Flexible filling processes
In 2009, China consumed more than 40 billion liters of beverages. In light of this enormous volume, the Chinese beverage industry is increasingly interested in boosting production efficiency. As a major supplier of packaging systems, Tech-Long has been using competitive control solutions for years to continuously improve its worldwide productivity. Today, its customers include some of China's most well-known beer distributors such as Snow, Tsingtao, Zhujiang, Huiquan and Budweiser.
More than two years ago, Tech-Long began development of a new hot shrink packaging machine called the DBZ-SB45. Compared to its predecessors, this new machine type is more flexible and can be quickly and easily adapted to a wider range of processing requirements, allowing users to adapt quickly to new market conditions and maintain production efficiency in a demanding global market.
Central B&R control platform improves efficiency
The core of the innovative Tech-Long machine is a B&R Power Panel, which unifies control, visualization and drive technology into a single, compact operator panel. Equipped with DRAM for memory-intensive programs, as well as an eight gigabyte CompactFlash card, the Power Panel is a high-performance hardware basis for precise motion control, intuitive HMI and consistent management of recipe and production data.
A key standard feature provided by the new Tech-Long machine is remote maintenance, which can be implemented easily thanks to the Power Panel. An integrated VNC or Web server gives customers complete freedom to monitor their systems or update programs over great distances via the Internet. For the user, this means greatly reduced maintenance costs. And the best part: every aspect of this powerful functionality can be easily configured using Automation Studio.
Precise motion control from B&R
Shrink packaging demands optimal axis synchronization in order to ensure that the film is fed and received accurately. This is provided by B&R ACOPOS servo drives, with a virtual master axis perfectly coordinating the two systems. The B&R ACOPOS master is connected to the individual drive axes via POWERLINK. With a cycle time of 400 µs, the master axis sends data simultaneously to all slave axes. This cross-communication maximizes the performance of each axis while minimizing the load on the controller – even when handling dynamic movement profiles. As a result, the system is able to achieve optimal movement curves with minimal mechanical shock. What is more, the control system automatically reacts to changes in the length of the foil feed by continuously adjusting the electronic gear ratio on the fly.
The machine can also cut the foil automatically thanks to the registration mark detection capabilities of the B&R ACOPOS system, improving both response time and cutting precision. "The B&R system makes complex motion control simple, giving us complete freedom to implement the most elaborate processes," explains Zeng Guoyou, engineering manager at Tech-Long.
Clearly structured, efficient project development with B&R Automation Studio
When planning its new machine, Tech-Long knew how important it was to select the best software solution. "With a given hardware configuration, an optimal software design can significantly expand the range of features provided by the machine," explains Guoyou. In order to be competitive, a packaging machine needs to have perfectly coordinated hardware and software elements. Automation Studio provides ideal support throughout every development stage – from design and programming to commissioning and beyond, including remote maintenance and diagnostics. "B&R's integrated development environment unifies control, visualization, drive technology and communication, which enabled us to significantly increase the productivity of our new DBZ-SB45 while reducing life cycle costs at the same time," says Guoyou.
Tech-Long engineers were able to focus on designing standardized, modular software elements that they can easily integrate into various machines. B&R Automation Studio supports programming in ANSI C, which allows process algorithms to be created and implemented quickly.
"Our cooperation with B&R is not limited to the products they deliver," explains Luo Wenhai, managing director of Tech-Long. "Above all, we value the mutual exchange of innovative ideas and the optimal support at every step along the way. We have profited from the combination of advanced technology and efficient product design, which has clearly enhanced our position on the competitive global market."
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