Flow-wrapper solutions cover a wide range of product packaging applications, from confectionery, food items such as medical products. Modern packaging machines cover a diverse range of production performance needs with particular focus on increased productivity, higher accuracy and greater flexibility. As such there are a range of solutions available to match these production requirements.
Simple - Intermittent
Low cycle rate solutions, often intermittent motion that stop for seal/crimp operation
Mid range - Intermittent
Servo solutions with dwell for seal / cut or rotational jaws
High-end - Continuous
Servo solutions for continuous motion process and reciprocating jaws for higher throughpu
Video: Example servo solution for 'Flow Wrapping'
This example shows how the wrapping process can be synchronized to a batch of
products (e.g. confectionery) on a conveyor.
The fast latch functionality of ABB motion products is used to capture the position of the
product in relation to a registration mark on the wrapping material. This 'fast latch' is triggered
when the registration mark passes a registration sensor.
From this captured position the system will synchronise product, film and sealing jaws to ensue each product is wrapped and sealed with printed wrapping correctly positioned. The motion used to achieve this is electronic gearing of film and product, with the jaws of the example above controlled using CAM or sequence of FLY* segments to create synchronous lateral movement with the film. For rotational jaws speed is adapted to meet the next seal point, which is faster for short lengths and slower for long lengths.
FLY segments are a special feature of Mint controllers providing a means of creating geared segmented motion of constant acceleration. An application note covering this topic viewed here
Simpler systems can use a 'discontinuous' motion, essentially indexing film and product then sealing and cutting. This type of solutions is typically simpler, lower cost and inherently lower throughput and easily achieved with stepper drives or low power servo drives and a simple controller.
Typical technology demands include:
Film unwind and tension control
Often handled by simple mechanical tension control or servo driven solutions depending on material and machine dynamics.
Product spacing / flight synchronisation
In some systems this is managed by simple accumulator and release gate timed to provide required spacing. Or product phasing belts to take erratically spaced product and phase to a flighted belt system as shown here
Film forming and seam sealing
Stepper or servo driven rollers draw film and seal the seam of the wrapping film, effectively creating a tube
Simple mechanical seal/crimp or complex continuous seal/crimp servo driven mechanisms
Control can be simple timed pulses for pneumatic control or more complex motion control of servo driven jaws
Registration control for printed materials
Fast registration inputs of our drives and controllers latch position of an axis, EVENT driven response then allows for evaluation of valid print detection, calculation of compensation required and triggering of correction motion.
Select or browse possible solutions below for more detail:
Analog / Stepper
Simple solutions can be achieved using a combination of stepper drives and / or analog controlled drives. NextMove ESB-2 can provide scalable solutions in this category with its mix of axis interfaces and features.
Registration for printed material can be handled by the 4 x high speed latch inputs of the NextMove controller
If an upstream Ethernet connection is required for a networked machine, consider using NextMove e100 which is also capable of analog servo and stepper control.
MINT programs can be ported to NextMove e100 or the plug-in MINT controller for MotiFlex drives offering different hardware solutions for different machine demands.
For more information on NextMove motion products click here
Real-time Ethernet POWERLINK solutions - NextMove e100, combined with MicroFlex e100 and/or MotiFlex e100 drives provides a real-time Ethernet based control solution for up to 16 axes of coordinated motion.
1 to 16 axes of interpolated / coordinated motion
Mix stepper, analog and real-time Ethernet drives including MicroFlex
e100 servo drives and ACS355 for basic conveyors
Onboard digital and analog I/O, including 4 registration inputs - can be expanded by CANopen
High performance motion functionality with high-level Mint programming
Single point of programming and configuration / remote access via Ethernet
MINT application code can be ported between NextMove controllers and MINT module for MotiFlex e100 to provide scalable solutions
For more information on our e100 real-time Ethernet products click here
AC500 PLC solution with IEC61131
and PLCopen motion. High performance, highly modular and scalable platform solution, for leading edge machine designs. Combine with ABB motion servo and machinery drives, HMI, I/O and safety products for a complete package.
Standards based programming with IEC61131 and PLCopen motion
Real-time EtherCAT performance
Distributed I/O expansion including IP67 and wireless systems
MicroFlex e150 (105-250 V AC) for film, seam sealer and crimp/seal jaws.
ACS355 machinery drives can be used for auxiliary axes such as conveyors
Ethernet and Fieldbus connectivity can be added for system interfacing to upstream and downstream processes
For more information on AC500 and PLCopen visit our product range pages here
The following application notes are relevant to this application: