An eye for accuracy

Foil stamping for tube production

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With the B&R machine vision solution, TSMglitter 60 was able to hit the target speed of 60 tubes a minute.

In the cosmetics industry, along with product protection and safety, aesthetics play a significant role in how well a product is accepted by consumers. Unique packaging is the secret behind grabbing consumer attention. That’s why the cosmetics industry is always looking for innovative techniques and designs for product packaging. In such a competitive market, Technoshell Automations differentiates itself through high-quality machines consistently equipped with B&R’s latest innovations.

Nashik-based Technoshell provides printing and packaging solutions to reputed brands across the world by manufacturing machines for hot foil stamping, tube capping, tube labeling, and tube packing. “With over 900 innovative machines installed worldwide, it enables our customers to deliver consistent quality and decorative packaging. However, knowing that technology is redefining the cosmetic industry, and to be competitive, the ecosystem needs to consistently innovate,” explains Nikhil Baste, Technical director of Technoshell Automations. “The packaging industry is continuously seeking better quality machines that offer higher precision and accuracy, enhance productivity and availability, and are easy to maintain,” he adds.

TSMglitter 60 for printing precision of +/- 0.15mm

Many of today’s most successful product launches can be connected to their use of processes that increase visibility, attract and hold our attention and convey value to customers. These processes are popularly called high-visibility enhancements, and the most well-known is hot foil stamping. Hot foil stamping has grabbed consumers’ attention on countless products and packaging in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. In the process, the product or packaging material is decorated with exclusive designs or metallic effects by using carrier films called foils that are transferred onto the product using heat and pressure.

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Technoshell’s TSMglitter 60 for hot foil stamping on cosmetic tubes

With the help of the hot foil stamping process, the packaging industry can experiment with eye-catching designs to give luxurious looks to products and their packaging. Hot foil stamping uses metallic, pigmented, or multi-color foils to decorate different types of materials such as plastic, paper, and paperboard. The foils vary according to the decoration and adhesion requirements for different parts. To achieve superior decoration results, the stamping foil, machine, and die must be precisely aligned.

With more than 29 years of experience in the design and manufacture of hot foil stamping machines, the Indian manufacturer Technoshell, has constantly been at the forefront of adopting technology advancements. From basic hot foil stamping to today’s highly advanced equipment, TSMglitter 60, Technoshell has pushed forward all the boundaries of the traditional hot foil stamping process.

“First impressions are very important in the cosmetics industry, so companies put a lot of effort into how cosmetic products are packaged. Hot stamping technology plays a major role in this process,” continues Baste, “Considering all these points, we recently developed the TSMglitter 60, which is an automatic hot foil stamping machine for tubes. It has been designed to deliver high-precision printing of +/-0.15 mm accuracy while decorating up to 60 tubes per minute.” As far as automation, he says, “We are proud to already look back on 17 years of collaboration with B&R. This has helped us to meet all our customer requirements with ease and provide cutting-edge machines. Our machines are Industrial IoT ready – now a necessity and no longer a machine option – thanks to B&R’s advanced hardware and software.”

With the B&R machine vision solution, TSMglitter 60 was able to hit the target speed of 60 tubes/min quite easily
With the B&R machine vision solution, TSMglitter 60 was able to hit the target speed of 60 tubes/min quite easily

Technology for the better

“The TSMglitter 60 is one of the first tube foil stamping machines in the world with a camera system so tightly integrated into the machine’s PLC and HMI. This helps to synchronize machine and camera very easily and effectively,” explains Baste. “In addition to the camera, B&R’s ACOPOS P3 servo drives, Panel PC 3100, and camera are all connected on a single Powerlink network. The TSMglitter 60 operates in perfect synchronization while minimizing the number of automation components. We are satisfied with B&R’s integrated automation solutions that fulfil all the requirements of the packaging industry,” confirms Baste. “In all our machines, we use Powerlink as the vendor-independent networking protocol. It helps by not only allowing us to choose from a list of vendors for various components, but also to program, commission, and diagnose them in Automation Studio,” he adds.

“The process of hot foil stamping is very dynamic, and precise positioning is critical. You always need a high-performing, flexible solution for motion control with exceptional speed and precision. With B&R’s ACOPOS P3 servo drive, we get exactly what is desired in our high-performance machines,” states Baste. The use of these servo drives in the machine has reduced the footprint in control cabinets drastically. The use of B&R’s Panel PC 3100 combines the advantages of a compact system with the performance of the latest Core i-series processors and helped Technoshell optimize the performance of the TSMglitter 60. The Panel PC 3100 offers long-term availability with reliable updates. It is not necessary to make continuous adjustments to the PC hardware over time. It not only manages a significant increase in performance requirements while lowering power consumption but also delivers maximum energy efficiency. All B&R systems are tightly linked together in Automation Studio, the universal programming tool for all B&R hardware.

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Nikhil Baste, Technical director, Technoshell Automations

“The flawless integration of B&R’s vision system in its automation portfolio has helped us register the stamping of graphics precisely. In the process, two accuracies are usually measured – radial accuracy (parallel to the direction of tube rotation) and axial accuracy (perpendicular to it). For accurate positioning, you need to register printing in both dimensions. Our accuracy for the machine is +/- 0.1 mm axially and +/- 0.15 mm radially. It is the best level of accuracy that such a machine can offer anywhere in the world,” shares Nikhil Baste, Technical director, Technoshell Automations.

 

Sixty tubes a minute with machine vision

The TSMglitter 60 uses B&R’s machine vision system to identify the position of the image for stamping operation. The vision system can detect the position in both the x and y direction, as well as identify parameters, such as model, orientation, matching score, and more. For the TSM machine, it was quite important to identify the x-y position along with the correct model number and matching score. Since all these parameters are closely linked to the final stamping accuracy. With the machine vision solution, TSMglitter 60 was able to hit the target speed of 60 tubes a minute quite easily.

“The flawless integration of B&R’s vision system in its automation portfolio has helped us register the stamping of graphics precisely. In the process, two accuracies are usually measured – radial accuracy (parallel to the direction of tube rotation) and axial accuracy (perpendicular to it). For accurate positioning, you need to register printing in both dimensions. Our accuracy for the machine is +/- 0.1 mm axially and +/- 0.15 mm radially. It is the best level of accuracy that such a machine can offer anywhere in the world,” confirms Baste.

Team up for excellence

Technoshell has already made great leaps forward with advanced automation and new technology. “The flexibility, reliability, and production efficiency of B&R solutions gives us plenty of room for enhanced functionality and new features,” says Baste. Recognizing the potential of advanced technology, Technoshell has already upgraded its equipment and manufacturing process. “With timely and frequent training of our engineers, we are now in a position to implement all the latest technology solutions in a very effective manner, and we’re not going to stop there,” he promises. “We have a lot of very interesting ideas in mind to work together with the B&R team in the future.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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