Mass customization and dynamic consumer demand have revolutionized the packaging industry. Packaging lines now require highly flexible systems that can support a broad range of variations in size, weight, shape, and material, all with a single machine. In order to keep up with the fast pace of production, they also need to minimize changeover and setup time between different package types, reduce time to market for new package designs, and increase machine throughput by performing actions while in constant motion. In other words, packaging machines need to be more modular, adaptive, and agile than ever before.

Connectivity is the key to achieving the necessary flexibility and modularity. But the rotary tables, dynamically rotating machine components, and independent movers on transport track systems that are so essential to packaging manufacturers have numerous challenges with wired communication. Furthermore, the harsh and noisy industrial environment makes it challenging to collect real-time sensor data with traditional wireless systems.

IO-Link Wireless offers an ideal solution, offering cable-free connectivity with cable-grade reliability. It is the only solution that can meet the unique challenges facing the packaging industry:

Smart transport systems for packaging converters
The independent transport systems used by packaging converters typically move at 2-4 m/sec. At that speed, there’s no way to connect them to cables, which is why they utilize inductive power that doesn’t require any contact or cables. They need a similar solution for communication. IO-Link Wireless fits the bill perfectly. Designed for extremely low latency, with synchronization rates between movers of +/-10 microseconds, IO-Link Wireless gives independent transporters cable-grade reliability that is one million times more reliable than conventional wireless systems like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Rotary applications
The packaging process includes rotary applications with multiple work cells stationed around a rotating platform. These platforms typically have sensors and I/Os at each station, and often use electro-mechanical slip rings to distribute power. Since the slip rings are installed around the primary axis, they are expensive to maintain and replace and require the machine to be disassembled to do so. With IO-Link Wireless, wireless sensors and I/O can be incorporated directly onto the moving and rotating components, reducing maintenance operations, and simplifying future add-ons of multiple I/Os.

Improved hygiene for food and beverage
The hygiene requirements for food and beverage packaging are very stringent, and machines need to be cleaned and sterilized frequently. Wireless solutions like IO-Link Wireless reduce the amount of cabling in a machine and the overall number of mechanical components such as conveyor belts and chains that need to be sterilized. This reduces the costs associated with cabling deployments, maintenance, spare parts, and contamination concerns without sacrificing reliability.

A new world of connectivity for packaging machinery
IO-Link Wireless provides the communication technology that packaging machine builders and manufacturers need – making it possible for the packaging industry to do more than ever before. Read more about this in our packaging machinery solution overview.

Ofer is an experienced development manager with over 15 years in communication system development with expertise in Radio Frequency (RF), PHY algorithms, embedded software, and product development. Prior to founding CoreTigo, Ofer led development teams of RF, PHY algorithm, embedded software, and System at Apple Inc. Prior to that, Ofer was part of the R&D division at Texas Instruments involved in a variety of wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Ofer holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Electrical Engineering from Ben-Gurion University.