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WTB18-3 series photoelectric proximity switches from Sick

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Meurer Verpackungs systems recently commissioned the world’s first productive plant with IO Link technology at Duni GmbH & Co.KG in Bramsche, a producer of table decorations.

Photoelectric proximity switches of the WTB18-3 series from SICK communicate with the controller of the Traypacker packaging machine – in this case embedded in a Profibus fieldbus environment.

The display of a variety of sensor signals and information on the touch-screen user interface (designed by meurer) has simplified machine operation to a hitherto impossible extent. This means greater flexibility, operational reliability and availability for the end-user.

This applies both for the transition between different packaging orders as well as for preventive machine maintenance and the correction of faults.

During commissioning, a precise adjustment of the photoelectric proximity switches was undertaken for each of the formats to be processed, via the teach-in field on the touch-screen panel.

The optimum parameters, e.g. the sensor’s scanning distance or hysteresis, are called up from the automation system during operation, transferred to the sensors and, if necessary, displayed on the panel.

It is no longer necessary to carry out a mechanical readjustment of the sensors every time the order changes, and their settings are 100% reproducible from order to order – and thus dependable.

If there is a problem, the machine operator can immediately gain an idea of the possible cause. He or she touches the particular sensor image on the panel and immediately obtains all the important diagnostic information, e.g. the signal quality in figures and as a bar graph, the status of the switching output, the level of contamination, the display of any short-circuit, and information on any misalignment or interference from other sensors.

This information also permits preventive maintenance of the plant during a break in operation – preventing time wastage caused by unplanned machine downtimes.

Via IO Link: control and visualisation of important process steps
The WTB18-3 IO Link photoelectric proximity switches control important process steps in the Traypacker. In the machine feed, two sensors detect the incoming rolls and any undesirable accumulation.

In the downstream roll cassette, two photoelectric proximity switches of the same type carry out minimum and maximum detection – ensuring correct and complete stacking of the rolls in several layers.

At the same time as these processes, two photoelectric proximity switches monitor the precise positioning of the blanks in the particular carton cassette active at the time.

Further presence detection takes place in the erector and in the packer, where the rolls are pushed into the cartons.

IO Link technology increasingly of interest for automation
This example of the world’s first productive installation of IO Link at Duni GmbH & Co. KG shows that users are increasingly recognising the advantages of active sensors in machines.

This is just as applicable for the packaging sector as for handling and warehousing systems. IO Link is also of interest to the pharmaceutical industry (which must deal with the topic of machine validation down to the sensor), as it is for every other sector in which the availability of a plant or machine is important.

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