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Say goodbye to half-empty boxes: Packaging machine sizes cardboard just right

March 25, 2014
Packaging machinery automatically cut corrugated cardboard into boxes sized for incoming product. The box forms around the product. Servomotors and drives let special packaging machines correctly size corrugated cardboard boxes for any product, so there's no need to fill empty box space with extra cushioning material.

Servomotors and drives let special packaging machines correctly size corrugated cardboard boxes for any product, so there’s no need to fill empty box space with extra cushioning material. Products go into the packaging machine on a conveyor and the box forms around them.

Schematic representation of CMC’s Cartonwrap processing: Packaging machinery automatically cut corrugated cardboard into boxes sized for incoming product. The box forms around the product.

The packaging equipment, called Cartonwrap machines, comes from CMC Machinery in Italy. Each Cartonwrap machine uses 22 servodrives from Minnesota-based Control Techniques Digitax ST, along with 075U2C/095U2B Unimotor FM servomotors and six Unidrive SP and 5 Commander SK drives from Emerson Industrial Automation, a business unit of Emerson, Eden Prairie, Minn.

The machines start with a roll of corrugated cardboard from which they create boxes. They change formats in real time by recognizing the dimensions of the product or reading dimensions from a database. CMC says the machines create up to 10 boxes/min. Labeling or printing systems can be integrated into the setup according to shipping needs.

The Control Techniques servodrives use multinetwork management via a central PC and Ethernet to coordinate production menus and motion parametric equations on individual process components. SM-Applications Plus option modules in each drive serve as automation controllers with integrated fieldbus communications and I/O. Using the modules avoids the need for an external PLC. The modules run custom software designed specifically for Cartonwrap machines.

About the Author

Leland Teschler

Lee Teschler served as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design until 2014. He holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan; a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and an MBA from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Penton, Lee worked as a Communications design engineer for the U.S. Government.

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