Table of contents:
- Flexibility through smooth format adjustment
- Picture gallery
- Easy to integrate and network
- Book tip
- From powder to cardboard
- Seminar tip
- Transfer new setpoints via IO-Link
- Fine adjustment possible by the operator
- Read our e-paper now for free
- Accessible via an IO-Link master
Video: Packaging Systems Positioned With IO-Link
Everything has to fit: powdered milk food for babies is a sensitive product that has to be gently and safely filled into appropriate plastic bags and outer packaging. The packaging logistics behind it must be thought out down to the smallest detail. Rovema, one of the leading manufacturers of packaging systems in the food sector, among others, offers comprehensive turnkey systems for such packaging processes.
Flexibility through smooth format adjustment
Flexibility plays a major role in complex system systems, despite being able to produce a wide variety of products, tubular bag and carton sizes, despite specific product characteristics. It is therefore a matter of a smooth format adjustment for different packaging sizes in order to produce as efficiently and reliably as possible. Rovema relies on the electronic position indicators AP10 with IO-Link interface from Siko for the monitored and secure format adjustment both for the cartoning machines and for the tubular bag machines.
Picture gallery with 5 pictures
Up to 40 adjustment points may be required within a turnkey system, such as Rovema designed for the packaging of infant formula (children's food), in order to adapt all functions to a product variant. Mechanical position indicators proved to be very susceptible to errors and inaccuracies.
Easy to integrate and network
In search of an alternative, Remova examined various electronic position indicators. The choice finally fell on the Siko AP10 with IO-Link interface, because this device does not require a controller in comparison to others. This saves the costs for the controller and integrates the position indicators as IO-Link devices into the machine control much easier.
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"IO-Link is a communication standard that is becoming increasingly popular in the automation sector and is already being used increasingly as an interface for sensors, but also for actuators. It was therefore only natural to consider this for the format adjustment and to contact Siko. We have had a longstanding constructive collaboration in the field of mechanical position indicators,”says Ingo Hamel, Head of Innovation R&D at Rovema.
From powder to cardboard
Infant Formula is packaged in powder form in pack sizes from 200 to 800 grams. First, the powder is filled in parallel in two tubular bag machines into corresponding bags and then fed to a horizontal cartoning machine on two tracks. Here, one or two bags are placed in a folding box and provided with a measuring spoon before the box is closed. The ready-to-load boxes then end up in the final packaging machine and are packed in a transport box. The last stop is the customer's palletizing system.
In accordance with the respective packaging sizes, all 40 adjustment points along the system must always be adapted to the new dimensions. Most of the adjustment points are in the area of cartoning and final packaging, less so in the tubular bag machine.
The seminar "Safe retrofitting of machines and systems" helps with the practical planning of retrofits and conveys the most important requirements for document verification.
Transfer new setpoints via IO-Link
The associated recipe is selected in the control system for a new format, which means that all electronic position indicators are informed of the new setpoints directly via the IO-Link interface and are clearly legible on the backlit display. The LEDs of the displays immediately switch to red because the current position is no longer correct. The operator now mechanically sets all the corresponding points to the new values: The AP10 signals the direction to the setpoint via the LEDs and the LCD with corresponding arrows, so that it is clear where the operator has to adjust. If the position and setpoints then match, the LED display changes to green: position reached. This is done with all red illuminated position indicators so that the new product can finally be started.
The advantages for the operator are obvious: no more slip management, no long lists of values to be checked and documented, but all values are already available electronically and are transmitted directly to the position indicators. In addition, the adjustment is much faster and also safer, since the feedback from the LED lights is clear. The system can only be restarted when all corresponding position indicators light up green.
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Fine adjustment possible by the operator
In fact, the position indicators for the setpoints are given a certain tolerance range around a nominal value, within which the operator has fine adjustment options and the position indicators light up green. If he leaves the area, the display switches to red. This margin can be advantageous in the case of fluctuations in packaging material in the cardboard packaging area. If temperatures fluctuate with hot glue or if a cardboard box is slightly more grooved, it can make sense, for example, to slightly adjust the guides or the contact pressure from a folding tool. According to Ingo Hamel, this fine adjustment is welcomed by the operators who know the system and the product best: “The tolerance range allows the operators to independently assess the situation and scope for action. This makes the processes more efficient and the employee feels involved.”
IO-Link is a communication standard that is advancing internationally. Anyone who uses IO-Link for their automation benefits from many advantages. As a standardized communication protocol that is subject to an international standard, IO-Link is manufacturer-independent. Accordingly, devices and masters can be developed as communication participants. Integration is possible via simple point-to-point connections at the lowest network level and the wiring effort is low compared to fieldbus interfaces.
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Accessible via an IO-Link master
The AP10 displays are considered IO-Link devices, each of which is connected to an IO-Link master at one port, which usually comprises eight ports. From the master, the communication with the controller runs via another high-performance protocol, in this case Sercos III (Ethernet / IP is also often used at Rovema).
Why does Remova forego continuous communication with, for example, Ethernet / IP? "IO-Link is the much more cost-effective interface, which also places significantly fewer demands on the wiring and can therefore be easily connected," explains Moritz Müller, Product Manager Position Line at Siko Ingo Hamel, confirming the simple integration: "We were very impressed that The first commissionings worked right away - without much cabling and with simple parameterization and integration into the control."
What could have been seen in Hanover …
In addition, according to Moritz Müller, there is also a simple diagnostic function. IO-Link quickly shows which device may have an error or needs to be optimized. For this purpose, the position indicators can be exchanged during operation without having to laboriously separate an entire network ring. Thanks to the star-shaped plug connection to the IO-Link master, the affected device can be easily disconnected and replaced with a new one. The parameterization can then be loaded from the IO-Link master directly into the new (identical) device and thus adopted.
* Michaela Wassenberg works as a freelance journalist.