A Custom Solution for a Worm Diverter

Resource Type: Newsletters | August 31, 2017

The project request from DMF Bait was straightforward: Automate a diverter that sorts paper and plastic bait cups.

The Challenge

The challenge in this project was to make it as small and as simple as possible. The customer wasn’t looking for $100k system to complete this simple task. Their warehouse space is also being well-used, and there wasn’t a lot of room to install large equipment.

DMF Bait is the world’s largest wholesale bait company, based in Waterford, Michigan. With a new product – bait to be sold in convenience stores – in growing demand, they wanted the ability to divert the different types of cups on the fly. This part of the process is after the cup is filled with dirt and just before it goes to be lidded. Different cups have different lids. Previously, every time they wanted to shift between cups, it would cost about 30 minutes to empty out the line and change over the machines. Therefore, they wanted to automate this process so that they could fill product as needed.

The Solution

What made for a smooth solution was using a specialty sensor from Keyence that detects color (Keyence Full Spectrum Color Sensor). The cups are printed differently, so they were able to teach the system: If this part is white, it’s paper. If it’s orange, it’s plastic. The speed of the line can fluctuate and there is no set pattern, so detecting the color made for the simplest, most reliable way to divert the cups.

For the controls system, we used the Siemens S7-1200 and incorporated room for expansion, allowing the potential to add 1-2 more diverts. We also worked with Best Industrial Group, who specializes in the mechanical side of conveyors.


“We’re able to produce two products at the same time now, and can easily adjust the volume as needed,” said Dan Beaudoin, Co-Owner and CEO of DMF Bait. “As we hope to keep expanding, working with Patti Engineering has brought the opportunity of customized solutions. We don’t have to deal with making a standard machine fit.”

Related categories: Consumer ProductsControl Systems Integration
Terrance Brinkley

Terrance Brinkley's Bio

Michigan Director of Operations

With a natural affinity for control systems integration, Terrance Brinkley has been an asset to Patti Engineering since 2004 and now leads his team as the Director of Michigan Operations. A native of Pontiac, Michigan, Terrance graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering.