Packaging machines are used to enclose and protect products for distribution, sale, and use. They are very popular in industry because they are safe, reliable, and usually integrated into the process line. They guarantee a big productivity.
Our packaging machine will have three basic control functions: HMI( the Human Machine Interface), PLC (the logic part of the control), and the Motion Control functionality. The main idea of the Project is to develop a reliable and flexible machine. We will make use of an Ardbox Relay as the main processor of the system, but, as packaging machines need to be integrated into more complex systems, as we saw in the Feeding a packaging machine with a frequency driver post, we will make use of an M-Duino PLC, which has Ethernet connectivity which can send data to an SCADA. The detailed hardware can be found at IndustrialShields the website.
Hardware and Operation
In this newsletter we are going to show just a part of the packing machine. This is a feeder and the lifter. The feeder consists of a piston, when a product is in front of the feeder, the feeder moves forward and the lifter downs a level. When the lifter is at the lower level, the entire product can be sent to the packaging part. The hardware components will be:
- Five mechanical switches (Reverse, forward, upper switch, middle switch and lower switch).
- 4 relays which are based in Arduino. 2 of them for the feeder (forward and reverse movement) and 2 more for the lifter (up and down movement).
Software and coding
As described above, the system works in six steps. Furthermore, the code has an additional but interesting feature: the capability to receive commands from another PLC (M-Duino), if an operator wants to stop the process remotely. Download the Arduino source code in the link below:
- Remotely control from another PLC capability.
- Open Source hardware based, which it means reliable, cheap and expandable.
- Easy to be installed.