Automated Conveyors Newsletter
Wrabacon Creates ServoMerge Conveyor Solution
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Wrabacon Inc., of Oakland Maine was asked to help solve a problem with a large cookie bakery. With substantial capital invested in a state-of-the-art cartoner, the speed of the wrapping machine on the line wasn’t fast enough to keep the cartoner running at full capacity.
Even bringing another wrapping machine on line didn’t fully solve the problem. Additional personnel were required to move the wrapped cookies from the added wrapping machine onto the conveyor leading to the cartoner. This increased operational expenses. Also using people to manually place product didn’t provide the accuracy necessary to achieve the greatest throughput for the cartoner.
The bakery wanted an automated system that would deliver the wrapped cookies from the two wrapping machines to the cartoner at a rate of 110 ppm. Although the speed of the system was critical, it was equally as important to maintain a constant and precise interval between the products as they entered the cartoner.
Because of their reputation for developing creative packaging and automation equipment, Wrabacon Inc. was brought in to help speed up the packaging system at the bakery.
Wrabacon provided the solution with a material handling system that merged products from two wrappers onto a single conveyor leading to the cartoner.
HOW THE SYSTEM WORKED
The system consists of feed conveyors and a merge conveyor. All driven by servo motors along with a control package to drive and control the servo merges and feed conveyors. The controller accepts pulses from an encoder driven by the belt onto which products are merged. This allows the servo drives to monitor the position and velocity of the merge conveyor.
The feed conveyor meters products onto the merge conveyor at a velocity and distance interval specified by the user. Wrapped cookies are decelerated, sometimes stopped and then accelerated as necessary to maintain desired spacing.
To control the flow of products onto the merge conveyor from the two feed conveyors a controller acts as a traffic cop to merge products in a uniform fashion.
The controller also determines the sequence in which the feed conveyors release products onto the merge conveyor and allows one or more feed conveyors to be taken off line while not affecting the throughput of the system.
The programming software used to setup all servo drives allows the user to define spacing based on the head of the trailing product, or the tail of the leading product and the head of the trailing product.
If you would like additional information on product handling, automation or conveyor solutions from Wrabacon, contact Tim Wheeler at (207) 465-2068.