Nearly three years of trouble-free operation have been achieved by a reciprocating cutter on the nougat production line at Trebor Bassett in Wakefield. Based on a servo actuator from Hoerbiger-Origa, the cutter replaced a system that worked at half the speed.
Nougat is difficult to cut due to its density and stickiness. Trebor Bassett's original attempt to automate the process resulted in the installation of a system that cut between 50 and 70 bars a minute from a continuous extruded ribbon of product. "The design principles were fine but the system simply could not cope," says Hoerbiger-Origa engineer Nigel Smith.
The mass to be weighed is 25kg and the cutting length is 220mm. An enclosed belt-driven actuator -- the company's OSP-E -- was specified, supported on a pair of guide rails each fitted with roller cassettes so that there is no extraneous frictional load. An over-long cylinder was used and linear decelerators mounted at both ends to eliminate shock loading effects.
"Although the solution was, in some respects, over-engineered, bringing an increase in cost, the cutting speed of over 100 cycles/min has compensated, as has elimination of the expense of equipment failure and downtime", says Smith.
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