New tube cutter breathes life into tube for respiratory system



A new machine solution developed for Gillard, a tube cutting machine specialist, utilises the latest technology from Siemens Industry Automation & Drive Technologies to accurately cut cuffed medical tubes used in respiratory systems. 

The new Servo-Torq® rotary cutter was developed in conjunction with HMK, Siemens motion control technology partner, to meet the specific requirements of Gillard. As a valued supplier of OEM solutions, HMK developed hardware options that could use a common software platform making commissioning and worldwide support a much simpler task than the solution previously implemented.  

It can reach a maximum line speed of 20 metres per minute and cutter speed of 350 cuts per minute and it can process variable tube diameters.  It uses a dual axis synchronised caterpillar which continuously transports the manufactured tube.  Then a high speed vision system locates the transition points along the tubes where the direct servo driven rotary knife makes the cut.   

Simotion, a scalable motion control system, from Siemens has been used throughout the machine to perform a number of functions.  In particular, the Siemens Simotion 3-Axis control system provides accurate synchronisation between the caterpillar and the knife, ensuring the cut point is held within +/- 0.5mm accuracy.  This level of precision means wastage is kept to a minimum.  While the machine’s in-built broken blade detection ensures the machine is halted immediately so the blade can be replaced and tubes are always cut accurately.  This reduces wastage and ensures maximum productivity.   

By utilising ProfiNET Ethernet and Simotion IT, the control system is easily attached to the end user’s network enabling real-time support, wherever they are in the world.  This type of networked-support was vital as Gillard required a machine that could be distributed throughout the world and therefore, it needed to be fully supportable wherever it was used.  

Chris Gillard, Managing Director of Gillard, comments: “We are delighted to have a machine which we are able to distribute anywhere in the globe.  It was crucial for us to have a product which would not only perform to the highest levels of accuracy but was fully supportable in international markets.  The Servo-Torq has managed to meet both of these aims and has allowed us to break into new markets, which is fantastic.”

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