Complete OEM control solution for assembly machine

02 September 2014

During the design a new fully automated version of its Jumbo Assembler machine – a partition assembler for corrugated and fibre chipboard strips for paper converting applications – it became clear to Premier Paper Converting Machinery that the its machine would need an intuitive operator interface. Like most OEMs, Premier Paper needs to ensure it utilises the latest in automation and control technologies.

Located in Wisconsin, Premier Paper has expertise in stripping, partition assembly, and slitting machineries used to manufacture and assemble corrugated or fibreboard partitions of different sizes and finishes. These partitions serve as dividers to protect delicate items, ranging from bottles of wines to cryogenic vials, during shipping and storage. 

Any new automation and control package for the machine would need to offer flexibility for future customisation, changes and modifications. Typically each of the machines undergo several adjustments and reprogramming to cater to customisation demands and new industry trends.

The company specified a solution from Mitsubishi Electric Automation because the company was able to offer a single, integrated automation and control system to meet all the requirements of the new assembly machine. This included PLCs, Variable frequency drives (VFDs), servo controls, simple motion, and an HMI along with a single control software package. 

The assembler feeds up to 16 partition strips at a time using E-700 VFDs connected through CC-Link network. These strips travel to a second platform where a secondary set of strips are perpendicularly laid to create a perfect grid. The positioning of the strips is controlled by the L Series Simple Motion indexing registration features, along with MR-J3 servo drives over the SSCNET III Fibre optic network.

Up to 100 recipes may be stored in the L Series PLC, each determining the dimension of the partition strips and how they are fed through the machine. The different feeding modes include continuous, intermittent, full indexing, and even/odd cells. The operator is able to select any of these recipes from a GT12 touch screen very easily.

The use of the flexible L Series modular PLC and GX Works2 programming software has allowed the company to successfully integrate the machine using a single control platform and software package. The intricate feeding modes are programmed using the Simple Motion Function Blocks provided by Mitsubishi Electric. The program is said to be easy to understand and modify for future customisation and maintenance needs.

Essentially, end-users now have the flexibility to create infinite numbers of configurations for different partition types using one single machine. To execute the appropriate recipe for a specific partition type and feeding mode, the operator needs to input or select parameter settings from the GT12 screen. Additionally, the control panel is sleek because the CC-Link and SSCNET III networks minimise wiring efforts and provide a clean solution. 

Commenting on the solution, Bob Lesch, electrical and mechanical engineer at Premier Paper Converting, said: “When I design something, I focus on what the customer wants. I also want customers to be comfortable with a well-known brand like Mitsubishi Electric.”

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