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Customised IPC meets food filling machine needs

A customised industrial PC with a remote operator panel has eliminated the frequent breakdowns on a food filling machine. The Combiseptic food filling machine made by GASTI of Germany operates in an environment requiring frequent and thorough cleaning, but also subject to considerable vibration. This had long been the cause of computer breakdowns, but a Lenze control system comprising a panel mounted IPC, remote operator panel and visualisation system has cut downtime and delivered improved operator control into the bargain. The Combiseptic range of machines is designed to fill and seal products such as fruit juice, yoghurt, desserts and cottage cheese. Outputs up to 16,000 cups per hour are possible using stackable cups in plastic, paper and aluminum. The cups move continuously and the filling and sealing heads are driven to match the cup speed. This process requires accurate handling to avoid forces on the cups that could cause the contents to spill. Individually adjustable metering pumps ensure a consistent and accurate dosage for substances with different consistencies. These processes are controlled by a PLC and IPC from Lenze which are linked to the machine's servo drives via an Ethernet connection. The operator panel, a Lenze command station, and the control cabinet mounted IPC are connected to the PLC by means of an Ethernet TCP/IP. The decision was made to separate the operator panel from the IPC in order to achieve the maximum protection against the harsh environment conditions.

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