Package printers can get the most out of brakes, clutches and motors with adjustment savvy, package deals and new technology. Industry experts offer a comprehensive cross-section of motion controls currently at work for converters.
By Susan Friedman
Edd Brooks, project manager and senior technical specialist at Horton Industrial Products, a subsidiary of Horton, Inc. in Minneapolis, MN, says pneumatic, single-position tooth clutches that allow engagement in one place are helping achieve precise ink color changes in tight register print jobs.
Brooks also reports air-controlled brakes are providing strong cost and operation benefits, while electrically-controlled components' high technology aura is garnering attention.
AC motors are proving more cost-effective, while DC motors are showing higher maintenance needs in harsh environments, asserts Jon Radde, area manager for motors related to consumer products at Chicago-based Reliance Electric. DC motors are available with special cooling capabilities that can reverse airflow direction to protect against contaminants, he adds.
Bob Burke, vice president of sales at Pacific Scientific, Rockford, IL, states that intelligent AC or DC servo motors, integrated with menu-driven, computerized press controls, are starting to replace traditional line shafts with electronic adjustment of registration or positioning between press sections. Synchronous, brushless servo motors placed between two rolls or between nip rolls provide the speed consistency of a line shaft with an increase in flexibility, he says.
According to motion control brand managers, bottom line enhancements can be realized with both brake/clutch systems and motors and drives.
Radde comments, "If you are putting in an entirely different machine, electronic [motor systems] is the way to go. You can eliminate maintenance on mechanical components that wear and degrade as the machine ages."
Tom Becknell, sales manager at Mach III Clutch in Ludlow, KY, counters, "Converters respond well to pneumatic clutches and brakes because they like the price...but sensitivity has always been a problem." Becknell recomends components that provide smooth, continuous slip to avoid web breakage, especially when diecutting thin laminates.