Samples are popular among most consumers: You can test a product before you commit to a purchase, or compare it with those offered by competing companies.
But have you ever thought of how manufacturers make samples – especially small, self-contained ones? It’s a process that requires as much precision as possible.
A major beauty and perfume manufacturer knew that accurate and precise measurements were key when it was considering upgrading its production machines. The manufacturer has production lines for its perfumes that have seven skids. Each skid has a mixer and two storage tanks. From the skid, the manufacturer would send product to the packaging machine. But after the transfer, pipe cleaning with alcohol was required – which was an extremely costly step in the long-term because this liquid needed treatment before drain away. In addition, only the new lines were connected to the batch system. The manufacturer also had older packaging machines that were ideal for smaller batches and sample packaging that needed to be supported.
The manufacturer contacted AP System, a system integrator based in Poland that handles project management, system integration, and design of automation systems. One of its main vertical markets is cosmetics. They sought to find a scale that could connect to their Rockwell Automation® ControlLogix® system, which utilized EtherNet/IP™. The scale would measure the weight of mobile tanks (identified with barcodes), which would support the older packaging machines creating smaller batches and samples and send the product to the warehouse.
The problem was that the EtherNet/IP-based scale was expensive and would not arrive for nine weeks. A scale from RADWAG was available at a much lower cost and had a three-week delivery time – but it utilized Modbus®.
AP System suggested to the manufacturer that they opt for the RADWAG scale and use a Modbus Serial module from ProSoft Technology to facilitate communications between the ControlLogix and the scale.
“The perfume manufacturer already had other solutions from ProSoft,” said Piotr Dużyja, a co-owner of AP System and member of the board. “Between their experience with ProSoft and our suggestion of the Modbus module, we agreed that this communication solution was the right fit for their application.”
Besides the communications aspect, ProSoft’s module helped the manufacturer add some flexibility to its process.
“The operator now has more freedom,” said Krzysztof Hajzyk, ProSoft Technology Regional Director-Sales & Marketing. “The system knows the tank size, so overfilling it is impossible. The operator can also choose how much product he wants to put in the tank. This is especially helpful in sample production, in which the end user is providing samples to sellers in small bottles without an atomizer. Our module is reading values from the scale. The benefits of this solution were monumental for the customer.”
The RADWAG scale was a great find for the end user: Not only was the cost difference considerable, the delivery time for the RADWAG scale was significantly shorter, helping the company gets its new system up and running much more quickly than would have been possible with the alternative scale. The fact that the company could connect the scale to its controller and ensure clear communications between the two components made this an easy decision.
Since the older production machines could be supported by this solution and were ideal for production of perfumes of varying size, they could still be utilized, even in an updated setup. This solution also allowed the operator more control over the process, freeing the company from any overfill issues and providing more flexibility during production.
Best of all for the consumer? Streamlined production of samples they’ll enjoy.
Learn more about ProSoft Technology’s Modbus solutions at http://psft.com/B9K