How Sleeve Technology reduces machine downtime worldwide
Sleeve Technology manufactures machines for the food and non-food packaging industry. The sleeving machines are automated machines for printing labels on personal care or food products, and are used by multinationals such as Unilever and Campina.
Downtime is undesirable. There may be perishable material in the tank.
While talking to one of Sleeve Technology’s software engineers, Coen van der Kant, it becomes clear how the durable sleeving machines are part of a complete production line.
“After filling the product, the sleeve application machine provides them with the right labels, after which it is transported to a packager. The shrink label is automatically placed over the product, after which it is sometimes fixed with hot air or steam in shrink tunnels,” Coen explains.
The effectiveness of Sleeve Technology’s machines is shown by the numbers that some machines can process: up to 1,000 products per minute. Coen has been working at Sleeve Technology for 2 years now and is responsible for programming and controlling the machines, which are controlled by Sigmatek PLCs and HMIs.
The customer demands ever faster machines, that’s why they’re constantly being developed to be even more efficient.
Striving for optimal machine performance and 0% downtime
“We use IXON for remote access and remote maintenance. When I started here, we didn’t use a remote access solution,” Coen recalls. “I had worked with another solution before, but I wasn’t really happy with them. Through one of our partners we learned about IXON,” says Coen.
With sales all over the world, and a focus on service, the need for remote access to machines quickly became clear. "Downtime is undesirable. There may be perishable material in the tank," explains Coen.
In addition to on-site machine maintenance by their own mechanics and the dispatch of spare parts to the factory, remote service is also provided. “We need to be able to connect to our machines as quickly as possible for troubleshooting,” says Coen. By monitoring the PLC program they’re able to do analyses (e.g. based on time span) and view and adjust parameters.
We use IXON to help customers with issues by taking over the control systems remotely and performing new software updates.
Aside from manufacturing shrink sleeve packaging machines, Sleeve Technology is developing innovative modules such as their new film unwinding module that enables continuous production. This machine unit automatically attaches one roll of film to the next roll, regardless of the width or length of the film. These new machines will also be equipped with an IXrouter for remote access.