Wednesday, July 23, 2014

High-torque Ethernet servo motor drives boost the performance and economy of motion control systems

ABB has enhanced its ranges of servomotor drives for the Ethernet-based motion control systems market with variants that can substantially increase the speed of machinery and automation systems while also reducing bill-of-materials costs.

By redesigning the drives' power stage, the latest iteration of ABB's MicroFlex e100 and e150 servo motor drives can now deliver peak current levels that are three times the continuous rated current, and sustain that peak output for up to three seconds. This provides the torque to substantially increase the speed of moves and machine cycle times. In some cases, ABB expects that the generous three-second overcurrent capability will allow motion system builders to use a smaller size of drive - reducing system building costs dramatically, and potentially the footprint of systems as well.

The new design increases the drives' level of overcurrent capability from 200% to 300%. This can be particularly relevant for system builders employing new generations of high performance servo motors with neodymium magnets, as these tend to offer a peak current capability that is at least three times the continuous rated current level. The three-second overcurrent capability of the drives may then be exploited to increase the acceleration of movements. As many common types of automation and machinery have a lot of repetitive movements coupled with dwell periods, this can have a dramatic impact on overall cycle time and throughput. These types of operational modes can be found in many applications such as feeding materials, parts handling, assembly, filling, packaging, labelling, sampling and robotics.

In addition to the 300% overcurrent facility, program the drives can be programmed operate in a 200% overcurrent mode. This choice provides users with a means to optimize one or more axes of a motion control system for higher dynamic acceleration or higher RMS torque depending on the load conditions and motion cycle of the particular application.

"This torque enhancement greatly increases the application potential of feature-rich servo motor drives that are already noted for their ability to satisfy automation applications without requiring additional hardware or options," says David Greensmith of ABB. "The multi-protocol Ethernet capability and local intelligence mean that the applications potential is truly versatile. The new higher torque mode now provides an excellent match for the capability of the latest generations of high performance permanent magnet servo motors."

The new 3-second 300% overcurrent capability is now incorporated as standard on ABB's MicroFlex e150 and e100 ranges of servo motor drives. MicroFlex e150 drives are compatible with real-time EtherCAT, plus EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP and TCP/IP protocols. MicroFlex e100 drives are compatible with the real-time Ethernet Powerlink protocol, plus EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP and TCP/IP.

ABB's MicroFlex e150 range offers a choice of three single-phase drives with continuous current ratings of 2.5, 5.25 and 7.5 A. The drives are compatible with EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP and TCP/IP protocols, providing a 'universal' Ethernet drive platform that can be employed in many different ways to suit applications - from networked systems hosted by PLCs or other devices, to motion control systems with distributed intelligence. The drives are intelligent and feature an exceptionally powerful embedded programming capability that is compatible with ABB's motion control language MINT. This feature allows the drives to be used standalone for a vast array of single-axis or distributed intelligence motion control applications, from performing simple moves to complex motion tasks such as flying shears or cam motion profiles. Built-in I/O - including fast latch inputs for registration applications - comes as standard to support such application configurations.

As standard, the drives also offer a flexible 'universal' encoder interfacing capability that provides exceptional versatility of use. The drives may be connected to dual encoders - one incremental encoder, and one serial base encoder such as EnDat 2.2, SSI or BiSS. This allows dual feedback configurations - with separate velocity and position feedback - to be used to eliminate mechanical inaccuracies in precision applications such as CNC machinery. It also simplifies integration into configurations where an axis is following a master axis or centralised 'line shaft' such as packaging machines. A new plug-on option to add resolver interfacing is also available, which is often a preferred technology by users who design machinery or automation for environments that might be exposed to extensive vibration or shock forces.

One further major feature of ABB's MicroFlex e150 drives is support for the Safe Torque Off or STO functional safety, in accordance with IEC 61800-5-2, and designed to meet SIL 3 and performance level e (PLe) standards. This helps machine builders to incorporate high-integrity safety into machinery designs by disabling the drive's output so that it cannot generate torque in the motor.

ABB's MicroFlex e100 range offers a choice of three single-phase drives with continuous current ratings of 2.5, 5.25 and 7.5 A. The drives are compatible with Powerlink, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, and standard TCP/IP networks, and ABB's own highly popular Mint system building environment. As well as their own local I/O and CANopen expansion, some drives have option card slots, providing a high degree of configurability for specific applications including almost all fieldbuses. Other features include universal encoder feedback input, and programmable notch filters to eliminate mechanical resonance effects, as well as the ability to be used with servomotors, closed loop vector motors or in V/Hz motor speed control modes.

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