Plastics meets packaging

Integrated automation for plastics and packaging machines

Plastics meets packaging: Christian Gummich (Industry management plastics machines) and Frank Würthner (Industry management packaging machines) explain why machine manufacturers and end customers from both industries benefit from PC-based control.
Plastics meets packaging: Christian Gummich (Industry management plastics machines) and Frank Würthner (Industry management packaging machines) explain why machine manufacturers and end customers from both industries benefit from PC-based control.

Beckhoff’s technological prowess and innovative solutions have made it the stand-out choice for machine and system engineering companies in a wide range of industries. When it comes to automating and optimizing systems and processes, PC-based control serves as a universal toolbox. Machine builders in the packaging and plastics industries and their customers in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries benefit in particular from our cross-industry automation platform along with the expertise of our industry specialists.

Advantages of an integrated control platform for you:

  • control system compatibility across different production areas
  • integrated engineering on a single platform covering various technologies and domains
  • simplified integration between systems and with MES/ERP systems
  • lower maintenance costs due to optimized spare parts stocking
  • flexible, cross-departmental deployment of maintenance personnel
  • elimination of technology islands and dependencies on experts
  • industry-specific technology packages and innovative technologies for a competitive edge

Generate synergies along the entire process chain with PC-based control

PC-based control: The universal platform

The fundamental principle of PC-based control technology is based on powerful and scalable industrial PC families, the flexible TwinCAT development environment, and the high-speed EtherCAT fieldbus. The platform is complemented by an extensive portfolio of EtherCAT Terminals and box modules, drive components, and technologies such as XPlanar and XTS. The TwinCAT automation software for engineering and real-time control bundles all functions such as PLC, HMI, motion control, robotics, measurement technology, and image processing into a single package, supplemented by industry-specific libraries such as the Plastic Framework. The performance of advanced processor architectures creates flexibility in the integration of many sophisticated automation tasks into a single controller.

EtherCAT: Fast, flexible, and open

With outstanding performance, flexible topology selection, comprehensive diagnostics, and simple configuration, the EtherCAT high-speed fieldbus developed by Beckhoff is ideally suited for use in packaging systems and plastics machines, as well as for networking entire production lines and much more besides. What’s more, the extremely fast cycle times make for precise and efficient processes. Here at Beckhoff, we supply the largest number of EtherCAT-compatible automation modules for both I/Os and drive technology. The market is also full of EtherCAT-compatible sensors and actuators, which guarantees a high level of investment security.

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TwinCAT: Integrated automation software

The TwinCAT 3 automation software integrates all engineering and runtime processes and features a consistent development environment for implementing all control tasks. Programming is carried out with TwinCAT Engineering (XAE) in line with the programming standards of IEC 61131-3, in high-level language (C++), or in the MATLAB® and Simulink® programming environment. Microsoft Visual Studio® is used as the standard programming workbench, as it supports different version management systems and simplifies team-based programming. Industry-specific software packages such as the Plastic Framework and libraries for packaging applications help to minimize the development effort.

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PC-based control creates synergies

Interview with Frank Würthner (Industry Management Packaging Machines, left) and Christian Gummich (Industry Management Plastics Machines, right)
Interview with Frank Würthner (Industry Management Packaging Machines, left) and Christian Gummich (Industry Management Plastics Machines, right)

PC- and EtherCAT-based control and drive technology from Beckhoff can be used universally, even across industry and application boundaries.

Our industry experts Frank Würthner and Christian Gummich explain the advantages of PC-based control for machine builders in the packaging and plastics industry, and delve into the synergies that the high-performance and open automation platform from Beckhoff create for end users: “One of the major strengths of our solutions is Beckhoff’s ability to cater to various vertical industries, drawing on its specialized expertise while also consistently tapping into the same reliable technical foundations. Notable aspects here include the high-performance EtherCAT fieldbus and our TwinCAT tool.”

Applications from the plastics and packaging industry

Product handling platform with Vision and XPlanar

Syntegon is a global supplier of process and packaging technology for the food and pharmaceutical industries. The company took the opportunity at Interpack 2023 to showcase a product handling platform for secondary packaging that centers around our XPlanar planar motor system for product transport and vision system for optical quality control.

Rethinking production with XTS

L’Oréal is a leading cosmetics manufacturer and has set itself the strategic goal of making its production operations more agile. To this end, three production lines have now been equipped with the flexible XTS transport system. The XTS is the core element of the production lines and combines the functionality of five previously separate machines. The same system can now produce lot sizes ranging from a few hundred to millions of pieces, as well as seven different format types with only 40 instead of 300 transport containers.

IPC- and servo-controlled for greater flexibility and higher performance

In-mold labeling (IML) is ideally suited to today’s customer requirements in the plastics processing industry – and notably in the packaging sector. The challenge lies in delivering high-quality and durable systems with maximum availability, while also ensuring high flexibility and the ability to produce a wide variety of packaging designs with minimum cycle times. This is where the Switzerland-based specialist Beck Automation knows it can rely on PC-based control and drive technology from Beckhoff.

Material flow simulation increases efficiency and flexibility in plastic injection molding

Yudo EU develops hot runner injection molding systems primarily for the European and American markets. The company states that the new Yudrive 2 hot runner solution, which has been developed together with Beckhoff as its innovative automation partner with powerful PC-based control technology, is setting new standards in terms of flexibility, precision, and efficiency.

More information

Plastics machinery

Plastics machinery

PC-based control from Beckhoff offers integrated control systems for all manufacturing processes in the plastics industry.

Packaging machines

Packaging machines

PC-based control significantly increases the productivity and flexibility of packaging machines and lowers the consumption of resources.