Greek tortilla producer gets production boost with bespoke robotic and VFD technology

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

A Greek tortilla manufacturer has doubled the speed of its output - along with the quality of its product - with a VFD technology. Pic: GettyImages/stockcam
A Greek tortilla manufacturer has doubled the speed of its output - along with the quality of its product - with a VFD technology. Pic: GettyImages/stockcam

Related tags: Variable-frequency drive, Processing and packaging Innovation, Tortilla, Conveyor belt, Automation Experts, Invertek Drives

A customer has reported that a new automated production line using robotic and variable frequency drive (VFD) technology is working twice as fast as its existing lines, while increasing the quality of its products.

The new conveyor – installed at the established manufacturing facility in Athens – carries the tortillas along the line to check for quality before being packaged and palletised for distribution.

Greek robotics and automation specialist Robotsys enlisted the help of Automation Experts – a sales partner of Invertek Drives, one of the world’s leading innovators in VFD technology – to develop the bespoke system using Optidrive VFDs. The process also involved the control of a robot for the packaging and palletizing of the products at the end of the line.

“The project involved designing a completely new conveyor solution, including more automation than the existing process,” ​said Teo Amiridis, technical director of Automation Experts.

“The customer wanted to increase the speed of the line, including the quality control element, before packaging the tortillas automatically.”

According to Amiridis, the six-conveyer line uses a total of 12 Optidrive VFDs: six E3s to control the motion of each conveyor; two to regulate the Cartesian system to find the correct angle to rotate the conveyer; three to govern the ‘rejection pistons’ to push scrap products off the line and a final one to drive the Yaskawa robot, which controls the packaging and palletising of the tortillas at the end of the line.

“The conveyors must sync with the rejection pistons to allow the right batch of tortillas to be pushed off the line at the correct time. So, accurate motion control is crucial for each element of the line,”​ he said.

Tech specs

20210824-Invertek Drives production line using Optidrive E3 variable frequency drives (1)
20210824-Invertek Drives production line using Optidrive E3 variable frequency drives

The Optidrive E3, Frame Size 1 with an IP20 enclosure, with 3PH input and output, 380V- 480V was chosen for the line and piston control.

An Optidrive P2, Frame Size 2 with IP20 enclosure, with 3PH input and output, 380V-480V was selected for the movement of the picking and packaging robot.

The Optidrive E3 has three application modes out of the box: industrial, pump and fan modes, which makes it easier to set up and commission for a range of applications.

The parameters – connected to Invertek’s Optitools mobile app via the Optistick Smart – can also be easily changed and replicated on multiple drives through Bluetooth and NFC connectivity.

The Optidrive E3 is available in IP20 and IP66 enclosures and four frame sizes, making it ideal for a wide range of applications and environments.

 The Optidrive P2 high-powered drive is available in IP20, IP55 and IP66 / NEMA 4X enclosures; single and three-phase input of between 200v to 600v, 0.75kW to 250kW and 1HP to 350HP. It supports all motor types, including IM, PM, BLDC and SynRM.

“Working with Robotsys, we were able to design a completely automated system,”​ added Amiridis.

“The quality and control were an objective from the outset. We’re pleased that we’ve doubled the speed of production while at the same time improving the quality of the product.”

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