Digitalization and process control, the wider (and profitable) concept of sustainability: SACMI at K 2022

Innovative IPS 300, part of SACMI’s market-leading IPS perform press family was presented
Digitalization and process control, the wider (and profitable) concept of sustainability: SACMI at K 2022
Photo - SACMI

A quality control revolution that stems from the option of integrating the vision system on the press, plus far-reaching compatibility with recycled materials (rPET). Similarly, the latest-generation digital controls on CCM machines provide energy and raw material savings while reducing waste & errors.

Digitalization and process control, with exclusive advantages in terms of quality, plus the possibility of developing an integrated, coordinated approach to sustainable rigid packaging: all this was showcased by SACMI at K 2022 (Düsseldorf trade fair, 19-26 October).

The SACMI range transforms sustainability into opportunity and makes it a source of competitive advantage, as the latest generation of machines and control systems on show at the fair was demonstrated.

Behind these solutions lie cutting-edge development and prototyping of innovative packaging that uses new eco-sustainable materials and an approach to quality control that makes extensive use of AI. This doesn’t just mean better products: it also simplifies workers’ tasks, making line management more proactive and optimizing man-machine resources.

New IPS 300: state-of-the-art performance, versatility, ease of use:

IPS 300 is the latest SACMI preform press, was presented at K. It completes a range that has been in the market for ten years, providing solutions that offer excellent performance, low consumption, fast set-ups, and quick changeovers.

Like the IPS 400, the new IPS 300 features outstanding compatibility with various mold types, including those produced by third parties. Workers’ tasks are streamlined at every stage - from start-up to size changeovers and control of auxiliary units - and reliability is guaranteed by using only the highest quality components.

From a product perspective, the IPS 300 is designed to work with 24-cavity molds for 48 mm necks and up to 96 cavities for 30 mm necks. Further opportunities include a 128-cavity configuration for 26/22 mm necks, taking advantage of the NANO PITCH patented solution from MHT, the main partner of SACMI concerning mold supply. A unique solution within today’s range of available technologies.

The outstanding design makes the IPS 300 one of the highest-performing machines on the market. The press has a lock-to-lock time of just 1.9 seconds and extremely fast cycle times, characteristics that also stem from the innovative patented COOL+ after-cooler (inside cooling system), which improves thermal efficiency and boosts productivity. In terms of versatility, the IPS 300 meets every production need thanks to a wide range of plasticizing units (from 625 to 1220 kg/h) and various premium kits designed to streamline system use and enhance finished product quality.

At just 0.2 kWh/kg, the IPS 300 has the lowest energy consumption on the market. This is achieved via a combination of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) and adaptive self-tuning. On this machine, automation is designed to ensure immediate economic advantages for the customer: based on a Beckhoff TwinCAT architecture with EtherCAT Fieldbus, the pressing infrastructure opens the industry to IoT opportunities (self-learning, predictive controls).

Above all, the IPS 300 is the first press on the market to incorporate the PVS 156 from the SACMI Preform Vision System range directly on the machine, thus maximizing inspection accuracy, precision and speed. Note that the PVS156 can complete the inspection of a 96-preform molding in no more than five minutes.

The rPET approach: extended range and products

The recyclable material par excellence, PET has been the focus of the industry’s development efforts for years. Such developments concern both the technology - presses capable of processing ever-higher percentages of recycled resins - and research into new materials and applications.

For several years now, all standard SACMI IPS models have been able to process up to 100% rPET and up to 50% PET in a recycled flake form. The innovative in-press hopper to be presented by SACMI at the international K fair allows for further acceleration on this front by increasing the flake share to 70-75% and providing multiple advantages in terms of user-friendliness and product quality. This is because this single hopper optimizes the flake-granule mix but without the complexities of managing two distinct processing hoppers.

This proposal offers the dual advantages of process innovation and process simplification, which SACMI combines with intense Research & Development into the use of PET instead of other resins (for example, to replace the traditional polystyrene used in the dairy sector). Thanks to its uniquely skilled Rigid Packaging Laboratory team and their understanding of materials and processes, SACMI also previewed some of the latest producible items - such as new yogurt cartons made of transparent PET - that are driving sustainability by opening up unprecedented opportunities from both a product and market perspective.

CCM technology, intrinsic advantages, and new digital controls for quality and energy saving:

Compression is an intrinsically advantageous technology, and SACMI is the undisputed world leader in flat-top cap manufacturing lines. The ability to design new products - such as PET dairy cartons - stems directly from the specific characteristics of the compression process, such as the lower material extrusion temperature, and the absence of both the gate and the hot runners. The result? Greater freedom to manage recycled and/or high-viscosity materials and the ability to manufacture light, high-quality, high-performance products.

SACMI has a world-beating capacity to drive market evolution from both a materials and processes-technologies viewpoint. In the context of key development trends in the PET sector, the international K fair offers a unique opportunity to showcase the latest generation of advanced controls on CCM cap presses, such as the innovative CM-Flow extruder, which reduces total electricity consumption on the press by up to 9%. Note that the extruder can also be installed on existing machines. With a 35 mm screw connected directly to the motor, and a footprint as small as 1 meter, CM-Flow can process up to 200 kg/h of resin – the same as a conventional 75 mm extruder. In-the-field tests have also demonstrated up to 50% fewer black spots: with all other factors remaining equal, which means a net increase in quality and efficiency.

But that’s not all. In addition to the new extruder, SACMI customers can also count on next-gen CCMs able to mount the new Smart Pack, an advanced digital package that incorporates advanced onboard sensors and controls. These boost plant availability, extend the lifespan of its components, and - last but not least - simplify the workers’ tasks, drastically reducing process errors.

Classy AI, a vision system revolution

Applying Artificial Intelligence to vision systems can result in cutting-edge product checks, which can potentially be extended to achieve improved, proactive process management. And the advantages don’t end there: SACMI aims to use vision systems to make it simpler and more effective to use human resources.

Integrated into the PVS156 performance vision system displayed at the fair, Classy AI is a smart feature that lets manufacturers perform immediate classification of defect types via a user-friendly dashboard. It covers everything from the most common defects to those that would be extremely difficult to spot without the expert eye of a highly trained technician.

Moreover, the running of the system is made simpler and more immediate, smoothing management and the performance of tasks.

Classy AI represents the beginning of a revolution in the very way we employ vision systems and their role within factory ecosystems. Proposed here as an integral part of the PVS 156 perform control system, it is set to be integrated into all SACMI CVS vision systems as part of a new approach that puts the human factor back at the center of the operator-machine-software ecosystem.

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