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Integrated technologies aid development of packaging lines

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At Interpack 2008, Siemens Drive Technologies is exhibiting integrated drive and automation concepts with standardised communication products for packaging machines and packaging lines. For handling modules, Siemens is presenting the path interpolation integrated in the Simotion Motion Control System in conjunction with the Simatic Visionscape machine vision system. Concepts such as the Optimised Packaging Line (OPL) for the integrated automation of packaging lines are also on show.

Machine manufacturers and machine users in the packaging industry expect an innovative automation system to shorten the time to market, reduce the engineering outlay and provide uninterrupted traceability of products in the packaging process. At Interpack 2008 in Düsseldorf, Siemens is exhibiting concepts and innovative devices for automation systems on the basis of the Simotion motion control system. These products make it easier to integrate packaging machines into the line and reduce the amount of computing power required internally.

The simulation of entire machines and production sequences considerably shortens the prototype phase for the machine manufacturer and thus reduces the time to market maturity. Through the use of services such as Mechatronic Support from Siemens Drive Technologies, the drive system of a machine can be optimised much earlier in the design phase, for example. Comprehensive simulation tools also serve to simplify commissioning and can be used for operator training. The products comply with the requirements of OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controls users’ group) and the Weihenstephan standards. As a result they simplify line integration and the exchange of data between the machines. For users of packaging machines in particular, consistent, integrated communication together with linking to MES devices on the basis of Simatic IT present the opportunity to reduce lifecycle costs for their machines and raise cost effectiveness. The link to MES devices also helps to satisfy requirements relating to product tracing and product management such as those imposed by the pharmaceutical industry.

The Optimised Packaging Line (OPL) concept supports the end-to-end automation of packaging machines and lines. This reduces the time to market while at the same time lowering the cost of engineering and commissioning. For the integration of handling modules into advanced production and packaging machines, Siemens is exhibiting the 'path interpolation' technology object at Interpack 2008, a software product that is integrated into the Simotion control system and renders the cyclical calculation of cam disks superfluous, thus increasing the performance capability of machines. This software product replaces the complex calculation of the cam disk function in the motion control system that has been required up to now and is claimed to yield higher levels of productivity, especially when used for machines with a high degree of automation and short cycle times.

As a rule, the various products passing through the packaging process arrive in the handling module unsorted. Machine Vision systems are used to determine the position of the individual products on the in-feed section. Simatic Visionscape from Siemens is an image processing system that can easily be combined with the Simotion controller via Ethernet. The vision system sends telegrams with the data of the identified products to the Simotion and at the same time makes the data available to the user program.

10 April 2008

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