Wednesday 1 August 2012

Safe decentralised drive system

Metronix has launched safety-equipped versions of its unique decentralised drive solution DIS-2, which can be used as a smart drive or mounted on a servo to create a standalone smart motor. The compact new module provides a versatile and cost-effective drive and control capability for automation engineers and machine builders.

The new Safe Torque Off functionality (PLe category 3 according to ISO 13849-1) provides machinery and automation builders with a highly-affordable means of delivering advanced machine safety features to their customers. This safety feature is also becoming highly valued in the machinery marketplace as it typically increases machine uptime.

Since its launch the DIS-2 has become one of Metronix's most popular products. The rugged decentralized positioning control and drive module has also become a favourite option in this segment of the motion control market as it does not restrict users to particular brands of servo motor, and it can be mounted either directly on the motor or remotely to suit the available space.

Many machine builders like decentralized motion control solutions because they simplify machine design and assembly. For example, by integrating the motor and encoder connections inside the module, DIS-2 reduces the cabling normally required. When used as a decentralized drive it also allows machine builders to reduce the size of automation control cabinets.

DIS-2 drives can be used for speed, torque and positioning control to provide very cost effective solutions to many common processing and packaging requirements. The range of potential applications is very broad and includes simple automation solutions for common manufacturing functions such as synchronizing and sorting, materials handling and conveying systems, robotic unmanned trucks, and axes that automate auxiliary functions such as set up and guarding on machine tools or printing presses. Modular machinery or plant automation - which can be assembled easily to suit specific applications by combining modular elements - are also common applications for this form of decentralized motion control technology.

The DIS-2 can be easily integrated in automation solutions by digital and analog interfaces as well as by exploiting DIS-2's integrated field bus communication interface. To realize multi-axis systems for higher performance and more complex movements such as interpolated motion, CANopen, PROFIBUS and EtherCAT fieldbus networking interfaces are available.

As standard, DIS-2 modules are available with two choices of output ratings: 2A continuous/6A peak with a 230/115 VAC power supply, or 15A continuous/40A peak with a 48 VDC power supply, and come with built-in digital and analog I/O, Safe Torque Off capability, an RS232 port, plus a universal encoder interfacing capability that allows connection to Hall sensors, resolvers, analog/digital incremental encoders, or single/multiturn absolute encoders with HIPERFACE. Users can also select any one of three fieldbus options: CANopen, EtherCAT or PROFIBUS. A powerful Windows-based programming, configuration and diagnostic software tool is available to users to create embedded drive and machine control software for Metronix DIS-2 systems.

The modules are very robust and are protected up to IP67, and can be supplied standalone, or ready-mounted onto the user's choice of brushless synchronous motor. DIS-2 is very compact, measuring 5.6 x 8 x 11.2 cm (2.2 x 3.15 x 4.4 inches). Metronix offers mounting adapter plates for numerous brands of servo motor - making it possible to configure systems for lowest cost or optimum dynamic performance. The footprint of the new safety-equipped DIS-2 is identical to previous modules, making it simple for existing users to upgrade machine designs to take advantage of the new functional safety capability.

Metronix has been producing motion control technology for industrial machines and automotive applications for over 30 years. Its product range includes smart servo drives with integrated positioning capability, plus motion controllers and accessories that provide cost-effective solutions for multi-axis motion control and automation, and decentralized machine control requirements. A key feature of Metronix's motion products is their rich networking and encoder interfacing capability, which ensures that drives can be integrated easily into virtually any industrial system or machine - even if an OEM has custom PLC or control hardware. This feature is highly valued by many OEMs as it allows them to create and continue developing innovative brands of machine offering unique features. Metronix complements this capability with what is probably the most sophisticated and capable custom drive engineering service on the market today. Motion control products designed by Metronix are marketed under its own brand, and in custom forms by a number of well known industrial OEMs.

The company additionally makes geophysical instruments and customer-specific digital controls for measurement and control applications. Metronix is part of the Apex Tool Group, headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, USA. The Apex Tool Group has more than 7,600 employees in over 30 countries. Metronix's design and manufacturing facility is located in Braunschweig, Germany.

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