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Solutions in Action: AB FASA

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AB FASA manufactures packaging equipment for the dairy industry – for butter, margarine, processed cheese, yoghurt, cream, ice cream, milk, confectionary and other food products.

It offers a wide range of packaging machines, including filling, filling and wrapping, fill and seal, form-fill-seal (FFS), flow-pack, batchers, homogenizers, collating and stacking, glazing machines and freezing tunnels.

It exports its machines worldwide to more than 50 different countries: including those in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia and the Far East, as well as South America. The company also has a wide distribution network in Russia and the former Soviet countries.

FASA is committed to the development of new, technologically advanced equipment and its experienced professional staff, design & testing facilities and problem-solving expertise allow it to create innovative, customised solutions to address its customer`s requirements. All of its packaging lines are designed to comply with the food and safety regulations of the food industry.

The company's ARM Filling and Wrapping Machine is designed to fill and wrap butter, margarine and other edible fats in aluminium foil laminates or parchment paper.

Two product-feed options are available: hopper with augers or direct feed from the processing line. Capable of producing 80 blocks per minute (depending on the [product weight), the machine offers a wide dosing range and a large variety of brick sizes – from 8 to 1,000 g.

The machine uses a complete, integrated control solution from Rockwell Automation, from the PLC down to the pushbuttons. At the heart of the automation infrastructure is an Allen-Bradley® Micro850® control system which control all the primary axes, including the pneumatic system used for the cutting and folding of the wrapping media.

Accompanying the Micro850 control system is an Allen-Bradley PanelView™ 800 graphic terminal for operator interaction and Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 525 drives, which control the conveyors. Other Allen-Bradley components include stack lights, fibre optic photo switches, guard locking switches and contactors.

FASA also offers a number of options for the ARM machine, fulfilling even more customer requirements, these include: protective machine covers with or without locking system or minimal safety covers, a bactericidal lamp, an automatic lubrication system, a hopper sensor & hopper cover, a heated cutter for margarine and an inkjet date printer or a thermal date printer.

“Our machine will normally be positioned in the middle of a processing line,” explains Karolis Samušis, CEO of AB FASA, “often followed by a conveyor, which takes the wrapped products onto secondary packaging stations and eventually on to pallets. Its primary strength is its simplicity. The machine is incredibly easy to use and is far less complex than other units available on the market. But this simplicity is not at the sacrifice of flexibility as we believe we can offer one of the widest ranges of packaging sizes and formats on the market – from 8 to 1,000 g. It is also very stable and easy to maintain.

“It also offers interchangeable parts,” he continues, “so users can easily change form one package format to another to cater for changing market demands. The trend in the market is smaller capacity and smaller batch sizes, as each shop or chain demands different products and packaging.

“We went with Rockwell Automation after opening a US sales office last December. As well as offering us a much more accepted control solution for the US market, we also found we received better support than that from our existing supplier. Indeed, we removed all of the previous supplier's hardware and simply swapped them with Allen-Bradley products from Rockwell Automation – right down to the push buttons. As well as the excellent support, we have also optimised our designs due to having a lower overall part count, thanks to integrated and optimised products that also save space in the control cabinet. This has also resulted in less overall wiring.”

From a customer perspective Samušis concludes: “Rockwell Automation helped us from the very early stages and in an ongoing capacity, it is also able to offer better, quicker support in the US (and worldwide) with spares from local warehouses.”

The results mentioned above are specific to this customer's use of Rockwell Automation products and services in conjunction with other products. Specific results may vary for other customers.


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