Packaging Strategies: What is the CBL Series electric cylinder with built-in controller?

Edward Neff: SMAC’s CBL series is a cylindrical-shaped Moving Coil Linear motor designed to replace air cylinders in the packaging industry. It is the latest in the SMAC line of mechatronic actuators that do work and report back on the success of the work done. It follows the SMAC policy of reducing prices by 35% over the previous model (that is, the SMAC CAL series actuators, in this case). It has several important technical advantages including a cycle life over 10 times that of air cylinders, max cycle rates twice as fast as air cylinders (that is, 2000 CPM), the ability to “soft-land” on a surface and then push/pull with a specific programmed force, repeatable cycle time in the one millisecond range 20 times better than air cylinders, and a built in controller that makes the switch from air cylinders easy. No extra cabinet to mount the controller is needed.


PS: In what ways can it improve a packaging line?

Neff: The CBL35 improves line speed due to its faster cycle rate, line speed because of its superior repeatability, filling applications since the better repeatability leads to a more precise fill in volume terms and a faster fill, product eject and sort since forces and speeds can be individually tailored to different work scenarios — like different sizes or masses. Additionally, it improves product test cost since leaks can be detected simply by using our patented “soft-land” and pressing — then checking the distance of the press in microns/ milliseconds.


PS: Which applications are the CBL Series used for?

Neff: There are several. Sorting/diverting/ejecting both for higher speed and for variable size/weight work. Applications for nitrogen dispensing and standard fillers benefit from our higher speeds, more precise dispensing, and much longer cycle life.

Sealers of containers at higher speeds get a better seal quality due to our “soft-land”, controlled press force and verification of results. There are many customers that use us for testing. Labeling is another application. Other versions of the Moving Coil Actuators are now used for programmable capping with feedback on cap height and torque out.


PS: Why should a packaging company look at adding the CBL Series to their line?

Neff: The CBL35 moves packaging actuators into the 21st century. It speeds up production. It raises quality levels due to its mechatronic ability to verify work has been correctly been done in real time. It saves money because of its much longer cycle life and much more repeatable operation. It helps move packaging machines into the CNC era, where Electronic Assembly and Machine Tools operate. This means machines are more flexible and set up times are short. It is a low current linear motor (unlike high current and HOT moving magnet types). And it is quiet, reducing noise pollution.


SMAC is a leading manufacturer of precision programmable electric actuators based on moving coil technology. SMAC voice coil actuators are unique in that force, position, and speed are totally programmable. SMAC electric actuators are designed to perform at exceptionally high speeds or very low speeds and with sub-micron accuracy and repeatability. Patented “Soft-Land” function gives extremely accurate sensing of product location or dimensions.