A new synchronising and positioning (Sync-Pos) control device has helped Frederick's Dairies cut downtime on the choc ice line at its Skelmersdale plant.
Close to a million choc ices are manufactured daily by Frederick's. The line is highly automated with 24 lanes of solid ice-cream flowing from the blast freezer to be cut to length and enrobed in chocolate before passing through the aftercooler to solidify the chocolate. The choc ices then pass to a mechanical wrapper.
Synchronisation between the cutter and the wrapper transfer plate is critical to prevent jams. This used to be done by a beam from a photocell on the end of the aftercooler and a proximity switch on the transfer plate providing information to a programmable logic controller (PLC) that set the speed of the wrapper. However, condensation often formed on the photo cell and lens with a subsequent loss of synchronisation.
When the ageing wrapper drive was recently replaced with a smaller but equivalent VLT5000 drive unit, Danfoss was able to install a Sync-Pos feature. Now, by fitting encoders to the cutter and wrapper drives and deriving marker pulses from proximity switches fitted to the cutter and transfer plate bottom, the optical system and PLC have been superseded.
Push buttons at the aftercooler operator station also enable fine tuning. The line now runs problem-free, improving production.
Contact: Danfoss, Tel: 0870 241 7100