Modernizing Outdated Rice Filling Packaging Machinery

By using a palm-size controller

  • Unitronics' Samba SM35-J-T20 palm-sized PLC
    Unitronics' Samba SM35-J-T20 palm-sized PLC
  • The rice filling packaging machine was modernized with the PLC.
    The rice filling packaging machine was modernized with the PLC.

With locations in both Guatemala and Honduras, Imapsa Automation specializes in preventative maintenance engineering. In this particular application, they are focusing on automating rice filling and packaging machinery. Imapsa is always looking to give their customers not only a reliable system, but a great looking customized display.

At the time, their rice filling and packaging machinery was in desperate need of modernization. In order to hold true to their commitment to quality and reliability, they needed to find a way to reduce the set-up time and build a more flexible system. The timing for the different steps of the filling process was originally made mechanically by a camshaft with 7 cams and 7 micro-switches; this process needed to be more efficient. Impasa also needed the ability to give information to their production department to track the efficiency of the machine and the operator.

Unitronics' Samba SM35-J-T20 was ultimately chosen for the task. The drum sequencer command and the high speed (encoder) inputs of the SM35-J-T20 were the key ingredients that made automating this machine easy and effective. In the past, when the operator would change the type of rice bag for different brands of a final product, making adjustments required the mechanical and manual adjustments of the cam and micro-switches. Now, with the Samba, the operator can simply adjust the machine by entering and changing the degrees of the electronic cam. The 3.5" color touchscreen and the resolution also allowed them to design great looking displays that were easily understood by the operators.
The PLC also gave them the much needed ability to send reports to the production department to track the efficiency of the filling speed, the number of bags filled, the operating time, and a data table showing the start time and any stop time.

"With fast delivery times, and constantly updated software, Unitronics has always listened to our customers many requests, and have implemented them since we decided to start our automation division in 2001," said Oba Yela of Imapsa Automation. "Great support via both the technical support team and the Unitronics forum. And of course, great price!"

Graduated in political sciences and international relations in Paris, Anis joined the team in early 2019. Editor for IEN Europe and the new digital magazine AI IEN, he is a new tech enthusiast. Also passionate about sports, music, cultures and languages. 

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