New sensor technology helps solve long-standing labelling issues

Wednesday, 01 June, 2022 | Supplied by: SICK Pty Ltd

Labelling machine company Aztro has a client that requires the labelling of slimline clear trays for products such as single slice cheese and prosciutto. However, the ultrasonic sensors that were originally installed on some of its machines to detect the packaging for accurate labelling was not meeting the desired result.

Aztro managing director, Niall Lynch, said Aztro labellers are designed to work within a labelling tolerance of ±1 mm, and with this type of product, ultrasonic sensors could not keep up with variations in the packaging dimensions.

“The customer came to us for a solution, and we then turned to SICK,” said Lynch. “We get the vast majority of our sensor solutions from SICK so when we have a need for a new solution or to do something different, we will always contact them and ask them to have a look at the alternatives available to us.”

Lynch showed SICK a sample of the low profile packaged products the following day and SICK was able to quickly identify a solution.

The new photoelectric sensor

As it turned out, SICK was able to come up with a sensor that didn’t even exist the week before. The new sensor was the WTB4 Double-Line photoelectric sensor. It is a multi-tasking device delivering the features SICK customers had been asking for and it was finally available on the market. This sensor is designed for reading glossy, shiny products with a small height moving along a conveyor belt.

The SICK sensor is also able to overcome any issues created by conveyor belts that don’t have a completely seamless surface. The type of conveyor this customer was using had small holes in it, so the sensor had to be able to read only the product while ignoring the gaps in the conveyor belt.

Another selling point of the WTB4 Double Line is its ease of use, from installation to daily operation. Aztro was able to mount it before SICK even had a chance to demonstrate how to do it.

After arriving on site, the SICK team demonstrated the capabilities of the double-line sensor. The client then requested the commissioning of sensor installation onto their production line and got the exact result they were looking for. Solving the packaging detection issue with the new sensor also resulted in several benefits along the line, from affordability to an ease of setup through BluePilot, no need for a reflector, and effective over short ranges on the thinnest of objects.

Solution gives a continuity of production

“There was a lot of downtime previously because you would have to adjust the ultrasonic sensors anytime the product on the line was changed, and some lines might have five to ten separate products a day,” said Lynch. “A lot of time would be spent each day on getting the sensor right, but this new sensor allows for one setup for the entire product line to run through, and that was something we reaffirmed with our client. They came back to us extremely happy with the end result because the sensor has given them better continuity of production.”

For Lynch, the affordability and practicality of the WTB4 Double Line are equally matched and has the potential to be a ‘huge boost’ for the packaging industry.

Phone: 1800 334 802
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