The technological and social revolutions of the past few decades have completely reshaped industry. The food packaging and palletizing industry is no exception. In fact, the last ten years alone has seen the adoption of advanced technologies at an unprecedented rate. Here, Alan Spreckley, robotics food and beverage segment manager and palletizing robotics expert at ABB, explains how digitalization is repackaging the future of food palletizing.
The last two decades have seen a decline in the nuclear family and a global rise in the number of private households with only a single occupier. In 2017, the UK office of national statistics (ONS) conducted a study that found 27.8 per cent of UK households had only one inhabitant. Likewise, the labor force survey (LFS) showed that one-third of European households are single person, while the US has been experiencing a significant increase of single person households since the 1920s.
This growing trend places a higher demand for single-portion servings of pre-prepared and pre-packaged food on the food industry, which makes the packaging and palletizing processes less linear than they have previously been. Similarly, the unstable economy of recent years has nurtured a generation of savvy customers, eager for the special offers and deals that retailers regularly provide, further complicating the palletizing process. This leads to scenarios where manufacturers will be required to change palletizing patterns quickly and cost efficiently to deliver this.
Robots have been a staple of the food industry since the 1980s, with most businesses using at least one robotic system for some part of the production line. Palletizing robots have proven particularly popular among plant engineers as they increase productivity, improve working conditions and can be easily integrated into existing production systems.
However, the process of integrating palletizing robots has traditionally relied on computer assisted design (CAD) drawings and involved a lot of estimation.
To quicken this step, virtual commissioning is becoming increasingly popular among plant managers, often using ABB’s innovative suite of virtual commissioning tools. Instead of using CAD, the process is modeled in 3D which provides an accurate visualization of a factory layout. This allows plant engineers to see a digital representation of how the robot will integrate and move within the process and allows them to discover and resolve any potential technical issues before they become a reality, reducing commissioning time by up to 25 per cent.
Proportional valves with linear motors in the medical industry
The Precision Fluidics Division of Parker Hannifin, the global leader in motion and control technologies, announced the release of their new Parker LM-Pro linear motor proportional valve targeted at the respiratory and anaesthesia markets.
“The Parker LM-Pro miniature proportional valve utilizes a patent pending linear motor actuation technology to enable flow up to 540 slpm in a very compact and energy efficient package, while providing an unparalleled, controllable range to allow for use across multiple respiratory applications,” says Beth Young, division marketing manager at Parker Precision Fluidics.
A critical feature of the LM-Pro valve is the valve’s linear motor actuation technology that provides exceptional resolution over a longer stroke and lower power consumption than traditional solenoid or voice coil actuation designs. With a linear controllable flow range from 0.5 to 540 slpm, pressure capability up to 100 psi (6.9 bar), and typical power consumption of less than 2 Watts, the LM-Pro valve enables very precise flow control throughout the full performance range of the valve. The LM-Pro valve allows for simple, closed loop feedback, giving the customer precise pressure or flow control. This ensures accurate and safe delivery of precise gases to patients, from neonates to adults. Typical applications will have power usage of less than 2 Watts, giving the customer longer battery life or ability to use a smaller battery to save size and weight. Typical hysteresis of <10% (full scale), coupled with a fast response time of <20 msec (full cycle), give the customer the ultimate in low and high flow rate and precision control proportional valve performance.
The Parker LM-Pro is a true, one-size-fits-all, proportional valve. Its unrivalled performance capability combined with the simplicity of a face mounted/ported design make the LM-Pro valve an ideal solution for varied applications with dynamic flow control needs. “It is ideal for customers who are trying to increase performance while continuing to decrease the footprint of their products,” says Paul Nierman, division engineering manager at Parker Precision Fluidics.
As systems become smaller and more portable, power concerns and accurate flow control at both the high and low ends of the spectrum are vital. The Parker LM-Pro linear motor proportional valve is a great example of the portfolio of products at the Precision Fluidics Division of Parker Hannifin that lead the market in miniature, low power, light weight, high performance fluidic products.
Visit the link to find more information of the Parker LM-Pro linear motor proportional valve: https://discover.parker.com/LM-Pro
Ziehl-Abegg’s elevator division reaches an all-time high
South-East Asia and Europe deliver a 12 percent increase for the Hohenlohe motor manufacturer
The elevator drives division at Ziehl-Abegg has been running at an all-time high for the past two months. “We have never had such a high order intake in the elevator sector,” says CEO Peter Fenkl. The orders are coming mainly from Europe and Southeast Asia.
2019 had already been a record-breaking year for the elevator specialists at the electric motor manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg: in the final count, it posted sales of more than 72 million euros. In the current year, business in the elevator division has continued at the same record level as in the previous year. “However, the development in order intake since March is far exceeding our expectations,” says CEO Fenkl. “We are currently 12 percent up on the previous year!”
Ziehl-Abegg is benefitting from being located in Germany. In contrast to Southern Europe, where in Italy and Spain many companies are closed, production in Southern Germany is in full swing. Even in the current corona crisis, the supply chain is working and supplies to production are secured, with even kit manufacturers in Spain ordering elevator motors and control units from Ziehl-Abegg in Hohenlohe. “Many of our customers’ finished products end up all over Europe, including England,” explains Sales Manager Dieter Rieger. It’s a similar picture in South-East Asia: the closure of regional companies has created a vacuum for elevator manufacturers, the result is that they are now buying components on the global market – for example, from the German manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg. “A large proportion of the volume is coming from new construction projects,” says Rieger.
The motor division at Ziehl-Abegg is the second largest area of business in the Group. Worldwide, Ziehl-Abegg employs 4,300 people, spread over the areas of ventilation, control and drive technology plus automotive. “It’s during times of crisis in particular that the strength of our broadly-based portfolio becomes evident”, underlines CEO Fenkl.
Interroll intensifies exchange of expertise with digital channels
Exchange of information and experience at the click of a mouse: Interroll is expanding and deepening interactive contact with its customers with new online services. From now on, training events for customers can be easily booked and conducted via the Internet, meetings with experts can be organized, and short videos on important industry topics can be accessed.
An important cornerstone of the new offering is the Interroll Academy, which for many years has been the driving force behind the transfer of knowledge between employees, customers and partners. The integrated learning programs offered by the Group-wide training and collaboration center ensure a seamless combination of different learning methods, techniques and materials. In this way, what has been learned can be optimally deepened and applied. The Interroll Academy cooperates with leading organizations such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, and Krauthammer.
With the new e-learning offering by the Interroll Academy, users can access online training content from anywhere at any time. One example of the range of programs on offer is the user training course on the Interroll Layout designer, the popular planning software for the user-friendly design of complete material flow solutions.
Another possibility for a fast, targeted and worldwide exchange of know-how is the online booking of personal expert discussions, for example on technical or industry-specific issues. In addition, informative short videos—educational clips—provide interested parties with a quick introduction to topics that affect important industries such as the food or fashion industry.
“Our customers and partners rely on quality, speed and easiness from Interroll. We consistently deliver on this promise in the digital world as well. By further expanding our channels for virtual interaction, they can now access our expertise even more easily and enter into a professional exchange with us,” explains Jens Karolyi, Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing & Culture of the Interroll Group.
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