When fixed speed conveyors were used on McVities’ Jaffa Cake Snack line, cake distribution was uneven and spaces between the cakes would appear, making the packing process more difficult. If cakes are uniformly distributed in a straight line, stacking is both quick and easy.
Productivity has been improved by simplifying the packaging process with ACS 100 variable speed microdrives from ABB Industrial Systems. Two 0.37kW ACS 100 microdrives control the speed of two conveyors to ensure even distribution of the cakes on the line prior to packing into packs of three.
A conveyor transfers the unevenly spaced cakes, via a sliding plate, to an 8m conveyor running at variable speeds, which takes the cakes to the packaging section. The speeds of the conveyors are decreased or increased by a potentiometer to ensure even spacing of cakes. In this way, cakes are penny-stacked in a continuous line enabling packing staff to pick up nine cakes and place them into three packs. When gaps between cakes appeared prior to the installation of the microdrives, the full nine cakes could not be picked up making packing less efficient.
The small size, low cost and simple operation of the microdrives enabled the two units to fit into an existing electrical control panel on the line, reducing the cost of installation. Set-up and operation was just a matter of pressing a button.
As the Jaffa Cake Snack line runs on a just-in-time basis it is necessary for all the equipment to work immediately a production run is required.
ABB Industrial Systems Tel: 0161 445 5555