New developments in packaging technology combined with ever evolving consumer preferences are fueling the need for product diversity. As a result, packaging machinery OEMs are constantly seeking ways to meet the demands of rapid product changeover. That's why the most significant selling point of a packaging machine is usually its flexibility. Modular machine concepts are one way to achieve this flexibility.

KHS, Dortmund, Germany, has been using a modular machine concept for the past several years in its packaging machines. Its program focuses on using combinable mechatronic modules to meet end user requirements and its next step is to implement decentralized servo drive technology. KHS recently began using a compact drive concept, the IndraDrive Mi integrated motor and drive from Bosch Rexroth Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Each unit combines a traditional servomotor and drive amplifier into one dense module. The motor housing surface serves as a heat sink for the drive's control electronics, which are mounted flat on top of the motor without significantly changing the motor's shape. Compared to traditional servo drives, the new design is less than half the size. Besides saving space, it also reduces power loss in the control cabinet.

The need for cable connections is also streamlined. Only a single cable is needed for both power supply and communication via a Sercos interface. Up to 20 drive units can be connected without additional distribution boxes or modifications in the cabinet, and more than one string of drives can be connected in parallel to a single supply unit. Drives can be added flexibly as needed, without requiring any changes to the control cabinet. The new servo drives are also equipped with hundreds of advanced technical functions, including integrated motion logic based on IEC 61131-3. With this capability, completely new decentralized automation architectures are possible, further increasing machine flexibility.

KHS is installing the new motor and drive concept in its Innopack Kisters SP machine, which is used to shrink wrap wine bottles. The Kisters SP series are packaging machines used in the manufacturing of foil multi-packs for sturdy products and can process 35 to 150 cycles per minute in continuous operation. They handle cans, jars, and bottles, as well as prepackaged products in the beer, soft drink, hygiene, food, and non-food industries. The drive is controlled using Rexroth's motion logic for one to three-row processing, where speed automatically adjusts to match actual line capacity.

By using the compact drive unit, KHS is able to combine different machine modules with greater flexibility according to end user needs. For example, with two additional machine modules, a shrink packer can turn into a tray shrink packer. Two more drive units are simply added to the existing seven, while nothing changes in the control cabinet. For more information, visit www.boschrexroth-us.com or call 800-REXROTH.