New servo machine fills and seals cups, tubs and bottles

HAMBA Filtec has applied advanced technology to proven packaging principles in its new Flexline machine, with no fewer than 19 servo-automated functions setting the standard for flexibility in plastic bottle, cup ad tub filling and sealing. Introduced at the 2005 interpack show in Düsseldorf, Germany, the machine is designed for food and beverage packaging, from yogurt and yogurt drinks to margarine and snack foods.

Benefits of the mechatronic design include not only rapid pushbutton format and product changeovers but convenient operation and maintenance. For example with two lidding station magazines accessible from outside the machine one can be reloaded while the other remains in operation. The upper section of the sealing station has been designed to pull out and to the side for easy cleaning setting and maintenance access. The systematic implementation of a new generation of diagnostics makes fault detection and troubleshooting easier to than ever for operators.

Up to 34 servos

“A high end automation solution is essential to control such a flexible machine one requiring up to 34 servo motors” explains Uwe GeraschDevelopment Manager for HAMBA. “The unique performance provided by PacDrive was the basis for us to automate the machine with ELAU. We simply implemented a completely modular control software structure with the help of ELAU’s programming template and modular software libraries.”

Indeed the Flexline machine is equipped with ELAU’s most powerful PacDrive controller the C600. It is capable of running modular control software because it integrates motion and logic control in the same IEC-conforming program and executes on a single embedded Pentium processor for maximum performance. The container station uses PacDrive servos for container gripping automatic de-nesting tub transport and scissors-operation. The metering unit uses servos for lifting piston and valve rod actuation. The lidding station uses servos for lid gripping application and drum movement. At the sealing station the sealing bridge lift mechanism support and closure systems all are servo-operated as are leak testing container ejection and chain cycling functions.

Software replaces discrete controllers interacts with operator

The control system also operates up to 1 distributed digital inputs and 1 digital outputs plus 50 to 170 analog I/O points per machine. Instead of discrete hardware controllers software PID loops control heating circuits and sterilization and automated software cam adjustment controls numerous cam positioners throughout the machine. In addition to interactive diagnostic guidance from the touch panel the operator also receives graphical assistance fault displays and spare parts management.

The result of the modular software-driven well structured design approach is a machine with increased throughput unsurpassed production flexibility reduced total cost of ownership and shorter lead time. For more on HAMBA Filtec visit For more on ELAU go to

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