Machine Design

Servosystem switches cartons with ease and speed

When a company switches from filling cookie to cereal boxes, it requires a quick and efficient system that can handle the different dimensions of the various boxes.

The servo-driven Veronica uses electronic cam profiles for the carton-erector axis to provide precise product positioning that is synchronous with the belt's speed.

The Veronica vertical cartoner by Ultra Packaging Inc., Bensenville, Ill., features 50 different carton presets.

Traditionally, vertical cartoners relied on mechanical line shafts and linkages to erect and move cartons through the machine. Ultra Packaging, however, wanted to simplify this process, so converted its mechanically controlled motions to a servomotor and drive system from Bosch Rexroth Corp.'s Electric Drives and Controls technology group, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Servomotors provide precise synchronization of the carton, products, and tucking and gluing the carton flaps. Seven Bosch EcoDrive Cs drives and MSM compact ac servomotors synchronize, cam, and glue. A Sercos digital fiber-optic network provides a 32-bit command signal and diagnostic feedback from each ac servo in the system.

Rather than a traditional PLC, the machine is controlled by Bosch's PPC (PowerPC) motion and logic controller, which also completes synchronization as well as logic programming for the 24 Vdc I/O. Analog I/O operates two ac drives that run the carton magazine and outfeed conveyor at adjustable speeds.

With the servo system, Veronica reaches cartoning speeds from 20 to 120 cartons/min in continuous and intermittent motion. It is adjustable for cartons as small as 2 X 3/4 X 4 1/2 in. to as large as 10 X 4 X 12 in.

The system is virtually jamfree, because the machine is programmed to stop before a carton flap fails and causes a jam. Intermittent motion profiles are automatically calculated to maintain the filltime dwell over a broad range of production speeds and dimensions. The servo system also eliminated roller chains and instead used timing belts, which decrease maintenance work and noise.

Contract packager Packaging Division Industries LLC (PDI), Northlake, Ill., uses the Veronica to produce 48-2 count packages of cookies and other products in multiple quantities. The company specified its need for a machine that performed versatile, quick changeovers and start-ups.

The system eliminated manual adjustments for the length and depth of cartons used by PDI, helping it increase productivity by about 15% and reduce changeover time from nearly 6 hr to as little as 30 min.

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