Stepper motors are the engines of choice for belt control or mult-axis machine control - or would be if controlling was simpler. A new type of controller might make it possible to get rid of more expensive motors and facilitate regulation.
As the days of proprietary connections in industrial automation are over and industrial networks have become quite heterogenous, industrial network components for system monitoring need to support as many bus standards as possible.However, even large automation equipment providers need to catch up with modern industrial ethernet standards.
Even industrial automation systems follow the general trend towards more functionality. A new version of a common process control platform has the potential to make some additional systems unnecessary.
In most cases traditional fieldbuses have been replaced by Ethernet-based solutions or demoted to inferior tasks. This could result in systems with three different Ethernet protocols and various subordinate fieldbuses. Modern automation components need to take care of those issues.
Modular software for modular systems: Assembly lines consist of several units, which as a rule are developed and tested independently of one another to a large extent. In order to ensure reasonable interaction of those units in a manufacturing plant and to shorten deployment time, automation software development needs to take place in parallel to hardware development, i.e. in a modular way, too.
For industrial automation, general purpose measurement and other specific markets, National Instruments has recently released more than 100 »C Series« modules. 50 of those come from NI itself, 50 are third-party modules.
Like any Ethernet-based infrastructure, EtherCAT tends to produce cable mess. While this can be tolerated to some extent in office environments, it could pose danger in safety-critical environments. Beckhoff’s »EtherCAT Box« with IP 67 rating and 16 channels has been developed with reduced cabling effort in mind.
EtherCAT , the Industrial Ethernet system, has become the process communication standard in many robots. Its use in the field of robotics offers a number of advantages: EtherCAT enables extremely short update times for the process image (50 μs); control loops (up to the current controller) can be closed via the bus. Control of the axes can take place centrally in the controller – including the coupled movement function. It integrates redundancy, hot connect and hot swap options.
Anyone interested in industrial networking solutions? If so, you’ve got a very good reason to attend the embedded world 2010 trade show, and while you’re the don’t miss visiting the booth of the pan-European semiconductor distributor Silica.