Perfect start on the fast track

A customer success story from Cognex.

Tighter insulation regulations and rising energy prices are fueling the demand for plastic windows. Plastic combines good insulating properties for both heat and noise with low maintenance costs. Even in terms of aesthetics, plastic windows have overtaken wood and aluminum in popularity because of their wide variety of colors and designs. Growing variety and rising demand require production lines to be more flexible with higher throughputs.

A hurdle just before the finish line
Just before completing the planning phase for the new cutting center, Arndt Fenstertechnik realized that the process had issues in the material feed area, one of the first steps. Incorrectly-fed frame parts could damage the line, resulting in costly down-time. Hundreds of different types of profiles, need to be distinctly identified in a matter of seconds.

The company searched for a reliable, low-cost solution to optimize this important step. After intensive research, they selected the In-Sight Micro 1100 in collaboration with Peter Scholz Software+Engineering GmbH of Weiden, Germany.

100 types in seconds
A central IT unit indicates which tubular profile should be placed upon the conveyor by the operator. The In-Sight vision system recognizes the profile cross-section and matches the previously programmed data to ensure the appropriate tube has been put into place. The window frame profiles can differ in terms of both external contour and the internal chambers and many vary only in terms of their dimensions.

The smart vision system, measuring just 30 mm x 30 mm x 60 mm, can guarantee up to 100 profile switches a day, maintaining a reliable process. And equipped with a VisionView® user interface, the operator can monitor the current production process.

It is important to Arndt Fenstertechnik to put the maintenance and installation of new profile data in the hands of its own employees. As the extensive product portfolio of window profiles is continuously expanding, the goal is to minimize the costs of frequent reprogramming. One of the great strengths of the In-Sight Micro 1100 is its EasyBuilder® configuration software. New profile detection patterns can be programmed with a few strokes of the keyboard. The intuitive, user-friendly interface leads a user through the entire set-up process until the application is complete. Once configured, the In-Sight Micro 1100 ensures short cycle times and correct parts feed without any PC input at all, enabling successful production of window frames on one of Europe’s fastest lines.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Bottle Slug Present

A manufacturer of plastic bottles was experiencing problems with quality control. The bottles still contained a plastic slug after manufacture. Bottles with plastic slugs needed to be identified early and scrapped before being shipped. To solve this problem, the manufacturer used a mechanical fixture and an expensive array of photoelectric sensors. The solution was not ideal as the array of sensors gave inconsistent results and the mechanical fixture reduced production line speed.

A Cognex vision sensor was installed. The part finding sensor identifies a reference feature on each bottle. The reference feature is used to locate the area on the bottle where the slug would be present. It then uses an array of 12 brightness sensors to inspect for the presence of a slug. Use of the part finding sensor to locate the inspection points provides consistent and reliable readings even when bottle position varies. Additionally, the part finding sensor replaces the need for a mechanical fixture. As an added benefit, its capability of storing 16 jobs allowed the manufacturer to customize the sensor for different bottles, reducing job change turnover time.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Achieving Industry Leading Precision Velocity Control in Coating and Laminating Applications

An application solution from Kollmorgen

km-velocityIn web handling, velocity ripple causes uneven coating and unsightly horizontal bars across the substrate. There is one solution to overcome these challenges- perfect velocity control.
There are a number of factors that directly impact the ripple problem including Mechanical transmissions cause tooth or belt chatter, and each gear tooth or timing belt will cause a torque/velocity perturbation in the roll resulting in the “bar” effect, sometimes referred as banding. Machine mechanics, along with imperfections in the motor, feedback device, and drive control loop, combine to foil the notion of perfect velocity. Correcting for these variables will go along way toward achieving  the desired velocity control.  The motor’s primary contribution to velocity ripple is its electromagnetic cogging. which is usually at the pole or slot frequency or some multiple of it. The best way to overcome electromagnetic cogging is to begin with a low cogging motor that requires less correction.  All standard Kollmorgen motors, including AKM, Direct Drive Rotary, (DDR) and Cartridge DDR are under 1% pk-pk cogging. They are superior due to electromagnetic design and simulation of the electromagnetic circuit.

Benefit
Cartridge DDR or Frameless direct drive motors are the best weapon on the precision coating lines because they eliminate mechanical transmission, and with Cartridge DDR having the added advantage of being easy to implement.  Read the whitepaper

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

MEAF Machinery BV – Thermoforming

A application story from Exlar

meaf-machiners-bv-thermoformingAPPLICATION CHALLENGE

Providing higher possible mould forces and a smoother motion profile along with long service life was the goal for MEAF Machinery while designing their new KSM600 high capacity thermoforming machine. This machine, utilizing air and plug-assisted forming, enables very accurate control of the wall thickness of the plastic to form ribs and contours, resulting in a final stable plastic product.

EXLAR SOLUTION

Exlar roller screw actuator technology was chosen over less capable linear motion solutions for this application.  Ball screw average life expectancy would not meet the service requirements of the KSM600 machine. Pneumatic cylinders could not produce a sufficiently high force and stiffness for pressing and rotating. By choosing two Exlar ®FT60 actuators and one GSX60 integrated actuator, MEAF replaced the pneumatic plug drive and the cam system for opening and closing the mould. Not only were the objectives of long life and increased load met, but an electric cam profile provided by the Exlar actuators resulted in a smoother motion profile.

EXLAR PRODUCTS

FT60 Force tube actuators and GSX60 integrated actuators were used to replace the cam system.  Read more

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

How to create nothing – faster

A plastic injection molding application story from Exlar

exlar-tritex-11-actuartorWhether for vacuum cleaners, hearing aids, or blood filters, engineers who design the tool systems for injection molded plastic parts face challenges familiar to everyone: “How fast; how accurate; how long; and (like always) how much?”

Challenge:
In many cases, the right answer to each of these questions has been made possible by re-evaluating the role that hydraulics have traditionally played in that arena. For generations, hydraulic cylinders were the motion control devices of choice for moldmakers. But today, when it comes to creating the precise,rapid motions that typically happen in these molds, electro-mechanical actuators with integrated motors (like the Exlar GSX Series) are getting more attention. According to Jeff Nichols,President of ASIC Corporation, a systems integrator headquartered in West Chester, OH, “In many respects, moldmaking is about creating voids. It’s easy to put resin where you want it — the trick is making sure nothing goes where something else needs to be later.”

Application:
It’s a boy-girl thing. Molds are generally male/female assemblies where the male (or core) forms the finished part’s concave surface. It creates the all-important “nothing”. On a laptop shell, that void houses the electronics;on a plastic plate the voids create separate places for baked beans and potato salad. Cycle time is where money gets made. Volumetrics, gate design, temperature controls … mold makers use a host of tools to fill a mold quickly. But after that’s done, the mold still has to be cycled. How fast the core can be moved in and out impacts production. Traditional hydraulic cylinders are fast. But ASIC reports that in some applications, a GSX actuator can enhance cycle rates by letting related operations get started sooner. This is possible because this kind of actuator constantly feeds the core’s actual position and motion status back to the controller. Longer tool life is an added benefit. “Every time we can replace a hydraulic cylinder with an Exlar electromechanical actuator, we can virtually guarantee a longer tool life.” Nichols continued, “That actuator lets us get the core inserted faster without just slamming the mold together violently. Less stress means longer life.” Retasking the same actuator on different projects is easy. Especially in retrofit situations, ASIC always addresses reuse in their cost analysis. According to Nichols there are caseswhere an actuator spec’d for one mold has more power than needed because it could be reused on another assembly that did require that additional power. “These actuators are really simple to retask. You just plug a laptop into the drive, feed it a new motion profile, and it’s ready to go.”said Nichols. So, how difficult is it to retrofit hydraulic cylinders with electromechanical actuators? The Exlar actuators that ASIC uses are truly “plug ‘n play”. A hydraulic cylinder’s two hoses are replaced with a pair of electrical connections. The mounting flanges are all industry standard. And because the GSX has an internal motor, both have the same form factor. Thus, for comparable stroke lengths, the GSX units fit in the same space.

Benefit:
Cleaner, Quieter and Less Expensive to Run

Read the full story

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

Injection Molding Company Increases Throughput and Eliminates Mess and Maintenance with Integrated Electric Actuators

An application story from Exlar

exlar-bottle-cap-pic1_medAPPLICATION
Injection Molding:
Ejection of molded parts from mold.

CUSTOMER
A plastic bottle cap manufacturing company located in Europe.

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE
Throughput goals were not attainable with existing hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder solution. In addition, the existing solution required significant maintenance over the life of the machine resulting in an unacceptable amount of machine downtime.

SOLUTION
The customer selected the Exlar®GSM and GSX Integrated  Motor / Actuator due to their high power density and speed. In addition, the compact form factor of the GSM and GSX  (comparable to a hydraulic cylinder) required minimal engineering design changes to accommodate.

According to the customer, in addition to offering a superior product solution the Exlar service and support team provided a high level of communication throughout the project and specifically addressed all needs of the application.

RESULTS
Converting to the Exlar GSM and GSX products resulted in a significant increase in machine productivity, both in terms of increased throughput and reduced machine maintenance/downtime. Additional benefits of the Exlar solution include increased part quality and reduced scrap.

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

Automated High-Speed Pallet Storage and Data Capture

Here is a solution from Cognex for warehouses.

automated-high-speed-pallet-storage-and-data-captureImage-based barcode readers from Cognex replace laser scanners in EDEKA distribution centers

EDEKA is investing strongly in new distribution centers. The facility in Berbersdorf opened in 2015 and has worked very successfully thanks in part to the high level of automation. To ensure smooth operations, EDEKA decided to replace their laser scanners with image-based barcode readers from Cognex.

In April 2015, after 2 years of construction, EDEKA’s most modern distribution center located in Berbersdorf opened its doors. Around 125 million Euros were invested in the new 50,000 square meter building, situated on premises of more than 200,000 square meters. Almost 380,000 pallets, containers, thermotainers and receptacles are handled there per day, utilizing 60% of total capacity.

This new distribution center combines the 2 Hof and Borna warehouse locations and was designed for high efficiency. The racks are 20 meters high with over 1 million cubic meters of enclosed space available. It is also capable of handling up to 400 trucks at the incoming and outgoing goods portals each day.

Unloading goods

No sooner does a truck arrive at the ramp than the portal opens and unloading begins. Classic industrial trucks are used in the receiving area for dry goods. The pallets are transported by forklift out of the truck to the delivery points, also known as “pick passes”. There are a total of 6 pick passes in the dry goods area alone. Around 60 truckloads each averaging 30 pallets need to be processed here every day. Unloading a truck takes an hour on average, which means there are about 2 minutes available to move each pallet from the truck into the warehouse.

Quick and reliable capture of article data

Given the volume of goods received and shipped each day, it is absolutely vital to read and verify the manufacturer labels automatically to ensure the logistics operation run smoothly. Cognex DataMan image-based barcode readers read 1-D and 2-D codes extremely quickly and are able to validate the read result immediately. For this reason, more and more distribution centers are moving away from laser-based devices with complex line scan technology to image-based systems. Cognex DataMan barcode readers facilitate system integration because, thanks to the easy-to-use system interface and simple Java scripting, they can be integrated into the Witron control technology and warehouse management system seamlessly, providing direct connection to the material flow computer.

After entry of the pallet weight and dimensions, it is vital to read and validate the labels containing GS1 codes. GS1 is an organization that issues article numbers, to which the EAN International and Uniform Code Council (EAN-UCC) also belongs. Every pick pass in the dry goods warehouse is equipped with 4 DataMan 363 fixed-mount barcode readers – 2 on each side of each pick pass, totaling 64 readers running on a two-shift system every day. The 2 readers per side jointly cover a very large field of view, allowing them to locate and read the codes no matter the position or orientation of the pallet. Once the photo eyes have detected the pallet and activated the Cognex barcode readers, the readers identify the labels and acquire the data, even if the conditions are unfavorable.  As soon as a label has been read, the DataMan software verifies that the data contained within the code complies with GS1 data formatting rules. If a label is either unreadable or the data does not comply with the GS1 rules, the pallet is rejected and an image of the label is exported via TCP/IP to an FTP network location. For EDEKA, this data has become critical for supplier education on barcode quality and data conformity. It is improving process quality and performance, already upstream in EDEKA’s supply chain with a true approach for Logistics 4.0.

Image-based code readers replace laser scanners

It is possible for labels to become damaged during transport or unloading from the truck. Using patented software with Hotbars image analysis technology, Cognex readers decode even the most compromised 1-D barcodes greater than 0.8 pixels per module and achieve a read rate of up to 99.99%. This represents an 8% increase in read rates compared to the previous laser-based system thanks to Cognex readers’ ability to reliably read damaged, distorted, blurred, scratched and low-contrast codes and codes with a low height. Not only were laser scanners unable to read these challenging codes, they also did not offer performance feedback available with image-based systems.

In addition, the DataMan 363 readers are able to read materials covered by reflective, glossy film. This has greatly improved warehouse productivity since if codes cannot be read, the belt stops and the operator in the receiving area at EDEKA has to enter the manufacturer data manually. 

Strong benefits for logistics

Image-based readers, like the Cognex DataMan 363, are faster and more flexible than laser scanners. Using high depth of field and a large field of view, they are able to read several codes simultaneously, regardless of the orientation of the imprint or label. Unlike laser-based systems that have moving parts that can wear out or fail, DataMan image-based barcode readers have a robust, solid-state design. That means less wear and, therefore, less maintenance. DataMan 363 barcode readers are also easier to set up and install. The integrated and controllable lighting and the liquid lens with adjustable focus enable optimum setup in order to achieve the best-possible read rates.

An intelligent auto-tuning function automatically selects the ideal settings for the integrated lighting, autofocus and imager for every application. This tuning process instantly ensures that the reader is set up to attain the highest read rates possible for 1-D and 2-D codes. 

Watch the video:

http://www.cognex.com/videos/en/dataman-readers-at-edeka/

Read More:
Image-Based Barcode Readers from Cognex Replace Laser Scanners in Distribution Centers

Injection Molding Company Increases Throughput and Eliminates Mess & Maintenance with Integrated Electric Actuators

A Customer Success Story

Customer:  A plastic bottle cap manufacturing company located in Europe.

Application:  Injection Molding – Ejection of molded parts from mold.

Throughput goals were not attainable with existing hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder solution. In addition, the existing solution required significant maintenance over the life of the machine resulting in an unacceptable amount of machine downtime.

Application Solution

The customer selected the Exlar® GSM and GSX Integrated Motor / Actuator due to their high power density and speed. In addition, the compact form factor of the GSM and GSX (comparable to a hydraulic cylinder) required minimal engineering design changes to accommodate.

According to the customer, in addition to offering a superior product solution Exlar Corporation’s service and support team provided a high level of communication throughout the project and specifically addressed all needs of the application.

Exlar GSX electric linear actuator

Benefits

Converting to the Exlar GSM and GSX products resulted in a significant increase in machine productivity, both in terms of increased throughput and reduced machine maintenance / downtime. Additional benefits of the Exlar solution include increased part quality and reduced scrap.

Bottle Rejecting, Diverting, and Multi-Lane Sorting

SMAC electric actuators can reject or divert a single container only, at line speeds over 1200 containers/minute. Movement of container is smooth, fast, and gentle with unique Soft-Land™ feature. Container will not tip over because of force and velocity control. First the actuator must slowly make contact and start the bottle moving then do the high speed push after 10mm or so of movement. Total out and back is 50ms, 1200/min.

Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems

SMAC is capable of sorting and rejecting containers into different lanes. For example: Lane #1 is used for bottles with missing caps, Lane #2 is used for unlabeled bottles. The sorting capabilities of SMAC can be individually programmed and tailored to your application.

Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems on a Conveyor line
Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems

 

Reliable Detection of Gapless Consecutive Boxes Moving on Accumulating Conveyors

Challenge

sensor_tgw_2_medTGW is one of the world’s leading system providers of highly dynamic, automated and integrated materials handling solutions for warehousing, production, order picking and distribution. Together with its American subsidiary, the TGW headquarters in Wels, Austria, has developed a control engineering solution which enables direct handling of carton boxes. The solution comprises a pneumatic accumulation roller conveyor with low dynamic pressure and a corresponding logic module – the CRUZ-Control unit – which enables the user to remove boxes from the conveyor either individually or in a chain. In order to detect the boxes, TGW was looking for a sensor solution which could be integrated into the conveyor segment without taking up much space, required no setting work and could be connected directly to the logic module. By working closely with SICK, they were able to find a suitable solution.

Application Solution

Together with SICK developers, TGW created a miniature photoelectric sensor (Z sensor) for detecting the cartons that fulfilled all of the company’s requirements. Due to its miniature design, the sensor can be optimally installed in defined slots in the roller conveyor segments. The lack of complicated setting options, the minimal need for additional functions and the direct connection to the logic modules, make commissioning much easier, and the sensor much more economically attractive. In operation, the integrated ASIC technology guarantees high detection performance, due to features such as the reliable background suppression and safeguarding against the influence of neighboring sensors. The specific requirements demanded a special design that enabled the optics to turn steplessly in different directions, in a similar way to the human eye.

Benefits

– Close cooperation during project definition and development leads to optimum realization of the customer’s wishes

– Miniature and special designs allow space-saving detection solutions to match specific applications

– Focus on basic functions and direct connection to logic modules reduce procurement and commissioning costs.

The sensors from SICK play an important role in enhancing the performance of the TGW accumulation roller conveyors, as their miniature and special designs enable space-saving detection solutions to match specific applications. Their economical advantages are also impressive: by concentrating on the basic, essential sensor functions and the direct connection to the logic modules, SICK has reduced TGW’s procurement and commissioning costs. The close cooperation between TGW and SICK was also key to the successful solution of the task. Josef Reischl, Product Manager for Conveyor Systems at TGW Mechanics GmbH, confirmed this: “SICK offers an all-round package, from the quality of the products to the scope of services provided, e.g. for new products developed for a special customer or application.” The joint project definition and development meant that the full extent of the customer’s wishes could be fulfilled.