Solutions in Action: Automatec

OEM Solution: Automatec

Automatec is based in Lubań Poland and specializes in a range of technologies for a number of different industries.

Its machine range includes packing machine, perforators, winders, pouring machines, machine vision systems, industrial robotic systems, labelling systems, printing systems and lifting beams. The company also manufactures prototype machines and can handle machine and production line modernisation.

The company bases its machine designs around the use of advanced control solutions, including Allen-Bradley® products from Rockwell Automation.

Using these products it develops electrical and control systems for the machines along with all the necessary documentation and descriptions which detail the work and operation of each machine. Its design department can cater for a variety of needs across a number of different disciplines, including the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and materials processing industries.

One of the machines in its range is a GMP 22 compliant Interfold fabric processing machine for pre-wetted cleaning cloths and wipes. The machine forms a web from standard rollers, and then moistens, cuts and stacks the fabric.

Equipped with an automatic system for changing the feed roller after the previous roller is exhausted, the processed materials Allen-Bradley CompactLogix programmable automation controller Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 servo drive family The GMP 22 compliant Interfold fabric processing machine for pre-wetted cleaning cloths and wipes are folded on special tables to provide the appropriate arrangement for subsequent operations, using an automatic web guidance system to keep the edge of the web in a specific position.

Peristaltic pumps are used to moisten the material before it is cut to the required length on a rotary shaft and then transferred to a stacking module. The stacker is a patented solution, which deploys two star-shaped rotary arms. The cut cloth is transferred alternately in controlled amounts to each star and centrifugal force is then used to place the stacks on special motor-controlled conveyors. The stacked packets are then transferred out of the machine at a rate of up to 200 packets per minute.

The machine exhibits significant efficiency gains compared to other fabric converting machines, especially those that deploy standard stacking systems. It also provides additional flexibility as the rotary arms can be easily replaced in order to adapt the machine to a wider range of products. There is also less waste in the process in conjunction with increased productivity. It also offers full microbiological safety and its modular construction makes it easier to clean.

The machine deploys multiple of Allen-Bradley products, including an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix™ programmable automation controller (PAC) for overall control. Coupled to the PAC are a number of Allen-Bradley Kinetix® 5500 servo motors which provide motion and synchronisation of the conveyors, the cutting knives and the peristatic pumps. Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 525 variable-speed drives are used to control the unwinding from the fabric rollers. An Allen-Bradley PanelView™ HMI is used for operator interaction and machine settings and machine safety is handled by pushbuttons and limit switches.

According to Marek Kowalski, Director at Automatec: “One of the primary benefits we are seeing from the use of this integrated Allen-Bradley installation is the PackML implementation within the Logix controller. As well as providing an industry standard interface and control solution it also makes testing a validation a lot easier. The integrated solution also means that we are using less wiring.

“With regards to our customers,” he concludes, “we are able to offer more flexibility in an innovative solution, allowing our customers to exploit the full capabilities of our machine in order to address their demanding needs. We can also deliver machines to the North American market and any other countries that requiring UL certified machines.”

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.

Allen-Bradley, CompactLogix, Kinetix, LISTEN. THINK. SOLVE., PowerFlex, PanelView Plus and Rockwell Automation are trademarks of Rockwell Automation, Inc. Trademarks not belonging to Rockwell Automation are property of their respective companies.

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