Renewing a Classic

For almost 60 years IMA S.p.A. has been designing and manufacturing hi-tech automatic machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, tea and coffee products.

IMA has been producing machines for the packaging of tea and herbal teas in filter bags since 1966 and today holds the leadership in this market, with an offer that covers all current product specifications and production capacities.

The handling of such delicate products can present difficulties, but all IMA machines are subject to continuous updating, functional to achieve the highest level of efficiency and, at the same time, the best product quality.

C51 is a high performance packaging solution able to flexibly handle single, single chamber, heat-sealed, round, square or rectangular bags. It stands out for its ability to achieve exceptionally high processing speeds of up to 2000 bags/minute, while still guaranteeing perfectly sealed closures free of product residue.

The Challenge

C51 can integrate several final packaging solutions, including an automatic boxing machine from flat die-cut cartons, which has recently been retrofitted to the box closing subsystem.

C51 is in fact a machine that has been part of IMA's proposal for a long time - about 20 years - and that is continuously modernized to be in step with the times in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Over the years, some original components are no longer available on the market. As a result, it has become necessary to replace the axis and the functions of the axis responsible for closing the box with a new generation single-axis motion control system.

The Solution

At the heart of the solution is a Sigma-7Siec single-axis controller, a unit that combines a Sigma-7 SERVOPACK servo amplifier with a single-axis motion controller in one compact device. The device is equipped with a bandwidth of 3.1 kHz and a set of advanced tuning algorithms capable of solving the machine setup within a few minutes. It is programmed according to IEC 61131-3 standards via the MotionWorks IEC software platform.

The solution has been completed by a rotary servomotor of the Sigma-7 range and remote I/O of the SLIO Ethernet/IP series.


Among the various possible solutions identified to respond to the problem, the one selected not only made it possible to combine ease of use and advanced performance, but also to offer intelligence directly on site. Having been developed for some time now, C51 is in fact based on a concept different from current machines and does not provide Ethernet connectivity structured in such a way as to allow centralized control of each component. Thanks to the integrated motion controller, Sigma-7Siec has made it possible to realize the intervention in a non-invasive way, without modifying anything outside the Yaskawa system - in terms of electrical and pneumatic connections, sensors and PLC program.

From a software point of view, a streamlined and rational code, designed to "last", was chosen, in which an application variant has already been implemented, useful for the likely future management of additional functionality in a variant of the application.

The use of standard solutions, both in terms of hardware and software, is for IMA a guarantee of longevity and resilience of the final product, as well as global availability and greater flexibility.