A winning partnership in high-tech packaging

The success story of how the Cama Group and B&R overcame the challenges to co-create a solution combining machinery, technology and augmented reality. The future is right here, right now. 

Image suppliedt: EDGEWELL CAMA MACCHINA

Operating in a high-tech niche market means overcoming the most difficult and demanding challenges. It means recognising our own value and identifying the positive scenarios which can drive business forward. The “co-creation” between Cama and B&R arose in this context. Founded in 1981, Cama has since become a leader in its field. Specialising in producing and engineering secondary packaging machinery with integrated robotics for the Food and Non-Food sectors, the Cama Group currently has six subsidiaries worldwide and invests 5% of its annual turnover in technology; B&R has been producing technologies and solutions for machine and factory automation since 1979, and is responsible for machine automation within the Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area at ABB, offering a full portfolio of robotics, automation and software. 

In merging these trajectories and specialisms, a reciprocal partnership formed between these two companies, enabling both to profit from their combined expertise in machines, processes and products, to create highly innovative solutions. 

A collaboration with the same vision

“Finding the right partners is no mean feat,” explains Cama CEO Daniele Bellante, “because you need to share the same values and objectives. Sustainability is our watchword at Cama. Not so much in terms of environmental sustainability, as we don’t produce any polluting emissions and we’re not energy-intensive, but rather sustainability in terms of durability. We offer added value by perpetuating shared values over time, and this requires a strong focus on people. At Cama we produce machines, but we also produce people: investing in our personnel to sustain the company over time. This is the only way to consolidate market leadership. It is people who make the difference, and all partnerships are established with people”. 

With B&R, we seem to have found a winning solution: an ergonomic, flexible and modular machine designed to integrate the MTL Monoblock Top Loading system; this latest-generation equipment features a transparent guard for maximum visibility and optimal hygiene. Intuitiveness is a key design pillar: this is fundamental because the product’s target markets have diverse skills and, potentially, a high staff turnover.  

“This is a very interesting and complex solution” explains Cama sales group director, Alessandro Rocca. “It also makes use of augmented reality to access maintenance, changeover and spare parts, which can be ordered directly via a tablet, also enabling predictive maintenance. As a result, this solution requires less human intervention, thereby reducing the potential for human error. Remarkably, this solution also saves time, cutting the changeover time from 30 to 12 minutes! Our technologies offer real added value and our approach is holistic and customer focused. This means that we pay great attention to our customers’ needs.” 

Enhancing packaging efficiency

And B&R’s offering truly helps us deliver a customer-focused solution, successfully overcoming certain challenges posed by the MTL Monoblock Top Loading system, namely to create a monoblock which can serve three or more upstream feeds for similar products with different synchronisations and to manage buffers automatically thanks to B&R’s ACOPOStrak magnetic track system.  The result is increased productivity with a reduced footprint. The solution allows to decouple the process stations, optimising the flow of products and cycle times; processing times were also optimised and the control panel was simplified, making commissioning and maintenance quicker and easier. 

Wlady Martino, B&R global industry manager, packaging explains the issue: “The challenge was the high throughput and the distance that the products have to travel –up to 14 metres. In this sense, speed and dynamics become important. We proposed ACOPOStrak in this case for several reasons: it is an extremely high-performance magnetic shuttle solution: each shuttle can reach a speed of 4 m/s and an acceleration of 50 m/s2. The system is modular which encourages machine scalability; it also has a clean design enabling easy maintenance with tool-free shuttle removal. To achieve the customer’s objectives, we used simulation, native to the B&R programming system, to optimise the layout, the number of shuttles and the work cycle. At this stage, the customer can make any changes even before the hardware is available. So, we have what we call a “co-creation” process. Impressively, the simulation delivers a result that match the real behaviour on the final hardware. The co-creation process is made possible by combining a variety of skills and that is why, in the end, it really is the people who make the difference. 

CAMA  

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