The new software can reduce bottle cap cycle time
Machinery manufacturer, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is marking its 40th anniversary at Interplas 2014 alongside the European debut of its latest technology for the production of fast, precise and reliable packaging.
In a UK exclusive, BP&R spoke to Nigel Flowers, Managing Director of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, about the technology that has been officially unveiled at the show.
The demand, especially in the UK, for faster cycling electric machines, in particular for the production of caps and closures and thin walled containers, has led Sumitomo (SHI) Demag to introduce its latest technology for the packaging market.
Exclusively at Interplas 2014, the company has unveiled Smart Fast Clamp, a new option that is being introduced to the IntElect (all-electric) Smart Machine range that is tailored to give customers the benefit of energy, performance and precision.
“Smart Fast Clamp provides a set of options that allow operation at much higher production rates. A typical cycle time is five seconds and with this technology, Sumitomo has got it down to 4.5 seconds, whilst also dealing with the heat problem,” Flowers told BP&R.
“The main enemy of fast cycling electric machines is heat. Either this causes the grease to liquefy and, as a result, destroys the ball screws, or energy that cannot be recovered by the drives must be dissipated via heat. Both these issues must be addressed by ball screw design and additional cooling on the drive systems. The electrical drives storage (capacitors) must be increased to store the recovered energy.”
The technology behind Smart Fast Clamp is complex and, as such, has taken Sumitomo over three years to develop, despite its experience in building all electric injection moulding machinery.
“The [Sumitomo] team in Germany has been testing this for over a year on field test machines and it's mechanically reliable. New features that address performance reliability include a special ball screw incorporating design changes to the geometry, a bigger motor/inverter and reduced tolerances. In terms of heat management, larger capacitors and spindle cooling as well as a differently designed platens are its key features,” Flowers explained.
By implementing Smart Fast Clamp, Sumitomo says dry cycle times according to Euromap 6a has been reduced from 1.2 to 1.0 seconds, performance increased by 20 percent or 1.2 million extra cycles per annum, based on a five-second cycle. In addition, platen speed is increased from 1400 mm/s to 1700 mm/s.
With energy consumption the word on the lips of all processors and manufacturers considering the purchase of new machinery, Flowers explained that despite the marginal increase in energy required during acceleration and braking using Smart Fast Clamp, the benefits of implementing the system far outweigh the increased energy usage.
“The higher energy usage is for just a very short period in the overall cycle – so yes there is a marginal energy increase, but the higher output and reliability more than compensates for that,” he said.
The machine is making its debut at Interplas 2014, where it is running throughout the three days of the show, producing bottle caps on the company’s stand - D30. Technical personnel from Sumitomo are on hand throughout the event to answer any questions from visitors and demonstrate the technology.
“The single most important benefit of the new system is without doubt its reliability,” commented Flowers. “Just going fast is easy. It’s doing it reliably when running high speed, dynamic cycles that is the key point,” he concluded.