More and more, controls suppliers are moving beyond providing motion control components to offerings that provide complete application-specific solutions. The key to these solutions is detailed, industry and application-specific knowledge of machinery needs, often backed up by extensive application software. The goal is a modular approach to solving specific control problems and complete integrated subsystems designed for a particular task.
Control manufacturers often target specific types of machines because they have extensive experience in that industry or application area. By providing an integrated set of standard components to solve a common set of application problems, the subsystem provides a standard approach and an alternative to existing technology solutions. The lure for customers is a tested subsystem, often backed up with large amounts of application engineering and software. This approach reduces system engineering and integration costs, software development time and can create a partnership with a supplier to provide ongoing development of new system-level solutions.
SOLUTION FOR BAG FORMING, FILLING, AND SEALING
The Baumüller Group has developed ready-to-run application software for typical bag forming, filling and sealing machines. Machine mechanics and functions are mapped in the controller by modifying software modules that are combined to provide specific application solutions. The automation solution is bundled as a software package that is based on modules such as winder, dancer control and synchronization software. Motion control solutions and technology functions are available for both horizontal and vertical packaging machines, and support both continuous and intermittent operation. The modularity of the software allows for easy adaptation of the prefabricated hardware and software architecture to the end customer's specific machine concept. The software and entire system solution is provided by Baumüller including the controllers, inverters, motors, operator interfaces and control cabinets. The use of highly dynamic and low inertia servomotors increases cycle times for bag forming, filling, and sealing machines, as well as output.
PROGRAMMABLE LIFT PLATFORM TARGETS AUTO MANUFACTURING
The concept of the programmable lift platform (PLP) from Bosch Rexroth is to replace expensive pallets and robots with easy-to-build programmable gantry style platforms that use modular automation components such as ball screws, linear elements, PC control and electric servo motors and drives. Compared to pallets and robots, the PLP is specifically designed for lift and locate applications and does not need or use more than the three programmable axes of X, Y and Z. Programming robots can be more time consuming and costly than the programming for a PLP because many robots have more than X-, Y- and Z-axis movements. Also, the PLP cell can cost significantly less than fully dressed robots and require far less floor space since units can be mounted within the line. The flexibility of the lift platform allows multiple vehicles or parts to be processed on the same production line without any downtime required to reset parameters or interrupt the line.
UPGRADE FOR BALLSCREW AND PNEUMATIC ACTUATORS
Copley Controls is offering a cost-competitive subsystem for fast response position control applications. The subsystem consists of a direct drive ServoTube actuator, driven by Copley's high power density Micro Xenus controller. Actuator and controller create an out-of-the-box drop-in replacement for ballscrew and pneumatic positioners, and offer superior controllability, agility and faster machine cycle times. The matched positioning pair develops velocity to 3.8 m/sec and peak drive force to 87 lb. A key advantage is that the actuator requires no external encoder for position feedback. ServoTube's patented magnetic circuit enables an integral solid state sensor to provide 12 micron repeatability. The actuators are driven directly by the interaction between their permanent-magnet and electrically-energized magnetic fields. There are no intervening motors, gearing, couplings nor ballscrews to degrade reliability and add inertia. The unit's permanent magnets are sealed into the stainless steel thrust rod, and electrical drive coils are encapsulated in the non-moving forcer.