MillerCoors Minimizes Downtime Losses With Thermal Edge Enclosure Air Conditioners

MillerCoors  operates multiple breweries located throughout the United States and produces such popular brands as Coors, Miller, as well as a wide variety of specialty and craft beers.

The company relies upon Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) housed in electronic enclosures to control their automated brewing and packaging operations. These critical devices can cost over $100,000. The they raise internal cabinet temperatures to 131° Fahrenheit and would quickly overheat without proper cooling.

The solution:

Thermal Edge Enclosure Air Conditioners
Thermal Edge Enclosure Air Conditioners

MillerCoors needed enclosure air conditioners capable of communicating with their PLCs that could report problems before high internal temperatures impacted component longevity and potential productivity.

The solution includes Thermal Edge air conditioners equipped with an EtherNet/IP port and communication software.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Thermal Edge in Wisconsin and Northern IL.


RFID Monitors Hose Connections

A solution from Pepperl+Fuchs

RFID readers and tags monitor hose connections
RFID readers and tags monitor hose connections

In chemical, pharmaceutical, and aseptic process equipment, process components and liquids must be transported from their storage tanks to a process reactor. It is of vital importance that these components are not spilled and that the wrong liquids are never introduced into the reactor, as this could result in costly process interruptions that must be prevented.

Small RFID read heads are mounted near the metal hose couplings. Reliable operation under harsh environmental conditions is assured.

Customer advantage
Process security and prevention of downtime by eliminating the introduction of the wrong process components and liquids.

What has been done
Chemical plants typically utilize continuous process methods. Process interruptions and errors frequently result in significant yield losses and associated costs. In order to protect such processes with nearly 100% reliability, and to exclude any human and external machine introduced errors, the hose couplings are equipped with RFID technology. A hose connection with an incorrect process medium for the current process can be securely identified. The transport valves for this invalid connection will not open and the error will be clearly displayed, allowing an immediate response by the operators. Important for these kinds of applications are reliable RFID hardware components and RFID tags that can be flush mounted inside a protective metal collar. In food and beverage applications, hose and pipes are regularly flushed using sanitary cleaning solutions. In this case, it is also important to securely separate the cleaning agents from the food.

Monitoring hose connections with RFID guarantees the introduction of the right material at the right time and assures that the correct measuring equipment is used for the process.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl+Fuchs in Wisconsin.  For more information Contact Tri-Phase Automation.

Level measurement in buffer tanks in bottling systems and machines

sick-buffering-tanks-filling-systemsAn application solution from SICK

The level measurement in buffer tanks is a key application in bottling machines. The correct level must be measured in order to ensure the liquid supply to the bottling systems. The SICK LFP Inox level sensor reliably distinguishes between liquid media and foaming. Using FDA-compliant materials, the LFP Inox is suitable for applications with stringent hygiene requirements.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Distributor of SICK sensors in Wisconsin.

Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get a Quote

Thermoforming Equipment with Electric Linear Actuator

A Packaging Solution from Exlar.

Powerful Roller Screw Actuators Replace Hydraulics.

Commodore Technology


The customer’s thermoforming equipment was using two opposing vertical hydraulic cylinders that came together to compress polystyrene sheets into foam trays at a high rate of speed. These trays are commonly found in grocery stores mainly in the meat department for meat and fish, fast food containers, restaurant take out containers, etc.

The customer wanted a “green” solution that eliminated the undesirable traits of hydraulics – such as mess from hydraulic fluid leaks, constant maintenance, etc. They were also seeking a higher production rate and improved product consistency.

The Exlar proposal consisted of an Exlar®FT35-0410 with high capacity screw, 2:1 parallel mount, oil ports with site gauge and a Schneider servo motor / drive.

The Exlar actuation solution nearly doubled the production rate from 20 cpm to 37 cpm.  It also provides significantly better consistency of the finished product

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Exlar in Wisconsin.
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Seattle Chocolates Replaces Pneumatic Cylinders with Exlar’s Tritex II ® Actuators

An application story from Exlar

Chocolate  dispensing machine with two Exlar actuators
Chocolate dispensing machine with two Exlar actuators

Dispensing and pressing chocolate truffles

Seattle Chocolates, located in Seattle, Washington, produces gourmet chocolate truffles and truffle bars. They produce multiple chocolate recipes such as raspberry, mint, and coconut on the same dispensing machine.


Seattle Chocolates used pneumatic cylinders to dispense and press their chocolate truffles and truffle bars. With the pneumatic cylinders, Seattle Chocolates adjusted physical stops each time they switched product recipes. This was very time consuming because an employee needed to leave the control room to the production level to make the adjustments on the machinery. Seattle Chocolates was looking for a solution which would simplify and speed up this process. They had limited space on their machine to mount electronic components and the bulky cables associated with a component servo system. Seattle Chocolates needed a compact actuator that didn’t require an additional drive in the control panel.


Seattle Chocolates found Exlar’s Tritex II® was the perfect replacement for their pneumatic cylinders. The Tritex II actuators were easily integrated into Seattle Chocolates existing PLC system and allowed them to pre-program multiple settings for their various product recipes. Now, the employee pushes a button to set the machine for the new batch of chocolate truffles. Exlar’s Tritex II actuator also offered a longer life than comparable products and was available in a smaller size without sacrificing force levels. Since the Tritex II actuator is fully integrated, Seattle Chocolates did not have to find space for separate drives. Exlar’s Tritex II actuator was a complete solution for Seattle Chocolate’s multiple challenges.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Exlar in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get A Quote

Exlar’s GSX Actuators Help Osgood Industries Save Space on Filling Machines

Exlar’s GSX actuators are used in filling machines
Exlar’s GSX actuators are used in filling machines
An application story from Exlar
Machines that fill containers with yogurt or other similar products.
The Challenge

Osgood Industries used a variety of methods, from air cylinders to servo motor/gearbox combinations, to control the nozzles on the filling mechanism. These mechanisms took up a large amount of space and made it difficult to control the exact amount of product loaded in to each container. As such, Osgood was looking for an alternative solution which would allow for more precise filling of each container. They also needed a compact solution because of the limited space in their filling machines. Osgood wanted a product that would eliminate the need to purchase multiple components and reduce assembly time. Finally, Osgood needed a motion control system that would operate for 10 years without replacement.

Application Solution
Exlar’s GSX series actuators provided an ideal solution for Osgood Industries’ requirements. The GSX actuators allowed for very precise control of the volume of product loaded into each container. Furthermore, Exlar’s GSX series actuators are very compact, which allowed Osgood to actually reduce the amount of space in the machine for the motion control solution. With Exlar’s GSX actuators, Osgood did not have to purchase various components such as motors, actuators, and mounting hardware, reducing the amount of time they had to spend on engineering. Moreover, with a reduced component count assembly time was reduced and reliability increased. In addition, Exlar’s actuators have proven they will last, running for up to fifteen years in other similar applications.

More precise filling of containers

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Exlar in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get A Quote

Heineken brewery upgrades production line with VLT® FlexConcept®

A customer success story from Danfoss Drives

The famous Austrian brewery, Wieselburger constantly aims to use the newest technology to ensure high product quality and efficiency. Danfoss VLT® FlexConcept® helps them secure flexibility, fewer motor variants and energy efficient operation.

The brewery in Wieselburg can look back on years of tradition. Starting as an independent brewery in 1650 it is now the cornerstone of today’s Austrian beer metropolis, Brau Union Österreich Group, which is owned by Heineken. Skilled brewers and newest technology ensure a sustainable and environmentally friendly production in order to achieve the highest quality.

Efficient Upgrade of Fill Line

The brewery in Wieselburg can look back on years of tradition. Starting as an independent brewery in 1650 it is now the cornerstone of today’s Austrian beer metropolis, Brau Union Österreich Group, which is owned by Heineken. Skilled brewers and newest technology ensure a sustainable and environmentally friendly production in order to achieve the highest quality.

Unchained Advantage

One of the main benefits of installing OneGearDrives is that the factory no longer needs chains to connect the gearbox to the conveyor shaft, as the drive is mounted directly on the conveyor shaft.

“Chains alone introduce system efficiency losses of up to 10%. Also, they are cumbersome to fit and add additional maintenance costs for spare parts and lubrication. The OneGearDrive solves this elegantly and efficiently by simplifying the installation. The hygienic design of the drives also makes it easier to clean, as there are no cooling fins, sharp edges and other areas where dust can accumulate,” explains sales engineer Michael Hitter from Danfoss.

Easy Integration

By sharing the same design and operation principles as the brewery’s many other VLT drives, the new drive solution was relatively easy to integrate into the existing setup. The brewery already had positive experiences with the Danfoss frequency converters that were already installed in a central control concept, where the frequency converters are grouped in switch rooms or panels.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Danfoss distributor in Wisconsin.
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Vision system enables fast and inexpensive upgrading of tablet printing systems

ackleyAckley Machine Corporation, a global leader in tablet, caplet, capsule (hard and soft), and candy printing technology based in Morristown, NJ, USA was confronted with a serious challenge to its tablet printing business. Ackley Machine needed to be able to inspect all printed products in order to identify and reject bad items to comply with the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) mandate that each printed tablet be identifiable. The company’s existing technology was not suitable for meeting this requirement, being too time consuming and too costly. Ackley solved this problem by switching to Cognex In-Sight® vision systems, a solution that incorporates both camera and image processing in a single enclosure.

“Switching to a new vision system now requires only a short and simple validation procedure that ensures the new vision system provides the same functionality as the old one,” said Mark Ford, Engineering Manager for Ackley Machine. “The In-Sight vision system also is much easier to program because its PatMax® pattern matching algorithm easily finds the printed image on the tablet with a single command.” Ackley deployed this solution in its latest system, which prints and inspects over 400,000 tablets per hour, much faster than other machines, while providing unique single tablet rejection capabilities.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Automation Sales to learn more or Get at Quote

Reading codes on beer kegs using DataMan readers from Cognex

Cognex DataMan barcode readers help ensure fill quantities match stated weight.

cognex-reading-codes-on-beer-kegs-using-datman-barcoder-readersTo ensure the fill quantity matches the stated weight, the Warsteiner brewery, located in Germany, weighs their kegs before and after the filling process. Traceability of the kegs during the production process is currently provided by a combination of label printing, precision weighing and barcode reading.  The labels (and the Data Matrix codes) are subject to beer foaming over the keg and the cleaning water from the barrel washer unit, which make them even more difficult to read. There are often highly reflective water droplets on the code when the full keg is weighed, which would be a challenge for most barcode readers.

DataMan® barcode readers from Cognex are used to read the challenging barcodes that are affixed to the kegs Cognex DataMan 302X barcode readers for the challenging 2-D Data Matrix codes, which are robust enough to read the reflective codes on labels which are soaking wet and wrinkled.

The two weighing stations with Cognex barcode were a complete success for Warsteiner, saving them time and money. Because the reading station recognizes 100 percent of the  Data Matrix codes applied to the kegs, manual re-weighing becomes unnecessary. The DataMan 302X is one of the main factors in the success of this solution. It was designed to cope with the most demanding applications with hard-to-read codes on clocked or high-speed lines. The 2DMax algorithm gives it a crucial advantage over competitive products. In addition, the liquid lens autofocus gives the DataMan maximum flexibility in obtaining the desired depth of field. Additionally, the controllable and field replaceable red lighting allows the DataMan to be configured to provide the best possible lighting for any application. This unique design enables the DataMan 302X to achieve the highest read rates, even under the most difficult conditions.

Read the full story:

Reading codes on beer kegs using DataMan barcode readers from Cognex

OCR in extreme environments with In-Sight Vision Systems

cognex-cj-foodsOCR – code reading and verification for product tracking.

Flawless character recognition for product tracking

Mass production plus high standards of food hygiene are key elements of CJ Food System’s business. Trustworthy product tracking and data management of the manufacturing and distribution process is critical. In the case of the feed mills, the working conditions of the mill are difficult with extreme seasonal temperatures and high levels of dust and noise. In this kind of setting reliable character reading is essential to the data management process. The right products need to be stacked for their correct distribution destinations. OCR-Original character recognition in this kind of reading environment requires a resistant industrial solution.

After discussion with various vision providers, CJ Food System found the answer with the assistance of Gyro System, a Cognex system integrator. CJ Food is now relying upon the In-Sight Vision Systems by Cognex to assure the code reading and verification of their feed products. The cameras guide the robots ensuring the right products are stacked for distribution.

Competitor products proved to be unreliable in such a challenging industrial environment. The In-Sight Vision system is fully robust, meets IP-67 specifications and is resistant in difficult conditions. Character recognition and the subsequent data retrieval contribute to a seamless management of information ensuring trustworthy tracking of the production process.

Read the full customer story:

OCR – code reading and verification for product tracking