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Smart sensors keep tabs on sandwich production line

22 February 2024

An automated sandwich line relies on a 2D smart sensor to provide all the necessary position information about products on the line.

In many automated processes specific information is essential to ensure the smooth running of systems and so smart sensors have become an essential component in many manufacturing systems. 

One example of where a smart 2D profile sensor has proven to be very effective is on an automated sandwich and filled rolls production line designed by Weber Maschinenbau. Its latest production line is designed to handle over 70 filled sandwiches every hour. 

For this application, precise edge control, margins and positioning data is essential to smooth operation. Information needed includes the position of the sandwich or filled roll on the belt. It also needs to know the height of the roll and whether the edge is even. The robot in the roll section needs to know roll height and centre (lengthwise and crosswise) and whether the roll may not be properly aligned on the belt. One sensor is able to provide the entire measured value calculation and also deliver the calculated coordinates correctly in the units required. 

Measured value calculation
The OXM 2D profile sensor from Baumer relies on integrated measurement and evaluation functions to provide the entire measured value calculation, including the calculated coordinates in millimetres – which is needed for this application. The sensor also measures the bread height and every edge to calculate the centre of the roll which enables suction pads to gently lift off the finished product without causing damage.   

On the sandwich line, the sensor is also able to determine the lateral position and height of the sausage and cheese slices on the belt, allowing the gripper to position the slices accurately on the bottom half of the sandwich. Weber Maschinenbau exploits this functionality on its sandwich lines and on the slicers that cut and portion cold cuts. Here, the sensors deliver the position data required for precisely aligned slices of cooked meat or cheese, which is essential for allowing the finished product to always be placed in the same position in the packaging process.

Marco Nichau, Head of Automation at Weber Maschinenbau, said: “Because the OXM sensor transmits all the position information directly to the machine controller we don’t need an additional controller, saving space and reducing costs. As the sensor is very compact and easy to connect, we were able to parameterise it via an intuitive web interface.” 

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