Rodless cylinder provides safe motion on packaging machine

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Adpak has used a Hoerbiger Origa rodless cylinder, fitted with a guide and integrated poppet valves, to upgrade a packaging machine on which a competitor's rodless cylinder had cause problems prior to failing prematurely.

Rodless cylinder provides safe motion on packaging machineWhen Adpak had a component failure on one of its shrink-wrapping lines it specified a top-quality replacement, confident that it would continue to run, no matter what the condition.

Adpak Machinery Systems is a recognised leader in packaging machinery and materials, shrinkwrapping, and palletisation systems. The company's speciality is in applying the latest technology and innovations to unusual and sometimes difficult packaging problems that arise due to the changing nature of today's consumer market.

John Ellison, a project manager with Adpak, recalls: "We had installed a fully automated shrink-wrapping line into a customer's plant in February of 2006, which incorporated a double guided rodless pneumatic cylinder, controlled by a 5/3 open-centre solenoid-operated spool valve. Initially this worked well, but we found that if the machine was idle for any length of time (for example, during product type changeovers) the cylinder would 'creep' and lose its default start position."

In addition to this, the use of a 5/3 spool valve made it difficult to control the action of the cylinder after an emergency stop; once air pressure was re-applied to the cylinder, it would move violently in one direction or the other, scattering product in its path!

Time for change

Eventually, due to the rigours of a three-shift working system, the cylinder failed due to an incorrectly adjusted seal strip and wear.

Adpak therefore decided that a more robust, reliable and controllable rodless pneumatic cylinder was required. The engineers therefore specified a 40mm bore Hoerbiger Origa OSP-P rodless cylinder, fitted with a Slideline guide and integrated VOE 3/2 poppet valves.

Ellison states: "Having used a similar (although much smaller 25mm bore) unit on an earlier project, we were impressed with the build quality, value and controllability of the cylinder. The integrated 3/2 valves allow us to leave the cylinder standing without it creeping. We can also allow the cylinder to be pressurised and de-pressurised without risk of any sudden violent movement".

The integration of control valves directly in the cylinder end caps ensures the fastest possible response, faster cycle times and reduced air consumption - all of which benefit machine productivity.

Ellison concludes: "Our field engineers fitted the cylinder to the customer's machine and it worked as intended almost immediately the machine was switched on. The customer also commented that the operation of the whole system now seems far smoother. This is a direct result of the low-friction, low-wear and maintenance-free sealing system of the Origa cylinder, which similarly contributes to greatly extended service life."

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