Advanced motion control for product feed, unique packing needs
Manufacturers have motion control solutions available to decouple and buffer between components in the production line in an automated way that is efficient and cost effective as a result of Polytron software development and the mechanical design of Finesse Manufacturing Solutions.
David Hettesheimer, PE, PMP
To meet the needs of manufacturers to feed and handle flexible and odd-shaped products, Finesse Manufacturing Solutions and Polytron entered into a joint venture to provide a better solution starting in 2002. Through the development of proprietary code by Polytron and the mechanical design of Finesse Manufacturing Solutions, manufacturers now have solutions available to decouple and buffer between components in the production line in an automated way that is efficient and cost effective.
Stores and re-feeds flexible and odd-shaped products in a way that is efficient and cost effective. Equipment handling highlights include:
- Receive product in bulk from tote dumper, upstream operation, or manual feed
- Buffer product in the hopper
- Spread the product into a consistent stream
- Singulate product
- Orient the product for the downstream operation
- Inspect and sort product for specific graphic orientation or removal of damaged product
- Correct pitch of product by increasing or decreasing the gap between packages
- Synchronize feeding into the target pitch on downstream equipment
The Smart Stick accepts unevenly spaced product from upstream unit operations and delivers evenly spaced product at a consistent rate to the downstream unit operation, such as a check weigher or cartoner/tray pack. Easily retrofitted, the stick conveyor is made up of short, intelligent conveyor sections to provide a higher degree of correction and throughput compared to conventional “smart belts.”
iQueue dynamic queue control
An integral part of the infeed conveyor, iQueue provides isolation of back pressure and intelligent feeding of product to downstream equipment. A sophisticated sensing system monitors the number of trays between the iQueue system and downstream equipment, providing real-time tracking of product count whether in motion or stationary. The system adjusts the feed rate and maintains desired back pressure by maintaining the appropriate product count in the queue.
- David Hettesheimer, PE, PMP, is senior project manager, Polytron Inc. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.