Standard drive system
The standard pneumatic drive system is used in the majority of Thermoformer applications. This design has been used since the very first machines, all be it the geometry has changed on the drive system to improve contact and the pinch roller style and design has also improved. We have developed a roller and belt standard that gives a good level of drive across all speed ranges without skidding.
This style of drive allows the operator and maintenance teams to change rollers, belts and bearings very quickly and easily. All wear parts are very easy to access and simple to change. We have a simple ‘easy clip’ roller system that is used to help change pinch rollers in seconds.
Wet environments or heavy products
The ‘HD’ variant of the high speed machine has been designed to be used in a wet environment, where normal elastic belting drive systems fail, or where the products that are being converged are very heavy.
This style of belt is driven by individual motors giving the operator a very accurate and configurable acceleration and deceleration to help with a more gentle handling of slower bulk products. The HD design is very robust and suited to harsh environments with a positive sprocket drive never slipping with water or product debris.
The high speed version of this style of machine has an additional high speed bed that is used to pitch and separate the flow of products from the main index section. This allows the machine to intermittently speed up the pack’s linear speed rather than taking a stopped pack to 60m/min + that is required for the high speed machine outfeed.
Continuous Perfect pack pitching
With the additional index conveyor bed on the high speed Converger, it now has the ability to cross over cycles and queue products removing the dwell time between cycles. The result is a totally seamless and perfect pack pitch, taking away the instantaneous bunching of packs that will normally be seen on most competitor’s machines. The gap between each pack will then be identical to the gap between the last pack of one cycle and the first of the next.
The high speed Converger will still calculate the maximum possible pack pitch at any given pack rate and speed in much the same way as the Compact and Standard machines. The HMI will display the maximum pack pitch and the operator can adjust this if needed and the high speed Converger will alter the linear speed on all conveyor sections automatically to achieve this.
By changing the conveyor speed on the HMI you can see the pitch increase to the desired amount. Standard pitch would normally be at least 1x pack length.
High speed gearing
Versus the standard drive system, the high speed machine is geared up to run at a much faster linear speed. The operating range is lifted to allow the outfeed conveyor to run at speeds of just over 60m/min. This will allow the machine to still maintain an effective pitch between packs on the outfeed, even when the packs per minute range increases.
The linear speed of the index and infeed can also be uplifted to match the Thermoformer advance speed, with different brands of Thermoformer requiring a slightly different operating range.
The high speed Converger also has separate motors on the index and outfeed conveyor beds, unlike the smaller more basic Compact machine. This allows the machine to have a separate operating speed on all sections that isn’t slaved and isn’t controlled as an offset like on the Compact. The operator has much more control and the machine can be configured and set up to handle more difficult products.
The guide rails also run with a different 3:1 gearing verses the standard 5:1 to allow the operating range to match the faster outfeed speeds
Parabolic guides – Perfect pack orientation
The standard and high speed Convergers both come with the more configurable ‘Parabolic Guide’ design. This motorised guide rail has a parabolic shape to help to guide packs from their feeding lane into the centre of the machine as gently and accurately as possible.
By setting the speeds correctly on the guide rails the pack travelling along the guide will hug the shape of the guide as it is transferred across the Converger, with the parallel section at the end of the guide squaring us the pack for as perfect orientation as is possible.
The parallel section at the end of the guide is fully adjustable, allowing the distance between the guides to be adjusted for different sized packs while still retaining a parallel section at the end for pack presentation.
As the end section is adjusted and locked off the elastic belt path changes slightly to retain the same length so as not to increase the belt tension or decrease it. This auto tension feature is essential to ensure the speeds of the belt on the guides remain constant even after the end section has been adjusted.
The belts auto track on the rollers and are auto tensioned using he drive system design, making them very easy to maintain and use. The elastic belts can easily be changed in seconds and the guide is ready to run with no operator involvement or set up needed.
The high speed Converger shares the same index bed set up and length as the standard machine. This really does make the machine modular and formats can be changed between pre-configured machines.
Each change part index module is easily removed using the ‘quick change’ system, clicking in and out of the machine in seconds. Each removable bed has a fixed position on the machine and using the elastic belts to create tension, will click into place and are fixed using quick release plungers that are located on either side of the machine.
This makes changing belts and access into the main drive section very quick and simple. Access for changing rollers, pinch rollers, bearings, drive rollers and all other wear parts is now as simple and easy as possible.
Each high speed Converger that is specified with change parts has an index bed sensor to prevent the operator form putting in the wrong change parts verses the running program on the machine. The machine will look for a signal from the sensor to tell it if the correct change part bed is in the machine before allowing the machine to re-start. This prevents damage to the drive system and belts as well as stopping the operator from configuring the program selection incorrectly.
Line control & Build back control
Simple to configure line control with options to enable and disable on the HMI. The high speed Converger will take a run signal from the downstream machinery and pass this on to the Thermoformer. There are various other options that can be integrated into line control depending on the philosophy on the line. Local and global E-Stop circuits and sequential shutting down or delayed restarting can also be configured.
The high speed Converger both have an integrated ‘Build back sensor’ that is located under the machine HMI gantry. This sensor will look for a packs that pass under it and should they stay there for a given length of time, the Converger will shut down various Conveyor belts to protect the belts and pack damage.
The time the sensor waits before the machine takes action is programmed on the HMI and this can help the line to be configured to accept a small momentary pause or blockage/build back or to stop after a given time when packs don’t clear the sensor.
The various shut down options are also configured on the HMI to give the operator the ability to have a local pause of the guide rails to protect the machine and packs or to shut down the machine or line.
HMI – Simple setup
Omron touchscreen interface with simple set up and recipe selection. Speed parameters can be changed using the “Tortoise & Hare” buttons. Pack pitch is shown on the screen and the maximum pack pitch is calculated for any given cycle speed.
The high speed Convergers have a greater level of adjustment that is accessed from the HMI, with more individual speed controls as there are fewer shared drives and more Conveyor beds on the machine than the smaller more basic Compact Converger.
- Up to 8 languages can be displayed on the HMI
- Tortoise & Hare Speed control
- Line control options are selected and configured on the HMI
- Long-life LED backlight displaying more than 65,000 colours
The designs of both the High speed and High speed HD are modular in construction and wear parts and proprietary mechanical components can be changed in minutes. The whole ethos of our machine range has the customer in mind to allow easy and simple ongoing maintenance. We keep downtime to a minimum on the production line, so all parts need to be accessible and simple to change if required.
Changing a rubber ‘pinch roller’ takes seconds, with the index section unclipping and the roller slides out of location.
Belts can be changed in seconds too. The infeed sections and the index beds are all removable with quick release plungers, giving the operator or engineering team the ability to simply slide the belt out of position and replacing. With the tension on the belt created when in the final position, the belts will take no time to change.
- ‘Easy clip’ idle rollers
- Quick release ‘pinch rollers’ on the standard drive machine
- Easy and quick change elastic belts
- Modular belts featuring a quick removable link for speed on removal
- Timing belts and motors directly accessible when the side covers are unlocked and folded down
- Floating Parabolic guide rails
- Individual speed control for each guide rail – used for difficult to handle packs and wide edge leading packs for greater control
- Wide frame machines (580mm plus inside cut width) to cater for wide Thermoformer diesets
- IP67 Guide rail motors – moulded plugs and no terminal box
- IP66/67 main machine drive motors (Options vary on different versions of the machine)
- Languages on request
- Pack turning kits
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