Precision right up to the first sip

Rapid and fault-free packaging of beverages thanks to backlash-free couplings and brakes

The beverage industry has to master substantial challenges: On the one hand, consumers have an insatiable desire for beverages and consumption is correspondingly high. On the other hand, expectations are continually increasing for a more diverse, individual provision of refreshment beverages. Smooth processing, especially when palletising the filled beverages, is important in order to fulfil these requirements. Backlash-free, corrosion-resistant shaft couplings and safety brakes by mayr® power transmission enable precise processes with high repeat accuracy.


Today, the filling of beverages is highly automated and operates at high speed. Tens of thousands of bottles or cans exit the corresponding systems per hour – accurately, reliably and around the clock. However, these immense capacities are worthless if one ‘bottleneck’ is not sufficiently considered: The logistics at the end of the filling line. Here, too, rapid and smooth operation is required in order to bring the finished products to the consumer. Statistics show how important this part is: Around 28 million litres of non-alcoholic beverages were consumed in Germany in 2017 plus around 11 million litres of alcoholic beverages. But also the rapidly changing customer requirements pose challenges for producers. Individually assorted beverage crates, or even individual bottles with special prints, make sorting and packaging increasingly more complex.



High precision thanks to backlash-free torque transmission  


In order to overcome this obstacle, beverage producers require an excellent technical basis for their systems. Individual assembly and packaging only work at the required quality level, if the technology works absolutely reliably. Accurate, backlash-free power transmission is an indispensable component of the solution.

This becomes apparent in the example of a four-column palletiser. This machine ensures that beverage packaging such as crates or boxes are accurately stacked on pallets and subsequently prepared for dispatch. Beforehand, a robot arm grabs the desired bottles or cans in a targeted manner from the so-called ‘station’, in which the freshly-filled containers are collected, and sorts them into packaging units. From here, they are then transported to the palletiser. It comprises of a large frame with four corner columns. A gripper moves between these to stack the crates or boxes firmly on the pallet in the desired order. Furthermore, an upward and downward-moving platform is installed which traverses each pallet to the next level on a conveyor belt towards the film winder. Here the batch is prepared for dispatch, and subsequently fed in for further transportation. This procedure must be executed with great precision and repeat accuracy to ensure that the beverages stand safely on the pallet, and can be packaged and loaded without any difficulty.

Electric motors power the drive of the gripper and the platform. They have to be integrated backlash-free into the drive line so that processes always run identically. With the ROBA®-ES, mayr® power transmission provides a backlash-free elastomer coupling for the necessary torque transmission. The latest development is a ROBA®-ES in double-jointed design with a long intermediate sleeve. As a result, the forces can be transmitted across a distance of two metres and more. For palletising, this is an order of magnitude which is not uncommon, especially in case of large-scale filling operations. The coupling compensates for shaft misalignment and has excellent damping properties thanks to its elastomeric element. Nevertheless, it is absolutely backlash-free and is ideally suited for dynamic drives. High-quality couplings are imperative in particular for such precision tasks. For this purpose, mayr® power transmission provides all types of backlash-free torque transmission for diverse application cases.


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Fig. 1:

The ROBA®-ES elastomer coupling combines excellent damping properties with absolutely backlash-free function. Recently, it has also been made available as a double-jointed version with a long sleeve.



Secure holding, accurate positioning  


However, not just the forces have to be transmitted precisely and with high repeat accuracy. The moved elements must also be positioned as accurately and reliably as possible. In the case of the palletiser described here, this is particularly important at the platform for the pallets. It must always come to a standstill at exactly the same position and be securely held in every loading condition. Otherwise, there is a risk that steps form between the pallet and the conveyor belt. In a worst-case scenario, a loaded pallet could fall over and bring the entire process to a standstill, not to mention the risk to the system and to the workers. Here, safety brakes come into play. The mayr® ROBA®-linearstop linear brake provides a reliable, simple solution for retrofitting existing systems. This compact brake unit acts on a separate rod and operates independently from the drive system. The ROBA®-linearstop is available in hydraulic, and also in pneumatic or electromagnetic design. This is especially important in the food industry, where hydraulic designs are not an option. All versions operate according to the fail-safe principle – they are closed in a de-energised state. The backlash-free force transmission functions in both directions. No complex movement for release is necessary, as no self-reinforcement occurs during clamping. The brakes enable both emergency stop and dynamic braking within the shortest possible reaction times. Important for smart beverage production: A monitoring system for the switching conditions can be easily integrated.



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Fig. 2:

The ROBA®-linearstop linear brake acts on a separate rod and is therefore also ideally suited for retrofitting. Available in pneumatic, electric or hydraulic designs.

Secure holding, accurate positioning  


The ROBA-stop®-M safety brake is suitable for attachment to drive motors. This electromagnetic brake has several advantages over permanent magnetic brakes, for example, higher temperature resistance and more constant friction values. Furthermore, the ROBA-stop®-M is simple to install and available up to protection IP 66 thanks to the closed housing. This robust, cost-effective brake remains maintenance-free throughout the service life of the rotor – therefore, it is extremely suitable for use in the beverage industry. If, for example, the vertical axis of the gripper has to be additionally secured, then the mayr® ROBA®-topstop® is ideal. This modular safety brake system for A-bearing side installation to the servo motors holds the axis securely in every position – even if the motor is removed, for example, for maintenance work. The ROBA®-topstop® demonstrates its strengths in particular in vertical axes and when handling large weights. All products by mayr® power transmission are available in corrosion-resistant designs, and are therefore ideally suited for use in the food industry.  

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Fig. 3:

Vertical axes can be easily and effectively secured using the ROBA®-topstop®, even if the drive motor has been removed.















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