SMC provides 4.0 solution for New Zealand-based manufacturer

Residing in Hawkes Bay, Hawk is a proudly New Zealand-owned and operated company. Sustainability is at the heart of the organisation and as one of the leading moulded fibre packaging suppliers, all their products are made from 100 per cent recycled paper.  Their packaging solutions are used for, among other things, as apple trays in the horticulture industry.

“Our paper is deliberately sourced from kerbside collected recycling paper. We don’t use any nasty bleaches, pigments, biocides or toxic chemicals in our manufacturing. Our products are recyclable and compostable after end use,” said David Styles, engineering manager of Hawk Packaging.

“Our facilities are located in the centre of the largest apple growing region to ensure minimised transport requirements and a lower carbon footprint,” Styles said.

Innovation for an innovative company
With this unique approach to business, energy savings remains a fundamental focus and partnering with like-minded suppliers is key. As a preferred supplier and in collaboration with East Coast Automation, SMC offered an innovative solution to a problem that was hindering Hawk’s production processes.

Area sales manager for SMC in New Zealand, Dirk Siekmann explained that a fault in a stacker robot designed to stack bundles of finished products on top of pallets was causing downtime. “An intermittent fault in the control of this particular robot was instigated by a communication cable failure. The robot had seen its fair amount of wear and tear after years of rotation and bending”.

Out with the old, in with the new
Working together with East Coast Automation, SMC recommended their recently launched Wireless Fieldbus System, EX600-W. The EX600-W met the brief to deliver on time, on spec and on budget. “The installation was simple, and the solution was the perfect match for this particular application” said Chris Robertson, director of East Coast Automation.

Answering to the call for more robotic applications the EX600-W is currently being used extensively in the packaging industry, and the response from the market has been overwhelmingly positive.

According to Siekmann, this decentralised solution is EtherNet/IP and PROFINET compatible, can withstand electric noise and is suitable for harsh, industrial environments. “This wireless fieldbus system can manage both digital and analogue signals, as well as pneumatic products – making it a flexible solution for all applications”.

The EX600-W was designed to make robotic applications easier. The EX600-W is small and light weight, fits onto the robot head, has minimal wiring, offers remote control and fault finding, among other features.

“The EX600-W uses the 2.4 GHz ISM frequency band and every 5 msec frequency hopping. The noise resistance design makes it even suitable in welding environments,” says Siekmann. “We are pleased to say that we have a happy customer.”