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B&R’s innovative solutions revolutionise the packaging industry

B&R’s innovative solutions revolutionise the packaging industry

September 30, 2023 2:54 pm

Regarding the packaging solutions, Dinesh Mungi, Branch Head, B&R Automation, Pune, stated that B&R Automation offers cutting-edge control and automation solutions, including ACOPOStrak and ACOPOS 6D, for adaptable and efficient packaging lines.

Please discuss the specific or advanced packaging solutions from B&R Automation.
B&R is renowned for delivering control and automation solutions to OEMs, focusing on the packaging industry. Our solutions range from basic controls and motion control elements like servo drives and motors progressing to HMIs. As we move into more advanced stages, the integration of vision technology becomes increasingly vital in packaging lines.

In today’s dynamic market, the demand is for highly adaptable and flexible machines. Traditional long production runs are being replaced by the need for quick product changeovers and reduced setup times due to labour constraints. We understand the desire for adaptable, space-efficient production lines, and B&R is well-equipped to provide the ideal solutions.

One of our flagship products is ACOPOStrak, a system featuring long linear motor modules that use magnetic shuttles to move individual products. These shuttles gain intelligence as they are controlled to determine their path and which processing station to visit. For example, imagine a scenario where you’re filling bottles of two different sizes, 100 ml and 200 ml. In a standard setup, you must stop the line and switch between the two sizes. With ACOPOStrak, you can load bottles of any size, and the system detects the size and directs them accordingly. This eliminates the need for changeovers and boosts overall productivity.

Another remarkable product is ACOPOS 6D, which provides six degrees of freedom for handling products. This means you can rotate, shake, move horizontally, and even adjust the elevation of the product. This versatility is invaluable in various applications, such as assembling different perfume caps on a single line, streamlining the process, reducing the need for extensive mechanical setups, and providing operators with a more straightforward and efficient production line. In essence, B&R is at the forefront of shaping the future of packaging solutions.

What is the reason behind using the term six degrees in this context?
This system offers the ability to move the product in multiple directions – horizontally along the X and Y axes, rotationally, and vertically (elevation). This comprehensive movement capability is referred to as having six degrees of freedom. What’s particularly advantageous is that you can also weigh the product while it’s on the shuttle, eliminating the need for an additional weighing system or quality check to ensure it is not perfectly filled.

How has B&R Automation addressed remote access and predictive maintenance to enhance production efficiency?
With recent experiences, highlighting the critical role of remote connectivity in our lives. B&R offers a range of solutions that allow direct access to B&R controls remotely, but we prioritise data security in these connections. This means that engineers can securely access controllers located at a distance.

Predictive maintenance has gained significant importance because people want to minimise downtime. In this regard, we’re actively working on concepts, especially with ACOPOStrak. For instance, we can perform calculations to estimate the shuttles’ overall lifespan and provide operators with indications when maintenance is required. What’s advantageous is that this approach offers flexibility; you don’t need to halt production. Picture this: the shuttle arrives, you remove it, replace it with a new one, and the production line continues running smoothly. So, on the one hand, we offer predictability for maintenance timing, and on the other hand, we ensure that maintenance doesn’t disrupt production.

Please provide insights into the expected market size, both in terms of revenue and product volumes, for this new offering.
This technology is part of a broader ecosystem. When considering a project, comparing it with conventional methods is essential. While adopting this technology may involve additional costs, evaluating the long-term benefits is crucial. Instead of just looking at the initial investment (X), you should also factor in the savings from reduced downtime, increased flexibility, and decreased changeover time. When you calculate the overall productivity of your investment, you’ll likely find that the return on investment is significantly quicker, making it a more advantageous choice.

What is the turnaround time from the initial design phase to product demonstration and market launch?
Typically, the design of such machines can be quite time-consuming, but the process has become significantly faster thanks to simulation tools. People can now visualise the entire process in very little time. They start with a conceptual idea, simulate it, and assess the expected productivity. They can fine-tune the design by adjusting various parameters to achieve their desired results. Any obstacles or issues are identified in advance and addressed through modifications. In essence, while the design phase may take longer, it ensures a high level of certainty that the actual machine, when built, will operate just like the virtual replica. This approach can substantially shorten the time it takes to bring a product to market.

However, the key advantage lies in the overall process. Since you’ve already simulated it comprehensively, you won’t need to undergo repeated redesigns. You build it, initiate the trial phase, and because of the thorough simulation, you’re saving a significant amount of time that would have otherwise been spent on trial and error and subsequent error corrections.

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