Make-up meets mask – this is how agile mechanical engineering works today

Weckerle has realized a new development for FFP2 mask production Made-in-Germany.

With TIA-Portal, this development was accelerated.

The company Weckerle GmbH, based in Weilheim, Upper Bavaria, became known with the invention of the world’s first fully automated lipstick casting machine. Founded in 1965, the company has developed into a leading global machine manufacturer in the cosmetics industry and is now divided into two business units – Weckerle Cosmetics and Weckerle Machines.

Our ultimate goal is that not only the

system but also the process works

Maximilian Herrmann, Head of Automation and IT

The Weckerle Cosmetics division deals with the entire supply chain from formula and packaging development to production and process control. Thanks to the specialist expertise in-house, the result is a unique advantage for Weckerle Machines. The second business unit therefore specialises in filling lines for the cosmetics industry and offers flexible solutions for filling lipsticks, mascara, foundation and co.  Weckerle thus covers all requirements in its industry with the existing know-how and flexible solutions. So how would you react if a customer now makes completely different wishes and requirements?

Healthy due to the critical time with the high-protective FFP2
masks, manufactured by the fully automated machine

The Corona pandemic and the desire for a machine for the production of FFP2 masks

The current situation around the Corona virus requires a rethink in many places – schools, gastronomy, culture to name but a few examples. The growing need for masks also requires the support of industry. In May 2020, for example, during the first lockdown, Weckerle dared to develop a mask production system at the customer’s request.

Both the customer requirements and its own claim have led to Weckerle setting up the system from scratch and not using existing concepts. And the result is impressive. The fully automated system produces sixty FFP2 masks per minute.

Since the demand for the masks is currently increasing, for example due to the FFP2 obligation in public transport or shops in Bavaria, Weckerle now offers the system as a standard machine type in the portfolio.

Siemens as a reliable business partner with innovative technology

From the conversation with the head of electrical engineering and IT Maximilian Herrmann, it became clear that he felt the cooperation with Siemens regarding the project was very good. For questions or necessary support, an easily accessible technical and sales support and competent contact persons are credited.

However, the main focus is on the technology, which must be coordinated for the “FFP2 plant” project. Weckerle puts a lot of effort into constantly developing and takes every opportunity to become more efficient. The engineering tool TIA Portal from Siemens plays a decisive role here, because the fusion of logic and motion control simplifies and shortens programming considerably.

A special added value of TIA Portal is the integration of drive technology. The new Servo Inverters S210 are used, which can be put into operation within minutes using One Button Tuning.  A total of five new inverters are in the Motion network, which work in gear and curve synchronisation. In addition to the one-cable solution for connecting the servo motor and synchronizing the drives via Profinet, Mr. Herrmann has promised to save time through the TIA portal. Functional integration not only saves the time to open a second engineering tool, but also saves the creation of offline parameter files and establishes a functioning communication – together, efficient configuration and commissioning are made possible. Weckerle now takes all these advantages with it as Lessons learned and will also use the new servo drive system for the filling systems in the future. In addition to the drive technology, the FFP2 mask production system also includes a SIMATIC S7-1515T as CPU and motion controller, a SIMATIC TP900 Comfort as HMI and a SIMATIC ET200SP as peripherals for the I/O.

The virtual commissioning has also

left a positive impression on our customer

Maximilian Herrmann, Head of Automation and IT

As a pioneer in another customer project, Weckerle has already used virtual commissioning using a digital twin. Since the experience gained is consistently positive, Mr. Herrmann can well imagine that the FFP2 system will also be integrated into NX MCD in the future.

Passion for cosmetics and sustainability

Weckerle is not only driving the digital transformation, but is also committed to environmental protection and sustainable business. Weckerle reports its sustainability figures according to the principles of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which is the reporting standard of the DAX companies. Weckerle achieved the highest Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index in 2015 and thus won the CDP Award. At Weckerle, innovation and sustainability not only go hand in hand in-house, but also the cooperation partners are selected according to these criteria.