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Why does retrofitting outdated machines with PLC control save time and money?

Industry - Packaging

Summary: Imapsa Automation of Guatemala and Honduras needed to modernize their rice filling packaging machinery.  They chose Unitronics’ Samba SM35-J-T20 programmable logic controller for its ability to provide high-speed inputs, easy-to-use, color touchscreen display and price.  This PLC was not only far more effivient than the camshaft system they had previously been using, it also gave them the ability to relay valuable reports to their production department.

With locations in both Guatemala and Honduras, Imapsa Automation specializes in preventative maintenance engineering, offering solutions tailored to their customers’ needs; Imapsa always strives to give their customers a reliable control system with an easy to use customized display.

One application Imapsa successfully implemented was automating the filling and packaging machinery for rice. Imapsa was brought on because their customer’s rice filling and packaging machinery was in desperate need of modernization.  In order to maintain their commitment to quality and reliability, they needed to reduce the application’s set-up time and implement more flexible control system. One main function of the process that needed to be more efficient was the timing for the steps; the time for each step was previously set mechanically by a camshaft with 7 cams and 7 micro-switches. Imapsa also wanted to be able to provide data to the production department that would help them track the efficiency of the machine and the operator.

"With fast delivery times, and constantly updated software, Unitronics has always listened to our customers many requests, and have implemented them since we decided to start our automation division in 2001. Great support via both the technical support team and the Unitronics forum. And, of course, great price!" Ober Yela - Imapsa Automation

Imapsa Automation selected the Unitronics' Samba PLC+HMI to control this application. The Samba SM35-J-T20 offers a drum sequencer command and high speed encoder inputs, which were key to making the machine easy and efficient. Previously, when the operator changed the type of rice bag for different brands of a final product, those adjustments required mechanical and manual adjustments of the cam and micro-switches. Now, the operator can simply adjust the machine by entering and changing the degrees of the electronic cam from the Samba’s integrated HMI panel.  This 3.5-inch color touchscreen and also allowed them to design attractive displays that were easy for operators to understand. The programmable logic controller also enabled them to send reports to the production department with data on the efficiency of the filling speed, the number of bags filled, the operating time, and a data table showing the start time and any stop time.

"With fast delivery times, and constantly updated software, Unitronics has always listened to our customers many requests, and have implemented them since we decided to start our automation division in 2001," said Ober Yela of Imapsa Automation. "Great support via both the technical support team and the Unitronics forum. And, of course, great price!"

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