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Servo control offers multiple benefits

Article-Servo control offers multiple benefits

Today, most beer, lemonade, cola, water and mixed drinks are filled in glass or plastic bottles, such as polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene. Many of these beverages come in multipacks made from carton board. For a milk-based beverage, Van Genechten Nicolaus GmbH (, Turnhout, Belgium, has developed a complete packaging solution for a carton-board multipack. An important part of this concept is the Cambopak multipack machine designed and built by Wilhelm Fischer Spezialmaschinenbau GmbH ( in close cooperation with a food and packaging team from automation supplier Bosch Rexroth Corp. ( Cambopak has been enhanced and improved with innovative electric drive and control technology from Rexroth.

After they have been filled, closed and sleeved, the bottles are fed into the Cambopak by a transport chain, which accumulates them as required. Single-row (one by one or one by three) or double-row (two by two or two by three) bottle combinations are then formed in the machine, according to the pack configuration that is being produced.

Rexroth IndraDrive servo drives and IndraDyn AC servo motors synchronize the following operations on the machine: the rotary-infeed system with its large-capacity magazine, the forming of the carton-board blank around the bottle combination in synchronization with the product, the tensioning and gluing of the pack and the end-folding operations, which give the multipack greater stability. Size changes are easier with the help of the new servo-control technology.

The Cambopak has four servo axes controlled by Rexroth's GenNext™ IndraDrive C servo drives with integrated safety technology. Integrated safety is relatively new to the food and packaging industry, says Rexroth, and putting safety features directly in the drive has many advantages over conventional approaches. Due to the independent monitoring in the drive, short response times are achieved when faults occur. This helps to effectively protect operating personnel when using the highly dynamic servo drives if a jam needs to be cleared behind the machine guard. The Rexroth IndraDrives perform all of the important safety functions on a decentralized basis at the drives and motors without any additional hardware or detours through the control system. In comparison to conventional safety concepts, this means that power contactors are not needed in motor-supply lines, and the amount of cabling in the control cabinet is reduced.

In addition to providing a safe working environment for the machine operator, the drive also minimizes downtime with the safely-reduced-velocity function. In the event of a jam, this function allows safe access inside the machine while it is online, instead of powering it down completely and then spending time resetting it. The drive-integrated safety technology is a main component for increasing machine output.

Overall, the heart of the system is the Rexroth PPC-R22 integrated motion and logic controller. The machine's central motion and sequence of operation are coordinated in the logic portion of the PPC, while the motion portion coordinates motor synchronization. Rexroth's VisualMotion 10 software is used to program the system. Recipe or product-changeover parameters are made directly through a human/machine interface.

Simple, scalable architecture is guaranteed with the use of open standards like the SERCOS interface, which is the only standardized digital-drive interface capable of the high-speed, multiaxis synchronization required in the Cambopak machine. Core technological functionalities, such as electronic cam profiles, which can be manipulated online, are integrated in the control system. In addition, OPC servers that enable extensive communication of production-management data are available to connect with the HMI system and to a central plant-floor information system. The open architecture of this system makes it simple to incorporate industry-standard fieldbus systems by using an optional plug-in interface card via Ethernet IP, Profibus-DP, DeviceNet, Interbus-S or ControlNet for communication with a downstream programmable-logic controller.

The end result is a multipack cartoner capable of faster changeovers, reduced downtime, increased throughput with tighter synchronization of motion and logic and built-in safety features to protect the machine operator.

Van Genechten Packaging is one of the largest manufacturers of folding cartons in Europe, with 12 production locations. It holds a leading position in several markets, particularly multipacks for beverages and dairy products, and supplies comprehensive solutions, such as packaging material and the necessary packaging technology. The de Somer family that owns Van Genechten has been running the company since 1834, and the sixth generation is now responsible for corporate management.

More information is available:
Bosch Rexroth Corp., 847/645-4073.
Van Genechten Nicolaus GmbH, 49-831-785-262.
Wilhelm Fischer Spezialmaschinenbau GmbH, 49-831-56-4-19-0.
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