It’s in the pouch

Resealable packaging

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Motivated by convenience and sustainability, supermarket customers are increasingly choosing resealable pouches over traditional single-use packaging. Galaxy PackTech has emerged as a dynamic and progressive player in this ever-growing field. Since its inception in 2001, Galaxy has placed its trust in B&R hardware and software solutions to automate its high-speed pouch-making machines.

Motivated by convenience and sustainability, supermarket customers are increasingly reaching for resealable packaging over traditional single-use glass, paper or metal packaging. This has led to a rise in technologies like zippers and pouches that allow consumers to eat, drink or dispense a portion and then easily re-close the package.

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Galaxy PackTech is a leading manufacturer of semi-automatic filling, vacuuming, nitrogen flushing and sealing (VNS) machines, automatic wrapping machines and vertical pouch-sealing machines. “Our focus on quality helps us manufacture defect-free products and high-performance machines that fulfill all our customers’ pouch-packing requirements,” says Galaxy’s managing director, Jagat Singh.

The pouch-packaging market is growing significantly due to consumer demand for convenient packaging that is durable, lightweight and easy to use while on the go. “Our machines offer maximum performance, easy operation, reliability and, above all, cost-effectiveness,” says Galaxy’s managing director, Shiv Kumar. “Our machines comply with international standards and can be customized to match the complexity of our customers’ needs.”

The ACOPOSmulti generation offers highest degree of efficiency for multi-axis machines that are commonly used in the plastics and packaging industry.

Foil to pouch – 200 times a minute

Pouch-making machines are a complex mix of mechanics and automation software. The most significant factors in product quality include avoiding wrinkles in the inner foil and ensuring a consistent seal and the proper functionality of the zipper or opening mechanism.

To create a pouch, two layers of packaging paper are precisely aligned on top of each other and sealed on three sides, leaving the fourth for the opening mechanism. The packaging material is fed from a single wound bundle, which is split into the necessary alignment with the help of a mechanical arrangement while perfectly synchronized puller axes maintain the necessary tension. The third part of the packaging is fed by a separate axis on the machine after the two sides have been aligned.

The puller axes take the packaging paper through two separate sealer units, which are temperature-controlled to ensure consistent seal quality. The packages then pass through a cooler unit prior to cutting. Galaxy’s GS-24 PLUS 200 machine does this all at a rate of 200 pouches per minute. “We are always a step ahead of the competition by providing innovative solutions to our customers,” says Singh.

Efficient synchronization for optimal performance

“When we designed our pouch-making machine, we knew the complexity involved in motion control components. As our preferred automation partner, B&R has always easily met our requirements for precision, accuracy and speed,” says Kumar. “The Panel PC 2100 HMIs, ACOPOSmulti servo drives and X20 I/O modules, combined with an Ethernet POWERLINK network, enable our GS-24 PLUS 200 to outperform the competition with exceptional performance, accuracy and product quality.”

The machine features a total of 14 axes run by B&R ACOPOSmulti servo drives. “They give us great flexibility and investment security,” says Kumar. “The energy recovery, cooling options and integrated safety engineering make ACOPOSmulti one of the most modern and economical drives on the market, and the modular design also saves space in the control cabinet.”

The Panel PC 2100 and ACOPOSmulti drives communicate via a deterministic Ethernet-based POWERLINK network that provides communication speeds down to 100 microseconds. “POWERLINK gives us faster synchronisation with easier drive-to-drive communication,” says Kumar. “That ensures faster response times and higher accuracy.”

The heaters used for pouch sealing are connected to X20 temperature modules. The Panel PC 2100 controls both the motion and temperature control systems and is programmed using Automation Studio, the universal tool for programming all B&R hardware. Galaxy continues its integrated approach through advanced diagnostics technology as well using B&R’s Secure Remote Maintenance. This helps them access machines installed anywhere in the world without interfering with end users’ IT networks.

Many variants, one project

Galaxy’s modular approach to both mechanical and electronic design allows it to offer its customers highly customized, flexible and modular solutions. “This approach requires software that is able to support multiple variants,” notes Singh. “Not only did B&R’s Automation Studio allow us to maintain multiple machine variants but it also did it in a single project.”

Project management in Automation Studio makes version management very easy for machine builders. The need to maintain multiple machine backups for different customers and features can be quite a hassle. The difficulties are compounded when these variants are mixed with different hardware configurations. With Automation Studio, however, all backups, features and hardware configurations are handled in a single project. The software developer only needs to drag and drop the functions required for respective hardware on the machine being installed and put it into operation. Tedious tasks become easy to handle.

The mapp Technology software framework provided in Automation Studio enables software developers to configure pre-programmed software components instead of programming the functions from scratch. This allows them to focus on optimizing the programming of key value-adding processes and spend less time on repetitive basic functionality. “We saw a drastic reduction of development time, even with 14 axes and temperature control modules in our machine. Our developers focused on optimizing the machine code and adding new functionality to the machine. mapp Technology has been immensely valuable to us as a machine builder,” says Kumar.

A decade of collaboration

Galaxy has been using B&R systems since its first machine around 15 years ago. “B&R is an innovative company and a technology leader in industrial automation, and we are happy to have them as our automation partner,” says Singh. “The exceptional quality and performance of their systems, together with their expert support and service, has made it easy for us to offer our customers next-generation automation solutions.”