Flow pack machines for all packaging requirements

Flow pack machines for all packaging requirements

Adroit Technologies and Mitsubishi Electric produce a complete and scalable offering for the packaging sector, with solutions at various levels designed to satisfy different customer needs and to permit the development of customised systems for specific applications.

Horizontal and vertical film sealing machines commonly referred to as flow pack machines are widely used for packaging applications by small scale and industrial laboratories. For these machines, Adroit Technologies, and Mitsubishi Electric supply both automation systems and the support needed to develop completely automatic lines as rapidly as possible. “We entered the flow pack market thanks to the know-how of our technical team,” explains Roberto Beccalli, Servo&Motion Product Manager for Mitsubishi Electric. “We developed a special solution for the sector by putting together a complete control program for flow pack machine constructors that enables their customers to put new machines into service in a very short time.

Mitsubishi Electric has also developed special, dedicated motion control libraries called “iQ MONOZUKURI Packaging” to provide blocks of pre-programmed functions for different flow pack functionalities.”

The main aim is always to give customers a competitive advantage through high-performance and highly reliable solutions that dramatically cut programming and start-up times and costs.

From PLCs to robots

We offer a choice of systems for 3 to 5 axes flow pack machines. The basic configuration, ideal for small-to-medium flow pack machines (up to 150 strokes/minute) consists of an iQ-F PLC, a compact platform with a Simple Motion Module, an SSCNET III / H fibre optic bus and MR-JE servomotors. The use of fibre optics permits high-speed communication and total immunity from interference.

For higher performance (up to 300 strokes/minute), customers can choose our iQ-R MultiCPU advanced automation platform with an onboard Motion CPU to control MR-J4 family servo drives or models from the new MR-J5 range for even greater speeds and improved synchronisation.

Depending on the customer’s needs, we can even integrate a SCARA robot with the flow pack machine to pick product, place it on the conveyor and push it into the wrapping film. Once wrapped by the film, the electronic cam functions close the package front and back, leaving it hermetically sealed. Film type can be chosen to suit the product and can be either transparent or pre-printed.

Dimensions and maximum speed depending on the product to be packaged.

Flow pack machines incorporate three main drive systems: the film unwinder, the feed conveyor, and the rotary knife for cutting and sealing. A safety system is integrated into the automation to stop the machine in the event of danger, in accordance with applicable regulations. Mitsubishi Electric’s flow pack automation solution controls all axes reset sensors and “no product no bag” sensors too.

Mitsubishi Electric also supplies GOT2000 series operator interfaces, which features special pre-programmed pages for flow pack machine control. This gives customers a clear advantage: thanks to a complete hardware and software package, they only need to program the actual flow pack parameters to start production rapidly. “In addition to the PLC program and servodrive configuration, we can also provide preset operator interface pages or, if customers prefer, support them in developing their own custom interfaces,” Beccalli explains.

Complete solutions

The flow pack solution offers multiple advantages: total integration of HMI, PLC and Motion Control, cam profile and axes synchronisation control, high-speed notch control inputs, “no product no bag” functionality, a fibre optic motion control bus – in short, high performance at low cost.

Above all, the strengths of Adroit Technologies and Mitsubishi Electric’s offering lie in the know-how that the company places at the disposal of customers. “Thanks to extensive experience in this market, we have developed such unique competence that our customers see us as a truly reliable partner and one who speaks the same language. Our premium solution combines support and assistance for machine construction with products of amazing reliability”, Roberto Beccalli points out.

We also offer the option of making flow pack machines smarter by integrating them into Industry 4.0 solutions. The company’s latest generation MR-J5 servodrives integrate artificial intelligence functionalities with predictive maintenance functions. This allows machine downtimes to be planned and costly production losses avoided. It also makes life easier for maintenance personnel. Naturally, all devices can be networked and connected at a high level to MES, Edge Computing, and company ERP systems to optimise production.

“We don’t just supply the automation component. We also give customers the support they need to develop a complete flow pack line very shortly. In practice, we offer our customers a plug & play solution. Advantages include shorter development, programming, and testing times – an important factor in boosting the competitiveness of companies in this sector. This approach has allowed us to acquire numerous customers in the packaging industry.

Food & Beverage industry