Recently, we engineered several custom printer applicators for a multinational food processing concern with plants in over two dozen countries. This manufacturer produces corn starch, sugars and several other powdered food ingredients.
These food refineries run 24×7 and typically clean their work areas while in full production. During the wash-down process water often splashes production equipment which can adversely affect electronics and mechanical parts.
Watertight bulkhead fittings for all applicator housing perforations
Custom regulator for positive pressure (expels dust)
PCM Image-Tek’s engineering team quickly designed and produced new printer applicators with special NEMA type enclosures to prevent water damage. We outfitted all applicator housing perforations with water-tight bulkhead fittings (photo right). We redesigned all housing seams to incorporate water-proof gaskets and added constant positive pressure to the applicator housing to expel dust (photo right).
Fine, airborne particles also present challenges for the holes in an applicator’s vacuum head. To prevent vacuum heads from plugging, our engineers developed a clever valve system and wrote a new applicator program. In typical fashion, vacuum holds the label in place while the applicator arm extends. However, each time the arm retracts, the new, program-enabled valve system blows out the head (photo right) to remove powder. Our customer is quite pleased with this self-cleaning feature. They cannot afford downtime in any of their high volume plants.
Custom valve system — air blows out the head while the arm retracts (self-cleaning feature)
Ethernet-basesd MODBUS I/O
Our printer applicators come with several interface options. However, this customer prefers to interface with an Ethernet-based MODBUS. At the time, we were not familiar with this form of I/O. Nonetheless, our electrical engineers quickly researched, became proficient and added the MODBUS as a custom feature (photo left).