A new SIG Alfa servo-driven bottle labeler (http://rbi.ims.ca/3848-526) is the company's first to allow changeover and high-speed running of different bottle formats and label sizes without stopping for mechanical cam or software cam table changes. The new machine is also an example of how the IEC 61131-3 integrated development environment is being used to create a "common look and feel" for motion control, I/O, and HMI programming. Alberto Culver is SIG's first customer to utilize the self-adhesive bottle labeler.
Refinement in redesign
Previous SIG Alfa self-adhesive bottle labeling machines used mechanically driven or step-motor-driven bottle plates. This design approach allows bottles to be rotated during the labeling process, which is useful for long labels and applications where the label will cover the full circumference of the bottle. But these mechanical machines can only handle one shape and size of bottle without a cam change. And while step motor drives can be programmed to automate format changes, the bottle can't be moved during label application.
The new design combines the advantages of both approaches by synchronizing up to 52 servo-driven axes provided by Elau, Inc. (http://rbi.ims.ca/3848-529). Using software-camming capability in the IEC 61131-3 programming tool set, bottles can be rotated while the machine operates at high speed and adjusts to different bottle shapes.
Two camming modes can be selected from the operator panel and saved in the recipes of each container format. For simple applications, the container is not rotated during labeling. For sophisticated applications with any combination of long labels, special labels, and container formats, a software cam mode is activated for bottle rotation.
The operator can also modify bottle station rotation with a step-by-step, auto-teach procedure.
Cam programming choices
Software cams can be generated in two ways. The user can take advantage of a simple, dedicated software tool to automatically generate the cam. Or the user can generate a custom cam profile on a CAD system, similar to the way a mechanical cam would be designed.
Cam changes can be made without stopping the machine to download software cam tables.
The machine installed at Alberto Culver has 16 servo axes and four labeling groups, but additional platforms can incorporate up to eight groups and 38 servos. The largest planned model will have 52 servo axes, all of which can be controlled by a single Elau automation system.