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Ask the experts – mastering motion control in industrial automation

The manufacturing industry is in the throes of digital modernisation – with high demand from customers for quality products and on-time delivery.

A key aspect of this transformation is the increasing automation of manual processes, with motion control playing a pivotal role in driving this shift, says Beckhoff experts.

“Motion control is a specialised area of automation that precisely controls the movement of individual components in a machine. It is particularly valuable in applications like production lines, where efficient and accurate movement is essential,” says Lokitha Ratnasekera, Support and Service engineer at Beckhoff Automation Australia.

Beyond facilitating movement, motion control systems ensure controlled and timely stops, underscoring the importance of safety and precision in industrial processes.

As a leader in this sector, Lokitha assists customers in optimising their applications and products, finding fulfilment in resolving challenges and contributing to the successful deployment of motion control systems.

“Creating a reliable motion control system necessitates thorough attention to several elements,” he said.

“These encompass, understanding the unique demands of the application, choosing suitable hardware components, establishing an effective and efficient control system architecture, and ensuring safety and environmental factors are taken into account.”

Lokitha emphasises that by considering these factors, one can develop a resilient and efficient motion control system tailored to meet the specific needs of the application.

“Consulting with experts and utilising appropriate tools such as Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3 Motion Designer is key in obtaining optimal design decisions for expected performance,” he said.

To enhance motion control systems, Lokitha underscores the importance of a comprehensive analysis of application requirements.

“This involves examining motion profiles, load capacities, and required accuracies. Choosing the appropriate motor type, considering torque requirements, and speed range is vital for achieving optimal performance,” Lokitha added.

“The choice of a suitable drive type plays a key role as it acts as a crucial connection between the motor and control system, ensuring smooth and seamless movement.

“To enhance precision and responsiveness, precise feedback systems and finely tuned control algorithms are employed. User-friendly motor adjustments are made possible with tools such as TwinCAT Drive Manager 1 and Drive Manager 2.”

Saajan Kuthu, product specialist for XTS and XPlanar and Senior Application and Support Engineer at Beckhoff, has years of experience in his domain. With a background in System Integration and a passion for providing informed advice, he finds immense fulfillment in supporting customers’ projects and witnessing their success with Beckhoff’s advanced technology.

Over time, Motion control has evolved from separate components to an integrated solution. Beckhoff TwinCAT system allows centralised control to encompass PLC, HMI, Vision, Analytics, Safety, as well as Motion control into one platform, streamlining integration. The recent advancements within Beckhoff’s range of motion control solutions are XTS eXtended Transport System and XPLanar, floating 2D product transport system.

Notable success stories of Beckhoff’s motion control systems include L’Oréal Group in France, which achieved high output and precision by utilising Beckhoff’s XTS technology to develop an agile and flexible production line.

“The XTStechnology has enabled L’Oréal to develop an efficient and workable production line that combines five machines into a single line, reducing the production floor area by 30%. This advancement is crucial for achieving the high output and precision required in the FMCG industry,” says Saajan.

“XPlanar technology utilises magnetic levitation technology for precise object movement and positioning, ideal for assembly lines and material handling – facilitating wear-free and noiseless product with 6 Degrees of freedom,” says Saajan.

“We have implemented XPlanar on our own I/O terminal production line, where we conduct final inspections of over 200 different types of terminals at a remarkable output rate of 10,000 terminals per shift.”

Glimpsing into the future, Saajan discusses the future of robotics, expressing, “our upcoming robotic offering ATRO, will bring about a revolution with its modular and adaptable structure, allowing users to easily customise their robots according to their needs.”

Motion control technology continues to advance, empowering engineers to optimise performance in industrial automation. By considering application requirements, utilising advanced tools, and embracing integrated solutions, engineers can achieve improved coordination, accuracy, and system performance.

To learn more about Beckhoff’s offerings in motion control technology, visit: Beckhoff – New Automation Technology today.

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