Rexroth integrated motor/drive control new generation of servo-driven case packers

Brenton Engineering designed a new line of side-loading case packers to exceed current “green manufacturing” end user trends, featuring servo control to increase speed and reduce energy costs within a compact footprint.

Brenton Engineering a large provider of packaging and palletizing equipment located in Alexandria, MN, spent months consulting with customers and vendors before designing the next generation of its popular BrentonPro Series of case packer machines.

We asked our customers how we  could improve the machine. The feedback was to make it a faster  and simpler all-servo machine,” said  Mike Grinager, VP of Technology for  Brenton Engineering. “With the new  design we did everything we could to  reduce the complexity of the machine.

We took out the pneumatics, which  was the most expensive aspect of the  machine, and our engineers removed  more than 200 moving parts, reducing  costs by one third. Plus, the integrated  servo motors and drives that we now  use require less space than even the  smallest motors we used previously,”  said Grinager.

As a result, Brenton’s new BrentonPro Mach-2 case packer is an all-servodriven, side-load case packer  featuring an IndraDrive Mi integrated  motor/drive platform with SERCOS  distributed I/O, an IndraMotion  MLC motion logic controller and  the IndraControl VEP40 human  machine interface (HMI) all from  Bosch Rexroth (Hoffman Estates, IL  www.boschrexroth-us.com).

According to Grinager, the multi-axis  machine reaches speeds of up  to 25 cases per minute and can  accommodate a variety of cases,  including RSC, HSC, tray, wraparound, knock-down and harness  for cartons, bottles, cans and tubs.

During operation, an empty case  blank is picked by vacuum and set  in the machine. The case is moved  through loading and sealing sections  of the machine, which are powered by  servo-driven flap traps. After loading,  the full case is indexed through a  compression and sealing area. The  completed case is then discharged on  the customer’s takeaway conveyor.

Brenton developed the Mach-2 case  packer to minimize the environmental  impact of packaging operations  through the appropriate use of  electric servo drives, resulting in  lower energy consumption—including  zero air consumption—and less  product and packaging waste. The  company worked closely with local  Bosch Rexroth distributor Motion  Tech Automation (Oakdale, MN  www.motiontech.com) during this  phase of the development.

“We recommended Rexroth’s  compact, scalable IndraDrive Mi  integrated motor/drive system, which  is an innovative, cost-effective and  simple solution that satisfies the  design challenges for today’s modular  and high-performance packaging  equipment,” said Shawn Nelson, sales  engineer at Motion Tech.

Designed with sustainability in mind,  the servos were sized to work out of  the box as the most cost-effective  solution. A holistic approach was  taken, with motor drive and gearing  all playing a role to reduce the power  requirements of the machine. On  average, the Mach-2 is expected to  generate energy savings of up to  25 percent compared with the first  generation machine.

Nelson said that Rexroth’s IndraDrive  Mi system combines each servo motor  and drive amplifier into one compact  unit mounted directly on the machine,  outside of the control cabinet. A  single cable running from the cabinet  is daisy chained to each motor/drive  unit and provides both power and  communication. As a result, Rexroth’s  design has the potential to reduce a  machine’s cabling needs by more than  80 percent. The IndraDrive Mi is also  50 percent smaller than a traditional  servo system, which uses a separate  servo drive and motor. This innovative  architecture also eliminates the need  for an air conditioning unit from  the control cabinet and the need to  maintain or replace expensive filters.

Conventional servo drives are typically  mounted in a large external control  cabinet and are connected to the  individual servo motors by separate  communications, power and feedback  cabling that must be mounted and run  through large wire ways that clutter  the machine.

“Our machine has a cleaner  appearance without all the wires  running to and from the electrical  cabinet,” said Grinager. “Because  of the small integrated motor/drive  units and fewer cables, the machine  features an attractive walk-in design  that allows easy access for the  operator to clean and maintain it.”

“The integrated motor/drive units  help reduce the size of the electrical  cabinet,” added Nelson. Because the  drives are integrated directly with the  motors outside of the control cabinet,  design engineers reduced the size  of the Mach-2 control cabinet by 25  percent. Up to 20 IndraDrive Mi units  can be connected from one power  supply without additional distribution  boxes. The IndraDrive Mi easily  accommodates the multiple functions  of the Mach-2 case packer without  increasing the size of the electrical  cabinet. In addition, integrating the  drive control and motor intoone
component provides a more flexible  “plug and play” capability. More  motors can easily be installed for  machine upgrades or other machine  configurations such as unique infeeds,  said Nelson.

Grinager said there was one additional  advantage to using Rexroth’s motor/ drive system: versatility. Although  the compact IndraDrive Mi system  allowed Brenton to design a  machine with a significantly smaller  footprint, reducing size by about 30  percent, the space in the machine’s  case compression area was too  compact to accommodate even the  smallest integrated motor/drive  unit. The solution was Rexroth’s

IndraDrive Mi KMS, which is a  distributed drive unit that can be  mounted on the machine near  a conventional servo motor and  seamlessly connected with the  Indradrive Mi KMS cables.  Brenton Engineering’s innovative  controls team also used the IndraDrive  Mi distributed input/output system  (I/O), said Nelson. Having four  I/O outputs directly on the motor  eliminated the need for extra wiring  and other costs associated with  purchasing separate I/O outputs from  another vendor.

Motion synchronization and control  are handled through SERCOS digital  communication to each servo drive.  The case packer utilizes synchronous,  electronic camming technology  provided by Rexroth’s IndraMotion
MLC L40 motion logic controller.

The MLC L40 features Flex Profile  functionality, seamlessly combining  synchronous and time-based steps  into a single data function which  optimizes system performance  and recovery and also reduces the  changeover time.

In addition, Rexroth’s IndraControl  VEP 40 HMI, which was mounted  to the frame instead of the control  panel, integrates easily with the  rest of the machine components  via OPC communications. The VEP  40 is an embedded terminal with a  Windows CE operating system and  a high-performance 12-inch TFT  touchscreen display.

Motion Tech provided an application  engineer who was on-site for two days  to help support Brenton Engineering’s  controls team after the machine  was built. In addition, Motion Tech  and Rexroth engineers conducted  in-depth onsite training sessions for  Brenton engineers.

“The Mach-2 has become a standard  for Brenton Engineering,” concluded  Grinager. “Rexroth technology allowed  us to simplify the design of the Mach-2  case packer and reduce extraneous  parts and energy consumption in the  machine. The ability to daisy-chain  servo motors led to less wiring and  contributed to a smaller electrical  cabinet and ultimatelyan overall  smaller machine footprint.”

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