I4.0

The 5 automation trends in the packaging industry

Guest contributor: Hans Michael Krause, Bosch Rexroth

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i4.0 in practice: the 5 automation trends in the packaging industry

Next-generation packaging machines are being designed without control cabinets and are increasingly vertically and horizontally connected. Big data analyses, smart maintenance and model-based engineering have unleashed tremendous potential. But even conventional automation tasks can be handled more easily with open interfaces and integrated functions. What are the five major automation trends in detail?

What the packaging lines of tomorrow will be able to do

When I look at the highly dynamic packaging industry, I see four major challenges faced by machine builders: more individuality when it comes to packaging, more flexibility in terms of formats, higher availability and less space required for machines and lines. These challenges lead to five major trends in automation:

(1) Connected – the connectivity trend

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As a user, I need transparency, whether I want to improve system availability through smart maintenance, make my line more flexible, or optimize complex packaging processes. Without knowledge of subprocesses and plant conditions, I can’t analyze anything – neither on premise nor via the cloud. Modern automation technology and sensor systems now provide all the necessary data. I have to retrofit existing systems, but preferably without the need for programming or intervention in the automation. The IoT gateway fulfills this requirement extremely elegantly and can be set up in just five minutes. Machine builders can also opt for Starter Kit, which includes the Software Production Performance Manager (PPM), for a complete analysis platform from a single source.

The sweet side of Industry 4.0

There is also enormous potential in cross-vendor and system-wide networking via IIoT protocols such as MQTT or the open i4.0 standard OPC UA. At interpack, four machine builders and Bosch Rexroth will showcase the “ChoConnect” project as an exciting example of authentic M2M communication: Four locally distributed exhibition machines from LÖSCH Verpackungstechnik, SOLLICH, THEEGARTEN-PACTEC and WINKLER and DÜNNEBIER Süsswaren exchange information as a virtual production line for chocolate products using OPC UA in accordance with the Weihenstephan standard and create an end-to-end transparent value chain at the shopfloor level – without the need for an MES or control system. The individual steps of mass processing, molding, primary and secondary packaging automatically adjust performance according to individual capacities. The production process becomes more flexible; system efficiency increases.

Merging of automation, IT and IIoT

The fact that inflexible line PLCs will soon be obsolete is also a consequence of a merging of automation, IT and IIoT. With open interfaces such as Open Core Interface, ERP systems can be directly linked to machine automation, simplifying inventory management for machine components. Obviously, there must be also be a security strategy for regulating access to the control system.

(2) Simple – Make it simple!

The current trend towards fewer personnel per line has increased the need for intuitive control units such as HMI with multi-touch. Transparent and seamless visualization solutions are required – on the production line itself and at other locations in the company – in order to continuously improve processes and respond quickly when necessary. The ActiveCockpit interactive communication platform shows that such solutions are already available today.

Companies often need the ability to easily integrate new machines or lines into existing systems – this can already be done mechanically using standardized chain conveyor systems such as VarioFlow plus in combination with the MTpro planning tool. In the future, open M2M interfaces will allow for easy electrical integration.

With the growing need to simplify diagnostics and maintenance, we will see even more web-based service tools and innovative LED concepts at machines in the future. Augmented and virtual reality are sure to play a part here, too. It has been repeatedly demonstrated at trade shows how the digital twin integrates itself into the real picture using open interfaces so that complex technical relationships can be visualized and understood more quickly. A product orientation module for beverage packages by WestRock will be showcased at interpack.

(3) Efficient – end-to-end digital engineering

Ever more complex design needs and shorter time-to-market requirements are fueling the demand for model-based engineering with simulations and virtual commissioning. As a technology partner with industry expertise, Open Core Engineering not only ensures seamless integration of the machine control with simulation platforms such as MATLAB/Simulink or 3DEXPERIENCE by Dassault Systèmes. For immediate creation of a digital twin that can be simultaneously used by mechanics, electricians and software programmers, Bosch Rexroth delivers digital behavior models of its automation products as standard.

Bosch Rexroth also provides a comprehensive library of prepared technology functions along with the machine control. By emphasizing parameterizing instead of programming, flow wrappers, secondary packaging systems, fillers or sealing machines can be commissioned more quickly. Integrated standard kinematics and functions for delta, parallel and palletizing robots are also available. Object-oriented PLC programming and high-level languages, such as Java and C++, facilitate creation of the machine control software. The controllers feature a web server for easy integration of Internet technologies such as visualization using HTML5. Of course, standardized programming templates support the creation of machine programs following OMAC/PackML standards as well as the Weihenstephan standard and PLCopen.

(4) Adaptive – the adaptivity trend

What if the packaging line automatically adjusted the product stream in the event of a fault, instead of jamming and displaying a lot of error messages? Prefabricated software functions such as intelligent infeeds or product grouping are already available, even for these trend-setting M2M scenarios. For the use of robots and flexible transport system a separate controller is not needed anymore. These are managed by the standard machine controller, and the number of interfaces and the effort required to use transport systems or robotics are reduced.

In view of increasingly complex packaging processes, there is also a need for machines to automatically adjust to their environment. Machines require Smart Sensor Nodes with MEM technology like XDK in order to “learn” from their current state. Virtual sensors like servo motors and drives, including the intelligent MS2N servo motor, provide useful information.

Last but not least, next-generation packaging machines automatically adjust to the current format and regulate process speed as well as product handling. Adaptive software functions have also been developed for this scenario of the future. The spectrum ranges from flexible electronic cams in the machine control (FlexProfile), drive functions such as auto-tuning and anti-vibration to frequency response measurements and innovative filter functions for minimizing resonance frequencies in mechanical parts.

(5) Cabinet-free – much more than just space saving

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This trend in packaging is not just about saving space in the automation technology, machine footprint and control cabinet space. Instead, it’s about a modular machine configuration that allows machine operators and customers to respond flexibly to different requirements. The individual modules are connected to one another only by a single hybrid cable and can be easily integrated into the machine or retrofitted later. This reduces the installation area and increases servo density in favor of greater flexibility. Installation space, cabling and maintenance costs are also reduced. Such modular approaches are especially useful for secondary packaging and rotary machines such as filling and capping machines as well as retrofit projects.

Solutions for these packaging trends are already available. Use them now!

Manufacturers and users of packaging machines already have numerous options for boosting their competitiveness through intelligent and connected automation solutions. But to achieve this, they need an industry-oriented, expert partner with a broad ecosystem of solutions. At interpack 2017, Bosch Rexroth will give visitors the opportunity to experience the trade show theme of “Connected Automation i4.0 now live in all of its facets – including modern networking, simple design, model-based engineering and groundbreaking service. The future of automation has already begun and is ready for “installation” in the latest generation of packaging machines. Now!

 

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Non-Contact Infrared Temperature Sensors with IO-Link – Enabler for Industry 4.0

Guest contributor: Manfred Munzl for Balluff

Automation in Steel-Plants

Modern production requires a very high level of automation. One big benefit of fully automated plants and processes is the reduction of faults and mishaps that may lead to highly expensive downtime. In large steel plants there are hundreds of red hot steel slabs moving around, being processed, milled and manufactured into various products such as wires, coils and bars. Keeping track of these objects is of utmost importance to ensure a smooth and cost efficient production. A blockage or damage of a production line usually leads to an unexpected downtime and it takes hours to be rectified and restart the process.

To meet the challenges of the manufacturing processes in modern steel plants you need to control and monitor automatically material flows. This applies especially the path of the workpieces through the plant (as components of the product to be manufactured) and will be placed also at locations with limited access or hazardous areas within the factory.

Detection of Hot Metal

Standard sensors such as inductive or photoelectric devices cannot be used near red hot objects as they either would be damaged by the heat or would be overloaded with the tremendous infrared radiation emitted by the object. However, there is a sensing principle that uses this infrared radiation to detect the hot object and even gives a clue about its temperature.

Non-contact infrared thermometers meet the requirements and are successfully used in this kind of application. They can be mounted away from the hot object so they are not destroyed by the heat, yet they capture the Infrared emitted as this radiation travels virtually unlimited. Moreover, the wavelength and intensity of the radiation can be evaluated to allow for a pretty accurate temperature reading of the object. Still there are certain parameters to be set or taught to make the device work correctly. As many of these infrared thermometers are placed in hazardous or inaccessible places, a parametrization or adjustment directly at the device is often difficult or even impossible. Therefore, an intelligent interface is required both to monitor and read out data generated by the sensor and – even more important – to download parameters and other data to the sensor.

Technical basics of Infrared Hot-Metal-Detectors

Traditional photoelectric sensors generate a signal and receive in most cases a reflection of this signal. Contrary to this, an infrared sensor does not emit any signal. The physical basics of an infrared sensor is to detect infrared radiation which is emitted by any object.
Each body, with a temperature above absolute zero (-273.15°C or −459.67 °F) emits an
electromagnetic radiation from its surface, which is proportional to its intrinsic
temperature. This radiation is called temperature or heat radiation.

By use of different technologies, such as photodiodes or thermopiles, this radiation can be detected and measured over a long distance.

Key Advantages of Infrared Thermometry

This non-contact, optical-based measuring method offers various advantages over thermometers with direct contact:

  • Reactionless measurement, i.e. the measured object remains unaffected, making it possible to measure the temperature of very small parts
  • Very fast measuring frequence
  • Measurement over long distances is possible, measuring device can be located outside the hazardous area
  • Very hot temperatures can be measured
  • Object detection of very hot parts: pyrometers can be used for object detection of very hot parts where conventional optical sensors are limited by the high infrared radiation
  • Measurement of moving objects is possible
  • No wear at the measuring point
  • Non-hazardous measurement of electrically live parts

IO-Link for smarter sensors

IO-Link as sensor interface has been established for nearly all sensor types in the past 10 years. It is a standardized uniform interface for sensors and actuators irrespective of their complexity. They provide consistent communication between devices and the control system/HMI.  It also allows for a dynamic change of sensor parameters by the controller or the operator on the HMI thus reducing downtimes for product changeovers. If a device needs to be replaced there is automatic parameter reassignment as soon as the new device has been installed and connected. This too reduces manual intervention and prevents incorrect settings. No special device-proprietary software is needed and wiring is easy, using three wire standard cables without any need for shielding.

Therefore, IO-Link is the ideal interface for a non-contact temperature sensor.

All values and data generated within the temperature sensor can be uploaded to the control system and can be used for condition monitoring and preventive maintenance purposes. As steel plants need to know in-process data to maintain a constant high quality of their products, sensors that provide more data than just a binary signal will generate extra benefit for a reliable, smooth production in the Industry 4.0 realm.

To learn more about this technology visit www.balluff.com.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.