Control Panels for Food Packaging Machinery and Conveyors

Dualtec create control panels for a variety of markets, including the food and beverage packaging industry

Food manufacturing, processing, and packaging is an increasingly competitive sector, and one in which control solutions, energy conservation and electrical infrastructure design and maintenance are of paramount importance. Control panel systems can monitor and respond to processes and equipment across high volumes of products, ensuring a consistent control over many processes within food production.

The small margins and large volumes that many food manufacturers supplying large supermarket chains in the United Kingdom today work to, can mean that small details can make a big difference to quality consistency. The demand for cheap food has meant that buyers for supermarkets bid only the keenest prices, and expect a quality, consistent product.

This food product consistency can in part be maintained by proper control over the manufacturing processes. The control panels we build for the food packaging industry are generally one of two types: to control machinery, or to control conveyors.

In the food packaging industry, machines are used to both create the tins, jars and boxes that will hold the food, as well as to fill the vessel with the product. There might well be between 10 and 20 different machines needed, each with a specific function, to take a can from raw sheets or rolls of aluminium to a finished food container, ready to be filled with product.

Typically, a control panel for one of these composite machines might consist of terminals, circuit protection, programmable logic controllers (PLC), a human-machine interface (HMI), selector switches, safety relays, pushbuttons, and motor or servo controllers.

In addition, there may be several auxiliary panels mounted on and around the machines with emergency-stop buttons for added user safety. Conveyors are used to transport the vessel between machines, to be built, labelled, or filled and sealed.

A conveyor will need to move a large amount of product as quickly as possible from machine to machine. Since manufacturing plants are not of an infinite size, the conveying system needs to be able to move products horizontally and vertically, allowing plant owners to build up as well as out. Each conveyor in a plant will have its own control panel made up of terminals, circuit protection, PLCs, relays, motor controllers, HMI, and selector switches. In addition, there may be accessory panels wired into the main control panel used to control the specific part of the line. As safety is also paramount, there will be E-stop buttons and motor disconnect panels placed along the line also, in case of a safety or production concern.

Monitoring systems such as cameras or lasers which identify products when they pass certain checkpoints can also be installed on the conveyor line, checking frequency, or performing quality checks, informing the operators whether the system is working at capacity or not.

Similarly, a light curtain may be installed which automatically shuts off a certain portion of a line if someone enters an area that is deemed to be unsafe whilst the conveyor is operating.

These monitoring systems are also controlled by the control panel.

If you would like to speak with a member of our team about your control panel requirements, we would love to hear from you. Please call us on 01535 609314 or email info@dualtec.co.uk