| ||Solutions in Action-The Bausch Type 515 Plunger Rod Insertion Tool|
| ||Customer:||Bausch Advanced Technologies|
| ||Country:||United States|
| ||Industry:||OEM, Packaging|
| ||Products:||Drives, I/O, Motors, Operator Interfaces, Programmable Controllers, Software|
Solutions in Action-The Bausch Type 515 Plunger Rod Insertion Tool
Staying competitive and keeping customers happy hinges on an OEM’s ability to deliver machines that are not only highly advanced and sophisticated, but also reliable, versatile and user friendly. To meet these demands, the Bausch Advanced Technology Group relies on its specialized engineering expertise, finely-tuned project management skills and cutting-edge automation and control technology.
The Bausch Advanced Technology Group, located in Clinton, Conn., manufactures customized machinery for primary packaging of pharmaceutical products, including syringes, cartridges, vials, ampoules and flexible PVC and non-PVC bags. Bausch’s core processes are washing, sterilizing, filling, closing, labeling and assembling containers for pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturers in South and North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
At PACK EXPO 2010, Bausch is demonstrating its engineering expertise with the company’s new Type 515 plunger rod insertion tool. At the heart of the machine is an automated transport starwheel, which moves product through four different stations, helping assemble up to 30 syringes per minute. At the first station, a pneumatically-actuated gripper assembly picks up a plunger rod from the end of the vibratory track and leverages a 2-axis robotic arm to thread it into a syringe. At the second station, backstops are carefully placed on the flange of each syringe. The third and fourth station check for plunger rod and backstop presence.
The key differentiator of the system is its ability to monitor the rotational torque applied to the syringe combined with plunger rod position control analog to the syringe rotational position during the threading process. “The advanced technology we leverage on this machine allows us to tightly control all process parameters, ensure consistent product quality, compensate for component imperfections and prevent excessive plunger movement during the process ,” says Markus Rink, electrical engineering department manager, Bausch Advanced Technology Group.
The z-axis and rotational servo controls allow precise adjustment of the downward feed rate based on the pitch of the thread on the end of the rod tip and the rotary position of the syringe. The feed rate is always slightly less than the pitch of the rod thread. If there is a rotary thread start misalignment, the syringe will be lifted slightly during the insertion process.
When the plunger and the rod are fully assembled, the servomotor spinning the disk detects an increase in torque and stops both the rotational and z-axis motors simultaneously. In the event the torque limiting value is not reached (due to a defective product such as excessive silicone in the syringe, undersize stoppers or defective thread on the end of rod), the process aborts. This potentially defective part is tagged and automatically discharged to the reject station.
To help automate the machine’s complex, highly-precise movement, Bausch uses a Rockwell Automation® control system, including the Allen-Bradley® CompactLogix™ programmable automation controller, Kinetix® 2000 servo drives and TLY servo motors.
“With the Rockwell Automation integrated solution, the z-axis servo motion is fully programmable, allowing for precise control over plunger rod tourque, position and insertion speed,” says Rink. “This insertion torque and position control allows us to tightly synchronize the downward feed rate to the rotational rate (rpm) of the rotating syringe.”
During the design phase, Bausch leveraged the Rockwell Automation Motion Analyzer to quickly size, select, optimize and simulate its motor-drive combination. Bausch used the tool to analyze ratio, torque and tolerance to help ensure the rod would be inserted properly into the syringe. Bausch also leveraged pre-tested blocks of code within the Rockwell Software® RSLogix™ 5000 programming software for functions such as power-up and fault messaging
To help minimize wiring, Bausch used Allen-Bradley ArmorBlock® I/O at the base of the machine. The I/O system is industrially hardened, eliminating the need for a control cabinet. The Rockwell Automation control system also enables real-time torque readouts without requiring a secondary interface into the servos. Machine parameters and diagnostics are easily accessible via the machine’s Allen-Bradley PanelView™ 1250 operator interface terminal.
“Rockwell Automation offers better servo integration than any other supplier,” adds Laurent Veuillet, vice president, Bausch Advanced Technologies. “Their integrated control system helps us focus on our company’s expertise, which is understanding and building a system that precisely matches our customer’s needs.”