Precise newspaper sorting system wins Extreme Machine contest

Tempe, AZ—Tilt-Tray Sortation System and the engineering team that developed it at Automated Control Technologies (ACT) recently won Rockwell Automation's 2004 Extreme Machine of the Year Award after receiving the most votes from subscribers of Control Engineering (CE) and Design News magazines.


Tempe, AZ— Tilt-Tray Sortation System and the engineering team that developed it at Automated Control Technologies (ACT) recently won the 2004 Extreme Machine of the Year Award after receiving the most votes from subscribers of Control Engineering (CE) and Design News magazines. Rockwell Automation sponsored and organized this first annual Extreme Machine Award program in conjunction with the two publications. Nominees for the award were required to have used Rockwell technologies in their applications.

Tilt-Tray is used at the New York Daily News ’ printing facility to help sort and bundle 1.3 million newspapers daily via 18 conveyors with redundant controls. The new system prevents downtime, and has already improved delivery times by 15% and reduced waste by 13,000 papers per day.

Dan Hirsch, Design News ’ publisher, was scheduled to present the award to ACT’s president, Tim Carroll, in a ceremony today, March,

The five candidates for Extreme Machine of the Year were nominated by Rockwell’s engineers, Frank Bartos, CE ’s executive editor; and Karen Field, Design News ’ editor-in-chief. The nominees were selected based on their design originality, creative application of automation technology, and their demonstrated ability to provide breakthrough machine features or capabilities by applying automation.

Tilt-Tray’s networked control system allows the newspaper’s two main conveyor lines to make smaller bundles of 15, 20, or 25 papers, which allow more precise numbers to be sent to the system’s delivery stations. Each of the conveyors has built-in redundancy, which eliminates any one point of failure, and minimizes the impact of press downtime or failures. Delivering the right number of papers allows the Daily News ’ drivers to load faster, and get papers out to sellers and subscribers more quickly.

One controller monitors all of one conveyor’s lines, a second controller handles all of the other conveyor’s lines, and a third controller monitor’s Tilt-Tray’s sorter, which allows wrapping of different-sized bundles. Unplanned shutdowns are eliminated because each controller is backed up. “Even if a backup unit fails, each press still has one operating line that will enable it to continue to move papers out the door,” says Carroll.

Rockwell’s equipment used in the Tilt-Tray system include its ControlLogix system redundancy module 1757-SRM; Bulletin 160 variable frequency drives; 1336 Plus drives, DeviceNet and ControlNet communications network; and 35 PanelView operator interface terminals.

To read more about ACT's winning Tilt-Tray application, visit .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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