Changeover times are hard to control, and can compromise productivity. Areas that are hard to control include operator error; complex adjustments for various machine settings and sequences; the need to make ongoing adjustments and variations in the level of employee training and expertise at a given machine.
Automating changeovers can reduce changeover time, increase throughput and improve OEE, or overall equipment effectiveness, explained Chris Canna, project Manager with Schneider Packaging Equipment, in a presentation at the 2013 Pack Expo innovation stage. In one application of his automated system, a machine with 14 points of adjustment yielded 28-minute changeover time savings to provide system payback in four months.
Canna explained how his company's ProAdjust solution makes such automatic adjustments on common types of machinery including fillers, cartoners, stamping presses, laser cutters, mixers, case packers, palletizers and case loaders. The solution consists of a controller and integrated "power packs" that provide the motion, and can scale-up from a single mechanical adjustment point to hundreds, and can be added to new equipment or retrofitted to older equipment in the field. The solution is targeted for use no matter the control or machinery makes installed at the plant.
No programming is required. The solution features a disk-shaped "teach pendant," which looks a bit like a hand-held flying saucer, but is actually is a rugged, wireless user interface that uses simple touchscreen and scroll/jog wheels to let users enter machine changeover recipes.
The pendant uses a simple point and click touch screen interface components for easy creation of ‘recipes’ of parameters for each SKU running on a machine. It communicates with power packs that can adjust each axis automatically, or be moved with a hand wheel or jogged using the remote hand held teach pendant to teach new positions or adjust for material fluctuations.
Companies in this article