Rockwell Automation was present at Labelexpo 2017 with two of its innovative machine and equipment builders showcasing its latest solutions. The company's technologies and products were demonstrated in action by Bar Graphic Machinery Ltd and NewFoil Machines Ltd.
Bar Graphic Machinery is an industry leader in providing proven, technically creative, high quality machines to the Label and Packaging industries and has been for more than 25 years. It specialises in the design and manufacture of narrow web label slitter rewinders, inspection slitter rewinders, rotary die cutting rewinders, digital label converting finishing systems and flexible packaging finishing equipment for the label and packaging industries.
Producing high quality machines to customer specifications, its technically creative equipment has been designed to meet customer requirements today as well as anticipating their needs for the future. Bar Graphic’s highly-skilled engineers are constantly developing modifications and expanding its range of equipment to help ensure its customers can find the right solutions for their precise needs.
Bar Graphic deals with industry leaders across a great many industries, including some of the most well-known brands in the food, packaging, pharma and wine & beer sectors. If you can print in it, Bar Graphic can finish it.
One example of the company’s impressive portfolio of machines is its Multiflex Multiple Substrate Inspection Slitter Rewinder. Designed and built in-house, the machine offers unique finishing capabilities on a multitude of unsupported and supported films, foils, papers and light board, from substrate thicknesses of 11 microns and upwards, allowing customers to specify just one machine for a wide variety of substrates and finishing applications – coupled to a dynamic performance at speeds of up to 300 m/min.
Its modular design can be reconfigured for a variety of specialist finishing applications such as booklets, ticket & tags, wrap & colour chip labels and its intelligent taper tension control system achieves a perfect rewind profile every time. Showcasing its ease of use, its job-memory facility enables operators to access and action pre-loaded job settings in a matter of seconds. The machine can also be fitted with a large, 1 m capacity unwind and integral roll lift, which maximises roll-changeover efficiency.
The machine deploys an integrated automation and motion control solution from Rockwell Automation. At the centre of the control infrastructure is an Allen-Bradley® CompactLogix™ programmable automation controller (PAC), which interfaces to the operator via an Allen-Bradley PanelView™ HMI. The PAC is used to tightly control the multiple motion axes driven by Allen-Bradley Kinetix® 5500 servo drives, which are used to control the duplex rewind system and the pacing roller. EtherNet/IP™ is the primary communication network, which as well as providing the machine’s data paths also gives Bar Graphic the ability to offer more seamless factory integration and remote support.
“The beauty of this machine,” explains Bill Rhodes, Chairman, “is that we have developed our own intelligent tensioning solution, which is controlled by the Allen-Bradley PAC. Using this approach, the finished rolls have a perfect profile every time for the next step in the user’s process.
“We buy our automation equipment from Routeco,” Rhodes continues. “Routeco knew we weren’t comfortable with our previous automation solution, so it suggested Allen-Bradley products. Rockwell Automation has a good name and reputation, especially in the US market, and we are leveraging the local support it offers around the world with our support of our global customers.“We’re still learning about our industry every day,” he concludes, “and our technical guys are enjoying their relationship with the engineers at Rockwell Automation – they are all learning from each other – it’s a great relationship. The Logix programming environment is also much easier to learn and deploy; cutting days off our development times.”
Founded in 1982 Newfoil Machines Limited has become world leader in the field of roll fed hot foil label printing and converting machines, and can boast over 1,500 installations in 90 countries worldwide. Primary customers include multiple worldwide label printers, particularly those servicing the wines, spirits and electronics industries.
From the launch of the first machine at the 1982 Labelexpo exhibition in Birmingham, U.K, the Newfoil range of machines and options has been continuously developed and expanded and is now regarded as the industry standard for high quality finishing and converting. Indeed, Newfoil Machines was the first company to produce self-adhesive hologram labels, launched at the 1986 Drupa exhibition.
Technological evolution has culminated in the company’s Servo range of presses, which deploy the latest development in servo technology to offer an integrated motion and safety control system, which brings together the various dynamic and control elements of the machine into one package. Using an HMI touch-screen control panel, the operator can set-up and optimise the label parameters in a minimum amount of time and store the data for re-use.
All Newfoil machines are designed and built at the company’s 2,000 m2 factory in the United Kingdom, a modern facility equipped with the latest CAD design systems, CNC machine tools and production equipment.
In-house production accounts for 95% of the machines engineering content and the advanced Servo control system is supplied by Rockwell Automation a market leader in motion control technology. Having total control of the manufacturing process enables Newfoil Machines to enjoy an unrivalled reputation for reliability and quality.
The Servo range comprises seven machine variants, with web widths varying from 175 up to 340 mm. Each model deploys electronic servo web feed control and is capable of up to 18,000 cycles per hour in addition to finished label rewind and matrix removal. In operation the machines take blank or pre-printed material on rolls at the infeed and then, via seven steps (re-register, hot stamp, emboss, laminate, die-cut, strip and rewind) deliver finished, self-adhesive labels, foiled and embossed at the outfeed.
At the heart of the machine is an Allen-Bradley® control suite from Rockwell Automation running over an EtherNet/IP network. Primary control is delivered via an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix™ programmable automation controller (PAC), which controls a four- or six-axis servo indexing systems controlled by Allen-Bradley Kinetix® 5500 servo drives. Allen-Bradley PowerFlex variable-speed drives complete the motion element, while an Allen-Bradley PanelView™ Plus HMI provides the operator interface.
According to Derrick Evans, Managing Director and Owner of Newfoil Machines: “Our machines have been designed to produce very high value labels for premium products so we have to have an automation solution that can address our demanding accuracy and quality levels. Rockwell Automation was able to offer us complete support through the critical design and development period with practical solutions to unusual problems.
“As a result of the integrated Allen-Bradley solution,” he continues, “we have reduced our design time, cut our programming efforts and made troubleshooting easier. We are also seeing increased flexibility, which will help us to evolve our machine design with minimal engineering effort.
“Our customers are seeing easier maintenance and troubleshooting,” he concludes, “while also enjoying enhanced personnel and machine safety. Indeed the incorporation of Rockwell Automation products has resulted in much better productivity and a return on investment that has improved by a factor of 80%.”