PC-based controls help packaging machines

Application Update: Bag-in-box food packaging machines from Pattyn Packing Lines embrace modular concepts, adaptability, ease of maintenance, reliability, high ease of operation, and universal high-performance control systems.

04/18/2013


Packaging machines, as with mechanical engineering in general, are subject to increasingly higher customer requirements for higher speed, more flexibility, and competitive costs. Machine manufacturers must keep step with respective market developments to survive. Belgian packaging machine manufacturer Pattyn Packing Lines relies on a high degree of automation for its advanced food packaging machines. The company balances performance and cost on the basis of state-of-the-art PC-based control technology.

In this Pattyn Packing Lines application, mechanical grippers pull the film bag off the roll, open it, and place it precisely inside the carton. Courtesy: Beckhoff Automation

Packaging must fulfill various requirements, so that consumers receive packaged products fresh and in perfect condition. The Belgian packaging machine specialist Pattyn Packing Lines, which is based in Bruges, designs and produces fully automatic bag-in-box packaging machines for the packaging of bulk goods: food products ranging from fish, deep-frozen bread, or vegetables and semi-liquid products, such as oils, greases or liquid sugar, to powders and granulates, all of which can be packed hygienically and freshly using a bag-in-box package.

Packing machine trends: compact, efficient, multi-functional

Requirements for packaging machines follow general mechanical engineering trends for modular concepts, adaptability, ease of maintenance, reliability, high ease of operation, and universal high-performance control systems.

“Over and above that, a packaging machine must integrate itself seamlessly into the production process so that no goods tailbacks occur, which would lead to bottlenecks,” explained Joeri Haegebaert, software manager and quality inspector at Pattyn Packing Lines. “In addition, our customers can choose between standard machines or solutions tailored precisely to their needs,” Haegebaert said.

Beckhoff EtherCAT Box modules with IP67 protection are designed for use on the Pattyn Packing Lines machine. Courtesy: Beckhoff Automation

With the new Ceflex-21, Pattyn combines the proven technologies of carton forming by vacuum suction and bag insertion into one compact machine, combining two processes. First the carton is isolated, fixed by vacuum suction, and opened, and the base flap is folded over and glued. Subsequently, film grippers pull the bag off the roll, open it, and place it precisely inside the carton. The perfectly controlled bag enables the reduction of bag dimensions, resulting in film savings of up to 30%. The Ceflex-21 has a production capacity of 12 cartons per minute.

“The Ceflex-21 clearly benefits from the modern drive and control solutions. The rigid compressed-air driven systems for carton forming and the opening and insertion of the bags are replaced today by flexible systems driven by stepper motors. The stepper motor exhibits a favorable torque behavior for such applications,” explained Haegebaert. The compact packaging module can be integrated easily into the fully automated Pattyn packaging line or the customer’s existing packaging line.

The integrated bag-in-box packaging machine is controlled by an embedded PC with directly connected I/O terminals for EtherCAT Ethernet protocol. Stepper motor terminals control the stepper motors.

Customer expects openness

“Pressure on machine manufacturers is continually growing. Increasingly complex functions must be implemented with ever increasing efficiency. In addition to that, it is important to find the correct price-to-performance ratio. That can only be achieved with a high degree of automation,” said Haegebaert. The PC-based control technology selected “gives us a number of advantages here: On the one hand, other vendors’ systems and devices can be integrated without any problems; on the other, the openness of the PC controller makes it easier for us to manufacture custom machines. Also, our customers value the possibility to log directly into a PC environment.”

Pattyn Packing Lines manufactures packaging machines based on the bag-in-box principle. Courtesy: Beckhoff Automation

After using the automation for several years, Pattyn decided to standardize on the technology, including touchscreens in the future, said Haegebaert.

Pattyn packaging machines

Pattyn Packing Lines, a family-owned business based in Bruges, Belgium, has more than 30 years of experience in packaging machines based on the bag-in-box principle. The company offers carton erecters, bag placers, fillers, and bag and carton closers. Food products are counted, weighed, filled, and packed in cartons or crates with a made-to-measure inner bag. The company constantly invests in the development of new technologies and machines to ensure a high degree of automation with all-around product protection.

- Information from Beckhoff Automation. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

www.pattyn.com 

www.beckhoff.com 

Online extra: Products used on the Pattyn machines - linked below

The following information about products used in this application appears in this “Online extra,” beyond the print/digital edition. See link below.



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