Pulsar Quatis machines: a perfect match between quality of products and efficiency of the whole line

Pulsar Engineering is specialized in engineering and manufacturing of solutions for products handling and conveying.

author: Pulsar Engineering

Industry Insight by:

Pulsar Engineering srl

Pulsar Engineering is part of the Pulsar Group, including also the operation and commercial facility in Green Bay – Wisconsin, USA. The company holds over 89 patents and patent pending in the world. Over the past years, Pulsar has focused its activities on the Tissue Industry, developing special machines and special automatic units, besides the proposal of handling and conveying systems, with the aim to generate tools, systems and software to cover specific customer needs and to increase the overall efficiency of converting lines.

In recent years, the Group has launched many innovative solutions dedicated to the Tissue Industry, focusing on the “Industry 4.0” concept for the generation of the “smart factory”. Since the manufacturing of wrapped and unwrapped Tissue products is subject to variations during production, Pulsar Engineering launched in 2015 the new Quality Inspection machine called Quatis, specifically designed for the Tissue industry. Since then, the quality of production was usually determined by measurements made by line operators on sample products, which were not able to ensure a precise and detailed inspection. Using the Quatis machines it is possible to check the 100% of the production flow, with measurement of the level of the quality obtained, according with the parameters identified with the customer. Then, non-compliances, at different levels, are detected and measured in real time directly on the conveying lines, with the possibility also to discard the products above the level of acceptance. Identifying the level of quality or the non-compliances means measuring the results of all the work performed by the machines along the line, then providing essential information about performances, efficiency and quality of the work carried out. As consequence, is possible to identify critical points or operations, with the possibility to improve the functionality of the line, increasing the availability and efficiency of the machinery.

Quatis is a unit composed by several cameras, illuminating lamps and PCs able to analyze the image of every single product passing on the conveyors. After having set up all the requested measurements and the percentage of sensibility (or the percentage of errors admitted), the products pass through the machine, while the cameras take multiples pictures and the software checks the compliance to the standards set.

Engineering, production and creation of movimentation and transport solutions for the packaging, tissue and automation industries

Model of Quatis Rolls machine to be installed on existing lines

At the end of the process, if the product is compliant it will continue its way to the final customer, otherwise it can be rejected. Beside the functions of checking the quality performances and improving the process, the individuation of critical aspects or negative trends, can contribute to a real, immediate efficiency increase of the working line. To demonstrate how the installation of the Quatis machines in a converting, packaging and palletizing line can really improve the efficiency of the production and the whole line settings, we analyzed the data of one of the numerous Quatis machines installed all over the world, identifying interesting issues. For instance, we considered the effects of overturned rolls at the infeed of the packaging machine: although the non-compliance of the pack obtained with an overturned roll may cause unsatisfaction of the end user and to the distribution chain, the probability the mispositioned roll would cause a jam in the wrapping machines is very high. Considering a period of 3 weeks, we took into consideration the number of overturned rolls inspected by a Quatis rolls machine. The considered line was composed by a rewinder, an accumulator, a log-saw, a Quatis rolls machine, a bag-filler machine, a bundler and a palletizer. In 3 weeks’ time, the number of overturned rolls was 4,550, representing the 0.08% of total rolls manufactured.

Example of inspection performed by a Quatis rolls machine

Without the presence of a Quatis machine, we estimated that operators could only detect a half of the entire amount of overturned rolls (about 2,275 rolls), being optimistic, but at least 50% of the mispositioned rolls, enter the packaging system, causing a jam. In this case, the non-compliant rolls would cause a jam in the bag-filler machine, estimated in 60 seconds for each wrong bag, with an overall loss of availability of the machine of 18.95 hours of production time stop in 3 weeks’ time. The installation of the Quatis Rolls machine allowed the considered company to save that time, since the system detects the non-compliant products and discards them, without causing jams in the packaging machine.

Considering the data on annual basis, the increase in production time is estimated in about 328 hours (considering only non-compliant overturned rolls) and the resulting increase of the OEE is calculated in +3.72%. All the above, simply avoiding mispositioned rolls to enter the packaging machine. Of course, this also means that a search for the cause of the mispositioned rolls is a critical issue and the removal of the causes can provide an important contribution to the line efficiency level. Without a system able to detect this non-compliance, it would have been difficult for the line supervisor to identify and give exact evidence to such a problem, since he receives only a few information from the line. Sometimes the individuation of lack of compliances is based more on subjective impressions, than from objective feedback. The Smart functions of the Quatis systems are related to the following analysis:

  • collection of data concerning the quality of products and efficiency of the converting line;
  • record of events, such as operator changes, shift change, refill of raw material, line restart after stop, etc;
  • record of the line functioning parameters, i.e. number of roll windings, lines’ speed, wrapper sealing area temperature;
  • match between the parameters of quality, predicted events and machine work conditions to improve the whole process.
Graphic representation of all the activities carried out by Pulsar Engineering

The analysis can be carried out either through a local connection between the Quatis machines and a local supervision system, or through a cloud service Pulsar Engineering is designing for its customers. Through this new service, Pulsar Engineering will provide its customers with a real-time service of data collection, analysis and reporting with the machines connected online. The portal will provide indications to operators, compile statistics, highlight critical elements, identify daily trends of the system performance and offer real-time surveillance to anticipate events, which will be predicted on the basis of the analysis performed before.

 

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