Pfizer has built an affordable new tube-sealing machine using the LinMot linear drive system from Quin.
Why were we needed?
Pfizer needed to increase efficiency, and had identified the potential for automation to reduce costs and improve productivity. For this project, the company needed to automate the sealing and laser etching of tubes for a liquid sampling bank. The machine needed to use rotational action, be accurate to +/- 0.1mm and the process be 100% repeatable. Over one million tubes needed to be sealed to meet production targets. Pfizer had looked at various robotic pick and pack systems, but decided they were too expensive or overly complicated for its needs. Instead, the company decided to build its own machines, and selected the LinMot linear drive system from Quin Systems.
What did we do?
We sized and supplied the linear servo systems, including motors and multi-axis control units. A programmable logic controller co-ordinates pre-stored moves, and motion programming is easily controlled in-house. The new machine cuts and bungs 96 tubes in 13 minutes, is used 24 hour a day, seven days a week – a significant improvement over previous methods – and is highly reliable.
How does it work?
Using signals from a supervisory control system, the motors drive the motion to the positions required. This action can be combined with the use of integrated motion profile curve functions. This was found to be especially useful for tailoring the motion when inserting the bung into the tube. Changes in set points can be carried out in an optimised, smooth and gentle manner. Customised functions, complete sequential control and program functions can be integrated with the servo controller using application software, and we engineered a simple support structure to ensure that the machine was as productive as possible.