compressed air in a pneumatic system the better the overall performance and energy efficiency over time.
Festo recommended the VTUB electronically controlled valve manifold series as a base unit for the control of all of the machine’s pneumatic valves. This compact manifold is reliable and saves on wiring cost—the VTUB requires only a single cable with a 26-pin connector to control/activate the manifold’s nested valves. Valves mounted on the VTUB manifold control the actuation of: DNC-80-175 cylinders for die closing, AEVC-25-10 cylinders for film clamping, and ADN-80-30 cylinders for sealing and cutting. Both the D series air pressure regulator and VTUB manifold are mounted in a NEMA 4 rated enclosure. A Festo CRVZ-10 compressed air reserve tank and a LR-3/4-D-7-O-MIDI regulator and filter round out the core pneumatic system.
“Over the course of its lifetime, Rhino 12s will perform millions of cycles and UltraSource wanted a trouble free, reliable, and accurate motion system that customers can depend upon,” said Kevin Ost, Festo Food and Beverage Industry Segment sales engineer. “The care that went into the pneumatic system design was exemplary and the result well suited to the application.” —Pat Reynolds