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Energy Bar Packaging Facility Conveyor Speed Sync


Project Summary

An energy bar manufacturing facility's processing line used eight standalone piece of equipment with conveyor belts.

The speed of the conveyors needed to be synced across all of the machines for optimal operation.

Previously the speeds were synced by adjusting potentiometers on each piece of equipment leading to speed variations throughout the line.

We worked with the staff to implement a PLC based system with an operator interface to set the speeds for the line and select which speed should be used at any given time.

Project Details


Industry
Location
Food & Beverage
Carson City, NV

Services
PLC & HMI Programming, Technology Migration


  • Decrease production fluctuations
  • Update equipment to modern standards
  • Incorporate recipe management
  • Implement control logic
  • Develop operator interface based on existing standards
  • Implement system and train personnel on its operation
  • Increased productivity
  • Decreased productions fluctuations
  • Decreased maintenance overhead


Solution


The client's existing process line consisted of 8 stand-alone machines taking raw ingredients, forming them into bars, enrobing in chocolate and drying them prior to entering the packaging line.

Each of these machines has a conveyor with a locally configurable speed for each piece of equipment. Operators were spending a signficant amount of time adjusting the speeds for each piece of equipment when changing products, resulting in issues when the speeds were not exactly the same.

We implemented a system using Allen Bradley CompactLogix PLC and Panelview Plus to communicate with Powerflex 4 and 5 VFDs installed on each piece of equipment.

The local control capability for each machine was replaced by a screen on the Panelview Plus allowing the operators to set a desired speed and the PLC calculating the required values for each drive based on its conveyor properties and gear ratios. The operators were also given the capability to configure speeds for various products giving them a drop-down menu to cut changeover times essentially to zero with respect to adjusting the speed of the line.

Technology


  • Allen Bradley Powerflex VFDs
  • Allen Bradley CompactLogix PLC
  • Allen Bradley Panelview Plus


Benefits

Stand alone equipment now integrated with a PLC to provide the capability for full-line automation

8 pieces of equipment with local control can now be operated from one operator interface

Recipe management capabilities enable operators to configure speeds for various products


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