Case Study: Rotaform

Case study Rotaform_Fotor

Rotaform, Lelystad, The Netherlands

Background information: the machine

Rotaform’s machine makes small lotto rolls: the rolls you see in the lotto printer behind the cash register in a supermarket. The process of making these rolls proceeds as follows:

  • First, a lotto roll (half a meter) is pre-printed by another machine. Then it passes through Rotaform’s slithering machine. This machine unrolls the wide lotto roll at one side, then guides the paper through razors and rolls it up on the other side. After this, it divides the paper into five small rolls, to fit into the lotto printer in the supermarket. Each (smaller) roll contains a few lots.

During its twenty-five years of loyal service, the Rotaform machine has been equipped with three printers. These printers put a small designation sign at that point where only ten tickets remain on the roll. This way, the printer at the cashier ‘knows’ when enough tickets remain for one street.

 

The case

These printers, with an improvised timer relay, are not very accurate and hard to adjust for different ticket sizes. When Rotaform was assigned to make several new tickets, they needed a machine that could produce tickets with varying sizes. In short: the current control system did no longer met the requirements. And even worse: the electronic components were no longer available. A major risk for the company!

 

Research and Solution

We conducted general and specific research to the machine: what is the current state? How well does the machine work? How is the machine handled? What challenges are being faced? What functionalities should work differently, and which ones need to be added?

After the technical analysis and an interview with the operator, we concluded that  a new control system was the best option for Rotaform. This way we could replace the existing facilitator and its relay for a new control system. An integrated operating system, instead of different systems, is always better for guaranteeing operational reliability.

 

The result: an upgraded machine

  • Instead of a control with buttons and a single-line display, we have included a touchscreen panel. This way, configuration of the machine is easy.
  • With the touchscreen function we have enabled a quick and easy menu function: the operator can simply selects the desired roll format and the machine executes its task accordingly.
  • There is little to no training required: the usage of the control panel has barely been adjusted compared to the ‘old’ one.
  • In cooperation with Routeco we have replaced the main motor (DC Motor) by a servomotor: a servomotor requires less maintenance, as no carbon brushes need to be replaced. Moreover, the motor is easier to handle in regard to clutching, speed and positioning.
Timo supplied our old and risky machine with a modern control system, including an Allen Bradley plc. This project proceeded flawlessly, without any delay in operations. It was a pleasant collaboration; the activities were adapted to our wishes and resulted in a machine with an extended lifecycle.
Matthijs de Leeuw
Rotaform
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