Lanzara Interview with Chris Thomas at Pack Expo 2014


Lanzara was the hottest sleeve applicator featured at Pack Expo and it definitely grabbed buyers’ and media attention! Here's a video showing Pat Reynolds from Packaging World interviewing Chris Thomas on Lanzara. For more information on the Lanzara, please click here.

Hi, I’m Chris Thomas, and I’m with Axon Corporation, part of the ProMach division.  I’m here to show you the new Lanzara machine that we are launching here at the show.  This is our new model, it’s capable of 400 products per minute and we think we have some really interesting features that plant operators would like to see. 

You can notice the lighting system in here that we’re offering.  The idea is that people become desensitized to a light stack. But, if the whole machine can turn red or turn green to tell you that there’s a problem, then you can say, “I know that there’s a problem,” and go check it.  But, you can open the door and it goes back to white.  So you can still have your task lighting features.  It’ll turn yellow when there’s low film, it’ll turn green when it’s running, so that’s one neat feature.

Our next thing we’re launching is a smart cutting system. The idea is that you’re able to get less maintenance time out of blades.  When you have to the knife out, typically, you flip a blade then flip the blade again, then flip it one more time.  With our new cutting system, we actually monitor the usage of the knife on each edge of the blade.  And as we approach a threshold of differential between use of the knife, we actually turn the knife in the other direction to utilize both sides fully.  That way you only have to flip the knife one time during the whole life of the four sides of the blade.  That translates to a 66.6 reduction in downtime having to do maintenance on the knifes. 

Our next really neat feature is speed control.  This machine has an adaptive speed control system, so instead of having one thick set point on the machine, the machine can be given an infinite set point and ramp up and ramp down in real time while still applying labels to the product. 

You see her I’ve set up a speedometer with a speed set point on the machine so we can see in real time what the machine is doing.  Now Adam’s going to take it out of the hold mode into run, you see it turns green.  And we will start applying sleeves.  Now we’ll wait until the next batch count and we’ll increase the speed set point in real time.  You can see, as it’s speeding up, it’s continuing to apply labels.  And now we can slow the machine down in real time and change to apply labels.  The idea is that we can really balance the flow of our machine with the rest of the line so you don’t have to stop a machine or part of the process.

Here’s our new HMI system.  It’s a 10-inch HMI screen, standard.  For me, I believe, the HMI is really the heart of the system.  It’s what the operator uses every day.  I took a lot of time watching plant operators run a machine in a plant and saw what they do most frequently.  So trying to create pages that were very intuitive and let them access the information without having to navigate.

For the first part, we have a really nice, intuitive recipe system that’s saved on the PLC itself, it’s in a file so you can actually extract it, save it.  In case it gets lost, you can have a backup on the machine.  On our main screen here, we have the features that you need to know: what job are you running, what state is the machine in, your step point, your count for production, and then we have the film supply that actually adjusts itself, so you’ll see the bar go down, it’ll turn red once you get to a low film setting.  But from a distance, an operator can look, if he’s walking by, and see that he needs to pay attention to the machine. 

This machine is fully PackML compliant, so we have the standard PackML state engine in here.  The full pack tags are supportive.  We’re actually doing some monitoring to remote system we’re launching with our pack tags, so it’s very easy to integrate that way. 

As far as parameters go, for the operator, I made a quick set menu here.  If you’re running a machine, you don’t want your operator to have to go dive into a lot of menus in order to find what he needs, so for an operator that’s running, he really needs to worry about his print registration so he can do fine tune adjustments during running, changing offset if he needs to adjust timing a little bit.  Your cut length and the height of the applicator…instead of having to dive there, he has one button he can go to the operator and do the changes he needs and not have to worry about having a mechanic come out. 

The other thing I really tried to focus on was just ease of inputting data, especially for things that are decimal related.  With a decimal point, you have a distance from your print registration.  So it’s 45.0.  If I was to click on it and change it, I have to remember what it was.  If it was 50.2, for example.  It might not be easy to remember if you decide to go back, so I also have spin buttons here that I can also quickly go up and down without having to remember what the setting was.  During this year, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback to do it that way.

Our last new feature is touch security.  The idea is that we use a finger print sensor to authenticate operators to a screen so you can have user names with different security levels.  I did this because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a plant and seen a sticky note on the machine that has the maintenance password written on it and people were pretty much free to come and play with the machine and change settings as they feel free to.  So, the whole point of security quickly goes away once the machine is installed.  Fingerprint readers allow you to have an extra bit of security.  You still have the ability to use a numerical password, but you can also use the fingerprint as well.  So to demonstrate it, I’ve set myself up as a user.  So I can go to the setting screen.  You can see right now there’s a lock icon on all of the buttons.  I take my finger, place it on there, you see my name, Chris, appears, now the locks have gone away, and I can continue to go into the machine. I come and press my finger back, and it locks back out to the operator level, now the machine is locked again.