Assembly in Action / Motion Control / Columns / Machinery Assembly

Motor Drives Ensure Precise Label Placement

September 3, 2014

High among the achievements of NITA Labeling Equipment—a Quebec, Canada, manufacturer of pressure-sensitive labeling machines—is being named the Innovative Company of 2010 by the Industrial Research Association of Quebec. Other winners of this award include Pfizer, Merck Frosst, and Mechtronix Systems.

From its start in 1990 to 2004, NITA served customers in the North American food and beverage, household chemical, and health and beauty industries. In 2005, however, the company decided to sell internationally. Through extensive research and development, and re-engineering, NITA overhauled its product portfolio to better serve European and Asian markets. The company unveiled its sustainable labeling machines at the EastPack packaging exposition and conference in fall 2008.

Less than five years later, NITA introduced its SynerG XP200T automatic inline labeling system. Manufacturers use the machine to apply pressure-sensitive labels to the front and back of glass containers and plastic bottles, jars, jugs, tubs and pails.

The system features four motor drives, rather than PLCs, to ensure fast and precise label placement. Ken Hubscher, vice president of business development for NITA Labeling Equipment, says the company selected high-performance drives from Control Techniques Americas because of their precision, power, reliability and long life span.

A Commander SK variable frequency drive controls conveyor speed, and three Epsilon EP Servo drives control the encoded motors that drive the labeler heads. Fixed-position sensors and a SmartSync smart-drive communication system ensure synchronization of all labeling functions: conveyor and labeling head speeds, spacing belts, wrap stations and orientation.

SmartSync enables the operator to stop, start, slow down or accelerate the machine to meet changing production requirements. It also makes sure labels are correctly applied, regardless of speed, container bunching or process interruptions.

Commander SK drives feature simple push-button startup and eight preset speeds for application flexibility. They offer open-loop vector control, keypad access to all parameters and output frequency up to 1,500 hertz. Switching frequency from 3 to 18 kilohertz ensures quiet operation. Drives that are size two and higher can be through-panel mounted to dissipate heat externally.

The SynerG XP200T system operates at speeds up to 200 fpm and attains positioning accuracy to within 0.03125 inch. It handles rolls up to 12 inches OD on a 3-inch core, and it applies labels from 0.5 inch square to 6 inches wide by 15 inches long.

User-friendly features include a large touch-screen display and Virtual Operator Assistant software that quickly guides users through system setup. The software names and stores labeling programs for up to 50 products and displays on-screen system diagnostics and troubleshooting.

It also tells the operator how much to adjust color-coded handles, knobs and measurement scales for each changeover to eliminate wasted labels. All machine adjustments are tool-less.

For more information on motor drives, call 314-553-2000 or visit

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