Columns

Gen 3's power packs a punch

January 6, 2005
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Diagnostics, ease of use and maintainability are the leading attributes of Gen 3 packaging machinery.

Sal Spada
The packaging industry as a whole endorses and recognizes the benefits of electronic motion in the latest generation of machinery. Electronic motion control solutions are functioning as mechanical equivalents, allowing mechanical engineers to replace line shafts and cams. As a direct benefit, the mechanical machine structures are streamlined and machinery footprints continue to get smaller.



In general, PLC and motion control have been separate elements in a machine control application. This has required unique methods to synchronize actions between domains. The significant difference between PLC and motion control domains is that PLC solutions are scan-based systems while motion control systems are event driven. In effect, the application program in a PLC is solved in a highly sequential fashion where the overall scan time dictates the ability of the control system to react to dynamic changes in the I/O system. Gen 3 solutions are now eliminating this distinction by offering real-time event handling to both the motion and logic control domains. At the heart of this innovation is the availability of a machine control language that offers the programming structure to support modularization, dynamic data sharing, and event handling (IEC 61131-3).



The most advanced generation of packaging controls, Gen 3 delivers pre-engineered software solutions that employ modern structured object software tools. Gen 3 solutions encompass logic, HMI and motion control functions for packaging machinery but are effectively seamless. A significant improvement is the integration of PLC and motion control systems as software solutions on the same computing platform. The benefit is a tightly integrated programming language for PLC and motion control combined with all digital control. By using a distributed network of intelligent drives, a centralized motion controller is now capable of dynamically generating motion paths for each servo while having ample computation power to support in-process changes on the fly. This is now defining the latest performance metrics for packaging control systems.

The packaging machinery on the market today with the highest return on net assets uses Gen 3 control architectures. Diagnostics, operator ease of use and maintainability are moving to the forefront of the latest packaging machinery. As a result, end users purchasing new packaging machinery are lowering the total cost of ownership. Modern software tools also allow end users to lower the cost of FDA validation, as well. Standardized function blocks for motion have simplified the validation of a machine control solution to meet 21 CFR Part 11 standards.

Machine control software is easier to develop as modularization and extensibility move to the forefront. Modularity and reusability of commercial off-the-shelf software solutions offer machine builders software development methods that facilitate the development of modular machinery. With Gen 3 capabilities lines can be synchronized using networking solutions, and machinery modules can be rapidly integrated in the end user's plant. This same capability is used to synchronize controls across an entire horizontally integrated packaging line. Gen 3 packaging controls give machine builders more time to skillfully deploy solutions that are repeatable from one machine to the next, while allowing a greater amount of time to be spent on adding value from a safety and operational perspective.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png