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Q&A: Using servos properly

Dave Lutz, senior packaging engineering specialist for General Mills, says machine builders should apply servos properly or shouldn’t bother applying them at all.

Pw 15820 Genmills

PW: If you had a chance to say something to other packaging end users as well as packaging machinery suppliers about the proper application of servos, what would it be?

Lutz: I feel a lot more can be accomplished in solving reliability issues by better understanding how to apply servo technology. Many equipment manufacturers believe replacing an AC motor with a servo motor offers improvement. It does not. All that does is add to the cost of manufacturing.

That is why some manufacturers have been unable to succeed in offering “new technology” to meet today’s manufacturing needs. You see it at the packaging shows. Those who have a true understanding of how to apply servos are those who have eliminated redundant mechanical components. That provides easier maintenance, accurate repeatability, and longer run time between maintenance and service.

Working with vendors who have a true understanding of servos and how to apply them will force other machine

manufacturers to follow.

PW: Do other packaging end users need to be doing more to demand the type of machinery that uses servos properly?

Lutz: The end user looking for higher reliability will only achieve this by implementing newer technology. Working with vendors who have a true understanding of servos and how to apply them will force other machine manufacturers to follow.

Those that don’t will in time no longer offer a competitive edge. Old mechanical machines require extensive maintenance to run reliably. Depending on the application, a machine jam could mean hours of downtime. Servos provide high accuracy in fault detection and automatic positioning on reset.

Getting the end user involved and working to understand what technology has to offer is the first step. Applying something just for the sake of using it offers nothing for the end user.

The end user must also provide an understanding of the true manufacturing requirements and less on specific machine design criteria. The color of a wire really offers nothing to machine reliability, only additional profits to the manufacture of it. —DN

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