As global demands on the packaging industry increase to meet environmental and productivity challenges, automation providers are having to step up to help deliver cost effective solutions.
SMC has been focusing on fulfilling its obligations by developing a comprehensive range of products that cater for every step of the packaging process – primary, secondary and tertiary – from product treatment to palletising. Importantly, the solutions have been designed with energy efficiency in mind, without compromising performance.
A spokesperson from SMC said: “We recognise the complex needs of the packaging industry and how it is having to adapt as demand for individual packaging design and special formats increases, together with the need to manage high volume production lines and respond to environmental pressures.
“At SMC we can ensure product and process hygienic conditions with our full range of corrosion resistant, hygienic design and clean room solutions, including FDA approved materials, even in challenging heat generating conditions.”
For those working within industries that rely heavily on packaging, such as food & beverage and pharmaceutical, accurate temperature control is key to success particularly for thermo-forming, shrink wrapping, or cutting, cleaning and sealing applications. SMC has a range of thermo-chillers to support these processes where poor temperature control is still an issue for many operators who lose out financially due to high levels of rejection rates, poor product quality and unreliable processes.
The SMC spokesperson explained: “Our thermo-chiller range is the smart solution that delivers proactive temperature control of heat generating devices within strict limits. This effective control gives customers peace of mind due to improved productivity, machine performance and extends the service life of the equipment.”
Another area that costs packaging specialists dearly is the invisible issue of static electricity, which left unchallenged can cause both production and product quality issues. SMC has a wide range of ionizers for almost any packaging application to deliver the best electrostatic balance and, therefore, guarantee final product quality.
Packaging system managers are also having to juggle high volumes of units per hour, while finding solutions to support advanced machinery that can be easily adjusted to meet unique packaging formats and special variants.
This is where SMC’s high-speed cylinders and valves are designed to respond to the speeds and frequencies required. Similarly, SMC´s metal seal cylinders and valves last up to 100 and 200 million cycles offering a reliable solution that avoids costly system shutdowns and production downtime.
In addition, SMC’s light and compact cylinders for transport lines or robotic manipulation and handling have been designed to enhance cycle times to keep productivity.
And with a complete range of electric actuators and controllers, operators can combine high speed production with fast and flexible format change capabilities.
“We are helping our customers adjust to current and future production needs with our integrated package of smart solutions that also support the growing trend for predictive maintenance,” added the SMC spokesperson.
SMC’s EX serial interface unit solutions offer a high degree of access to and feedback from automation components via condition monitoring. Certain products can also support IO-Link distribution systems to minimise the overall setting control time and, therefore, increase machine availability. This is supported by SMC’s unique wireless solution that offers cutting edge communication and freedom of movement the packaging industry.
Thanks to technology innovation, robotic automation is taking over large parts of the manufacturing process, especially when it comes to cardboard sheet and crate manipulation or by placing heavy stacks of boxes on conveyor belts for palletising. However, issues have arisen during the process whereby significant amounts of dust, both airborne and on flat surfaces, is created causing equipment failure. Therefore, SMC has responded with products that feature improved environmental resistance, providing protection against dust particles from cardboard and allowing cylinders and grippers to operate smoothly in micro-powder environments.
SMC’s spokesperson concluded: “The world of packaging production is changing at a rapid rate and it’s vital that operators have automation partners they can rely on to deliver solutions for today and tomorrow.”
For more information about SMC’s solutions for the packaging industry, please visit www.smc.eu01-05-2017