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Sensor breakthrough bridges the gap for packaging productivitySICK UK has announced the launch of the DeltaPac, the first ever photoelectric sensor able to detect individual packs on a conveyor without a gap between them. The DeltaPac will help production teams achieve high levels of accuracy and throughput speeds whilst reducing the risk of pile-ups and stoppages.
"SICK DeltaPac is a true breakthrough in sensing for packaging applications using patented technology to eliminate the need to separate packs on a FMCG production line," explains Phil Dyas, SICK UK's industrial sensor specialist.
"Up until now, a clear gap had to be left between packs in order for an optical sensor's beam of light to be returned by the reflector positioned on the opposite side of the conveyor.
"The DeltaPac differentiates between packs in a completely new way, detecting changes in their outline contours at speeds of up to 3 m/s and 200,000 units an hour. The result is more reliable upstream process control and downstream accuracy for printing, labelling and palletisation."
The DeltaPac opens up new possibilities for the design of packaging machines. Pack buffering and separation mechanisms are no longer needed. The product flow is stabilised because collisions due to falling packages are reduced.
The DeltaPac sensors can detect folded edges, rounded, radiused and faceted corner packages. The advanced background suppression technology, developed by SICK for many different sensors, ensures that glare, reflections, bright colours, changes in contrast and other potential distractions are ignored.
Sick DeltaPac sensors are pre-configured for fast and simple 'plug and play' installation, and fault-free operation.
The sensor's patented technology uses light beams from four SICK PinPoint2.0 LEDs to track contours of packaging edges moved across them by the conveying line. Two sensors in stereo formation detect the change in reflected light angle caused by a package edge and send a switching signal to represent each gap. There is a leading-edge tolerance of +/- 15mm to allow for product position variations.
The SICK DeltaPac is contained in a 42mm by 42mm by 45mm IP67 housing, suitable for side or overhead mounting. The four LEDs and two energy sensors are controlled by SICK's advanced SIRIC ASIC technology which has been one of the most significant recent developments in sensor software. The optional I/O link communication facilitates data communications with downstream operations as well as diagnostics and sensor optimisation.
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