System Integration & Control Systems Design

Machine upgrade at Rostberg

August 2020 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Rostberg Bottling Company is a leader in contract bottling, situated between Stellenbosch and Somerset West in the winelands of the Western Cape. As a contract bottler, Rostberg is exposed to a wide variety of products, ranging from spirits to wine and liqueurs. As such, the variation in bottle shapes and label types is extensive. Reliable and flexible solutions are thus vital, demanding machinery which is quick and easy to set up to suit the product requirements.

Upgrade urgently required

A labelling machine, catering for 16 heads on four label stations, was thus vital to Rostberg’s processes, so that it could cope with the variation in product requirements. This machine, of Italian origin, had lost the functionality of several stations, to the point where it was no longer a viable production aid.

After contacting the machine supplier, it became clear that service parts were no longer available and it was recommended that the machine should be replaced with the latest model. At this point Rostberg approached Ana-Digi Systems to engineer a suitable replacement control system, as the machine was still mechanically sound.

Rostberg’s production urgently needed the flexibility of the multi-head labeller, as it currently had to run products several times through its single head machines to cater for the multi-label requirements. Ana-Digi Systems came up with a new and modern, servo controlled multi-head control system, employing a LS XMC automation controller utilising real-time Ethercat communications to 16 new LS servo drives. The servo drives enabled easy bottle orientation, which would allow easy placement of the various bottle labels.

When the original machine manufacturer heard of the proposed solution, it told its customer that the machine would never work in the proposed format and it should be replaced. After further discussions and product demonstrations, Rostberg took a leap of faith in the capabilities of Ana-Digi Systems and placed an order for the proposed new design.


During the process of the machine upgrade, two large German rack PLCs were removed, along with numerous dedicated electronic control boards and hundreds of metres of wiring. To simplify the new machine wiring, a small LS XEC modular PLC was utilised on the machine base frame, while an LS XMC servo controller, which addressed the 16 servo drives and remote I/O modules via EtherCAT, was addressed using existing sliprings.

This new system concept presented the opportunity of gaining real-time control of the entire machine with a minimum of cabling required. The bottles are accurately rotated from the first label to allow accurate positioning of up to two front and two rear labels according to product requirements. Operator interfaces were provided through a high resolution LS eXP colour HMI, which enabled the choice of the required prewritten production recipes.

The machine was commissioned during mid-2019 and has functioned exactly as envisaged. As the client is extremely happy with the machine’s performance, the next phase will be to register from notches in the bottles. For Ana-Digi, this system has been extremely satisfying, as leading edge technologies were utilised during the upgrade of this complex machine, with outstanding results.

Results and conclusions

Ana-Digi Systems strived to design and implement a state-of-the-art, reliable machine to match the client’s requirements of being easy to set up and low maintenance. This was achieved, and in addition, production throughput was increased with the required reliability.

Delighted with the results, Rostberg is enjoying the benefits of this new level in machine performance. The technology employed knows no limits and can be redeployed for a wide variety of production machines.

Ana-Digi Systems initially built a reputation in the food industry and now has many clients in the sector, with plans to increase its footprint even further.


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