Company : Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Category : Packaging and Labelling Equipment and Solutions

Key Products : Bottle Filling Machines, Horizontal & Vertical Pillow, Packaging Machine Solutions, Vertical Form Fill & Seal

With over 90 years of experience in providing reliable, high-quality products, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) is a recognized world leader in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. Embracing the spirit of its corporate statement, Changes for the Better, and its environmental statement, Eco Changes, Mitsubishi Electric endeavors to be a global, leading green company, enriching society with technology. The company recorded consolidated group sales of 4,394.3 billion yen (US$ 38.8 billion*) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016. For more information visit: www.MitsubishiElectric.com *At an exchange rate of 113 yen to the US dollar, the rate given by the Tokyo Foreign Exchange Market on March 31, 2016

About Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation Business Group Offering a vast range of automation and processing technologies, including controllers, drive products, power distribution and control products, electrical discharge machines, electron beam machines, laser processing machines, computerized numerical controllers, and industrial robots, Mitsubishi Electric helps bring higher productivity and quality  to the factory floor. In addition, our extensive service networks around the globe provide direct communication and comprehensive support to customers. For more information please see:

Bottle Filling Machines

At first glance, a filling application involving the transport of a liquid product into a solid vessel may seem simple to the untrained eye. But what few people realize is the high accuracy and continuous feed rates required for such high precision and high speed applications.

The aspect of ensuring that the control of the filling nozzle is completely synchronized with the rotational conveyor and flow controller is the challenge for most bottle filling applications. The controller has to ensure that the liquid is fed accurately into the bottle opening. The flow rate and nozzle height also have to be precisely controlled to eliminate the risk of frothing and overflow of the liquid itself.

By using Mitsubishi Electric's motion controller CPU (based on the iQ Platform), cam profiles can be controlled intelligently with software caming systems that replace hardware based methods which are prone to error and profile deviation.

In addition to the motion controller, the actual transfer and conveyor aspects of the application can be controlled using Mitsubishi Electric's intelligent and energy saving drives. These are integrated into the total system via the open device level network CC-Link. The fast rates of bottles being fed into the machine can be controlled by the System Q together with a CC-Link network, offering high transmission speeds of 1 Gigabit with program speeds in the milliseconds. The System Q also enables connectivity to upper level control and management systems via its Ethernet option module allowing real-time production data to be fed into ERP/MES systems.

Bottle Labeling Machine

Ever wondered how, when walking in a supermarket, all the bottle labels are facing the same way looking almost identical in terms of positioning and orientation? This is a result of today's high speed labelling machines ensuring labels are adhered correctly on the target product with as little deviation as possible. With bottle or cylindrical vessel labelling as it’s also known, everything is done at a very high speed with immense accuracy.

The label has to be fed at a constant rate to prevent stretching, warping, and even tearing of the label film sheet to ensure that all products have a label correctly placed. Labels come in a host of sizes and can be placed in a number of ways, be it cold glue, hot glue, shrinkwrap or general wrap around types. When designing a labelling machine the control architecture has to support all these variances with as little disruption to productivity as possible.

Achieving these requirements is second nature for Mitsubishi Electric's iQ Platform. Together with Q motions high speed registration functionality, labels are guaranteed to be placed accurately with little distortion. By adding the Q CPU logic controller, the rotary drum, feed roller brake and bottle sensors can be controlled easily and at high speed with simple ladder logic programming.

With the GOT1000’s high resolution touch screen, monitoring, debugging and label parameter profile changes can be displayed and controlled with instant connection via the high speed Q bus connection. Using the MR-J3 servo amplifier series with SSCNET III for high speed servo control, the film winding reel and tension roller can be accurately controlled to ensure continuous label winding being presented to the bottle.

From intermittent speed labelling applications, where product conveyor belts are used, to the more complex applications requiring interpolation and servo motor monitoring a wide selection of FX products is readily available for easy system integration. With the FX3U-20SSC-H controller, synchronous control of two axes over the SSCNET III motion network adds powerful benefits to labelling applications where timing is critical for label precision and placement.

Horizontal & Vertical Pillow

Probably the most common type of packaging machines, aside from bottle filling applications, are the pillow type machines used to package a whole host of products, from candy bars, pizzas and breads to pharmaceuticals and other non food products.

The high accuracy demands of this type of machine are not a problem for the Q motion controller and MR-J3 series of servo drives together with SSCNET III servo network. In addition to this, the Q motion controller incorporates a phase compensation algorithm which ensures that the encoder phase angle and cam phase angle are precisely in synchronization. In general this means that the packaging cutters can be precisely synchronised with the feed of the conveyor, hence providing an accurate cut at high speed.

Another important aspect of pillow type packaging machines is the tension control mechanism. Simply by utilizing the range of high resolution analog to digital converter modules available for System Q the tension control mechanism, which usually comes in the form of a potentiometer with a counterweight at is end, is interfaced into the System Q controller. This control can then be easily managed within the logic program inside the Q CPU, continuously maintaining the right packaging film tension in real time.

Mitsubishi Electric really offers a high function solution without the setup worries and costs that are normally associated with such systems.

Preparing for Distribution

Usually products require a final packaging stage that comes in the form of a cardboard case or carton. Case packers are designed for speed but also have a gentle rhythm as to prevent damage to the core products when being placed or wrapped around with a solid medium.

System Q is specifically designed to meet these needs offering a flexible range of products that can be configured for a specific application. The Q series motion system is eminently suitable for complex systems with many moving parts, as seen in typical packaging machinery. It offers the high degree of synchronization required to prevent errors in machine processes such as box opening, taping and transfer conveyors.

For simple bagging machines, where the end product is placed in a plain bag, pouch or sack, Mitsubishi Electric's FX Series PLCs offer a wide range of controllers with special function blocks, adapters and serial communication boards to fit a complete application solution. To prevent the foil bagging material from shearing on the tubular fill pipe, two synchronous axes are needed for precise feed control. With a servo system network using SSCNET III technology and the FX3U-20SSC-H controller, two independent axes work together to simultaneously start and stop the single speed positioning operation using the “mark to move” registration techniques.

Palletizing and de-palletizing applications are very similar, the difference being in that one is usually at the plant start point and the latter situated near the shipping section. These kinds of systems are usually simple in architecture, and do not require extensive servo control. However, still rely on high performance and high accuracy while keeping the cost down to a minimum.

For smaller applications, not requiring a motion controller, the QD75 module provides up to 4 axes of high accuracy servo control. Other aspects of control such as transport conveyors can be controlled using with the FR-A700 series of intelligent AC drives.

Packaging Machine Solutions

Each machine presents different challenges to the control system. Sometimes high quantities of I/O are required locally or are networked. Small controller size is often important, while at other times the key factors will be temperature, positioning, or analogue control.

For the machine designer, an ideal solution is to have a standard control philosophy that can be adapted to each machine’s individual needs. This is exactly what System Q brings to machine control. The ideal solution for the designer is a standard controller, which can be adapted to the individual requirements of an application. This is precisely the MELSEC System Q.

Vertical Form Fill & Seal

Vertical form fill & seal applications utilize servo motor technology to accurately pull and feed plastic film material from a roll stock to be heat formed, volume dosed with a product, and then sealed and cut to be carried away by an unloading conveyor. While the methods for filling and sealing vary from machine to machine, vertical form fill & seal applications are essentially organized into two categories; Continuous motion bagging machines and intermittent motion bagging machines. Product entering the feeder can vary from a viscous fluid to a solid material and will often play a key role in how the machine is designed.

Which automation components are important

As part of the Simple Motion Module programming environment, virtual servo motor movement can be commanded through an electronic line shaft in order to ensure that each actual servo motor’s movement begins at the same time. This control takes place through the LD77MS where the program is written in GX Works2 (which is a part of the IQ Works).

Application

Sealing takes place with absolute servo moves to seal the bottom of a bag, while simultaneously sealing the top of the bag that’s already been filled. A blade moves to cut the material in order to release each finished bag from the tube. The bag then falls onto the exit belt to be carried away for boxing.

Rotary Cutting machine

Rotary knife applications involve 2 axes of servo to continually or intermittently perform a cut, labeling procedure, or stamping process where the servo axis 1 aligns itself to move at the same speed as a feed axis 2 that drives a material to be cut/stamped/labeled. The servo axis 1 (or slave axis) moves according to the feedback of the axis 2 driving the belt (master axis) so that it can coordinate its movement with speed changes.

Which automation components are important

The LD77MS provides a simple solution rotary knife application. With high speed registration capability, Auto-Cam-generation, and electronic pulse compensation functionality during non-cut regions, the LD77MS can accurately respond to input pulses from an external encoder or a servo master axis.

Application

In a typical rotary knife application, the servo motor continually moves. If the distance between cuts is small (smaller than the circumference of the cutter), the motor speed during the non-cut compensation region is faster than the conveyor speed and vice versa. In this type of application, the cut length, label or stamp location may change and it is possible that the feed material may slip, stretch, or bind up, causing the operation’s accuracy to change. The addition of a mark sensor before the servo axis can help to compensate for these fluctuations.

Contact Details

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Tokyo Building 2-7-3, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku,
Chiyoda-ku,
Kokyo 100-8310
JAPAN
Tel: +81 3 3218 2111
e-Mail: info@mitsubishi-automation.com
URL: www.mitsubishielectric.com