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BLDC motors put a new spin on canning machine design

15 June 2022

Oriental Motor supported canning machine manufacturer Micro Can with BLDC motors, accelerating the canning process and saving factory floorspace. 

When customers asked machine manufacturer Micro Can for canning machines that were smaller in size than its established CL5 five-head filling machine but which did not compromise on precision and reliability, the company turned to Oriental Motor. 

Mico Can supplies canning machines for a wide variety of customers, from select micro breweries to soft drink and tomato juice canning companies, operating across Europe and North America.  

It was important to keep the small footprint of the company’s flagship machine, so Oriental Motor suggested a BLE2 series brushless DC motor. This model is less than half the size of the standard AC induction motor and was able to contribute significantly to a reduction in size.

The next space-conscious decision was to use a stepper motor for the can seaming rollers. This saves the space required for a large compressor and dryer at this stage of the process.

Oriental Motor’s AZ series closed loop stepper motors and BLE2 series brushless DC motors were selected. The BLE2 was chosen to rotate the cans at speeds of 800rpm and the AZ motor is used to accurately positions the seaming roller to seal the lids onto the cans.
One of the main advantages of using a stepper motor is that it does not require as many mechanical adjustments, explained said Antony Lyons, Design Engineer, at Micro Can. In particular, seaming rollers need precise adjustment to produce a quality seam. This was done mechanically on the pneumatic seamer, but now adjustments to the positioning of the motor can easily be completed on the HMI (Human Machine Interface). 

The use of the AZ and BLE2 motors also reduced the number of components required (seals, bearings, pneumatic speed controllers, airline, fittings and general hardware) which further contributed to the reduction in size. In addition, the bill of materials cost was reduced because seaming rollers could be positioning without the need for the sensors and cables required in pneumatic systems, in order to ensure the seam has been precisely completed.

“The AZD-CD controller for the stepper motor was easily integrated into the machine as it has built in RS-485,” Lyons observed. “I found it very easy to set up . . . and the MEXE02 software is one of the best I have used to set up a device”- he said.

The IMP2 small form factor is a two-head filler canning machine measuring 1100mm long x 600mm deep. (The original, five-head filling machine, the CL5, has dimensions of 3600mm x 700mm.) 

The standalone, two-head machine fills and seams up to 720 330ml cans per hour (depending on the size of the can and the type of beverage). The IMP2 has been designed specifically to work with a single person operator in either a semi-automatic mode or it can operate in end-to-end fully automatic mode. 

In addition to saving space and bill of materials costs, the new design, the IMP2, was complete after a short two-week design collaboration 

Commenting on the design support, Lyons said: “Oriental Motor’s technical advice has been great, firstly with the recommendation of the DC motor for the replacement for the induction motor and then the sizing of the stepper motor. I chose the motor I wanted to use and knew the performance criteria that it needed then Oriental Motor checked it would be suitable for the application. After a few phone calls and some calculations by Oriental Motor, I knew the size of motor required”.

Micro Can has also designed its own labelling machine, using three motors from Oriental Motor, to complement its canning lines. 

Following the IMP2 project, Micro Can also uses the AZ and BLE2 series motors on the CL5 machine which fills and seams up to 2,000 cans per hour and for a larger machine with capacity to fill and seam up to 4,000 cans per hour.

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