Pioneering a new era of paperboard production

MWU Logo

The American machine manufacturer MarquipWardUnited has entered the market for fully servo-driven processing machines with the high end rotary die cutter, ServoGrafix. The leading American manufacturer of machinery for producing and processing corrugated paperboard has created a completely new innovation, which combines particularly robust American machine construction with a complete state of-the-art automation solution from B&R. The characteristics achieved through this combination, such as outstanding productivity, top-quality die cutting and printing, and high availability of the machine, which result in the lowest possible operating costs, have already convinced their first buyer on the European continent: The German manufacturer of corrugated paperboard and paperboard packaging, P-Well.


“Maintaining extremely short delivery times for an extensive range of products is an important competitive advantage in the hotly contested market of corrugated paperboard,” assures Tino Lorenz, head of the P-Well plant in Bad Bentheim. “That‘s why we offer our customers an extremely wide range of corrugated paperboard formats and designs as well as a 48- hour delivery service for specified quantities.”

Machine failures are not an option for the plant manager – particularly because many of the systems in the machine park do not have backups that could be used if a failure occurs. That‘s why productivity and reliability are the main criteria when purchasing production equipment.

The Application

Rotary die machine for high-grade flexo printing

The goal was to employ direct printing on their corrugated paperboard and to be able to further process the material into fully cut packages, thereby rounding off their product line.

Rotary Die Machine

To achieve this goal, the company envisioned a rotary die machine that offers high throughput with minimal waste and runs with high efficiency, reliability and precision. “To sum up, we didn‘t want a machine like everyone else has. We wanted a solution that gave us a competitive edge,” shares Tino Lorenz..

An ideal combination: B&R and MWU “The machine concept presented by MWU matched our plans perfectly,” states the head of the P-Well plant in Bad Bentheim. “The combination of the well-known robust machine construction provided by MWU and the advanced drive and control solutions provided by B&R, promised a high degree of reliability and productivity with comprehensive functionality and ease of operation.

Thanks to many detailed individual solutions, the machine produces up to 11,500 sheets per hour and does it at the lowest possible cost per 1,000 m² of processed paperboard. The machine, which is equipped with four ink chambers for P-Well (more than 10 are possible) for machines with the highest-grade flexo direct printing features, proves itself through high throughput, environmentally friendly handling of sheet material, minimal waste (even when changing the ink and changing batches) and excellent precision.

These outstanding characteristics were achieved through skillful utilization of servo motors. 47 servo drives from B&R‘s ACOPOS multi device series are used to drive 52 servo motors in the four-color machine at PWell. This also includes motors with a direct, gearless connection to the printing unit shaft - an innovative solution that offers considerably higher precision, is more robust and even consumes less energy than conventional solutions.


Precise adjustments to the printing process using B&R servo technology connected to Kollmorgen Direct Drive motors greatly improves print quality

High-precision printing with servo technology

The higher printing precision is also due largely to the fact that the servos are driven individually. As an example, this means that the cylinders can be driven at different speeds if necessary and the printing length can be temporarily adjusted, even during the printing process. This makes it possible to compensate for the image distortion that is inherent in flexo printing with photopolymer printing plates and significantly improves printing quality.

Misprints caused by operating mistakes are reduced to an absolute minimum with ServoGrafix because the user interface employs a process oriented design (SmartControl) as opposed to one that is machine-oriented. This ensures operation that is workflow-oriented and user-friendly. The system operator no longer has to enter individual parameters such as the column size. Instead, they can choose meaningful, production relevant values such as the position of the printed image. The control and drive solution then handles all of the necessary settings automatically. This makes it possible to utilize the machine‘s full potential after just a very short learning period.


Complete package from B&R

“This was made easier for us by the fact that we no longer have to rely on different suppliers because B&R meets all of our needs,” explains Thomas Hartmann, Product & Project Manager of Converting Equipment at the German subsidiary of MWU, who planned and accompanied implementing and commissioning of the new machine at P-Well. “This and other factors such as high reliability and the complete uniformity of the B&R solution were decisive in our choice for B&R as preferred automation technology supplier for our machines. With B&R, we and our customers are now well-equipped for the future.”

They see clear advantages through the use of B&R technology: “As end-users we see it as a major advantage that B&R is constantly gaining more and more supporters among machine suppliers for the paperboard industry and that the machines can more easily be combined into complete systems thanks to the openness and complete uniformity of the B&R solution.” The PWell plant manager then puts it even more clearly: “In practice, this means that fine-tuning is possible during production and that all of the crucial machine data can be easily accessed, saved and re-called for a subsequent job by the system controller. This results in shorter setup times – a decisive advantage in a competitive market.”

I/O Group

X67 Remote IP67 I/O

Valve Control
Valve Manifold Control Modules

B&R: Exemplary service

Machine operation, including setup, is optimally supported by B&R‘s integrated safety features. 71 safety modules from the X20 System device series control a total of 280 channels. “We are now among the first users to employ these modules,” adds Thomas Hartmann. “Although there were some growing pains with the brand new technology, B&R reacted immediately and effectively. They replicated the drive and control structure of the entire machine at their headquarters in Eggelsberg and corrected the problem. There are many companies who could learn a thing or two from this level of service.”

The efforts were definitely rewarded: With the new “ServoGrafix” die cutter, MWU and B&R have significantly raised the bar for high-end rotary die cutters. “The machine is more than capable of competing in Europe and beyond. That‘s why the next machine is already on the way!” boasts Thomas Hartmann happily.

Safety I/O
X20 Integrated Safety IO

App Diagram

Special function and performance facts of the machine:

  • Uses AS 3.0, Acopos Multi and Integrated EPL Safety.
  • All Print Axes (and Die Cutter) utilize direct drive motors controlled by B&R giving them the best print registration they have ever been able to obtain (0.1 millimeters at 1000 fpm over 8 colors) and reduced maintenance.
  • Can correct print registration while running.
  • Can stretch or shorten individual color with respect to other colors (fixes print plate errors).
  • Machine is scalable between 1 to 8 print colors by adding additional Print Stations in line and still utilizes same B&R control.

What was the reason to decide for our Products and Services?

  • Prices were competitive
  • B&R’s ability to run Direct drive motors (AB and Siemens had issues tuning Danaher CDDR motors).
  • Single software platform (Automation Studio) and no annual contract fees on AS software (Barry Wehmiller has >100 licensed copies of AB software all that carry annual renewal fees and is very expensive).
  • Product Line was very comprehensive and scalable. All competitors had similar I/O, Controls, Drives and HMI but only B&R had resolver input slice I/O and pneumatic input module. B&R also developed an X67 resolver input module for MWU.
  • Relationship between MWU and Integrated Motion. They felt comfortable we could locally support them and also that B&R could support them worldwide.
  • Benefits given by the B&R solution
  • B&R Control Architecture (EPL) simplified and reduced the time to assemble the machine. Reduced components also favored B&R in MTBF analysis.
  • Easier to troubleshoot both local and remotely. Remote Diagnostics was very important to them because much of their business is international.

See Automotion Application Article