Reciprocating Inserter

Reciprocating applicator dispenses inserts to a conveyor-fed product.


Reiprocating Product Insertion ApplicationA conveyor is feeding randomly spaced product to a reciprocating inserting station. Upstream, a motor is driving the conveyor carrying the product. The conveyor travels at various speeds depending on the product being transported. The insert must be properly placed and aligned on the product. In order to achieve this exact placement, the independently driven insert applicator must be synchronized to the conveyor.


The EMAX 1-1/2 axis controller is chosen for this master/slave electronic cam application. A line encoder (master) is connected to the conveyor and is used for position and speed data. Product changeover is simple and easy using the touch-screen display operator interface. High-speed sensors are mounted in two strategic places: above the conveyor to detect the presence of product, and next to the insert cartridges to verify that an insert has been dispensed. A simple motion control program developed with the Emerald Motion Language (EML) PC software coordinates the insert applicator, encoder, and I/O in the following sequence:

  • Upstream, randomly placed product is fed onto a conveyor in preparation for the insert applicator. The products are not equidistant from each other but are aligned and in position.
  • The fingers vacuum an insert from the insert cartridge and accelerate to conveyor speed, where the insert will be placed on the product. After the insert has been applied, the servomotor will unlock from the master axis and stop. The motor will then move the fingers back to their home position and prepare to vacuum the next insert.

Additional Application Features

  • Sensor initiates a ‘skip cycle’ for a lack of insert.
  • Skip cycles reduce insert waste, and increase throughput.
  • Simple touch-screen input for product changeover.

Other Industry Applications

  • Folding/Gluing
  • Printing

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