Rollon Actuators for Food Packaging Systems


Pactiv, one of the world’s largest producers of food packaging, recently found a good way to improve the productivity of its multi-line inspection system for detecting and rejecting misformed egg cartons. Instead of relying on troublesome pneumatic diverters, they attached diverting rods to actuators, forming sufficient lanes for the traveling and separating of finished products. For this task, Pactiv went with a 27-axis servo system that resists jamming and downtime. Designed and built by systems integrator Chicago Electric, this new servo system is based on E-Smart 50 beltdriven actuators from Rollon.

Chicago Electric engineers combined 27 E-Smart actuators into a single servo system. Because of their shape and material, egg cartons are particularly susceptible to jamming. “The original pneumatic system was unreliable and sometimes jammed in Pactiv’s production line,” said Brendan Forbes, Chicago Electric application engineer who helped design the 27-axis servo system. “The ensuing downtime backed up products and caused major headaches as engineers repaired the machines.” However, when Pactiv upgrAded to a servo system, the threat of jamming decreased.

Since servo systems are faster and more precise than pneumatic systems, less downtime and additional maintenance are needed. Servo systems are also more reliable due to their heightened accuracy and repeatability. The original system was redesigned and replaced with a servo-driven system by using the E-Smart 50 actuator, which gives more feedback and allows engineers to see if something has jammed.
The system also lets engineers control the timing and speed of the diversion. In addition, this upgrade takes away the need for a worker to constantly stand and monitor the machine. Operators can now be reassigned to more productive roles since the threat of jamming no longer exists.

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Compact Actuators

The E-Smart 50 used for this servo system is part of Rollon’s ActuatorLine Smart Series. The actuator features a compact frame for reduced size and weight, yet it’s engineered to maximize load bearing capacity. To strike the balance between size and load carrying capacity, the E-Smart 50 has rigid aluminum profiles and robust ball bearing guides mounted into a seat in the aluminum body. A carriage is assembled onto the preloaded ball bearing block so it can withstand even distribution from radial and lateral loads.

The carriages of some actuators have a retention cage that eliminates steel-to-steel contact between adjacent rotating elements. The E-Smart 50 also includes a polyurethane transmission belt with steel inserts, AT pitch and parabolic profiles, as well as a 25 AT 5 belt and Z 40 pulley.

The belt is ideal because of its high load transmission capabilities, compact size and low noise. And, when combined with a pulley, the belt achieves smooth alternating motion. “The sturdiness, the look—e- verything about the E-Smart 50 just impressed us,” Forbes said. “We used this project to see how well the product stood up and how well it operated against other actuator systems we have used. It has held up extremely well.”

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Technical Features

  • 50 x 50mm 6060 aluminum profile
  • Max stroke: 6.000 mm
  • Repeat accuracy : 0.1 mm
  • Sizes: da 30 a 100 mm
  • Max speed: 4 m/s
  • Max acceleration: 50 m/s2
  • Carriage weight: 0.56 kg\
  • High bending moments
  • High load capacity


Rollon Group has offices in Italy, Germany, France, the United States, China, India, and Japan. It produces linear and telescopic rails and actuators for many sectors, such as machine tools, railway, aeronautical, logistics, packaging, and medical. Numerous end markets and a vast clientèle are Rollon’s strong points. The company is known for high quality standards in its products, attentive pre-sales support and precise product customization. Thanks to its growth strategy in recent years, Rollon has positioned itself as a provider of increasingly complete linear motion solutions, while strengthening its position in the industries of automation and robotics.

For more information
Rollon India Pvt. Ltd.
1st floor, Regus Gem Business Centre, 26/1 Hosur road, Bommanahalli, Bangalore 560068, INDIA
Tel: +91 80 67027066, Fax: +91 80 67027004

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