Understanding the key components of a labeler machine

Tutorial: Labeling machines are commonly used as part of the packaging process and must be precise. The labeling process and various components are explained.

By Sixto Moralez and Matt Hardenbergh April 5, 2022
Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

 

Learning Objectives

  • Labeling systems are often used in the packaging industry.
  • Placement and positioning must be precise to avoid potential errors.
  • Software can help users overcome issues by making the process more automated.

Manufacturers apply labels to products for identification and marketing purposes. Automation is no stranger to using a labeler machine to apply these labels. In the packaging industry, these types of labeling machines are commonly used as part of the overall packaging process. Typically a conveyor brings product along to wherever the labeler is located to apply the vendor’s specific label to the product. Precise placement and orientation must be obtained. Knowing the components and functions of labeling machines can help in understanding motion control and integration with other processes.

Figure 1: Labeling system layout shows a typical machine with the components necessary to apply labels to a product coming down a conveyor. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 1: Labeling system layout shows a typical machine with the components necessary to apply labels to a product coming down a conveyor. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 1 shows a typical machine with the components necessary to apply labels to a product coming down a conveyor. The main components are highlighted in Table 1:

Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Servo sizing help

Servomotor manufacturers may have software to help with sizing a labeler axis. As a side note, usually the label stock reel and the used web take up reel are accounted for by separate ac motors to maintain tension on the web material.

Figure 2: Using the roll feeder mechanism, the main entries required for sizing are shown in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 2: Using the roll feeder mechanism, the main entries required for sizing are shown in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Using the roll feeder mechanism, the main entries required for sizing are:

  • Inertia and diameter
    • Driver pinch roll (servomotor driven)
    • Driven pinch roll (idler roller)
  • Press force
    • Typically given through hydraulic or pneumatic
  • Tension force
    • The amount of tension to maintain on the web material
  • System efficiencies
    • Typically around 95% ~ 80%
  • Web speed
    • Usually in feet per minute
  • Gear ratio
    • If using a gearbox, include the inertia and efficiency.

Use the inertia calculator button for the driving and driven roller inertia entries, which include:

  • Outer diameter of the pinch roll
  • Length or thickness of the pinch roll
  • Material density.
Figure 3: Inertia calculator in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software asks for outer diameter and length or thickness of the pinch roll and material density. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 3: Inertia calculator in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software asks for outer diameter and length or thickness of the pinch roll and material density. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

The speed of a labeler application is often given in linear user units such as feet per minute, inches per minute, etc. Sizing will be based on a web speed of 100 feet per minute using a 6-in. label with a 2-in. label gap between the labels.

Figure 4: Dimensions: Label is 6 inches, gap is 2 inches and label pitch is 8 inches for this example. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 4: Dimensions: Label is 6 inches, gap is 2 inches and label pitch is 8 inches for this example. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Within the profile editor tab, the total move including the label + gap is 8 inches, and the web speed converted from 100 feet per minute is shown as 20 inches per second. This gives a move time of 405 ms.

Figure 5: Profile editor tab in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software shows the total move including the label + gap is 8 inches at web speed, converted from 100 feet per minute, is shown as 20 inches per second. This results in a move time of 405 milliseconds. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 5: Profile editor tab in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software shows the total move including the label + gap is 8 inches at web speed, converted from 100 feet per minute, is shown as 20 inches per second. This results in a move time of 405 milliseconds. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

The motor results tab shows a broad range of series servomotors. To narrow the selection using servomotor sizing and selection software, use the check boxes for voltage, the motor series and any model, as well.

Figure 6: Motor results shows options for Sigma-7 Series servomotor selection in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 6: Motor results shows options for Sigma-7 Series servomotor selection in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

The motor details tab gives the highlights of the servomotor selected. With the speed and torque curves, ratings for the servomotor and the torque over time profile, the user can adjust the mechanical setup.

Figure 7: Motor details are graphed for a Sigma-7 1.0 kilowatt servomotor in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 7: Motor details are graphed for a Sigma-7 1.0 kilowatt servomotor in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Once the initial sizing has been determined, a gearbox or some sort of transmission can aid in the sizing of the servomotor by reducing the inertia by the square of the gearbox ratio. This can reduce the required kW output of the overall size of the servomotor.

Figure 8: Gearbox data entry within the load editor tab in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software may reduce the servomotor size. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 8: Gearbox data entry within the load editor tab in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software may reduce the servomotor size. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Going back to the load editor tab to add in the details for a gearbox allows a reduction of the servomotor as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: New results using a gearbox in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software motor results tab shows smaller servomotor sizes that could the application. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 9: New results using a gearbox in Yaskawa SigmaSelect Software motor results tab shows smaller servomotor sizes that could the application. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Notice how the servomotor selected can achieve the results for this application. The overall cost factor is also reduced by 30%, which may impact the customer’s investment.

Figure 10: Notice how the Sigma-7 SGM7A series 400 W servomotor can achieve results for this application using Yaskawa SigmaSelect software. The overall cost factor also is reduced by 30%, which may impact the customer’s investment. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Figure 10: Notice how the Sigma-7 SGM7A series 400 W servomotor can achieve results for this application using Yaskawa SigmaSelect software. The overall cost factor also is reduced by 30%, which may impact the customer’s investment. Courtesy: Yaskawa America Inc.

Benefits of selecting a labeling application

Sizing a labeling application using servomotor sizing and selection software is an efficient way to narrow down the motor selection. By adjusting mechanical details, modifying the move profile and enter in gearbox/transmission information, the user can make cost-effective selections for any labeling application. From there, users can focus on wiring and programming as well as learning how to use motion control software in labeling applications.

Sixto Moralez is a senior regional motion engineer for Yaskawa America Inc.; Matthew Hardenbergh is the northeast regional motion engineer at Yaskawa America, Inc. Edited by Chris Vavra, web content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

MORE ANSWERS

Keywords: motors, programming

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Sixto Moralez and Matt Hardenbergh
Author Bio: Sixto Moralez is a senior regional motion engineer for Yaskawa America, Inc. His diversified, worldwide experience comes from time invested in the field. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from DeVry University in Irving, Tex. Matthew Hardenbergh is the northeast regional motion engineer at Yaskawa America, Inc. with over 10 years of experience working in the industrial automation industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo.