Industrial Packaging Systems Using Variable Frequency Drives

D&D Engineering (Hull) Ltd is a manufacturer ofconveyors and product handling equipment. Eighty percent ofits customers are in the food industry, mainly in the preparedproduce sector, with some involved in the production ofchilled products and bakery goods.One of D&D Engineerings recent customers is John BaardaLtd, a company specializing in the growing of tomatoes.John Baarda Ltd needed to replace its current tomatohandling conveyor system, which used inefficient chainsand sprockets, with a solution that would allow it to packtomatoes more quickly and accurately while allowing qualityinspection of the tomatoes.The company was experiencing difficulties with themechanically interfaced conveyors, as their coordinatingseries of chains and sprockets are subject to wear andstretch. This causes maintenance problems, with any timingadjustments having to be made mechanically, leading toproduction interruptions and reduced output.Gavin Walker, Engineering Sales Manager of D&D Engineering(Hull) Ltd explains: The speed of the conveyor must becoordinated with the speed and timing of the wrapper toensure that the tomatoes are delivered to the flow-wrapperat exactly the right time.

Quick And Accurate Industrial Packaging Systems Using Variable Frequency Drives

Integrating their industrial packaging systems using variable frequency drives was the goal for this application. The conveyor systemthat uses ABB servo motors and ABB high performancemachinery drives to control the speed of the tomato handlingconveyors, matching the speed of the packing machineand ensuring that the tomatoes are packed quickly andaccurately. An ABB component drive runs rollers on theconveyors, allowing the tomatoes to be turned automaticallyand inspected for quality.The two feeder conveyors are each driven by an ABB highperformance machinery drive in master-slave configuration,with the master receiving an encoder signal from the wrapper.This ensures that the drive knows where the wrapper is in itscycle and can control the speed of the conveyor precisely toensure the tomatoes arrive at the wrapper at the correcttime. If the speed of the wrapper changes, the drive canalter the speed of the conveyor accordingly to maintain thecorrect timing.


  • Accurate co-ordination of tomato handling conveyor withwrapping machine to allow quicker packing of tomatoeswhile providing quality inspections


  • ABB servo motors controlled by ABB high performancemachinery drives match the speed of the tomato handlingconveyors to the speed of the packing machine
  • ABB component drive controls rollers on the conveyors,allowing the tomatoes to be turned for inspection


  • Tomatoes are packed quickly and accurately
  • Packing rate has doubled from 40 packs per minuteto up to 80 packs per minute
  • The drives programmed product menus allow different
  • products to be run on the conveyor with quick changeovers
  • Easier to build thanthe previous mechanical interfaced systems
  • Operation and maintenance costs reduced

Doubling The Packing Rate

Tim Howarth, Business Development Manager with JohnBaarda says: With mechanical systems, we can achievea maximum rate of around 60 packs per minute. Withstoppages, this averages around 40 packs per minute.The ABB machinery drive based electronic control systemgives us an average of 70 to 80 packs per minute.The ABB high performance machinery drives can be used withboth synchronous and induction motors and their modulardesign and flexible software make them suitable for use in arange of machinery applications, including those of the foodand beverage industry, material handling and packaging.

To learn more about ABB Low Voltage Drives or for ABB Repair and Replacement Quotes, contact Precision Electric, Inc.

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