New Controls Package Bring Versatility, Functionality, and Low TCO

Aug. 29, 2013
Like most OEMs, Package Machinery Co. looks for ways to reduce TCO for its customers. A switch to a new controls package brought significant progress.

A manufacturer of overwrappers since the 1930s, Package Machinery Co., Inc. has been making servo-driven machines for nearly 13 years now. But around two years ago the firm took a new approach when it began shipping machines whose controls components—including Human Machine Interface panel, servo drives, servo motors and I/O systems—are supplied by B&R Industrial Automation.

“We’re big believers in keeping total cost of ownership, or TCO, as low as possible,” says Package Machinery Co. President Katherine Putnam. “So we were struck by how cost-effective B&R is. Yet they deliver more versatility and so much functionality compared to what we’ve used before. We also like that the software part of the business, both software licenses and software development, is included in what they quote us. Once again, it gives us a better fix on costs. We’re not so big that we have an inside software engineer. We use an outside contractor that we’ve relied on for years. So B&R’s approach to software really suits us.”

The machine that best illustrates this OEM’s use of B&R components is the FAST Series. Rated at a top speed of 140/min, it’s commonly used for overwrapping a wide variety of cartons or trays in either paper or polypropylene film. The axes of servo motion include product infeed, knife drive, product transport, bottom folder/pusher, elevator, and tear tape notching.

“We have all the diagnostics clearly displayed on the HMI screen,” says Director of Sales Ken Davison. “When we go into the maintenance screen, for example, it tells you what state all six servos are in. If one is in a fault, we know immediately which one needs our attention. Same thing for safety diagnostics. Right on the HMI is a picture of the machine with all the door switches displayed, so you know at a glance which door is open and when. The controls package really simplifies troubleshooting the machine by giving us a lot of valuable information.

“Another useful thing available to us on the screen is that we can have drawings or pdfs, even videos showing how changeover is supposed to be executed. You could put a complete manual on the HMI. It’s a big boost not only in terms of troubleshooting but also in terms of cutting down on training time.”

“It’s like buying something from Apple,” concludes Putnam. “It all works together, so we get the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly who is responsible not only for hardware and software but also for the integration that makes it all work smoothly.”

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