Design and implement a control system to reduce packaging material waste on four existing food wrapping machines. The existing multi-station machines dispensed packaging materials (plastic film) and sealed the thermofilm, regardless of whether the product had been wrapped properly or was even present on the line.
The sensing technology needed to be robust and cleanable to meet cGMP regulations. The control system needed to be simple, easy to install and work with the existing equipment controls. The installation had to be complete and tested in under 8 hours on each machine.
Utilizing our experience from other food industry applications, a design that incorporated flat, cleanable, capacitive sensors was selected.
The existing packaging equipment would only advance and seal the films if the product was present in the correct location, above the inductive sensors.
A simple solid-state relay control system, with indicator lights for the machine operators, was added to the existing equipment lines.
All of the installation was cleanable and suitable for the wash-down environment within the plant.
Simple solution, with easily cleanable components provided a robust solution and gave indication to the machine operators of the status of the sensing system.
The client piloted one system to ensure the design and product met their expectations. The client then implemented the solution onto three more existing packaging lines, resulting in an approximate 3 week payback through the reduction in wasted packaging thermofilms.