Carefully packaged

Multi-Carrier-System drives the packaging process

The servo-controlled horizontal cartoner HK-S from ECONO-PAK gently and efficiently places scratch-sensitive tubes of shoe polish into cardboard boxes. The freely configurable and flexible Multi-Carrier-System (MCS) from Festo perfectly synchronizes the conveyors for the product and the cardboard box and ensures reliable packaging with high throughput.

Operators of packaging machines have specific system requirements: They must be robust, reliable and compact, allow high throughput, and be easy to control. Packaging machine manufacturer ECONO-PAK has developed a machine that offers outstanding precision and functionality. The HK-S is very compact and guarantees a reliable packaging process. It takes the machine just one minute to carefully pack 120 tubes with an extremely scratch-sensitive surface into cardboard boxes. “The Multi-Carrier-System—or MCS for short—from Festo is a key component of the system,” explains Markus Zerbe, Sales Manager at ECONO-PAK.

Pit stop for reloading

In the packaging process, the cartoner and MCS must work together in perfect harmony just like the musicians in an orchestra, as the efficiency of the machine depends on it. At station 1, the feeder, a conveyor transports the tubes precisely and in parallel on two lines at a speed of 0.41 meters per second toward the workpiece carriers. During the loading process, the carriers stop so that the transfer can take place without causing any damage. The carriers then accelerate to make up for lost time and synchronize with the speed of the cartoner running in parallel, as well as the pusher assembly (0.31 m/s). The tubes are transferred to the cardboard box line via a gate link and are packed in a continuous process. The carriers move along the conveyor completely jerk-free and with minimal vibration.

Synchronization is crucial

At station 2, the insertion area, the product pushers push the tubes through the product trays into the cardboard boxes. It is important that the carriers are completely synchronized with the pusher assembly along this section in order to avoid collisions between the tube and the box. As soon as the product pusher exits the top of the product tray, the carrier can resume its own speed.

Vertical return of the carriers

Full of benefits

The vertical return of the carriers saves space and allows a slim, compact system design. Furthermore, the carriers return via a servo-controlled toothed belt, which means that the carrier drive is independent of the linear motor technology in this section. This reduces operating costs and makes for easier and more efficient adjustment and control of the system.

“The main advantage of the MCS, however, is that it allows complete synchronization between the product carriers and the cardboard box, so the individual positions are maintained precisely,” says Markus Zerbe. Precisely maintaining the filling position is important to ensure the tubes slide gently into the carriers and are not damaged during the transfer. “The integrity of the tubes is a top priority,” says Zerbe. This is made possible by the linear motor technology of the MCS. The individual carriers can be accelerated, decelerated, and freely positioned independently of one another. The MCS thus combines cycling and continuous motion on one line. Another benefit of the MCS for the system operator is its closed recirculating system, which can be quickly adapted to different conditions. For example, additional carriers can be integrated into the system at any time to cope with production peaks. According to Zerbe, a capacity increase to around 200 tubes per minute is easily achievable.


Im Baumfeld 21–23
55237 Flonheim

Area of business: Manufacturer and developer of packaging solutions, offering consulting, project planning, design and manufacture, assembly and commissioning, production supervision with training, after-sales service, and format-specific tool manufacture

September 2017