MachineStruxure simplifies identifying & weighing on the fly


Photo of Avascan convetor line from AVN France


AVN, located in the heart of the Monts du Lyonnais region, and develops conveyor solutions for manufacturing and packaging processes.  Industries include logistics, food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics industries, and baggage logistics at airports.


Support by Schneider Electric application design engineers the use of MachineStruxure based on a TVDA (Tested, Validated and Documented Architecture) for conveyor applications offered consistent solution with lower engineering costs.


High speed weighing on the fly

AVN has developed a modular machine for certifying weight and volume measurements when bar-coded parcels or objects are passing in a continuous product stream. The machine consists of several conveying elements, which ungroup and segregate the incoming products into single units and identify/weigh/measure them while they are being conveyed.


There is no need to stop products for weighing and scanning, and this allows a significant increase in flow capacity, up to 6,000 pieces per hour for the fastest version. The weight volume and barcode information used to calculate the shipping costs can be stored in a database, which is required for certified data.  The basic machine can be supplemented with an in-feed and/or out-feed/sorting module as required.


In developing the completely new automation solution for this machine, AVN selected MachineStruxure based solution from Schneider Electric as it required four or five conveyors moved by motors with variable speed drives, an HMI application, data management, and a PLC-based control solution for fast response with sensor inputs.


To suit the compact design of the machine, elements should be easy to disassemble for transportation. All of the automation equipment should be located in the HMI cabinet, and all the core parts of the automation solution should match, and should be available as a kit for local assembly.



The first prototype was built with an M238 controller, in which conveyors were controlled by the Function blocks from the SoMachine Solution Library for conveying applications. Different algorithms and weighing modules were coded and tested to increase the flow rate.  For the commissioning phase, AVN chose a solution based on the M258 controller for fast response, ATV32 drives for the integrated safety functions.


Energy savings

AVN considers energy savings to be a key value for their customers, and the system automatically slows down the conveyors when no product is detected, and stops the line based upon an “eco” timer. An energy dashboard (based on power consumption by the drives) is included in the HMI application.


With its short cycle times, the Modicon PLC M258 ensures fast communication with drives via the CANopen network, the RS485 barcode reader, and the third-party HMI software installed on the PC.


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