HBM Makes Its Contribution to Dynamic Weighing at the Heart of the Carambar Manufacturing Process

FlexLink faced the challenge to implement dynamic weighing into a packaging system they wanted to provide the confectionery company "Carambar" with. 

FlexLink selected HBM as a partner. HBM experts analyzed the requirements and needs for this project and provided a fitting solution.

FlexLink's Work with Carambar

FlexLink (1,167 employees – 80,000 installations worldwide) specialises in industrial flow and conveyance solutions, as well as robotic solutions that integrate all associated services: engineering, performance check tools, maintenance, etc. The FlexLink group is a member of the Italian group Coesia (9,000 employees worldwide, operating in 35 countries and 86 production sites), a specialist and leader in the field of innovative automated systems, industrial processes, handling, conditioning, packaging and precision gearing, with all the associated services (weighing, analysis, printing, monitoring etc.).

In France, FlexLink has well and truly taken off, thanks to the acquisition in 2012 of ADMV (founded in 1986). Initially a manufacturer of vibratory bowl feeders - and then specialist machinery (created for the specific needs of customers) and collaborative robotics. Today, today, this division employs around one hundred people. “By joining FlexLink, we have extended our geographic coverage and made the whole world aware of our collaborative robotics speciality,” explains Dominique Aumaitre, project manager at the Crémieu site (near Lyon).

 

Problem

FlexLink, a company that is part of the Italian Coesia group, specializes in industrial flow and conveyance, as well as robotic solutions that integrate all associated services like engineering, performance check tools, etc. Recently, FlexLink developed a packaging/palletisation system for the confectionery company „Carambar“ and faced the challenge to integrate a system that allows for high-speed dynamic weighing.

Solution

HBM identified the most suitable components for this case and provided FlexLink with on-the-job training that now allows them to operate independently. There was a need to carry out high-speed dynamic weighing and the load cell needed to be able to connect to the machine’s PROFINET fieldbus. At the time of selection, there were no digital load cells with such an interface, but HBM had a solution. They used a classical approach, with an analogue sensor combined with a digital conditioner. More specifically - the PW18 (analogue) sensor combined with a ClipX BM40IE smart amplifier.

Results

FlexLink were able to develop a packaging system for Carambar that exactly fits their needs. Carambar has now integrated three lines of this application into its entire production process.

Collaborative robots are so called because they can work with operators located nearby. They are not dangerous to people, as they can be programmed to sense when human presence is nearby and adjust behaviour accordingly.

Very recently, FlexLink developed a packaging/palletisation system for confectionery company, Carambar. In addition to Carambar, the group also brings together other well-known brands such as Poulain, Suchard, Mi-Cho-Ko, Krema, La pie qui chante, Malabar and les pastilles Vichy. The system has two HBM PW18 load cells linked to an industrial conditioner with DIN RAIL mounting ClipX. Three lines have been delivered to Carambar so far.

 

The Packaging Process

The pre-wrapped Carambars are placed in a hopper, which is used as buffer storage. They are taken by a cleated belt conveyor at a 45° angle, which pours them into plastic crates. Once full, the crates move along a conveyor system, before they are finally picked up by a collaborative robot, that places them on a pallet. “The specifications required a knowledge of the global weight of Carambars loaded onto each pallet. Rather than assessing the pallet, we have decided to weigh each crate individually and calculate the overall heaviness of the crates loaded onto the pallet,” explains Samuel Hacquin. “The load cell was placed under the crate, which had been filled by the cleat conveyor belt. This type of conveyor is obviously not suitable for dosing, as the sweets fall randomly by the dozen into the crate, so there is no precise control over their release. This does not matter though, as the crates don’t contain a specific number of sweets. What really matters is that we know the precise weight of each crate. The load cell needs to have a high level of accuracy and good repeatability - and obviously it must be sturdy because it is used a lot. The filling process for a crate takes a few seconds and - during this period of time - the cell weighs the empty crate before it’s filled. It carries out dynamic weighing to decide when to stop filling and then weighs the crate once it’s full.

FlexLink's Collaboration with HBM

Integration was not very difficult. To carry it out, FlexLink used the skills of HBM: “Our contact chose the most suitable components for our case and provided us with on-the-job training (over several hours) which now allows us to operate independently,” concludes Samuel Hacquin. The HBM contact in question was Bernard Vindret, an expert in dynamic weighing. The technical choice - as always - was dictated by the needs of the application. Here there was a need to carry out high-speed dynamic weighing and the load cell needed to be able to connect to the machine’s PROFINET fieldbus. At the time of selection, there was no digital load cell with such an interface, but HBM had a solution. “We have used a classical approach, with an analogue sensor combined with a digital conditioner,” states Bernard Vindret. “Or - more specifically - the PW18 (analogue) sensor combined with a ClipX BM40IE smart amplifier.”

And what are its dynamic characteristics? “It is a subject to which HBM attaches a great deal of importance,” continues Bernard Vindret. “As the market is very demanding. The PW18 is able to meet dynamic needs properly thanks to its very high natural frequency (or stiffness). Once it receives a load, stability is achieved within a few dozen milliseconds or even less. Therefore, the sensor regains its balance quickly and saves energy between both weighings, which contributes to its longevity for applications that are frequently used, such as FlexLink’s model for Carambar.”

About FlexLink

FlexLink, a company with over 80,000 installations worldwide, specializes in industrial flow and conveyance solutions, as well as robotic solutions that integrate associated services like engineering, performance check tools, maintenance and so on. It is part of the Italian Coesia group, operating in 35 countries, a specialist and leader in the field of innovative automated systems, industrial processes, handling, conditioning, packaging and precision gearing.