Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Servomotors and Your Holiday Shopping

Trudging through the stores over these past few weeks, you probably didn’t give much thought to the bags you were carrying – other than how heavy they were. Now that it’s time for a breather from the holidays, though, we thought we’d take a closer look at that mainstay of the retail experience, the plastic bag. At its most simple, the plastic bag is created from an enormous roll of plastic (think in the thousands of pounds), fed through a series of processes on one machine – picture a giant web –  or several, culminating in a handy, lightweight way to carry your purchases. With more features – handles, perforations, gussets, internal seals or zippers – comes more machinery and greater need for precision, which is where servomotors and motion control come into play.

Some estimates place plastic bag usage in the United States at 60,000 per second. Obviously, production needs to occur at an incredible speed just to keep up with this demand. There can be, however, no tradeoff in accuracy. Movement and placement are critically important to ensure a uniform product with very little waste. The feedback and communication capabilities of motion control are ideal for all of these needs. Take, for instance, a heat seal process for plastic bags. This seal not only needs to be placed at precisely the same location on millions of bags – the heating element also needs to just touch the material – too much, and it will sear right through, too little, and the seal will not occur. With motion control, all elements of the process are occurring in perfect choreography, with the heat seal knowing just where the bags are on the roll, and when to lower and raise itself. Without an integrated motion control system, this just would not be possible.

Contact us or see our site for more uses of motion control, or let us know how we can help achieve your manufacturing needs!

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