Case Study: Control System Upgrade of a Tube Printer

Introduction

A machine owner has his  printing machine moved from one production location to a new one.

The machine is used for decoration of plastic tubes for e.g. glue and lip balm. It consists of a feeding unit, a printing + varnish unit, a curing unit and a box transport system.

The feeding and the curing system are not supplied by the OEM of the printer, and both have their own control system and operator panel.

This printing line was manufactured in 1999, according to the safety regulations then in force.

Problem

After relocation to the new site, the operators struggle to get the machine back in operation. Inspection of the machine shows that it has both mechanical and electrical issues.

Maintenance of the machine is a challenge: The source code of the original control program is unavailable, control hardware is difficult to source, and the available machine documentation is outdated.

In addition, a new safety declaration is required, because regulations have changed considerably since the original declaration was issued. However, a new certificate for this machine is not possible in its current configuration.

Solution

The machine has been fully refurbished by a technical service provider. During this refurbishment, it has been equipped with an upgraded control system, for which PlantmatiQ has provided the hardware and software architecture.

The separate control systems of the feeding and curing system have been fully integrated in the new machine program.

After the refurbishment, the machine runs production seamlessly, and the entire machine can be operated from one central panel.

The new control system software makes it possible to add functionality to the machine. The machine can be connected to a machine network to monitor production, or receive support by remote connection to service providers.

Hardware replacement parts will be available for (at least) 10 years to come.

And because of the provisions that were taken during the refurbishment, the machine meets the current safety regulations, and qualifies for a new (CE) safety certificate.

See what the tube printing machine looks like after full refurbishment:

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