Siemens helps machine builder put a cap on traceability issues

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Traceability of product, reliability of performance and ongoing support are the key components of a recent project undertaken by Siemens Industry for Precision Engineering, a special purpose machine builder based in Kent who manufactures the world renowned Dico capping and Gravfil liquid-filling brands.

With over 6000 worldwide machine installations, Dico has a rich history in the design, development and manufacture of cap-tightening and closing machinery dating back to the late 1940s. Its management team turned to Siemens to help them with the development of automation technology controls for its Dico servo-capping machine used to apply caps to containers in a variety of industrial sectors.

In this case, their customer had a clear requirement for full traceability on every container capped, ensuring that the cap-tightening process could be monitored, measured and data acquired for future analysis in the unlikely event of an issue once product was released to market.

Rick Aitchison, sales manager for ‘Dico & Gravfil’ outlines the project: “The capping machine had to provide torque feedback for every single cap tightened. This would provide full traceability on all product from manufacture to point of sale and beyond, providing peace of mind that all caps had been applied to the correct tightening specification.”

The capping machine undertakes a number of other functions including a fully integrated vision system checking cap condition prior to application, and a fully integrated coding system marking a unique serial number on every container. For every cap tightened, the machine PC records the acquired tightening data and a time-stamped graph is automatically created and stored. This information is then available should its retrieval be necessary at any point in the future.

Once assembled, containers and caps leave the machine; an automatic reject system will reject any out-of-specification containers according to the user-configured process parameters, with only correctly applied product proceeding to the next part of the production process.

Russell Wheeler for Siemens Industry comments: “Precision Engineering was attracted by the wide-ranging benefits our automation technology could deliver. A combination of the integrated safety functionality, the connectivity of the drives and the remote diagnostic fault-finding capabilities for machines shipped around the globe, ensured we delivered a bespoke, cost effective solution for its Dico capping machinery.”

Traceability intelligence

Rick Aitchison sums up the results for Precision Engineering: “We have worked with Siemens for 11 years and enjoyed a strong partnership throughout this capping machine project. With the first-class support and high-quality products Siemens provides, it means we have been able to successfully design and build the capping machine. We are confident the machine satisfies the particular demands of our end customer around data and traceability intelligence for every container passing through.

“Thanks to Siemens, we can also remotely support our customer if issues arise with the machine without the need to send engineers across the world following installation. Using Siemens allows us to offer our customers the very latest technology solutions and we have been delighted with the results.”

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27 November 2013

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