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Feature Temperature, humidity & moisture control

Accuracy leads to integrity W

Jodie Commercial, product marketing manager - Components at Omron, explains the importance of accurate temperature control in sealing applications on Form, Fill and Seal machines

hether it is the product manu- facturer, machine builder or automation supplier, they are all working towards one goal: finding the best way to move vulnera- ble goods from producer to consumer. Ultimately as consumers, we all want to receive product in perfect condition, so the focus during the packaging process must be on how to guarantee product integrity through packaging quality. Temperature control plays a vital role in sealing applications as it influences the productivity of the process and ulti- mately the quality of the end product. Manufacturers need to protect their brand at all costs, and if the seal integrity is at fault, damage to the brand can be catastrophic. With key drivers including consumer demand and cost reduction, the need for greater output is obvious. Form, Fill and Seal (FFS) machines are often used to pack large quantities of goods includ- ing food items such as nuts, savoury snacks, chocolate bars and confec- tionery, at high speed. Output growth can be achieved not only from the intro- duction of faster machines, but also by producing packs with accurate and repeatable seals from the very first pack off the line.

In sealing applications, it’s impera- tive that temperature control is as accurate as possible. Substantial varia-

tion can cause bad seals – too cold and the seal won’t be made correctly, which means that goods could fall out of the pack and perishable items could spoil, too hot and the seal could become a weld which would affect pack presentation due to burn or scorch marks, or it could melt, causing holes in the packaging. To create the best quality seal, FFS machine builders should be looking to use a temperature controller with the highest precision performance, such as Omron’s E5CC standalone system. When sourcing a stand-alone tempera- ture controller, one of the primary con- siderations is ease of use, so that operators, engineers and maintenance staff can easily manage the product during its production cycle.

Easy set-up, either using the dedi- cated menu structure, or CX-Thermo software for configuration from a PC, plus the system’s large bright display which shows process value, set point,

Temperature con- trollers from Omron include an in-panel single loop model

Jodie Commercial outlines why tem- perature control plays a vital role in sealing applications

output and alarm status, virtually elim- inates the possibility of human error. The controller has a 50ms sampling rate for fast and precise regulation, plus it provides the control required when handling disturbance-sensitive applica- tions commonly caused by complex product, packaging or environment traits. For machine builders looking to restrict their equipment footprint, the compact E5CC (only 48x48mm) requires a maximum panel depth of 60mm, so can be used in cramped con- ditions. Its IP66 certified front cover protection can withstand humid envi- ronments, so it is suited to the food industry. To configure the temperature controller during production, the menu structure groups together machine ele- ments to minimise the number of finger presses required to complete the tasks. Another consideration is control

Improved tempera- ture control helps guarantee product quality for retailers

A true icon in combination sensing

oneywell now offers the 6000, 7000, 8000, and 9000 Series of the HumidIcon combination digital output relative humidity (RH) and thermal sensor solutions. Suited to industrial applications, these new sensors are said to offer long-term accuracy, stability, and reliability plus true, temperature compensated digital I2


sensors provide a cost effective solution for device and system developers who want to reduce design time and time to market, and also save space on the board. The HumidIcon sensor’s accuracy eliminates the need for individual test and cali- bration as there is no part-to-part variation in accuracy, which shortens manufacturing time. Long-term stability helps support system uptime by eliminating the need to ser- vice or replace the sensor during its application life, and eliminates the need to regu- larly recalibrate the sensor in the application. According to Honeywell, competitive humidity sensors require a 12 hour at 75 %RH rehydration process (which requires special equipment chambers) to correct reflow temperature offset. Honeywell’s sensor only requires a five-hour rehydration under ambient conditions (>50 %RH). Honeywell Sensing and Control 26 Enter 236 C or SPI output. The HumidIcon

quality, ensuring that the temperature controller is able to accurately reach the pre-determined application set point and then maintain that tempera- ture during the course of the produc- tion run. Should there be any disturbance in the process, it’s impera- tive that the controller can return to the set point quickly and maintain it. During the FFS process, which is a fast- disturbance application, the packaging film absorbs heat from the equipment’s sealing jaws causing it to drop in tem- perature; therefore before the next seal can be started the sealing jaws need to be at the right temperature again. The E5CC technology includes a patented 2-PID algorithm to aid fast recovery when temperature reduces after each seal. In addition, the auto-tuning (AT) functions make system set-up both quick and easy. Ultimately, improved temperature control enables manufac- turers to create a robust production process guaranteeing product quality for retailers.

As well as stand-alone single-loop temperature controllers, Omron also offer single and multi-loop in-panel controllers and PLCs with temperature option cards, suited to packaging processes that require greater function- ality. These products enable you to scale-up your temperature application achieving more packs at higher speeds. Omron’s range of temperature con- trollers instils confidence in the sealing process, delivering accurate seals con- sistently to safeguard the end product and protect brand integrity.

Omron T: 0870 752 0861 NOVEMBER 2013 Process & Control Enter 237

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