Monday, September 26, 2011

Problems Associated With Mechanical Sheeters

When was the last time you picked up a brochure or flipped through a company catalog? For most individuals, this was probably not very long ago. Printed materials – such as flyers, leaflets, newspaper supplements, and direct mail – are essential in providing readers with necessary information. To meet a company’s mass distribution needs, web press machines have to churn out thousands of pieces of printed material per minute. Part of that process entails cutting a continuous web of paper, measuring thousands of feet long, to a defined length.

Since Johannes Gutenberg’s movable type printing press, no single invention has advanced printing processes as much as a sheeter, which slices a web of paper into sheets of a specific size at up to 1000-plus feet per minute. As innovative as they are, however, there are various shortcomings associated with mechanical sheeters that have decreased web press efficiency. Mechanical sheeters need to be permanently mounted to the web press via a lineshaft, and they always run at speeds synchronized to the pace of the press. These factors cause numerous difficulties, including:

  • The sheeter has to be removed from the press and manually re-configured to accommodate different material sizes, causing expensive production disruptions.
  • If the sheeter has been adjusted poorly, the process will result in an increased amount of scrap.
  • High-feed rates often reduce cutting accuracy.

These and other problems associated with mechanical sheeters have driven a change in the current technology: Servo motors have dramatically enhanced sheeter flexibility, allowing companies to produce custom-length materials more efficiently. Tune in next week to find out how servo systems are radically enhancing standard sheeter processes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sercos Interface Provides Ultra-Precision, High-Speed Communication between Motion Control Devices

In an increasingly automated world, machine builders worldwide greatly depend on choosing an efficient and deterministic communication system, which provides high speed precision and interoperability between multiple devices. The interfacing of various control components, as well as the precise coordination of signals and commands sent between control modules, proves especially important in the areas of automation and motion control, where individual axes of motion must be precisely regulated to ensure that the actions of an entire system accurately follow a designated sequence.

Sercos (Serial Realtime Communications System) is an open, globally standardized interface that allows for ultra-precision communication between industrial controls, drives, and input/output devices (I/O). This communication system also provides more than 500 standardized parameters that help define the interaction between controls and drives in terms that are independent of any individual manufacturer. The sercos communication system allows industrial equipment to exchange information with each other at very high speeds, which enables machines to be accurately synchronized. Moreover, Sercos’s open, non-proprietary interface allows for the easy integration of different types of automation devices from multiple vendors.

Sercos has achieved worldwide acceptance as the universal standard for demanding industrial automation applications that require precise, multi-axis, coordinated motion. For all these reasons, IIS is a proud member of sercos North America. We incorporate sercos chips, circuit boards, and other networking components into our sophisticated motion control devices and software. By incorporating sercos technology into our components, we manufacture motion control systems that are simple to install and allow for our equipment to easily connect with other machinery (even machines from a different vendor – as long as they also use sercos interface technology). We also reduce the need for operators to be trained on the controls for each machine. As Michael Hupf, sales engineer at Industrial Indexing Systems, Inc. describes, "We chose sercos as it is the only universal bus specifically designed to meet the demanding requirements for motion control applications."

Monday, September 12, 2011

How IIS Servo Technology Helps You Get a Good Night’s Rest

Our servo-driven technology helps many bedding manufacturers provide consumers with a good night’s sleep. For instance, ABM International, Inc., a leading manufacturer of quilting machinery that produces comforters and pillow shams, has been an IIS customer since 1998. ABM International is a top distributor of the first fully automatic vertical quilting machine, aptly named the Robo-Quilter. The Robo-Quilter employs IIS servo controllers for more efficient production of quilted bedding products.

This state-of-the-art equipment uses only 1/6 of the floor space of a traditional panel quilter. In fact, four Robo-Quilters can fit into the same area currently occupied by a single, conventional quilting machine. Beyond saving floor space, the Robo-Quilter reduces labor costs by 75% and increases productivity by 25%. Servo controlled auto index conveyors provide hands-free positioning of comforters into a sewing area, while servo driven automatic racking eliminates operator interference and fatigue. Only one operator is needed to run up to three automatic quilting machines. Our IIS servos make quilting so efficient and easy, major bedding distributors— such as Serta and Sealy—use our technology to manipulate the needles that produce elaborate quilting patterns found on their deluxe mattress covers.

So, when you snuggle into bed tonight, you are most likely lying on products that have been manufactured using advanced IIS servo technology. Our automation equipment helps bedding manufacturers ensure a comfortable night’s rest for thousands of individuals. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How Servo Systems Improve Your Golf Game Part II

This blog is the second edition of a two-part series that describes how modern IIS servo technology helps golfers achieve a hole-in-one!

Last week, we described how IIS servos help golfers keep their game on par. Gil Barfield, former President of Big Bend Machine & Tool Company, used IIS servo technology to develop the CNC Prep Machine, a buffing machine that endowed golf balls with the smooth finish necessary for proper performance. This machine manufactured balls faster than ever, employing DeltaPro units to control the movement of the balls from one stage of the finishing process to another. However, Barfield’s company also developed a more technically advanced, secondary machine, named the Big Bend Seam Buffing Machine, which added additional automation features and replaced all DeltaPro units with a Toshiba SCARA robot.

With Barfield’s Big Bend Seam Buffing Machine, the finishing process is broken down into two basic processes: one process orients the golf balls while another process trims the runners. The Big Bend Seam Buffing Machine employs a Toshiba SCARA robot, which uses a walking beam motion, to advance several golf balls simultaneously through the various orienting and finishing stages. During the orient stage, golf balls are moved through a series of inspection stations that check the orientation of all balls. If a ball is properly oriented, the machine directs this ball to a rotary index table finishing station, complete with a lathe (cutter) station and two sanders. If a ball is not properly oriented, the ball is dropped into a “bad ball” chute. Only properly oriented balls reach the turret load station for final manufacturing.

Like the CNC Prep Machine, the Big Bend Seam Buffing Machine manufactures 33% more golf balls than traditional, pure-mechanical golf finishing equipment. Additionally, Barfield claims that his servo controlled finishing machines are more durable than conventional machinery that exclusively depends on mechanical controlled systems. Relying extensively on modern servo controls supplied by IIS, Barfield’s finishing machines help golf ball manufacturers achieve a “hole-in-one” for ultimate golf ball manufacturing efficiency.