Technologies inside: Gigabit Ethernet, PLC, servos, drives for new packaging machine

Newly designed VC999 thermoformer packaging machine uses a Gigabit Ethernet bus network, CC-Link and Mitsubishi L Series PLC, servo motors and drives, and I/O modules.


VC999 selected the Mitsubishi Electric L Series PLC for its i-Series Thermoformer. Courtesy: Mitsubishi Electric, CC-Link Partner Association - AmericasThe i-Series Thermoformer from VC999 Packaging Systems is a new generation in packaging technology designed for medium- to large-volume packaging operations, with a new hygienic design and operating system. Control and automation technologies used inside the machine include a programmable logic controller, servo motors and drives, and I/O modules.

In response to VC999’s requirements, Power Motion Inc., a longtime strategic partner, and Mitsubishi Electric worked with VC999 to develop a control solution that met the objectives of the i-Series machine design (which made its debut at Interpak in Düsseldorf in May 2011).

Even though Power Motion and Mitsubishi Electric were the incumbent suppliers for VC999’s previous generation of thermoformers, VC999 interviewed multiple potential vendors and selected Mitsubishi Electric L Series PLC, new CC-Link IE Field Ethernet bus network (connecting three control enclosures), Mitsubishi MR-J3 Servo Motors, and Mitsubishi E700 VFDs.

Servos are being controlled via analog signal or Mitsubishi Electric's dedicated Motion Control bus network, Servo System Controller Network (SSCNET) depending on the specific axes, and the VFDs are being controlled via analog signal. Future designs may incorporate all CC-Link IE Field network communications.

CC-Link IE Field, an Ethernet-based bus network, is the fastest and the first 1 Gigabit Ethernet based network for automation control, faster than 10/100 Mbps networks.

More on the machine, company

The new i-Series is designed for medium- to large-volume packaging operations and features a new hygienic design and operating system. VC999 is part of a privately held company, The Inauen Group, which has multiple brands and locations, including, Perbetum Smart Automation, and XtraVac. Each location is managed independently and cooperatively, under the group name.

A global provider in the design and manufacturing of vacuum packaging machine systems, VC999’s products include thermoforming machines, chamber machines, tray sealing machines, and shrink packaging machines/dryers.

- Terry Carson is vice president of Sales-Power Motion Inc., a multi-vendor automation distributor and system integrator, Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, 


“Gigabit Ethernet used in new packaging machine” has more details about the application and machine design, with more photos. See link at bottom of this file.

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