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EtherCAT-enabled Raptor SL Case Packing Machine
Time: 2016-09-24
Among the 30 well-known machine brands within the Pro Mach group of companies is Edson Packaging Machinery which is major provider end-of-line packaging equipment. In order to successfully hunt for new business and out-compete strong rivals, Edson introduced the Raptor SL case packing machine.
The EtherCAT-enabled Raptor SL is PC-based control that helps ensure top-quality cases while saving hundreds of technician hours per machine and reducing cabinet size by 40 percent. A horizontal side-load case packing machine that’s fast and compact, it’s suitable for case packing items that can be collated, either vertically or horizontally. This high-performance could not come at a high price. The Raptor SL had to be highly competitive, out-performing comparable case packers in the marketplace, while delivering the premium value on which Edson has built its reputation over the last 53 years.
The Raptor SL is a compact, high-speed, horizontal side-load case packing machine that is reliable even when opening light-weight corrugated cases with weak glue seams.
Raptor SL users can place knocked-down corrugated cases on a conveyor, which are automatically fed into the machine as it runs, permitting continuous operation during refills. Even as the machine reaches low supply of corrugated cases, the next stack will be fed underneath the previous, all without the machine stopping for a second. Product changeover time on the new Raptor SL is exceptionally fast. Achieving changeover times of 15 minutes or less is well within reach for Edson customers, so companies that wish to run multiple SKUs in one shift can easily do so with the Raptor.
By the end of the development process, the Raptor SL was equipped with a full PC-based control platform from Beckhoff and was show-ready in time. One CX5130 Embedded PC with a dual core Intel® Atom™ processor runs TwinCAT 3 software and handles sequential logic, motion control, recipe control, alarm functions, HMI, and safety. Also, industrial Ethernet technology factors into the high-speed Raptor SL in many ways. As such, the CX5130 Embedded PC is directly connected to a variety of EtherCAT Terminals, which provide distributed I/O on the machine for digital signal acquisition and connection to safety devices.
Edson also selected Beckhoff CP29xx series Control Panels to display HMI software created using a development package from COPA-DATA. This visualization software runs on the same CX5130 Embedded PC used for all automation and control functions. The CP29xx Control Panels, as the HMI touchscreen, simplify how the user interacts with the Raptor SL, including operator notifications to adjust settings as well as diagnostics and alarms. Since this Control Panel is paired to a powerful Embedded PC, the company provides machine operators with a wealth of information, including training videos, operator manuals in PDF, Excel spreadsheets for part change matrices, and more. Edson also makes it easy to establish Internet connectivity on the Raptor SL, enabling end users to access any other relevant information.
Use of EtherCAT
The EtherCAT-enabled Raptor SL uses a variety of EtherCAT distributed I/O modules, including integrated TwinSAFE terminals for safety functions. These are available in both cabinet-mounted IP 20 format and machine-mountable EtherCAT Box I/O in IP 67 protection, dramatically reducing hardwiring costs on the machine.
For the motion system, Edson integrated AX5000 EtherCAT servo drives with the AX5805 TwinSAFE option cards for linear motion modules and AM8500 rotary servo motors from Beckhoff. These servo motors provide an increased rotor moment of inertia of 100 to 300 percent and feature One Cable Technology (OCT). With OCT, the two previously separate cables for power and feedback are combined into one standard motor cable. The AX5000 drives are also used as variable frequency drives (VFDs), connected to three-phase 1,750 RPM AC motors. This VFD functionality is needed for compression belts used to glue and seal corrugated cases.
Ultimately, the PC-based control system with EtherCAT solves many of the difficulties posed by previous machine designs. For example, the case-forming operation previously required knocked-down corrugated cases to be picked up by hand and transferred to a forming station with a vacuum head. This design, based on traditional PLCs, predated Edson’s decision to use PC Control. It was programmed to exclusively use point-to-point motion instructions to synchronize two axes via a single start command. Edson found that this machine would too frequently tear cases open. The Raptor SL with PC-based control, on the other hand, uses camming in TwinCAT 3 software to completely eliminate the stresses that were placed on the corrugated cases. Edson maintains top product quality and reliability even when opening the lightest corrugate case with the weakest glue seam.
With the Raptor SL, Edson has taken a unique approach via PC-based motion control and can implement highly sophisticated systems without making the software overly complex. This helps add high-end functionality to the machine while making the software efficient to manage and easy to troubleshoot.
Gone are worries of snapping brackets or of panels potentially falling and causing damage to machines in transit. This completely eliminates the need to send an electrical specialist on-site to customer facilities in order to reconnect the main panel to the machine. This reduces 100 or more work hours for every machine installation. It also eliminates an entire business trip for one Edson employee per machine.
EtherCAT Terminals, including TwinSAFE Terminals, offered further installation and wiring benefits. Overall wiring labor has been reduced by at least 25 percent. Edson has achieved overall system cost reductions in the long run, but also managed to score major savings up front as well. When assessing which control package to use on the Raptor, the Beckhoff hardware was about 40 percent lower in cost than the next closest control supplier. This was due to a combination of factors: EtherCAT distributed I/O modules with TwinSAFE maintain a low cost per I/O point, AX5000 EtherCAT servo drives ensure a low cost per axis of motion, and the cabling costs using One Cable Technology come in much lower than competitors by eliminating half motor cabling.
This PC-based control migration will continue at full speed following the success of the Edson Raptor SL. Development for the next Edson solution with PC Control is well under way, with another new packaging machine poised for a 2016 launch. Also in the near term, Edson will introduce cloud-connected packaging machinery via PC-based control and OPC UA communication technology. This will be accomplished via connectivity between the Beckhoff control system and ProTech, the advanced remote solutions platform from Pro Mach. Since standardizing on PC-based control technology from Beckhoff, Edson now has the capability to easily establish this Smart Factory level of connectivity and provide excellent remote service and support to the customers.
Source: www.edson.com