Development of single control platforms that can handle motion, logic and HMI control, with Ethernet and other high-speed network communications as a way to coordinate the system, is creating new options for machine control. The trend is to create “higher order” control systems that simplify integration issues and create engineered “product-level” solutions that can handle a wide variety of automation control tasks.
Manufacturers are creating a variety of options for control, with a goal of offering specific feature sets and meeting targeted price points. By utilizing highly integrated products for machine control, users invest fewer dollars in custom systems, engineering and integration services. With processing power continuing to increase, controllers and other devices used in these systems are becoming more sophisticated and software is becoming easier to create and manage. Flexible options for machine control continue to grow as suppliers exploit the latest technologies.
CompactLogix L45 Offers Motion and Distributed Control
Designed for machine builders looking to standardize on a single integrated control platform, the new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix L45 controller from Rockwell Automation offers scalability and integrated motion control. Controlling up to 8 axes of motion, the L45 is ideal for small to mid-range applications. The L45 is an extension of the Logix control platform and includes ControlLogix for larger applications.
This newest member of the Logix family of controllers supports use of multiple network cards including DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP, which enables seamless interaction and flow of information from the smallest device up through the enterprise business system. CompactLogix uses the same control engine, development tools, network and operator interface technologies and communications services throughout. Logix family controller applications are developed using Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 programming software, allowing users to move seamlessly from one control application to another with no additional program development or training.
Motion & Machine Controller
The BX-300 is the latest in a series of highly integrated controllers from Berkeley Process Control used in applications as diverse as semiconductor fabrication and nuclear medicine. One BX-300 provides 8 axes of motion control and 6 internal servo drives. Built-in drives support brushed and brushless servo motors, including linear motors, and supply up to 10 amps of continuous motor drive current.
The controller also supports E-stop switches, light curtains and other safety devices. Safety interrupts are handled by the controller's error handler and force guided contactors inside the BX-300 disconnect drive power. The controller provides 46 optically isolated, configurable digital I/O points. The controller's 100 Mbps Ethernet port supports a host and HMI connection, controller networking and I/O expansion.
An advanced online development and runtime software environment includes pre-written software that reduces the need for new code development. Firmware-resident error handling provides increased state information and safety without requiring extensive programming.
Intelligent 8-Axis Motion Controller
Offering control for servo and stepper motor axes, together with onboard I/O and fieldbus connectivity, the NextMove-ESB2 from Baldor expands its servo capability from 3 to 4 axes. Combined with control for 4 stepper motor axes and I/O for material handling and general machine control, the module offers a stand-alone solution for a wide range of machinery applications. The controller could be employed to provide a complete X-Y-Z and alpha axis positioning control solution.
Based on a DSP core, NextMove-ESB2 supports servo loop closure times of 100 µsec on the four main axes, with 6-term closed-loop control for accurate positioning (PID, velocity, acceleration feed forward and velocity feedback). An encoder input can also be used as a “master” axis.
Onboard I/O is comprised of 20 digital inputs, 12 digital outputs, two 12-bit differential analog inputs, a CANopen-compatible fieldbus port and two serial ports including a 12 Mbits/sec USB interface.