Pilz is widely acknowledged as a market leader in machinery safety products and services, and one market in which the company says it excels is packaging machinery. Many of the products in the Pilz range are highly appropriate to this market, and Pilz also provides a number of services from which manufacturers - and users - of packaging machinery can benefit.
Packaging machinery is used throughout a variety of industries and can range from relatively small, simple machines - for example filling equipment - to medium-sized machines and larger, more complex systems such as packaging lines or palletising stations. Regardless of the application, Pilz has suitable products for monitoring safety functions. At the lower end of the scale, Pilz has a class-leading range of safety relays. Alternatively, if more than a few relays are required, the PNOZmulti modular safety controller is likely to be more cost-effective. Furthermore, on small machines, the PNOZmulti controller can be used to process the conventional I/O as well as the safety I/O, thereby eliminating the need to purchase a separate PLC.
For medium-sized machines, the PNOZmulti is still the optimum safety controller, being highly expandable and simple to modify via the configurator in the event of the machine being modified or upgraded.
When machines or packaging lines become more complex, customers can either use multiple PNOZmulti controllers linked together, or they could use a programmable safety system (PSS). This 'safety PLC' might also be used in conjunction with a PSSuniversal, a decentralised, modular I/O and control platform that is economical for automation control functions and/or safety-related functions.
Whatever the size and complexity of the packaging machine, there will be a need for other safety-related components. Pilz offers a vast range of such products, including safety switches, safety bolts, optoelectronic safety devices (light curtains), camera-based safety systems and emergency stop switches.
An important aspect of maximising a machine's productivity is high-quality diagnostics. Not only does Pilz offer a variety of operator displays that can convey the relevant information to an operator or maintenance technician, but the company's PVIS 'intelligent diagnostics' technology provides plain text messages with precise information on the fault location, clearly defined responsibilities, and an integrated 'root cause' display. All of this ensures that production is quickly restarted - and, as far as a machine restart is concerned, Pilz believes that a total time saving of up to 50 per cent can be achieved by using PVIS.
Modern packaging machinery frequently incorporates servo and motion control technology, and this is another area where Pilz can contribute. The Pilz Motion Control (PMC) family covers motors, servo drives and motion controllers. Moreover, the PMCprimo Drive, for example, combines the functions of a servo amplifier, motion controller and PLC in a single unit - with the added benefit of an inbuilt safe stop function. Going a step further, the new PMCprotego offers extra safety functions: safe reduced speed, safe operational stop and safe brake test.
So far we have discussed products for packaging machinery, but Pilz is also a leading provider of services. Depending on the customer's requirements, Pilz can undertake risk assessments, SIL (safety integrity level) determination, design and/or validation of safety-related control systems, CE marking services, and ESPE inspections.
Training courses are also available, both for the application of Pilz products and to explain machinery safety standards, regulations and responsibilities. For customers that wish to undertake as much work as possible in-house, Pilz can also assist with the development, implementation and maintenance of competency management systems.