GKS Packaging, Son, the Netherlands, unveiled a new machine concept, which, according to Ivo Geukes, owner of GKS Packaging “has rewritten the rule books for vertical form fill seal (VFFS) machines.” The company specializes in flexible packaging systems for all businesses.
The new machine needed to be leading edge. Geukes quest for stainless steel components lead him to Rockwell Automation, with its Allen-Bradley MPS Series servomotors. Apex Dynamics, a Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner, supplied stainless steel planetary reduction gearboxes – another vital element of the design.
The new machine offers users an IP67/69K hygienic design: there are no trap points, no flat horizontal surfaces and the entire machine frame, parts and panels are made from stainless steel – but with some clever design tweaks to keep the overall weight down. What is more, all of the modules that normally festoon the outside of traditional VFFS machines are enclosed, including the electrical cabinet and film rollers. Complete internal and external wash down is possible.
At the heart of the new machine concept is an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Automation Controller (PAC), running programs that use PackML standards and signals. The user interface is through an Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus HMI, which, Geukes noted, has an interface modeled on the simplicity of the iPad.
The machine’s motion comprises four Allen-Bradley MPS Series stainless steel servo motors, one for the seal jaw mechanism, two for the film-transport belts and one for moving the entire printer assembly to its correct print position. Three Allen-Bradley Kinetix servo drives control the motors. Completing the primary components is an Allen-Bradley PowerFlex drive, connected by Ethernet to the PAC, which controls the drum drive used for the film roll.
Rockwell Automation, Inc.
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