It’s all fun and games when older equipment is running smoothly, but look out when it’s time to replace an obsolete part. If spare parts are nowhere to be found, a timely retrofit may be just the ticket. Such was the case when Bologna, Italy-based Tissue Manufacturing Service S.r.l (TMS) needed an urgent upgrade for obsolete motion control equipment on its aged tissue wrapping machinery. When TMS found itself in this predicament, the company called Trio Motion Technology Ltd., Tewkesbury, UK, for some fresh ideas. Their solution, an MC224 Motion Coordinator controller combined with a new six-axis brushless servo system, provides a drop-in replacement that seamlessly mimics the machine’s web tension, electronic cam, and registration functions, and improves performance.

Wrapmatic and Casmatic-brand tissue wrappers have been produced for decades, and while they are still useful machines, the original servo drives and motion controls are long obsolete, with spares proving difficult to source. TMS specializes in maintenance and repair of packaging machinery and had all but run out of ways to patch up these machines. Identifying a world market for a new product that could solve this problem, the company came up with the idea of producing as near a form-fit retrofit as possible and commissioned local systems integrator FAE Engineering s.n.c to help develop the solution, now launched as the TMotionS.

FAE engineering has experience in industrial automation systems and has used Trio Motion products to provide motion control for years. The TMotionS is 100% mechanically interchangeable with the old solution; it simply bolts into the existing panel,its cable assemblies connect to existing brushless servomotors and encoders, and interfacing cables hook up to the wrapping machine’s PLC.

Behind the interfacing panel, six interconnected brushless servo amplifiers provide power and precision to drive the servomotors with simple +/- 10 V control from two MC224 Motion Coordinators. From the outset, it was important that the controller functionally perform identically to existing servo controls, and not require any PLC reprogramming. The MC224’s 32-bit floating point DSP technology provides up to 24 axes of synchronized motion with machine I/O and communications; each MC224 includes four processor slots and a system of axis expansion modules. The processor slots can be populated with any combination of axis, fieldbus, and/or digital drive daughter boards and the axis expanders by any combination of axis daughter boards.

For the TMotionS application, two MC244s are linked via an axis expander -- and house six servo encoder cards as well as a master reference encoder card. The existing PLC logic triggers preprogrammed events through the Motion Coordinator’s built-in I/O using Trio BASIC to handle electronic cam and axis synchronized registration on the machine. Trio’s programming language includes motion and event handling commands with multitasking and subroutines, but is simple to use and allows users to create modular programs quickly. The MC244 also improves print registration accuracy, enhancing finished product quality and yield with higher acceleration/deceleration characteristics and less vibration.

For more information, visit Trio Motion Technology.