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Case Study

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Laem System Creates A Converting Machine for the Food Industry

Leading converting machine manufacturer finds in Rockwell Automation the ideal supplier to create a machine that it has never built before

Solutions

Results

  • Optimisation of start-up and design
  • Speeds up the production process and reduces downtime
  • Reduces time and cost in the design and start-up phases
  • Ease of programming thanks to the presence of a single, integrated environment

Background

Laem System, a leading Italian manufacturer of slitter rewinders and converting machinery, has been in operation for over 40 years. Characterised by dynamism and a strong commitment to innovation, the company is constantly looking for solutions that will allow it to achieve improvements in terms of both growth and customer satisfaction. Indeed, each slitter, rewinder and all of its other machines are designed to meet the highest functionality, reliability and quality standards.

Well positioned in the European market, Laem System is also present in North America, Australia and South Africa, and is looking to strengthen its presence in these markets. To reach this goal and to respond to the specific needs of North American customers, Laem System approached Rockwell Automation to help create a slitter rewinder machine that, considering the size, type of treated materials and process of double folding, had never been attempted in the company's history.

Challenge

The main objective was to operate a system of double folding with varied materials, the size and type of which represent a challenge in themselves. At the same time, another objective was to speed up the production process by way of the rapid automatic replacement of the reels at the end of the working phase; without interrupting the cycle of the machine.

Commissioned by a company in the food packaging industry, the machine had to comply with regulations and the highest standards of reliability, accuracy and safety. The system of double folding, the automatic replacement of windings, the use of materials such as the spread, a special type of food plastic wrap, are some of the elements that distinguish this machine and make it a standard for the company.

For this project, Laem System chose to combine its technical knowledge with the integrated design capabilities of Rockwell Automation.

Solution

To support Laem System in this project, specialists at Rockwell Automation proposed using its Integrated Architecture solution in order to respond to the need for greater flexibility and reliability. This could help reduce the setup and subsequent startup time of the machine. The control solution supplied by Rockwell Automation could also contribute to the fulfillment of specific requirements for accuracy in bending and cutting, the maintenance of the correct film tension, the automatic replacement of reels at the end of processing and to meet stringent requirements in terms of safety.

The machine is equipped with 7 motors that wind the tape and four motors that position the mechanical components. The process involves feeding tape through two cones that fold the material twice before passing to the winding phase. Two turrets, which rotate 360 degrees, control the automatic reel-replacement phase at the end of the cycle. The turrets are positioned on a circular plate with two shafts positioned at 180 degrees from each other, and are activated by two of the four small motors, while the remaining motors control the knife and bending cones.

The Integrated Architecture proposed by Rockwell Automation allows users to manage all phases of the operation, control and display, in a single programming environment.

 

The machine is equipped with a platform that includes Allen-Bradley GuardLogix® programmable automation controllers (PAC) with integrated security, Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6200 servo drives for the motion, an EtherNet/IP™ network, FactoryTalk View ME for the user interface and control and RSLogix 5000 software for programming the control, motion, drive and safety capabilities.

Results

The GuardLogix® integrated control system helped reduce the time required during the design and configuration phases as well as reducing the cost of the machine itself. The user interface and the ability to configure the machine during the testing phase helped to accelerate the start-up phase,which does not require the presence of Rockwell Automation personnel.

The integrated management of all disciplines through a single programming environment has allowed Laem System to achieve its primary objective, which was to provide a fast machine capable of extreme accuracy and precision in the folding and cutting phases, maintenance of appropriate film tension, and a reduction in downtime by way of automatic reel replacement in line with exceptional safety standards.

"The foundation of the machine is a system characterised by well designed architecture and full high-level integration that caters for complex configurations with relatively simple tools in terms of programming. Very flexible, but at the same time simple to use, the machine betrays the idea that maximum flexibility must be extremely complex," states Davide Malki, Vice President Laem System.

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