Can packaging customer improved speed and throughput of machine

Retrofit with all-in-one PLC + HMI controller and improve the efficiency and speed of a can packaging line.

For a recent project Bimetec, specializing in offering control automation, retrofitted the can packaging lines at Bakker Brothers Seed and installed PLC control.  The Unitronics Vision1210 and a 4.3-inch Samba programmable logic controller was use for the project.  These PLCs were a great fit because of their easy-to-use, integrated color-touch HMIs, advanced communications and single-environment programming software.

Two mechanical can-packaging machines at Bakker Brothers Seed were completely renovated. These canning lines consist of four activities: seed weighing, canning, check weighing, and labeling. The lines were specifically targeted for the renovation at two points. They first designed a new control cabinet for the check weighing station, where the weights of the cans are verified before they are labeled. A programmable logic controller (PLC) which had to meet several requirements was installed. The control cabinet required a large touchscreen to enable the machine operator to easily and efficiently access the necessary menus and operations. For motion and frequency control, the PLC needed sufficient communication ports, including Ethernet, serial and CANbus. Furthermore, the PLC needed to be able to connect to both local and remote inputs and outputs.  Secondly, a separate PLC was added to the labeling machine, so that it could be operated independently of the main system.

Unitronics’ SAMBA PLC with a 4.3-inch color-touch HMI panel was used.  Both PLCs are programmed in one, single-environment software package, an important cost saving advantage.

The Vision1210 controls the canning line; cans are led to a filling unit through a carousel platform with the weighing and filling station installed overhead. A buffer, mounted above the station, fills the cans with seeds. In order to meet the high production speed,  they installed two filling stations; while one unit is being filled, the second unit is brought to the correct weight. Each filling unit has a load cell module and the measurements from those modules are connected directly to the load cell strain gauge converter on the controller. The high sample rate of this converter enables efficient filling.

After the weight is confirmed, the cover is installed on the filled can prior to moving to the labeling station. The labeling station has the Unitronics SAMBA stand-alone PLC with a touchscreen. Having a second touchscreen was a practical advantage, as the operator does not have to walk to the main panel every time they need to adjust a setting, saving time and effort. The label is attached and the can’s weight is checked again.  The can then moves on to be packaged if the weight is correct. The canning line was designed so that it is possible to switch between the various types of seeds, can sizes, and types of labels simply for increased flexibility. the speeds of the conveyors and the filling weights can also be set using the touchscreen interface.  The new canning line can now reach a speed of 750 cans per hour!

This an application solution from Unitronics.  Tri-Phase Automation is a Distributor of Unitronics products in Wisconsin.