Monday, December 12, 2011

Beverage Cans as Artwork? With Motion Control, Yes!

Catchy jingles, iconic logos, unforgettable catchphrases, and eye-grabbing color schemes. To this short sampling of the many ways in which beverage companies compete for your taste buds and dollars, add another: embossed cans. Seeking to add yet another sensory differentiator for a step up on their rivals, many firms have gone the route of including raised logos and designs on their cans, branching away from the familiar uniform cylindrical shape. This Basics of Design Engineering release details the process in greater depth, and, dating from 1999, shows that the practice is nothing new. The technology described, though, is no less impressive for being several years old, and wouldn’t be possible without motion control.

In manufacturing embossed cans, two factors are of utmost importance: speed and accuracy. The embossing locations must be perfectly positioned on the can’s face, and the process must be near-instantaneous. Why? At the time the article was written, Americans consumed 275 million beverage cans per day. Mind-boggling. Obviously, can production must occur at a similarly spectacular rate, and the sheer speed of this process is the most impressive aspect – and, combined with the need for near-perfect accuracy, is what makes motion control an indispensable tool.

Get ready for this: the system for which IIS designed a servomotor produces 1,700 cans each minute. That’s 28 per second! The diagram within the above link shows the process better than any description could, but the key takeaway here is that, including time for lifting cans on and off of the embossing die, the entire process is done in 713 milliseconds for one can. Simple mechanical automation processes just don’t have the accuracy or capability to maintain the high level and quality of production necessary in an operation like this – servo motion control was the only answer. 

With superior monitoring, testing, and performance analytics, our servomotor system enabled the manufacturer to increase efficiency and reduce waste even further. For more information on our full line of motion control devices, visit the Industrial Indexing Systems website.

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