New sensor technology is helping to solve long standing labelling issues

SICK Pty Ltd
Wednesday, 01 June, 2022

When Aztro reached out to long-time partner SICK about line detection issues a client was facing, SICK took the opportunity to introduce a new sensor with capabilities the market had been asking for.

The ideal conveyer detection solution from SICK Australia

A SICK Australia NSW based Sales Engineer was on-site within hours of the call to help come up with a viable solution for Aztro’s client. The client in question specialises in the labelling of slimline clear trays for products such as single slice cheese and prosciutto. However, the ultrasonic sensor which was originally installed to detect the packaging for accurate labelling was not meeting the desired result.

Aztro managing director, Niall Lynch, said the Aztro Labellers are designed to work within a plus-minus of 1 mm labelling tolerance, with this type of product ultrasonic sensors could not keep up with variations in the packaging dimensions. “The customer came to us for a solution, and we then turned to SICK,” said Lynch. “We get the vast majority of our sensor solutions from SICK so when we have a need for a new solution or to do something different, we will always contact them and ask them to have a look at the alternatives available to us.” Lynch showed SICK a sample of the low profile packaged products the following day and SICK were able to identify a solution within a very small window of time.

The new photoelectric sensor

SICK were able to come up with a sensor that didn’t even exist the week before. It seemed like the ideal solution. That new sensor was the WTB4 Double-Line photoelectric sensor. It’s a multi-tasking product delivering the features SICK customers had been asking for and it was finally available on the market. This sensor is the best for reading glossy, shiny products with a small height moving along a conveyor belt.

The SICK sensor is also able to overcome any issues created by conveyor belts that don’t have a completely seamless surface. The type of conveyor this customer was using had little holes in it, so the sensor had to be able to read only the product while ignoring the gaps in the conveyor belt.

Photoelectric sensors

Another big selling point of the WTB4 Double Line is its ease of use, from installation to daily operation. Aztro was able to mount it before SICK even had a chance to demonstrate the how-to, it is a very easy to use technology and it solves customers’ problems. It will help improve efficiencies and throughputs in the Australian packaging industry.

After arriving on site, the SICK team including both a Sales Engineer and an Application Engineer helped demonstrate the capabilities of the double-line sensor. The client then requested the commissioning of sensor installation onto their production line and got the exact result they were looking for. Solving the packaging detection issue with the new sensor also results in several benefits along the line, from affordability to an ease of setup through BluePilot, no reflector, it can work within short ranges and on the thinnest of objects.

Solution gives a continuity of production

“There was a lot of downtime previously because you would have to adjust the ultrasonic sensors anytime the product on the line was changed, some lines might have five to ten separate products a day,” said Lynch. “A lot of time would be spent each day on getting the sensor right, but this new sensor allows for one set up for the entire product line to run through, and that was something we reaffirmed with our client. They came back to us extremely happy with the end result because the sensor has given them a continuity of production.”

For Lynch, the affordability, and the practicality of the WTB4 Double Line are equally matched and has the potential to be a ‘huge boost’ for the packaging industry.

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