Bosch Rexroth demonstrated electromechanical cylinders and ball rails yesterday that could dramatically cut the energy consumption of motion control systems.
The new products, introduced at the Design & Manufacturing Midwest Show, are part of a company initiative targeting energy efficiency. They employ a combination of technologies - including sealing, energy recovery and energy-on-demand - that enable drives and control systems to make significant efficiency gains.
A key feature among the new energy-efficient products is a low-friction sealing technology that's employed on some of Bosch Rexroth's ball rails. The seals, which reside between the runner block and the rail of the company's Size 25 ball rail systems, are said to offer significant energy consumption advantages.
"It's a small change on one product, but it could make a really big difference if it's implemented across the board by everyone," said Kevin Gingerich, director of marketing services for Bosch Rexroth's Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies. "If all rail and block systems sold to manufacturers in one year were outfitted with these low-friction seals, you could save enough energy to power a city of about 250,000 people."
Gingerich said that Rexroth's eLine Profiled Rail systems also save energy by using aluminum, instead of steel, on prescribed components within the design. The aluminum enables the system to cut energy consumption because the driven components are lighter.
"By 'light-weighting' the components inside the modules, you can achieve solid performance and save energy at the same time," Gingerich said.
The company also demonstrated an electromechanical cylinder that illustrates the energy-on-demand concept. Known as EMC, the cylinder burns no energy when not in use and can replace hydraulic or pneumatic systems in applications requiring positioning accuracy and repeatability.
"It has an advantage over pneumatic and hydraulic systems in that it's electrical," Gingerich said. "You're not constantly applying power; it uses power only when it's moving.
Known as 4EE (for Energy Efficiency), Bosch Rexroth's new initiative focuses on more sustainable manufacturing systems.