Building safety features into drives offers possibilities for both improving operator safety and boosting machine productivity. The trend toward this technology allows operators to streamline machine setup/changeover, and remove jams without going through lock-out procedures. During setup, when most injuries occur, operators can be in the work zone and make adjustments more quickly and easily.
The key to improving safety by using built-in drive capabilities is the ability to limit axis movements and key parameters, such as torque and speed, during selected machine states. By automatically adjusting drive parameters for different operating conditions, machinery designers can create safer, more productive work environments.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.