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Developing Servo Indexing System Using Timing Screw for Automatic Liquid Filler in Manufacturing Environment

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 1

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Paper Authors


Akram Hossain Purdue University - Calumet

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Akram Hossain, Purdue University Calumet
Akram Hossain is a professor in the department of Engineering Technology and Director of the Center for Packaging Machinery Industry at Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN. He worked eight years in industry at various capacities. He is working with Purdue University Calumet for the past 27 years. He consults for industry on process control, packaging machinery system design, control and related disciplines. He is a senior member of IEEE and he served in IEEE/Industry Application Society for 15 years at various capacities. He served as chair of Manufacturing Systems Development Applications Department (MSDAD) of IEEE/IAS. Currently, he is serving a two-year term as the chair of the Instrumentation of ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education). He authored over 29 refereed journal and conference publications. In 2009 he as PI received NSF-CCLI grant entitled A Mechatronics Curriculum and Packaging Automation Laboratory Facility. In 2010 he as Co-PI received NSF-ATE grant entitled Meeting Workforce Needs for Mechatronics Technicians. From 2003 through 2006, he was involved with Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL in developing direct computer control for hydrogen powered automotives. He is also involved in several direct computer control and wireless process control related research projects. His current interests are in the area of packaging machinery system design & control, industrial transducers, industrial process control systems, modeling and simulation of Mechatronics devices and systems in virtual environment, programmable logic controllers, programmable logic devices, renewable energy related projects, wireless controls, statistical process control, computer aided design and fabrication of printed circuit board.

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Nirjhar Das Sharma Purdue University - Calumet

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Nirjhar Das Sharma pursued his passion for engineering from his early childhood while he was going through High school education. He completed a four year B.Sc. course in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (2008-2013) from Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh. The last two years of the Bachelor study introduced him to some real-life learning along with a lot of important experiences. He personally believes that the Industrial training at TICI (Training Institute for Chemical Industries), Narshingdi was the most valuable tour where he experienced about the Industrial Production Technology, sensing and control systems. This training made his decision easier to become a Graduate student of Mechatronics Engineering Technology at Purdue University Calumet, USA (from August, 2013 till present). His enthusiasm developed for learning Electrical controls, PLC Ladder logic (Allen Bradley), HMI design, Robot (Motoman) programming and Motion controls helped him to accomplish the integral part of his research projects. Moreover, he has been a dedicated Instructor for an undergraduate level course 'Electricity and Electronics fundamentals' from January, 2014 to June, 2015 at Purdue University Calumet. At present, he is also working as an Electrical Engineer at Plastipak Packaging Inc. experiencing different technologies like Injection Molders, Blow Molders, High Speed Vision System, Robotic palletizers in a packaging environment. His strong belief about all of these experience and education would create excellent opportunities for him and flourish his knowledge in the future.

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Gautam Agarwal Wynright Corporation

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Developing Servo Indexing system using Timing Screw for Automatic Liquid Filler in Manufacturing Environment

Abstract: In the world of automation, one the most significant topics for Industrial manufacturing technology is primary packaging of products and machine design which can be considered as the integral part of new products development process. Servo motion control is one of the most promising solution for primary packaging Industries. This research will present a Servomotor Driven Indexing system using Timing Screw in a filling machine which can be described as an efficient application of precise motion controls. In addition, the research will be focusing on the Integration of the Indexer with an Automatic Liquid Filling Machine developed from Industrial prospective as well as emphasizing on more advanced features of an Indexing system of a generic filling machine. The Servomotor Driven Indexing system using Timing Screw offers the premium method to index containers or bottles in order to design a fast and efficient production in an Automatic Liquid Filling system. Servo encoder feedback can provide the closed loop control on the process and save the product from wastage with the help of a feedback signal. Nevertheless, this type of indexing system can offer cost benefits and a high degree of precision. The idea presented here is of an automatic filling system relates to the indexing method of different types of containers and more particularly to an electro-mechanical control system and method for controlling servomotors that are a part of an indexer of the filling machinery. This type of Bottle Indexing & Filling mechanism plays very important role in the Medical, Beverage and Wine industries. These machines are used not only for filling and capping but also to reduce the labor operator or manual operation in the industry. A traditional process contains filling the bottle by hand or by a semiautomatic machine having questionable accuracy will create lots of wastage of filling product. There are several important factors that are necessary to be brought up while discussing about Automatic Liquid Filling system such as the type of liquid, the size of the container, the throughput of the system, filling method etc. The traditional process takes lot of preparation time. This means, first of clean the bottle, second, determine whether the bottle is crack or not. In this way, the work setting time is more as compared with the filling time of the bottle. So due to this problem the idle time of the process is more as compared to the working time of the machine this will results in the low productivity of the machine & also it requires many worker for this process. This will affect the overall efficiency of the machine. In turn this will also reduce the throughput due to the more idling time. The goal of this research is to efficiently achieve the entire design, testing, and implementing an entire working machine in a shortest possible time. Thus, Machine design and controls programming including Engineering method will be implemented from conception through the completion. Description: The Automatic Filling machines are generally equipped with an indexing system where the type of indexing system to be used can vary based on different machine speeds, container size or shape or simply the personal preference of the packaging company. The types of Indexing systems such as Pin Indexing, Star-wheel Indexing, Screw Indexing, and Shuttle Indexing are the popular methods to be described. The major advantage of any timing screw is to provide the smooth flow of containers into the integrated lines of packaging machines. But today's highly sophisticated timing screws can do more than just feed or discharge containers into the packaging machine. Because the present criteria used for designing a timing-screw is based on higher technology, software tools and mathematical operation. Using different design variations, the timing screw can halt or position containers for packaging operations and can serve as a line-control device. They can also accelerate, decelerate, divide or combine the container flow. The working principle of the timing screw Indexer is simple to understand. The first index cycle after transitioning to Automatic Mode should index the first container on the conveyor to the most downstream fill head. In this case, the screw will make an absolute movement to index the first bottle to the most downstream fill head. The following containers will then align below the earlier fill heads as both screw pockets and the fill head assembly are designed according to the specific containers dedicated to this research. The next fill group will already be situated in the following pockets, so the screw need only proceed by the number of pockets of the timing screw in each fill group. This motion can be achieved with relative movements of the servo axis.  

Figure 1: Basic Operation of an Indexer using Timing Screw. This process is illustrated above where the gray rhombus are indicating the screw pockets. The first transition indexes a total of 4 pockets ahead to fully index the red container. Every subsequent index would then only move 3 pockets ahead. This First Group Indexing will occur for the first index cycle anytime Automatic Mode is activated. Because the location of the containers are unpredictable if the machine transitions out of Automatic Mode. Another important study of this research will provide the application of a fill shift register to track the bottle present within the indexer to be able to prevent from wasting of the products. This bottle tracking operation is defined as ‘No Bottle No Fill’ or N.B.N.F operation for this research. The N.B.N.F operation will be controlled directly from the logic program of the controller which is basically a bit shift operation triggered by the actual home position of the servo-indexer. This way it is easy to register if a bottle is actually present under the fill heads and ready to be filled or not. Above all, this research will demonstrate and implement an automatic indexing system with industry grade motion controls, logic controls and pneumatic controls systems. This real world machine will be used as an excellent teaching and demonstration tool for students in mechatronics and related programs.

Hossain, A., & Das Sharma, N., & Agarwal, G. (2016, June), Developing Servo Indexing System Using Timing Screw for Automatic Liquid Filler in Manufacturing Environment Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26771

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