Deploying Siemens servo motors and controls, Siemens technology ­partner, HMK has developed an end of line flying shear crosscut and sheet stacking system for CM Machinery of County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The equipment is to form part of a £500k multi-functional plastic extrusion line for a leading Swiss manufacturer

With the modern day demands for flexibility to cater for short production runs, manufacturers are increasingly seeking equipment that can be set up automatically and monitored remotely from a central station. HMK, part of the Entologi Group, is one of the largest, independent UK suppliers of motion and engineered drive components and solutions to OEMs and factory automation integrators.

Liam Quinn, CM Machinery’s technical sales manager, says: “Our customer didn’t specify Siemens for this project, but it was apparent that the application required a high level of flexibility to cater for the different products that were to be made on the line. Just as important was the close integration required between the processing stations on the line, so that fast machine set up times could be achieved. The Siemens motion control system had the flexibility and visability to provide for these needs.

“Mike Jordan at HMK is a Simotion programming expert who has created a flexible system with a MP377 operator interface allowing easy alteration of programmes and products with the simple addition of presets. This flexibility is vital for plants operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Material will be fed down the new production line in a continuous 2.5m wide board. A trim station featuring motorised circular saws cuts the product to finished widths and trims off the outer edges. This is followed by a travelling crosscut whose controller allows it to move at the same speed as product when performing crosscuts. Accuracy in length cutting is critical, therefore tight tolerance control of the cutting axes has been essential in ensuring the boards meet final customer requirements. The finished boards are then transferred out of the cutting area by motorised horizontal conveyors, in a pre determined pattern that allows them to be lifted by an overhead vacuum frame and placed neatly onto pallets for final packing and despatch. The stacker frame operates with two servo axes, enabling the boards to be lifted from the transport conveyor and moved to one of two stacking tables, giving an offloading facility while the line continues to operate. The machine is fitted with a number of ET200S remote I/O stations. CM Machinery built all the hardware for this triple function machine.

“The end user has placed great emphasis on safety”, says Quinn, “so we specified that HMK should design safety zoning onto each of the machine’s separate functions – no mean feat on a multi axis servo system. Another specified requirement was the ability to change any of the servomotors during normal maintenance in one of the safety zones whilst the other safety zones remained operational. This feature was successfully developed, tested and accepted by the final end user. This project has led to a level of development for both HMK and ourselves – this seems to happen each time we work together.”

Northern Ireland-based CM Machinery has worked with HMK for several years designing and building multi functional machine tools for use with multi-national manufacturers across Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Their machines generally operate on a 24-hour duty cycle.

Controlling all motion and machine sequence control on the machine is the Simotion D435 motion control system. It integrates motion control and control functionality into one unit and was specifically designed for applications with complex movements. Simotion D combines the complex operation of motion functions into a scalable motion control system for various hardware platforms, thanks to a common engineering system, allowing considerably more flexibility for machine planning and construction.

CM Machinery has met its customer’s delivery timescale for the supply of the bespoke end of line equipment and it will become operational later this month.