Easier bottle filling with Mitsubishi Automation

A filling application involving the transport of a liquid into a bottle or container may seem simple to the untrained eye, until you realise is the accuracy and continuous feed rates required for such high precision and high speed applications.


In practice, the highly complex requirements of transporting the vessels, which are usually in the form of bottles, inserting the filling nozzle, controlling the flow rate of the liquid product, requires a highly capable function controller to handle the immense speeds of this process. With bottle filling, rather than the process having a stop/start profile, the actual process is continuous at breathtaking speeds.


Finding the right automation solutions to meet these requirements is the challenge of most everyday engineers. Mitsubishi Electric provides integrated solution combining the power of their PLCS, Servos, Inverter Drives, HMIs and high speed networks into a simple and cost effective solution.


Advanced control using electronic caming

Ensuring that the control of the filling nozzle is completely synchronized with the rotational conveyor and flow controller is the challenge for most bottle filling applications. The controller has to ensure that the liquid is fed accurately into the bottle opening. The flow rate and nozzle height also have to be precisely controlled to eliminate the risk of frothing and overflow of the liquid itself.


By using Mitsubishi Electric’s motion controller CPU (based on the System Q automation platform), cam profiles can be controlled intelligently with software caming systems that replace hardware based methods which are prone to error and profile deviation. This method is very flexible for example, if the bottle type has to be changed, the cam profile software can be simply exchanged without resulting in an overhaul of the system itself.


Bottle filling configuration


Linking high speed networks

In addition to the motion controller, the actual transfer and conveyor aspects of the application can be controlled using Mitsubishi Electric’s intelligent and energy saving FR-F800 drives. These are integrated into the total system via the open device level net- work CC-Link. The fast rates of bottles being fed into the machine can be controlled by System Q together with a CC-Link network, offering high transmission speeds of 10 Mbps with program speeds in the milliseconds. System Q also enables connectivity to upper level control and management systems via its Ethernet option module allowing real-time production data to be fed into ERP/MES systems.


This continuous monitoring allows factory managers to report on actual bottling performance in real-time without having to rely on statistical data. CC-Link can also be used to compliment the local rack I/O with an extensive range of remote 1/0 modules ensuring that most system components such as flow control valves, nozzle valves, etc., are all simply and easily linked back to the main controller, System Q. The high speed servo drives are controlled directly by the motion controller that is on the Q series platform via the high speed SSCNET Ill, fibre optic network.


This network achieves speeds of up to 50 Mbps ensuring high speed and high accuracy when synchronising the rotational conveyor, nozzle control and liquid pump together using the cam profile according to the bottle shape. These cam profiles can be easily switched between using the GOT2000 human machine inter- face screen, providing a user friendly inter- face to the operation of the bottle filling machine.


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