Individual yet efficientEmerging as one of the biggest market trends in recent years: Products such as cosmetics, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals are being offered in ever more individualized and sophisticated packaging, but with a keen focus on an efficient use of resources. The Italian packaging specialist PFM Packaging Machinery addresses precisely this market with its innovative Scirocco horizontal tubular bag machine, which is as efficient as it is flexible and ergonomic, thanks to an intelligent automation solution.
Resource-conserving solutions for resealable containers save outer packaging.
Products packaged by the Scirocco tubular bag machine include wet wipes for baby hygiene and personal hygiene. These are a mainstay in many households due to their simple practicality: Open the film packaging, remove a wipe and close again – the wipes thus remain hygienic and readily retrievable. This product is also extremely appealing for the manufacturer and for the retail market as no additional dispensers or outer boxes are required. Consequently, this also means less packaging material and weight for storage and transport. A whole array of requirements must be fulfilled by machines used for the packaging of such products.
Specialist for smart packagingPFM Packaging Machinery, situated in Torrebelvicino in the province of Vicenza, is one of the leading companies in the market for horizontal tubular bag machines. The company designs, manufactures and markets solutions for tubular bag packaging for filling and sealing as well as automatic packaging systems.
Various models with a variety of filling systems and comprehensive accessories meet even the most specific requirements.
With long-term experience in the flexible packaging segment, PFM has devised an array of innovations specifically for hygiene products such as towelettes and wet wipes, which have now also been incorporated in their Scirocco tubular bag machines. This series is used both for the packaging of foodstuffs and of non-food products and is therefore extremely successful in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries in particular. The line attains an impressive production output of up to 200 packages per minute, is extraordinarily flexible, and can be cleaned quickly and easily. This is facilitated by a sophisticated design with distinctive separation between sealing and product conveyance units at the front and between control and drive technologies at the rear. The entire arrangement is housed in a protected control cabinet and the units in immediate contact with the products are directly accessible. For products requiring different types of packaging with hermetically sealed seams, PFM also offer a combination version, in which the packaging is combined with three sealed seams, as well as a zip or hook-and-loop system for opening and closing with the conventional pillow pack. The line is equipped with an exchangeable double-sealing group, which provides the user with two different configurations, depending on the respective type of packaging. An additional special feature of the line is the automatic length adjustment, allowing the products to be inserted with different lengths in an arbitrary sequence for individual packaging.
Intelligence for complex processes in a small spaceIn order to cover the diverse options and application possibilities, PFM had to find an efficient solution for the automation and drive technology. As well as high machine cycle rates and reproducible high product quality, it was also important for PFM that the drive systems could be arranged as compactly as possible in the control cabinet.
The solution had to provide the necessary flexibility and sufficient reserves for future developments.
After extensive comparisons, PFM found the ideal system in the drive-based SIMOTION D high-end motion controller and SINAMICS S120 drives plus a SIMATIC Comfort Panel PRO with all-round IP65 protection. In addition to the quality and performance capability of the applied automation and drive components, the packaging expertise which Siemens introduced to the collaboration was also of utmost significance. The strengths of PFM are not least to satisfy even the most demanding requirements of their customers – and to complement their own expertise and experience by placing their trust in equally competent partners. The experts at Siemens understand the boundary conditions and requirements and are therefore able to deliver the perfect hardware and software solutions for the automation system.
Siemens supports us with ideal applications specifically for the packaging industry. The Italian packaging team speaks our language and the products from Siemens fulfill every one of our (packaging) requirements.Roberto Zattara, head of PFM's software department
Well done and cleverly packedThe new automation solution does more than merely provide the utmost precision with sufficient performance reserves for future extensions. The components can be configured in a uniform environment and support a compact design of machine and visualization.
A well-conceived concept with the right combination of technology and expertise.
The SIMOTION controller controls all functions of the machine from the axes to tension control of the film through to additional functions and displays (such as alarms, notifications, operator entries, removal of contaminated products, statistics, recipes, etc.), including automatic temperature selection. In addition to the performance capability of the packaging line, an ergonomic and user-friendly design was also extremely important for PFM. The format changeover at the line is performed entirely by way of an operator panel with touch screen, allowing the plant operator to set the corresponding machine parameters at the touch of a button. For this task, PFM opted for the new, all-round IP65-protected SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panel PRO, which can be easily mounted onto a support arm or pedestal at the machine. The SIMATIC ET200 SP distributed I/O system and SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels complete this solution. All components are interconnected via PROFINET, which provides PFM with detailed diagnostics – with the additional advantage that select system data may also be accessed via the web server in the CPU, even without a development tool. PFM uses a secure VPN connection for remote maintenance, allowing complete access to the overall system via the Internet.