Rockwell Extreme Machines
Bosch Packaging Technology is a world leader in the design, manufacture, sales and service of high quality packaging and processing equipment for numerous industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, ophthalmic products and related industries. Among its many products is the CUC 3001, a continuous motion machine that can process as many as 400 cartons per minute. Bosch integrates Allen-Bradley controllers, networks, and software into the CUC 3001 as well as other machines it manufactures.
The CUC 3001 is a stand-alone cartoner designed for applications in the pharmaceutical industries. The machine, which utilizes seven servo drives and motors with electronic camshaft, features high-speed carton erecting, product insertion, and carton closure. It can be used in a wide variety of packaging applications including blisters, bottles, pouches, bags, and syringes. Bosch offers the nine-axis servo machine with four-inch, six-inch, and eight-inch pitches. While the smallest machine can handle carton sizes as small as 30 mm x 15 mm x 63 mm, the eight-inch pitch machine can handle sizes as large as 155 mm x 105 mm by 260 mm.
Through integrated discrete and motion control, Allen-Bradley's Kinetix Integrated Motion eliminates the need for the CUC 3001 to use multiple controllers, each with its own I/O, wiring, and programming. A single fiber optic ring serves as the sole interface between control and drive, enabling Bosch to eliminate discrete wiring on each axis and improve immunity from electrical noise.
The Allen-Bradley control system architecture features a single programming platform for sequential and motion control. Using the tag-based structures and ladder logic in the ControlLogix control platform reduces the time required to program the control system on the CUC 3001.
"With Allen-Bradley controls, these cartoners benefit from the strong support, flexibility and quality that Allen-Bradley is known for," says Fred Homuth, Bosch Packaging's principal applications engineer.
Production faults on the CUC 3001 are excluded by the active-pass philosophy, with verification of all individual components prior to the assembling of the carton package. The operating panel can incorporate software for compliance with the FDA's 21 CFR Part 11 regulation.
Options on the CUC 3001 include systems for leaflet feed from the reel, sheet-fed, or as pre-folded leaflets; carton marking by emboss, inkjet or laser; and various standard solutions for infeed product handling.
Other benefits of the CUC 3001 include:
Low maintenance, including easy cleaning, trouble-shooting and size change;
Gentle product handling, enabled by the use of individual servo motors for product insertion and pre-insertion;
High operational availability and efficiency ratio;
Modular machine structure, consisting of the fewest parts and smallest dimensions possible;
Reliable, safe changeovers that can be accomplished in less than 15 minutes; and
Custom handling solutions.
Best Hydraulic Press, a Gasbarre Products Inc. company, manufactures a line of hydraulic presses. Based in DuBois, Pa, Gasbarre designs and builds powder compacting and sizing presses and industrial furnaces used in the powdered metallurgy process industry.
Among Best's most recent products is a 550-ton multi-axis CNC servo-hydraulic powder compaction press that enables component manufacturers to create complex parts while minimizing or eliminating the need for additional machining. Allen Bradley's ControlLogix controller drives the press, with an Allen-Bradley industrial computer serving as the interface to the press. The first press of this design is now in use at Ridgway Powdered Metals Inc., a powder metallurgy parts manufacturer located in Ridgway, Pennsylvania.
In powder metallurgy, parts are created using industrial presses to compact metal powders into dies. The parts are then heated to temperatures just below their melting points where strong inter-particle bonds are formed. Once this state is achieved, a wide range of structural shapes can be created for applications in the automotive, appliance, aerospace, office equipment, construction hardware, medical instrument, and consumer goods industries. Bushings, sprockets, gears, and pump rotors are among the parts manufactured in this manner.
This new Best press includes eight control axes, seven of which are used for mounting tool members to compact powder; the other axis is for the powder filling system. Five of the control axes are utilized for the die plate, independent lower plates, and a central core rod system. The remaining two control axes are utilized for the two upper plates. Machine communication is conducted via Ethernet.
"On each of these plates, a punch is mounted, which travels into the metal powder-filled die. In the compaction sequence, the punches or plates might move at a different velocity and end up at different points, but their movements are synchronized," says Mark Thomason, manager of international sales for Gasbarre Products.
"The biggest advantage of the press is control flexibility. With seven separate levels and eight axes, it is capable of producing sophisticated parts that eliminate or minimize the need for secondary operations to complete," says Thomason.
"You can manufacture them in nearly complete condition with a single machine rather than having to use a simpler press and then machining the part after it is sintered," he says.
Larry Shindledecker, the Press Division's chief electrical engineer, notes that Gasbarre has been using Allen-Bradley equipment for the past 25 years, largely because of Rockwell Automation's readily available, worldwide support and service; wide range of capabilities; and Gasbarre's satisfaction with the performance of Allen-Bradley products.
Interactive Rides Inc.
Las Vegas visitors wondering about the source of distant screams need only cast their eyes toward the north end of the Strip to get their answer. There, atop the 1,100-foot Stratosphere Tower, they'll see thrill-seekers riding several heart-stopping amusement rides, including "X-Scream," a giant teeter-totter that repeatedly propels riders over the edge of the tower and dangles them above the Strip. At the heart of X-Scream, designed and built by Interactive Rides Inc. of Logan, Utah, are Rockwell Automation control systems and devices.
Interactive Rides, founded in 2000, designs and builds rides at amusement centers throughout the country, including Rye Playland, in Rye, NY; Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA; and the Stratosphere.
"We love the challenge of providing the complete package—from the design of the ride to the design of the control systems and structural and mechanical engineering," says Jacob Rippstein, an executive with Interactive Rides.
The X Scream is one of four thrill rides atop the Stratosphere Tower. (The newest, "Insanity - The Ride," also was designed and built by Interactive Rides). X-Scream consists of an open vehicle that holds eight passengers in "escape proof" seats. The vehicle is attached to a pivoting track that propels the passenger vehicle approximately 27 feet over the edge of the tower and suspends them approximately 900 feet over the Strip. Traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour, riders experience moments of weightlessness while racing back and forth repeatedly.
X-Scream's control system includes redundant Allen-Bradley ControlLogix controllers, a PanelView Plus operator interface, and redundant I/O that ranges from simple proximity switches to AMCI multi-turn resolvers. The primary control component of the ride is a hydraulic proportional valve used in rotating the track. The valve is controlled by the Logix controller via an analog output. The redundant resolvers are the principal feedback devices for the angle of rotation. The system can rotate the track in random combinations to give the rider the uneasy sense that something is "wrong" with the ride.
Of course, safety is a paramount concern. The redundant controllers function in lockstep, allowing either to take over operation if an error in the other is detected. The ride also employs hardware watchdogs (SSAC) and E-Stop safety relays that must be set for the ride to run. If an error is detected, the ride fails in a safe position.
Minster Machines, a provider of progressive die machines, has developed its MHSF3 high-speed servo feed to uncoil and flatten steel wound on a reel and move it through the company's die machines. Minster, which builds the servo feeds at its Beaufort, S.C., automation center and assembly plant, has standardized on Allen-Bradley control platforms, including the Ultra5000 Intelligent Positioning drive, giving the machine precise performance and nearly doubling the speed of Minster's standard feeders.
Progressive die applications involve the molding of steel parts in multiple pressings that take place as the steel is moved incrementally through the dies. Movement of the steel through the unit is controlled by the servo feed unit, which feeds the coiled steel through rollers to flatten it. The feed unit then moves the steel into the press and drives it forward in precise increments, with a tolerance of 1/2000thof an inch.
Key to the effectiveness of Minster's dies machines are the servo drives that position the steel. While Minster has relied on other vendors' drives in the past, the company has now standardized on the Ultra5000 drive. According to Bill Badgett, Minster's marketing director, all of the company's products are standardized on Allen-Bradley control products.
"The Ultra5000 is much better than the drive we had been using previously for this machine," says Badgett. "We get more torque now and the Ultra5000 is much faster than what we had been using before."
Minster has installed approximately 100 feeders using Allen-Bradley's drives and motors. Other Allen-Bradley products in the feeders include a low-inertia servomotor and Ultraware software.
The feeder is capable of 800 strokes per minute—nearly double the maximum 425 strokes per minutes achievable with a standard feeder.
The high speeds achievable with the Ultra5000 enables a higher throughput for Minster and the speed of the feeder provides more time for execution of other tasks in the stamping cycle.
"We could have achieved these high speeds before by using mechanical feeds, but servo motors are approaching the same kind of performance, and they're completely programmable, giving us tremendous advantages in many areas," says Badgett.
"When we sell users our equipment, the open architecture of Allen-Bradley controls gives them the ability to customize the control of those systems as needed," he says. "Likewise, it doesn't burden us for a customer to come back and ask for modifications to a machine's controls. The Allen-Bradley equipment is capable of adapting. You can utilize readily available software from multiple sources."
Vacuum Coating Technologies
Vacuum Coating Technologies Inc. (VACT) is an OEM that builds vacuum sputtering systems—some as long as a football field—used to coat large plates of glass for the building industries. At the heart of the Fairfield, California company's systems are Allen-Bradley controls, which have enabled VACT to more than double the speed at which the glass plates move through the coating processes. The controls have also improved the machines' handling of the glass plates.
The vacuum sputtering systems built by VACT apply thin-film coatings to glass that transmit and/or reflect solar rays. As a result, these coatings help buildings control heating and energy costs. The thin-film sputtering process involves the creation of a vacuum in which a gas plasma is generated. A magnetic bombardment of the plasma ions enables the VACT system to direct thin layers of metal and oxide to glass plates.
VACT has been using Allen-Bradley products in its machines for 15 years, and has recently begun incorporating the company's latest generation of controllers and networks for improved performance.
VACT's machines incorporate Allen-Bradley's ControlLogix platform, Kinetix 6000 multi-axis servo drives, and DeviceNet and ControlNet communications networks. The motion control, embedded in the ControlLogix controller connected to Kinetix 6000 drives linked via a SERCOS fiber optic network, are used to transport the glass plates—which can be as large as 11 ft x 19 ft—through the machines.
Motor starters for pumps used to create the vacuum are controlled from remote motor control centers set up as nodes on the ControlNet network. Flow controllers directly involved in the thin-film sputtering process are controlled via DeviceNet.
"The machines are continuous, online systems, meant to process a continuous stream of glass," says Mike Perata, VACT's engineering director. "The Kinetix drives, which control the conveyors, close the gap between the sheets of glass before they enter the system and then re-create gaps between them as they exit. This level of control allows users to stage the glass in three sections, each one cycle apart, and still run a continuous ribbon through the process."
Designed as modular systems, the VACT machines enable users to add or remove cathode-processing units as needed. "Allen-Bradley components simplify the modular customization of the machines with the help of DeviceNet, which is self-configuring and automatically recognizes modules as they're added, making the systems easier to use," says Perata.
Allen-Bradley controllers and networks have enabled VACT's systems to keep up with customer demand for greater speed and higher throughput.
"Five years ago, our machines ran on a 60-second cycle. That means that every 60 seconds, the users could bring in a new piece of glass," says Perata. "Now, they're running at an average of 30 seconds, and some installations have achieved 20-second cycles."
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