At the foundation of Industry 4.0 (I4.0), or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is data and connectivity.
SICK manufactures sensors and sensor systems that are adapted to complex and frequently changing tasks in the packaging industry.
The company’s sensors meet the increasingly challenging standards for trademark protection, safety and authenticity.
With products ranging from intelligent image sensors for glass identification to robust and water-resistant photoelectric sensors, SICK provides solutions for four key areas in the packaging industry.
Detecting and measuring sensors for the packaging industry
The ideal solution for non-contact, wear-free and accurate counting, the DeltaPac MultiTask photoelectric sensor detects packages on a conveyer belt regardless of their colour, surface or whether they are close together.
For consistently high-quality packaging and flow pack sealing, film must be run optimally through the bagging machine. SICK’s Ax20 array sensor accurately detects the edge of a range of packaging films, allowing the analogue measurement signal to regulate sheet control through the machine.
Wrapping machines use rolled-up materials that have a print mark to indicate the cutting position on the film. To prevent defective products and increase productivity, KTS contrast sensors can be used to detect the print marks at very high speeds. These sensors detect grayscale variations between the mark and the background of matte, shiny and transparent surfaces.
The three-axis gantry robot removes cartons from the belt and transports them to the next stage. During this process, it is important that all positioning is highly accurate. Therefore, the high-resolution AFS/AFM60 EtherCAT® absolute encoder can be used to take precise measurements of the exact position and speed of the conveyer belt.
Safety solutions for hazardous points of packaging machines
SICK’s STR1 non-contact safety switch protects safety doors on packaging machines. If used with the Flexi Soft safety controller, safe series connection can be achieved, enabling the STR1 to issue stop signals to the machine when a door is opened. It will only allow the machine to restart when the door is closed.
The deTec4 Core safety light curtain protects the film on an overwrapping machine. This sensor takes up little installation space and has no blind zones.
The MOC0 or MOC1 Motion Control module of the Flexi Soft safety controller monitors the ‘safe speed’ of the palletising robot, as well as offering other drive safety functions such as ‘safe stop’ and ‘safe operating stop’.
While a packaging machine is running, there is often the danger of its operator reaching into the magazine to add more material. SICK’s Safeguard Protector provides a certified, complete functional safety system designed to avoid potential injuries.
Monitoring and inspection sensors for consistent, high-quality packaging
Many manufacturers use seals to close packages. The Glare sensor detects the presence of the seal due to the different levels of gloss, determining the reflection from the surface of the seal and the diffuse remissions from the packaging with maximum reliability.
Correctly sealing plastic trays is crucial for packaging integrity and shelf lives. With the TriSpector1000 3D vision, SICK offers a product that accurately inspects the filled tray to detect the volume of tray filling, product residue on the edge of the tray or an incorrect tray shape.
Before they are applied, continuous bottle labels must be cut in a specific place. The PS30 pattern sensor from SICK precisely locates the cutting position without print marks, even at high process speeds of up to 10m/s. This sensor reads a pattern based on contrasts in the printed image and calculates the position sought from that pattern, opening up an array of label design opportunities.
Food safety is of critically high and growing importance. Therefore, it is mandatory that the right product is put in the right packaging. The Inline Code Matcher quality control system ensures this by comparing various 1D and 2D codes on the packaging.
Readers for bar codes, 2D codes and RFID tags
After printing cleartext, a check should be carried out to ensure that the best-before date has been printed clearly and correctly. The Lector650 OCR image-based code reader is ideal for this task. The reader checks the variable data and codes on the packaging systematically for quality and accuracy.
During food processing, identification and traceability are very important. For example, chocolate moulds must be checked and replaced after a certain number of uses. The Asset Monitoring System compares the 1D or 2D codes of the moulds with the saved data and displays them on the HMI.
In the meat processing industry, 1D bar codes are read in difficult and harsh conditions. SICK’s CLV54x bar code scanner with rugged stainless-steel housing handles this task and can be used continuously. Its stainless-steel housing is resistant to intensive cleaning cycles and changes in temperature.
Also for the meat industry, RFID tags containing all the necessary data can be attached to the transport crates to help ensure an intelligent process control. An RFU62x RFID writes the tags and reads out the data. All established data interfaces and fieldbuses are supported, making it easy to exchange data with the control centre. The RFID also offers a complete range of diagnostic functions.