25% productivity increase achieved for laminator

26 April 2011

API Laminates is a UK-based manufacturer of foil, holographic and laminate products and holds several awards for environmentally friendly initiatives.

Indeed, the company has recently recorded a 25% increase in productivity following the installation of a bespoke control system for its refurbished laminating line in Stockport, Cheshire.

The system was designed by Optima Control Systems, a Parker Hannifin SSD system integrator and specialist in variable speed drive PLC and SCADA applications. The solution has helped to improve machine performance, has cut operating costs and reduced power consumption by around 45%.

API engineering manager Tony Robinson said: "One of our main aims is to continually improve our energy efficiency. Optima has helped us do that by upgrading both our electrical and mechanical systems as a turnkey service. The job was brought in on time and within budget – which is why we have used the company before and will use them again!"

The laminator was originally designed and built with a DC motor powered mechanical line-shaft system. Its various web transport rollers being regulated using PIV gearboxes and a complex arrangement of belts and pulleys. These were difficult to maintain, expensive to run and operationally inadequate when required to produce high specification films and foils.
Optima upgraded the original line-drive system with Parker AC890 drives, each controlling its own roller section with discrete control loops, including AC vector motors.

The new control system has made the changeover between products quicker and simpler by using recipes stored in a new touch screen HMI. Operators can now control individual web tensions for each section of the machine with flexibility and accuracy.

Optima's joint managing director, Michael Hill, said: "API wanted to improve the performance of its laminating machine while also reducing its operating costs. Working closely with Parker, we have significantly reduced the machine's power consumption and enhanced its performance.

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