In-line speed controllers

SMC has unveiled two new in-line speed controllers, one with an indicator and the other without, which complement the existing Elbow and Universal types.

The AS and the AS-FS controllers are designed to give operators greater control, flexibility and cost savings. The AS speed controller has a push-lock type knob which allows operators to set the flow rate by hand and lock it into position without the need to give it a wrench. It features a larger sized knob, which is easy to turn for fine adjustments.

With a variety of single and manifold mounting options, the product allows operators to build systems that operate with different pressures and flows.

The in-line type speed controller with indicator provides precise flow rate adjustment, through the addition of a numerical display window and 90 degree markers in the push-lock handle rotation. In addition, the use of holes makes it an ideal speed controller for manifold configurations.

An identification label can be attached to the index plate to allow flow direction to be easily identified.

According to the company, these products demonstrate that the simplest design improvements can make a huge difference to performance accuracy and operating efficiencies, and save time and labour.

The controllers feature different coloured release buttons for standard/stainless steel types and inch/metric tubing sizes. This makes handling easier, while minimising the risk of human error.

New communication protocols for motor controller

Responding to the demand for broadening the communication capacities of one of the its most popular controllers, SMC´s Direct Input Step Motor Controller is now available in three additional communication protocols, namely DeviceNet, EtherCAT and PROFINET. These now join EtherNet/IP fieldbus protocol which is already available.

The recently launched JXC series from SMC with its three additional communication protocols is designed to directly control the LE range of electric actuators, providing real-time, high speed communication as well as added security, thanks to a dual port in/out.

The controller is ideal for general machine builders who rely on accurate speed, position or force, but at the same time look to improved flexibility and stronger security. The DLR option gives added security and peace of mind as communication continues even when there is a disconnected element. In addition, real time feedback is achieved through numerical data input, in addition to half/full duplex high speed communication.

The JXC is another example of a recent innovation from SMC, with several new product launches taking place from the end of 2016 to date.

Now using four of the most common networks within process and automation applications, the Series opens the door to simpler and closer control for customers.

Due to its clever design, the series delivers a wealth of savings in terms of space, cabling and maintenance for customers.

Goodbye control cabinet!

Cabinet-free drive technology enhances productivity throughout the entire value stream. Bosch Rexroth outlines five requirements of the future.

Quickly convert machines for new products, subsequently expand production lines, reduce installation area – these and additional customer requests inspired Bosch Rexroth to develop cabinet-free drive technology. The current IndraDrive Mi generation also reflects the future requirements of mechanical engineers and end users.

Intelligent servo drives are indispensable for modern machines. The advantages are clear: at the touch of a button, they apply format conversions or changes in the movement profile and, in so doing, shorten changeover times. The other side of the coin: larger and larger control cabinets increasingly occupy “unproductive” space. At the same time, in almost all industries there has been a loud call for modular drive concepts that help shorten product life cycles and flexibly adapt existing production lines to new tasks.

Five requirements of the future

For Bosch Rexroth engineers, this resulted in the following five key requirements for developing cabinet- free drive technology. They oriented themselves to these requirements on the path to the current IndraDrive Mi generation. The first requirement revealed itself with a glance to the conventional drive technology: here, the motor and control device are separate from one another, a power cable and an encoder cable run from each motor to the control cabinet. Rule of logic: less cable, less control cabinet.

1.Less space, more flexibility

The advantages of the servo technology can also be enjoyed with an up to 90 percent reduction in cabling requirements. To this end, the decentralised drives of the IndraDrive Mi are entirely connected through a common hybrid cable for communication and erformance. Up to 30 servo drives can be combined with a cable harness up to 200 meters long to make one drive assemblage. The first drive is connected directly to the power supply and control unit through the hybrid cable. Mechanical engineers can also connect sensors, I/ Os, and fieldbus components directly to the decentralised drives without laying an additional fieldbus cable in the machine.

The mains connection and power supply components up to this point located in the control cabinet can now also be installed in the machine – performed in IP65. The mains module, including the filter, throttle, and contactor, is connected directly to the network. A regenerative supply module is responsible for supply and control electronics and integrates brake resistors and transistors alongside control electronics. In this way, the end user can completely forego the control cabinet and gain precious space on the surface.

2. Modularity in Electronics

The second requirement of cabinet- free drive technology follows the trend of modularisation. As the mechanical engineer can pre-install the drive modules and get them operating at his own plant, stations created subsequently to this can be incorporated quickly into existing production lines. Only the power supply and connection with the higher-level control unit need to be established on-site with the end customer. Moreover, if the drives are already parameterised, the quicker start-up also reduces the machine downtime resulting from modification.

To enable further integration of the modules into the end user’s automation landscape at no additional cost, Bosch Rexroth provided its solution with a Multi- Ethernet interface that supports all common Ethernet protocols, Sercos, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, and POWERLINK among them. This means fewer variations and less warehousing for maintenance.

3. Standard-compliant safety

Of course, conventional approaches cannot detract from machine safety

but ideally should increase availability. In the end, the machinery directive with Bosch Rexroth decentralized drive concepts easily translates into a basis for modularization. In addition to certified safety functions within IndraDrive Mi, the hybrid cable ensures transfer of all safety signals without additional wiring, thereby also eliminating an additional source of error.

What is particularly interesting is the easy adaptation of safety zones with several drives in one drive train. For Safe Torque Off, the first drive of a safety zone is wired in such a way that it processes the safety signals. To add additional drives to a safety zone, all that needs to be done there is to use a safety plug, which is extremely easy to do at start-up and transparent during operations. Several safety zones are possible within one drive train. This solution shortens the time required for restart after a manual adjustment and thus increases the machine’s availability.

4. Efficient use of energy

It is often right at the top of specifications: energy efficiency. Beyond its contribution to climate protection, it exerts a significant influence on life cycle costs. To this effect, cabinet-free drives can score with an energetic coupling for the system. As an energy exchange is possible between the drives using the hybrid cable, the brake energy of a stalling drive can be available to an accelerating drive, for example, and surplus energy can be fed back into the network. Power consumption can be cut in half as a result. On top of this, the power dissipation in the control cabinet drops as does the energy demand for cooling the control cabinet.

5. Ready for integration

The last and increasingly important requirement lies in the ability to network with company IT in terms of Industry 4.0. The decentralised drives already fulfill a major prerequisite for this as they operate independently according to higher-level instructions.

The Multi-Ethernet interface ensures the communication ability needed for horizontal and vertical networking. Beyond this, Rexroth is the first drive and control manufacturer to bridge drive technology and IT – in addition to the options for SPS-based automation in accordance with IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen as well as OPC UA technology.

For on-demand access to all drive parameters by way of high-level language-based applications, Bosch Rexroth has incorporated Open Core Interface technology from the higher-level Open Core Engineering solutions portfolio directly at the drive level. With the help of Open Core Interface for Drives, end users can for example read out and analyse energy consumption using common spreadsheet programs via macros. To simplify drive start-up, parameterisation, and diagnosis, self-programmed commercial smartphone and tablet apps using Open Core Engineering have found their way into day-to-day mechanical engineering.

Cabinet-free means future-proof

With its cabinet-free drive technology, Bosch Rexroth meets the essential requirements for the future with regard to spatial requirements and modularisation, safety and energy efficiency as well as vertical and horizontal networking. What appears especially promising is the integrated intelligence and interface technology suitable for implementing Industry 4.0 applications which are now at the top of the agenda for mechanical engineers and end users alike.


Kaeser launches compact and efficient boosters

 Kaeser recently launched its completely redesigned range of boosters. With drive powers ranging from 22 to 45kW, the new DNC series boosters from Kaeser are designed for applications that require high-pressure air such as; PET bottle production, process air applications and nitrogen generation.
Half the size of its predecessor, the new DNC series boosters have a small footprint for where space is at a premium. Optimised for low vibration and low noise emissions, these compact units also run noticeably quieter thanks to an enclosure with integrated after-cooling as well as a low-vibration basic structure.
The DNC series boosters are available with Sigma Frequency Control (SFC). Incorporating a variable speed drive ensures superior harmonisation of the booster on the input side with the upstream compressor output. 

This in turn allows for the reduction of the relatively high switching frequency characteristic of some booster applications. The powerful SFC functionality helps adjust the free air delivery as consistently as possible to meet the needs of the system. This reduces switching differentials on both sides, as well as potentially resulting overpressure, leaks and machine load – all of which contribute to energy savings.
The boosters also include an integrated Sigma Control 2 controller, equipped with special booster software, to ensure optimal system operation whilst also enabling convenient connection to master controller systems via Ethernet. 

Since all individual components can be coordinated with one another, the entire station can be optimised to provide maximum efficiency and performance. 

Murray Goulburn plant installs condition monitoring tool to reduce costs

Murray Goulburn, Pactum Dairy and Lion are currently installing the COSMOS tool for planning service activities on separators, homogenizers, pumps and fans.

Lower maintenance costs and increased production time are reasons why these companies are installing COSMOS, an online system for monitoring and analysing the condition of rotating components in dairy separators.

"The idea is to let machine condition decide when service is required," said Aniyo Rahebi, Technical Sales Engineer, Tetra Pak Oceania.

"COSMOS continuously measures, 24 hours a day, vibrations from rotating components in separators and homogenizers.

"As soon as a part shows the first sign of deterioration, COSMOS online pinpoints the exact source of the fault and tells you how serious it is.

"Breakdowns can be avoided through the built-in warning system. An alarm status showing the severity of the vibration can be forwarded to external recipients via the internet or SMS."

COSMOS delivers cost savings through improved machine reliability and provides the confidence of continuous condition monitoring.

"Instead of doing a major service every year, customers need only do a major service when COSMOS data indicates it is required," Rahebi said.

"Based on the monitored status, major service intervals can be extended in order to decrease maintenance costs and increase available production time."

Tetra Pak has more than 90 installations of COSMOS worldwide. Some installations have been running for more than 15 years.

In Oceania, COSMOS online is being installed on two separators and two homogenizers at Pactum Dairy in Shepparton, two separators at Lion Chelsea and one separators at Lion Morwell. Murray Goulburn is planning to install the system on six separators at its Leongatha facilities early next year.

"Continuous condition monitoring enables the customer and Tetra Pak to work together to plan service activities," Rahebi said. "This means maintenance can be optimised and planned to avoid disturbance in production."

[Courtesy Tetra Pak Oceania]