What is a multi-carrier system and who uses them?

To adapt to changing consumer and environmental demands, manufacturers need flexible machines to adjust their production. This presents challenges to OEMs who design and build production machines. Yet, new generations of modular multi-carrier systems allow OEMs to design machines that boost production flexibility at end-user plants.

New-generation carrier transport solutions like Lexium MC12 multi-carrier cut complex mechanical and electrical installation challenges. Specifically, they reduce laborious carrier mounting and demounting procedures and assembly-line product positioning accuracy limitations to improve throughput.

This functionality allows for new machine designs making them faster, more flexible and space efficient. They prioritise flexibility and agility. Furthermore, game-changing technologies like multi-carrier and digital twins combine to redefine how OEMs design machines and how end users implement them.

What is a multi-carrier system?

Lexium MC12 multi-carrier is an innovative material handling and transport system for use in machines. Rather than a traditional conveyor system, the multicarrier consists of individual carriers that can run at different speeds. Carriers move along a configurable track and users can adapt machines to assorted products while still running.

They use the latest linear motion technology to move products individually through the machine. These individual movements allow for new machine designs making machines faster, more flexible, and space efficient. Significantly, this represents a shift from traditional manufacturing to software defined, intelligent manufacturing, with motion control moving objects through the machine.

Applications include packaging, food processing, assembly, and materials handling.

Flexibility of design

The Lexium MC12 multi-carrier system reduces the number of components within the machine design and achieves simplicity in five ways:

  1. 1. Carrier track segments consist of only two configurations, being straight and 45°. Each modular carrier segment houses motion coils that when energised controls the carrier movements along the track.

2. Compared to the large traditional chains used to drag along products, this modern approach dramatically reduces the number of component movements required to run the machine.

3. This approach reduces the number of component movements needed to run the machine. The individual handling of loads also means fewer loads need moving around, which reduces displacement of mass and weight. This produces less friction and reduces stress on moving parts.

4. Reusing an existing modular design speeds up new system development. Creating a new configuration involves adding modular segments or carriers and adjusting the existing design to new customer requirements.

5. Next generation multi carrier product transport systems also come equipped with advanced diagnostics. Furthermore, remote machine access allows the maintenance technician to view all components and detect any deviations from normal operational parameters. The hardware design also accommodates fast replacement of carriers and replacing modular segments.

Rapid development using digital twin simulation.

Using the EcoStruxure Machine Expert Twin software with a multi carrier system enables engineers to determine machine performance and flexibility before building the machine. They can use this digital platform to run different formats and to see how those formats impact machine behaviour. They can click together a track, add carriers and processing stations and test that the machine fulfils the application’s needs.

Manufacturers who have installed new generation multi-carrier units have doubled their performance and reduced their footprints by half. Besides, a multi carrier system can also replace specialised equipment to streamline the machine by reducing mechanical complexity. A Lexium MC12 smart transport system optimises machine design, simplifies mechanics, and reduces machine and electrical cabinet footprints.

For OEMs, combining the multi carrier with EcoStruxure Machine Expert Twin software opens the door to differentiated, high-speed machine designs. Schneider Electric estimates design quality improvements of up to 30% and a 20-40% savings in investment costs. Furthermore, it reduces unscheduled machine downtime, and improves OEE by 50% over time.

Watch a webinar to learn more about how Schneider Electric’s Lexium MC12 multi-carrier and digital twin technologies address modern machine design requirements.


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