There was a time when the most advanced drive features could only be found on models that targeted big, multi-axis applications — but not anymore. Drive suppliers continue to push their best technology down to low-power and single-axis applications. Why? “The end users are demanding scaleability so that they can get an exact fit to their application while working within a single development environment,” says Craig Nelson, who manages drives for Siemens Energy & Automation. Here's a look at two drive families that have extended their reach downward, as well as a new stand-alone controller that now talks to drives commonly used in lower power applications.
Scaleable Drive Tackles Lower Power Jobs
Rockwell Automation's latest servo drive increases the reach of the company's Kinetix drives into lower power applications. Called the Kinetix 2000 the drive offers a power range of 300W to 3 kW. The higher power Kinetix 6000, by contrast, covers a range from 1.2 to 11 kW. “OEMs who wanted a high degree of precision and throughput from their servo drives may have had to specify systems with higher power capabilities than they needed,” says Paul Whitney, Rockwell's product manager for the new drive. Sometimes, he adds, the cost implications of the higher-power systems forced some machine builders to steer clear of automation on their low-power axes. “The Kinetix 2000 allows users with lower power requirements to spec just what they need,” he says. At the same time, the new drive part of Rockwell's Integrated Architecture — so it can share the same development environment and controllers with the higher power drives. Other features include a Power Rail mounting system and a SERCOS interface.
Modular Drive Can Now Stand Alone
Siemens Energy & Automation has brought out a new Sinamics S120 AC drive that extends the company's modular drive approach down to single-axis applications running in either servo or vector modes. According to Craig Nelson, product manager, the new drive compliments the S120 multi-axis units that came out about two years ago and featured a modular design that separates the power and control sections. “One integrated drive family and a single set of programming tools can now be used for all single- and multi-axis drive applications utilizing induction, servo, linear or torque motors,” says Nelson. Like its multi-axis forerunners, the single-axis S120 has integrated safety features and built-in positioning functionality aimed at tasks common on assembly and material handling systems. The new Sinamics S120 AC Drives are available in single phase 230V in the power range 0.25 to 1 HP, and three phase 460V in the power range 0.5 to 400 HP. The power modules are available in compact block construction over the 0.25-to-125 HP range and as chassis units in the 150- to-400 HP range. Applications for the single-axis S120 include packaging, printing, plastics, textile, converting and hoisting machinery.
New Control Option for Panasonic Servo Drives
Delta Tau's Turbo PMAC2 Controllers can now play nice with Panasonic servo drives. Delta Tau has introduced a new version of this controller that can command drives via RealTime Express, Panasonic's Ethernet-based motion control network. Capable of handling up to 32 axes, the controllers ship with pre-configured kinematics and trajectory generation features. “That makes programming a lot easier than with a PLC,” says Sina Sattari, a Delta Tau application engineer. Delta Tau already offers similar controllers that communicate over the much faster MACRO ring. In beta-testing for the past six months, the new Realtime Express-capable controllers start shipping this month.