Roll-fed shrink labeler features high speed & precision, low material cost
The beverage industry is constantly seeking not only product innovation, but eye catching product presentation as well. Customized labels support this strategy with versatility, visual appeal, color and unique messaging.
Sacmi Labelling, a division of the Sacmi group, has developed a new generation of automated labelers that meets these marketing needs while reducing operating costs, increasing productivity and minimizing unit price.
Sacmi realized these seemingly contradictory design objectives with the support of its automation partner ELAU, whose PacDrive automation technology provided Sacmi the modularity to build customized solutions from a standardized foundation that is independent of adhesive, container shape and material, or label configuration and material.
As a result, Sacmi’s new Opera family includes machines addressing the spectrum of package labeling applications, including pressure sensitive, cold glue and roll-fed.
A shrinking standout for the North American market
In the North American beverage market, the competitive advantages of the new Opera 400 33T roll-fed shrink labeler stand out. This design integrates precise unwind control functionality with UV stabilized hot melt gluing of label stock prior to heat shrinking. The result is quality shrink labeling formed from economical rolls of label stock, replacing shrink sleeves that cost 3 to 5 times more.
The first machines being installed utilize a 33-plate star wheel. Labels are produced from pre-printed roll stock by means of a cutting and transfer group. Key to precisely applying, wrapping and gluing the labels are the cutting unit and the synchronization of all bottle plates in phase with table rotation.
The PacDrive system also makes servo control of each of the 33 bottle plates (up to 45 in some models) practical. In fact, the PacDrive SCL (servo capping and labeling) motor/drives powering the bottle plates were originally conceived for rotary machines in the beverage industry. The SCL is trapezoidal to accommodate mounting on carousels. It combines drive and motor in a moisture-resistant enclosure to simplify installation and operation on rotating tables. And it significantly reduces the size of electrical cabinets used to house conventional servo drive electronics.
Powerful software, precise control
A new generation controller, the PacDrive C600, supports both the large number of servos and the need to run powerful software capabilities. For example, the same controller also operates the servo-driven label unwind, printing and registration control. This function includes registration control software that compensates for any printing tolerances in the label stock.
Integrating logic and motion, the same software also controls table rotation in relation to bottle plate rotation. Each bottle plate uses an electronic orientation system for accurately placing the labels on the bottles in a predefined position.
The label is then affixed with a special hot melt adhesive and UV cured. Curing alters the glue’s physical and chemical properties (called reticulation) to thermally stabilize it before the trip through the shrink tunnel. In collaboration with ELAU, Sacmi’s technical division has optimized control over the variables in label application and heating processes to assure that labels conform properly to bottle profiles, regardless of shape. Control factors include:
• Control over the power levels of the long life (8ꯠ hours guaranteed) Fusion UV lamps to give the glue its required structure
• Characteristics of the heat-shrinking oriented polypropylene (OPP) film, manufactured by Roso
• Orientation of the bottles to the UV light sources mounted on the main carousel
• Calibration of the electronic orientation system in each bottle plate servo motor/drive
• Temperature control of the heat-shrink tunnel to assure a consistently accurate label appearance
Sacmi Labelling reports the ability to achieve shrinking levels of over 18% at production speeds up to 42ꯠ bph.
Simplified, from installation to changeover
Because the SCL motor/drives do not require separate drive electronics, they not only simplify installation on the rotating carousel – they also reduce the amount of electrical cabinet space required. Since they are IP67 rated and feature a chemical resistant coating, they are resistant to the caustic cleaning agents used in aseptic environments.
The new design offers fast changeovers as well. Utilizing modular software, bottle and label format changes are recipe driven. Programming a new format simply means entering new parameters to change the electronic cam profile.
For information on the new Opera family of labelers in North America, contact SACMI USA Beverage Technology, tel 678 513 6588 or [email protected]. Outside North America, contact Sacmi Labelling, tel +39 0376683416 or [email protected].