Food and beverage manufacturing: firing on all cylinders

Thursday, 25 June, 2020 | Supplied by: ANCA Motion

Food manufacturing is a key area for accelerating Australia’s economic recovery post pandemic, and according to ANCA Motion newer actuation methods could help to drive efficiencies.

35 of the top 100 Australian manufacturers (by revenue) are in food and beverage, and it makes up over a quarter of all manufacturing jobs and value-added output. A net exporter and selling to over 200 markets, the food sector is vital and resilient, continuing to grow even through recent conditions for manufacturers described as “reminiscent of ... the GFC”.

To do the best at the important job ahead, the food and beverage sector — like every other — will need to find better ways of working. This includes investing in its people and processes, and adopting new technologies, such as flexible robotics, traceability solutions, increasingly digitalised supply chains and new processing machinery.

One area that operators wanting to run their factories more efficiently can look to is the motors behind processes like line distribution, filling, cutting and sorting.

According to ANCA Motion, pneumatic cylinders are a tried-and-true solution, but they can also be noisy, energy inefficient and require time to fine-tune air pressure.

Tubular linear motors, on the other hand, can achieve precise positional control and flexibility. Instead of being at one end or another, a linear motor can move to any single position within a stroke.

Newer actuation methods, such as tubular linear motors, are a way manufacturers can drive efficiency and productivity in their factory equipment. According to the ANCA Motion, such linear electrical motors are quicker and more accurate, allowing higher throughput at higher qualities over the same period, and use less energy. They have fewer moving parts so require less maintenance. And their servo drives are easily calibrated, meaning less time spent between line changes.

The ANCA Motion LinX M-Series Linear Motor is an alternative to pneumatic, ballscrew, linear flatbed and other options. The motors are dynamic, with velocities up to 10 m per second, acceleration over 30G, and are able to achieve a peak force of 1200 N. The direct drive nature also means there is no wear and no backlash, providing a benefit over ballscrew options. The high-speed product also allows high repeatability across cycles, with position feedback accuracy of 50 µm.

The series is suitable for machine tools, electronics, packaging and other sectors, but its high level of ingress protection (IP67, easily upgraded to IP69K) makes it particularly well suited to food and pharmaceutical manufacture and the requirement of regular washdowns. Each unit has a fully potted body, with magnets fully encased in a stainless steel tube and tightly sealed using end caps and O-rings.

LinX was designed and assembled in Australia, with a team of support engineers offering a high level of locally specific expertise.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a magnifying glass up to the importance of Australian manufacturing, both during and after the crisis. It’s important that the country’s manufacturing sector — including its food and beverage component — can grow sustainably, firing on all cylinders.

Phone: 03 9751 8200
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