Drives and Controls

The product carousel turns – cabinet free into the future

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Guest contributor: Reinhard Mansius, Bosch Rexroth

Do you ask yourself how to produce smallest quantities in an economically viable manner? That is no problem in the factory of the future: You are able to move your machines within the factory hall or take processing stations out of a production line, reposition them and then continue production at the push of a button. Cabinet-free drive technology is a key technology here with decentralized intelligence and comprehensive communication capabilities.

Looking in any supermarket will reveal promotional packs with twenty percent extra free or special products for Easter, summer, Halloween and Christmas. The product carousel is turning at an ever increasing pace. However, the life cycles of furniture, electronic products and cars are becoming shorter and shorter as well. At the same time, online retail accounts for an increasing share of the market. Consumers like to use online configurators in order to customize their products. As a result of this, you as a manufacturer may have to make production changes several times a week instead of producing the same products over many years. In the future, even this might not be enough and refitting may be necessary on an hourly basis.

On the basis of customer applications and numerous automation projects in our own plants, we have analyzed the requirements of such varied production processes and developed a vision for the factory of the future. Only the ceiling, the walls and the floor of the factory hall will be immovable. In contrast, it will be possible to configure machines and processing stations to create new production lines which will communicate wirelessly with each other. As a result of this approach, control cabinets will be obsolete or will no longer play a central role.

Control cabinets on their way out

The aim in automation: Making production changes primarily via software, with no manual cabling work. With traditional automation concepts, all cables lead from the actuators and sensors to the control cabinet and back again. In practice, this represents a bottleneck when it comes to installation and refitting. In contrast, the IndraDrive Mi servo drives are geared to and integrated into motors. They reduce the amount of cabling work required and take up no space in the control cabinet. They are installed with all necessary supply components in a decentralized manner in the machine or processing station. Up to 30 servo drives form a drive group on a hybrid cable string for power and communication. Only the first drive has an external connection to the higher-level control systems so that changes do not require cabling work on the control cabinet.

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The IndraDrive Mi servo drives are geared to and integrated into motors.

Switch off, reposition, switch on and carry on producing

This flexibility is available for a wide power range – from 0.4 kW to 11 kW. The drives without control cabinets have as standard four digital, freely configurable I/O connections for peripherals and sensors on board. Two of these can be used as quick measuring probes. By decoupling control communication, constructors can integrate further I/O modules, sensors and actuators for pneumatics or hydraulics. This means that automation is completely decentralized. As a result, it is very easy to make changes to the factory of the future later on. Simply switch off the station, pull out one or two plugs, push the machine to its new location, switch it on and carry on producing.

Simple, reliable commissioning

You as a machine manufacturer have scarce engineering resources which need to be used efficiently. Pre-defined, pre-programmed technology functions allow many tasks such as those involving cam discs or cam gears to be performed more quickly. With the integrated Motion Logic for individual axes, the drives take on axis-related processes independently of the central control system.

Engineering tools geared to the tasks make integration into modern concepts easier and save time. The Drive System software allows quick and reliable commissioning because its reads and applies the mechanical data from the motor encoders of the Rexroth motors. At the same time, the IndraDrive Service Tool offers easy access to service and diagnostic functions and also allows the software to be parametrized and updated. The tool which is independent of operating systems runs on HTML5-capable browsers and uses the web server which is integrated into the drive. This architecture makes it easier to replace components, while the tool offers practical access management with guest and service rights.

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Regardless of the sector – cabinet-free drive technology is revolutionizing mechanical engineering, significantly reducing costs and improving flexibility.

Communicative in a wide range of environments

Another key requirement for the factory of the future is that it can fit into connected environments and share information flexibly. You as a machine manufacturers are looking for drive solutions which allow them to cater for the different protocols in specific regions and sectors with a single item of hardware and thus simplify their entire logistics from ordering to the supply of spare parts. Cabinet-free drive technology meets this requirement with its multi-Ethernet interface. It supports all common protocols via software selection.

Ready for high-level language functions

Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering software technology allows you to access core drive functions and the integrated Motion Logic alongside PLC automation with high-level language programs.

In the future, you will be able to use Open Core Engineering for Drives to develop or purchase previously unseen web and cloud-based functions in high-level languages. This will establish a link between intelligent servo drive and server- and cloud-based applications. High-level language programming will open up entirely new connectivity options for you. Without complex PLC interfaces, you will be able to digitize the value stream – from recording an order in the ERP system and the MES systems to the drive.

Are you ready for new flexibility?

By modular concepts you will be able to streamline your processes or machines and stations and set them up flexibly and without control cabinet modifications to create new production lines geared to specific order requirements: the factory of the future is an evolutionary process which has already begun. Cabinet-free drive technology is helping you to meet the new requirements as regards flexibility economically, intelligently and safely – today.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

DIGITAL ASSISTANT REDUCES MACHINE DOWNTIMES

Guest Contributor, Stefan Saul, Bosch Rexroth

Service app makes it easier to diagnose faults and passes on expert knowledge.

Time is money! – This is particularly true when it comes to maintaining machines and systems in factory automation. Every minute that production is stopped costs money – often a lot of money. Maintenance technicians are measured by how quickly they can get a defective machine running again after a stoppage. The challenge: they usually have to deal with machines and systems of various ages and from various manufacturers. The new Digital Service Assistant (DSA) app reduces this complexity and offers quick help when servicing is required. The app allows a maintenance technician standardized, wireless access to the error memory of machines fitted with Rexroth control systems and enables them to contact local service specialists quickly. The app also helps to clearly identify spare parts and order them straight away.

 

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An everyday scenario for maintenance staff: a machine operator reports that a machine is not working. In practice, a maintenance worker is alerted and runs to the machine, looking for the cause of the fault on the operating display. Where was the error memory again? Then they find out that the problem is with a drive motor. Now the search begins. Where in the machine is this motor? It is then a case of unscrewing the machine cover, finding the motor and cleaning the name plate. In case of doubt, it may be necessary to remove the motor. The maintenance worker can then return to their office and, with the help of the service hotline for the machine or motor manufacturer, identify the necessary spare part with all options. In many cases, how quickly the machine can be repaired depends on the experience and inventiveness of the individual maintenance worker and how quickly they find the correct information.

Digital access to all information

This is where the Digital Service Assistant comes in. The idea: maintenance technicians using a standard mobile device have wireless access to all relevant error messages and service information for new and installed machines with Rexroth control systems, can contact local service specialists via telephone or Skype, can clearly identify components using a camera and can then order them straight away. As part of a growing digital service portfolio, the app which was developed for iOS and Android devices makes it easier to find and rectify the causes of faults and thus reduce downtimes.

If an error message is received, the maintenance technician logs on to the defective machine from any location via the production WLAN network and reads the error memory. The technician has access to the stored parameters and can see immediately where the problem lies. At the push of a button, they can download the documentation to their mobile device or send it to their e-mail account via a link. In the event of more complex problems, the maintenance technician can call the helpdesk of the control system and drive manufacturer. Geotagging is used to determine where the nearest service centers are and a suitable center can then be selected. If required, the diagnostic information and the unique device identification data can be passed on transparently to Rexroth. Thanks to this precise description of the error, help can be provided quickly because the specialists on the helpdesk can access all the necessary information straight away without having to ask questions or carry out research. On this basis, they can help end users via telephone or Skype in their national language.

Clear identification of spare parts using serial numbers

Identifying spare parts is a common problem for maintenance technicians. With special machines, tailor-made components which differ from the standard designs are often used. And when the components are produced by a number of different manufacturers, the name plate often does not provide the necessary information. To make matters worse, the software version of intelligent modules also plays a role. If the spare part has a different version, this can mean a great deal of extra work. Time-consuming research is often necessary when ordering spare parts or requesting repairs.

This is not the case with Rexroth: for each control and drive component produced, the manufacturer allocates a unique serial number for which a digital twin with all options is saved. Using the DSA, the maintenance technician either brings up the electronic name plate from the control system or scans the QR code or serial number on the component. This information is then sent to the customer portal. Here, Rexroth identifies each component with all options and software versions and the user can order the relevant spare part electronically or request a repair without further questions. This saves a significant amount of time in practice.

Installed in two steps

Users can download the app in the 1st quarter of 2019  free of charge from the relevant app stores and install it on their smart device. Many services can be used straight away even without registering. The service app is also suitable for previously installed machines with Rexroth control systems. Installation requires little work and involves two steps: the control systems must be online via WLAN so that the app can access them. In a second step, the data which may be read out are defined in the machine’s PLC: log book, error memory, operating hours counter and the serial numbers of individual components. As a result, the app is suitable for universal use.

End users always attach particular importance to data security, i.e. security during production. Protecting machines against unauthorized access and manipulation is a matter of top priority. Accordingly, the DSA establishes the connection to the control systems using the internal company WLAN in accordance with IEEE 802.11i. This network is encrypted using the WPA2 key. The app can therefore only read out data that were defined individually beforehand. As a further built-in security feature, it has no write rights for the control system.

Registration optimizes services on offer

The DSA is another building block in Rexroth’s rapidly growing range of digital services. End customers can also register their machines on the customer portal on a one-off basis. As a result of this, the machine data are stored so that service issues can be dealt with quickly and easily by the helpdesk. At the same time, end users themselves can gain an overview of all components used. They receive information regarding relevant service issues such as updates or what they can do to ensure the serviceability of their control systems and drives.

Registration helps Rexroth to optimize its service both regionally and on a customer-specific basis. On the basis of the information regarding the type and number of installed components, the company can put in place suitable service capacities and keep a stock of spare parts.

Part of the OEM service solution

The Digital Service Assistant was specially developed to allow OEMs to integrate it into their digital service concepts. As a modular building block, it fits into manufacturer-specific service tools. Here, OEMs can provide all functions and for example link their own contact data to the geotagging system. If required, Rexroth can remain in the background for the end user and will only update the data stocks and the software.

Modern digital service offerings such as the DSA open up access to all necessary information in order to diagnose and rectify faults quicker than before. They help maintenance staff to find the right solutions more quickly and reduce machine downtimes. They are a further building block for the digital transformation towards the factory of the future.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Saving up to 90% time with PLC-free programming and commissioning

Guest contributor: Frank Kaufmann, Bosch Rexroth

However efficient PLC programming for complex tasks may be, it is often relatively time-consuming for simple and moderately complex automation solutions. In light of scarce internal resources, machine manufacturers are looking for ways to speed up engineering and shorten delivery times. A new solution is Sequential Motion Control SMC, a virtually universal technology function for IndraDrive servo drives. It reduces users’ programming and commissioning work by up to 90 percent compared to PLC programming.

Career portals clearly show the lack of skilled labor: in Germany alone, there are more than ten thousand vacancies for PLC programming and commissioning specialists. The situation is no better in other countries. The lack of skilled labor not only lengthens the time to market for new machines – it also makes it more difficult to develop lucrative services, for example adapting installed stations to new tasks.

If orders are delayed owing to capacity bottlenecks, this annoys customers. This makes it all the more important to come up with an alternative to complex, time-consuming PLC programming. This is where drive-based Sequential Motion Control SMC comes in. It uses the intelligence of servo drives for applications with up to six axes yet requires no external motion control system. The integrated motion control system, on-board I/Os and expandable I/O cards reduce hardware costs and make system integration easier.

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Ten automation solutions in the time it would take for one

Lean engineering offers particularly exciting opportunities for machine manufacturers as it allows them to put in place up to ten automation solutions in the time it would normally take for one. As a result, they can step up the pace instantly and ultimately increase their turnover. Independent investigations and empirical findings show that the PLC programming and commissioning work for a flying cutter takes slightly more than a man-week. With SMC, the same result can be achieved in just four man-hours.

With a single command, SMC controls complete motion sequences which the user arranges one after another. These sequences are based on a wealth of automation experience in areas ranging from wood processing to the packaging industry and can cope with simple and moderately complex tasks in a virtually universal manner. With pre-defined commands, users can achieve independent positioning axes, axis and master axis couplings, synchronous axis operation, cam profile applications and sequential movements. Applications range from handling systems, processing stations and test stands to flying cut-off. A wide range of special functions are available: With just a few lines, users can activate head cutting, parts movements, maximum lifting routines, reverse optimization, short length processing and other functions.

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90 percent faster engineering – with SMC for IndraDrive, axis couplings, synchronous axes and sequential motion sequences can be achieved much more quickly.

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With SMC, users can achieve independent positioning axes, axis and master axis couplings, synchronous axis operation, cam disc applications and sequential movements with pre-defined commands.

Eight commands replace 200 lines of PLC code

When engineering, routine tasks such as defining operating modes, diagnostics and error handling take up significant amounts of time. Up until now, these tasks which are often unpopular accounted for up to two thirds of overall programming time although they barely contribute towards the specific solution. With the SMC option, the drives are pre-configured in the factory, thus eliminating these routine tasks. Thanks to this pre-configuration, users can begin task programming and commissioning straight away.

Sequential programming also helps less experienced technicians to create automation solutions geared to particular applications quickly. A practical example: in an open PLC such as the IEC 61131-3, the programming code for a pair of flying shears is more than 200 lines long. With SMC, the user arranges eight commands one after another and then only needs to optimize the processing procedure. Users merely need to learn around 70 commands. They include complete applications and command up to six axes at the same time with one instruction. Users issue step and motion control commands, use closed-loop force and torque controls and query I/Os.

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PLC code with just eight commands reduced to 14 lines. With SMC, programming and commissioning a pair of flying shears takes less than half a day.

Optimizing variables directly

SMC includes a manual mode for setting up and referencing axes, a parameterization mode and an automatic mode for working through the programs. In automatic mode, the solutions can control up to four tasks in parallel. At the same time, a cyclic task allows statuses and diagnoses to be called up at any time. Users can therefore observe and optimize variables while the program is running.

Quick solutions for emerging markets

The level of automation in China and other emerging markets is increasing very quickly at the moment. At the same time, there is a lack of programmers with an expert knowledge of PLC in these countries. With online help, watch-listen and tools for debugging or program management, the free SMC Editor helps even technicians with little experience. If necessary, users can use ready-made templates for visualization or create their own.

Owing to increasingly short product life cycles, rapid automation is also becoming more important in mature markets. Concepts such as Bosch Rexroth’s factory of the future are highly flexible and allow the production of very small quantities – even down to a batch size of 1. In the future, end users will be able to adapt their production lines flexibly according to orders at very short intervals and will require new motion sequences and additional processing stations at short notice.

The new processing stations must also fit into connected production lines. As a result, an open system for sharing data and information with other machines and higher-level IT systems is a must. The Sercos automation bus allows real-time cross-communication – an important requirement when it comes to precise synchronization with other process movements. Via software, the user selects in the multi-Ethernet interface one of the common protocols such as Sercos, PROFINET IO, EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT as well as the safety protocols CIP Safety on Sercos, Fail Safe over EtherCat and PROFIsafe on PROFINET.

Another task which only very experienced programmers were able to cope with relates to machine safety. Rexroth’s SafeMotion reduces the time required with certified safety functions. As a result, users do not need any additional safety control system in order to meet the requirements and standards of the Machinery Directive.

Increasing turnover with existing resources

The lack of skilled labor will remain a problem for the global mechanical engineering sector in the long term. SMC is a practically oriented approach for simplifying programming and commissioning. Machine manufacturers can therefore significantly increase the number of automation solutions that they supply even without additional PLC programmers. At the same time, the available specialists can concentrate on automating more complex tasks and here too reduce the time to market considerably.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Economical and intelligent: Handling solutions re-conceived

Guest contributor: Andreas Gryglewski, Bosch Rexroth

The market for handling and robotic solutions is highly price-driven, yet still leaves room for disruptive ideas. Bosch Rexroth provides proof of this with an advanced solution package for Cartesian kinematics. It combines an economical industrial controller with state-of-the-art web technology and assured instruction via a standard tablet. The result: minimum investment costs and maximum efficiency – before and during operation.

Manufacturers of handling solutions for loading and unloading face fierce competition. The volume market demands cost-optimized, rugged and user-friendly solutions that optimally fulfill all requirements in terms of accuracy and cycle times. In addition, users expect quick commissioning with as little programming, instruction and training expenditures as possible. A high degree of productivity and flexibility is also required for the operational phase in order to reduce downtime and so that format or process changes can be more quickly implemented.

All of these requirements are addressed by Bosch Rexroth with a particularly economical solution package for Cartesian kinematics that combines a high-performance motion controller with state-of-the-art web technologies and innovative value-added features. The automation experts make the solution package even more economical with an especially clever idea: users can perform the setup and assured teaching-in on any standard commercially available tablet.

Industrial control, web technology, consumer tablets

In its solution package for Cartesian kinematics, Bosch Rexroth combines a powerful motion controller with modern web technologies and innovative value-added features.

The disruptive solution approach for Cartesian handling from Bosch Rexroth is particularly suitable for machinery manufacturers and end users who want to implement flexibly and reliably adaptable pick-and-place tasks in a short time and at a low cost. Examples include the loading and unloading of injection-molded parts, the sorting of workpieces, or a wide range of intralogistics applications. Bosch Rexroth combines its proven industrial controller with a webserver and a bracket for a typical standard tablet, by means of which the user can visualize the connected handling solution and – graphically-supported – program, teach-in and adjust it as needed. The solution package is comprised of other basic components such as compact servo motors and drives for the kinematics movement, as well as a safety controller for connecting to the tablet bracket for safe teaching-in. From a single source, Bosch Rexroth also optionally offers the mechanical equipment, includinglinear axes with a belt or ball-screw drive and grabbers.

The utmost in connectivity and IT security

In its new handling solution, Bosch Rexroth placed special emphasis on the two key properties of i4.0 –connectivity and IT security. While the optional IoT Gateway ensures the horizontal and vertical networking, the security router with a newly developed IoT firewall, which is also optional, guarantees secure communication between the tablet and controller. Consequently, unauthorized persons can neither log into the controller nor can a virus attack the controller or spread throughout a company’s IT network.

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Thanks to the newly developed solution packages, handling systems from Bosch Rexroth can be more quickly commissioned, easily programmed, and taught most economically using standard tablets.

Easy commissioning without parameterization

One of the numerous unique features is the operating concept for the handling solution: Immediately after a servo motor is connected with a drive, the latter reads out the stored parameter set from the feedback memory and thus already has all the characteristic data of the mechanical equipment. The result: a considerable time savings and prevention of errors during commissioning, because the user no longer has to manually enter up to 70 parameters. When Rexroth mechanical equipment is ordered in the future, the parameters will be stored in the feedback memory of the motor while still in the plant. If the user puts his own mechanical equipment into operation; the associated parameter file can also be stored in the feedback memory and is efficiently read into the drive upon connecting.

Safe teaching-in using a standard tablet

The disruptive character of the new handling solution becomes clear during setup, which can be performed wirelessly with almost any consumer tablet. It is expeditiously fastened in a bracket especially developed by Bosch Rexroth for teaching-in, which can be adjusted to the respective size and securely encloses the mobile device. On the top left is a combination emergency stop and enabling button that makes reliable and comfortable teaching-in possible for the user. While the left hand holds the tablet and can press the red button, the right hand is free for other operational tasks. The visualization and operation of the handling system is web-based and applies the HTML5 standard, hence is independent of the tablet OS. An optional security router with an integrated firewall provides for IT security.

Programming without programming knowledge

Bosch Rexroth also made the process programming, which precedes the teaching-in sequence, as uncomplicated as possible. Because it uses the graphical programming language Google Blockly, as is the case with the tablet, no programming skills in conventional terms are required. In order to move an axis from point A to point B, for example, only the start and end positions need to be specified, and a line to connect them with each other. The grabbers are also opened or closed by means of graphical elements. Thanks to variables, logical expressions and loops, it is possible to easily specify and clearly represent various processes, also complex ones if necessary.

Features for increasing productivity and quality

Positively contributing to the performance of an especially economical operating phase of the new handling solution are its versatile functions and expansion options. These ultimately also afford the user a high degree of flexibility for changes in process or format. For example, the Active vibration damping function, which provides greater product quality in combination with a sensor, or initiates the exact countermovements in the open-loop process in the linear module in order to prevent undesirable vibrations or to move sensitive products. Thus, for instance, the utmost in accuracy can be achieved when loading and unloading using the grabber sparing the mechanical equipment for a longer service life.

Preventive maintenance and IoT integration

Preventive maintenance can also be cost-efficiently realized in combined usage with the optional IoT Gateway. In order to collect data for analysis and evaluation of the service life, the motor decoder can also be used as an intelligent sensor. If the motor revolutions are converted into linear movements, the timing for lubrication intervals or the replacement of components can be derived, for example. Communication standards such as OPC UA can provide for easy integration into customer-specific IoT systems as needed.

Economical in every way

The solution package is especially suited for pick-and-place tasks that must be quickly and flexibly adaptable – such as for the loading and unloading of injection-molded parts, the sorting of workpieces, or for various intralogistics applications.

 

With the new solution package, Bosch Rexroth introduces a fresh impetus into the competitive market for Cartesian handling. Automation expertise, modern web and IoT technologies, and productivity-enhancing features are combined in a rugged and practical solution concept that takes into account current and future market requirements, and which generates disruptive energy. Consequently, machinery manufacturers and end users find quick and very economical way to implement a reliable, efficient and flexible handling solution that can be commissioned, taught, and adapted to current requirements without any significant knowledge of programming and parameterization.

Innovative approaches of the new handling system:

  • A comprehensive economic package comprising industrial controller, servo motor, drives, security zone module and teaching-in bracket for consumer tablets
  • Maximum security through a router with firewall (optional)
  • Minimal total cost of ownership thanks to:
    • Commissioning without the need for parameterization: Drives automatically read stored mechanical parameters when connected with a motor
    • Device-independent visualization and operation (HTML5)
    • Safe teaching-in bracket for consumer tablets
    • Simplified process flow design without programming knowledge, thanks to Google Blockly
  • Added value functions for productivity and quality – for example vibration absorption
  • Prepared for data tracking for preventive maintenance
  • Easy integration into IoT systems through open interfaces such as OPC UA

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.png

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Innovative automation solutions for additive manufacturing 2.0

Guest contributor: Peter Berens, Bosch Rexroth

Additive manufacturing is a growth market – sales worth tens of billions of euros are expected by 2020. However, innovative automation solutions are needed if this disruptive technology is to achieve a breakthrough and make the leap from prototype construction and toolmaking to industrial mass production.

If machine manufacturers want to achieve the productivity needed for mass production, they need to reduce the amount of manual work involved, the reject rate and the quality assurance outlay and successfully integrate the machines into the production line. Both challenges can be met through high-performance, intelligent and connective automation.

IoT as a key technology

In the factory of the future, AM machines will be connected horizontally and vertically to higher-level and neighboring IT systems. When it comes to the industrial Internet of things, Bosch Rexroth relies on open i4.0 standards such as OPC UA. With full server/client functionality, processes, cycle times and energy consumption can be evaluated in real time and optimized to achieve better productivity and quality. In conjunction with intelligent algorithms in drive and control technology, Bosch Rexroth also carries out predictive maintenance.

3D printing and the factory of the future

Thanks to decentralized intelligence, drive technology without control cabinets and open standards, the next generation of AM machines is ready for the factory of the future. Wireless communication and modular production lines increase flexibility while reducing set-up times. As a result, the factory layout can be geared to current and future requirements. The next logical step is the decentralization of the control system which will then receive its programs as necessary from the cloud.

What the hardware must be capable of

Whether it be metal, plastic or ceramic: the output in the relevant AM procedure depends very much on the performance of the CNC or motion control system. The shorter the cycle times, the more quickly the NC programs run. The higher the performance, the quicker 3D data can be computed on the CNC and process data collected and processed in real time. The MTX CNC system from Rexroth achieves this with a combination of a high-performance dual core processor and decentralized intelligence allowing fast reaction times. As a result, many additional tasks can be performed by the machine. Planning, programming and the commissioning of all system components take place in a standardized manner via IndraWorks Engineering.

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Software makes all the difference

In order to be able to control the application of additive materials precisely and to influence it easily with process variables, the control software too must be particularly powerful. The MTX system software includes numerous AM-specific CNC functions for this purpose. These include an intelligent temperature control system and a 3D online simulation with collision recognition which automatically visualizes the construction time, positioning and printing head travel. The standardized G code is supported by any slicer software. Integrated NC encoding systems protect manufacturer-specific know-how.

Digitizing the workflow

Another key development area is the digitization of the workflow with typical tasks such as print configuration, job management, machine monitoring including online process modification or controlling intralogistics. Because this is not possible without interfaces to the software programs involved (e.g. CAD/CAM systems or simulation solutions), the MTX CNC system has an open system architecture and the Open Core Interface. As a result, machine operators can easily integrate their workflows. In a pre-production context, there are numerous benefits including material simulations or the certification of quality-related parameters. The CNC system thus fits seamlessly into simulation environments as “hardware in the loop”.

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Efficient, intelligent and connective: the MTX CNC system from Rexroth. (Source: Bosch Rexroth AG)

Industrial 3D printing in practice

Norsk Titanium AS demonstrates just how efficient industrial 3D printing can be. The world’s leading provider of additive manufacturing technologies for aerospace-grade titanium established the first additive production facility on an industrial scale. In its Rapid Plasma Deposition™ machines, an MTX system controls not only plasma burners but also ten servo axes for producing components and conveying or handling the titanium wire. The MTX system also takes care of process optimization in real time by evaluating sensors and calculating correction values. Bosch Rexroth contributed to the partnership through the experience that it gained during more than 100 group AM projects along with various system components such as drive controllers, supply units, motors and linear systems including the IMS high-precision integrated measuring system.

The German machine tool manufacturer Weisser presented its Weisser additive manufacturing exhibit for the first time at the EMO 2017 and the Metav 2018. Equipped with an additive friction welding unit (AFW), it allows fine layers of metal to be deposited on metal materials and then precision-machined using metal-cutting techniques. As a result, the final contour is maintained with minimal material use. This technology too benefits from the MTX CNC system whose user interface can be integrated seamlessly into the multi-touch operating panel thanks to the open architecture.

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The future will be even simpler

With high-performance and high-connectivity automation solutions, industrial 3D printers will be fast and reliable enough for use in mass production. Open interfaces will help to digitize workflows. IoT connectivity is paving the way for the factory of the future. At the same time, experienced system partners such as Bosch Rexroth who provide not only engineering and application support but also complementary technologies such as decentralized drive or linear technology with integrated sensor systems can help manufacturers to acquire the necessary know-how.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.png

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

The 5 automation trends in the packaging industry

Guest contributor: Hans Michael Krause, Bosch Rexroth

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i4.0 in practice: the 5 automation trends in the packaging industry

Next-generation packaging machines are being designed without control cabinets and are increasingly vertically and horizontally connected. Big data analyses, smart maintenance and model-based engineering have unleashed tremendous potential. But even conventional automation tasks can be handled more easily with open interfaces and integrated functions. What are the five major automation trends in detail?

What the packaging lines of tomorrow will be able to do

When I look at the highly dynamic packaging industry, I see four major challenges faced by machine builders: more individuality when it comes to packaging, more flexibility in terms of formats, higher availability and less space required for machines and lines. These challenges lead to five major trends in automation:

(1) Connected – the connectivity trend

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As a user, I need transparency, whether I want to improve system availability through smart maintenance, make my line more flexible, or optimize complex packaging processes. Without knowledge of subprocesses and plant conditions, I can’t analyze anything – neither on premise nor via the cloud. Modern automation technology and sensor systems now provide all the necessary data. I have to retrofit existing systems, but preferably without the need for programming or intervention in the automation. The IoT gateway fulfills this requirement extremely elegantly and can be set up in just five minutes. Machine builders can also opt for Starter Kit, which includes the Software Production Performance Manager (PPM), for a complete analysis platform from a single source.

The sweet side of Industry 4.0

There is also enormous potential in cross-vendor and system-wide networking via IIoT protocols such as MQTT or the open i4.0 standard OPC UA. At interpack, four machine builders and Bosch Rexroth will showcase the “ChoConnect” project as an exciting example of authentic M2M communication: Four locally distributed exhibition machines from LÖSCH Verpackungstechnik, SOLLICH, THEEGARTEN-PACTEC and WINKLER and DÜNNEBIER Süsswaren exchange information as a virtual production line for chocolate products using OPC UA in accordance with the Weihenstephan standard and create an end-to-end transparent value chain at the shopfloor level – without the need for an MES or control system. The individual steps of mass processing, molding, primary and secondary packaging automatically adjust performance according to individual capacities. The production process becomes more flexible; system efficiency increases.

Merging of automation, IT and IIoT

The fact that inflexible line PLCs will soon be obsolete is also a consequence of a merging of automation, IT and IIoT. With open interfaces such as Open Core Interface, ERP systems can be directly linked to machine automation, simplifying inventory management for machine components. Obviously, there must be also be a security strategy for regulating access to the control system.

(2) Simple – Make it simple!

The current trend towards fewer personnel per line has increased the need for intuitive control units such as HMI with multi-touch. Transparent and seamless visualization solutions are required – on the production line itself and at other locations in the company – in order to continuously improve processes and respond quickly when necessary. The ActiveCockpit interactive communication platform shows that such solutions are already available today.

Companies often need the ability to easily integrate new machines or lines into existing systems – this can already be done mechanically using standardized chain conveyor systems such as VarioFlow plus in combination with the MTpro planning tool. In the future, open M2M interfaces will allow for easy electrical integration.

With the growing need to simplify diagnostics and maintenance, we will see even more web-based service tools and innovative LED concepts at machines in the future. Augmented and virtual reality are sure to play a part here, too. It has been repeatedly demonstrated at trade shows how the digital twin integrates itself into the real picture using open interfaces so that complex technical relationships can be visualized and understood more quickly. A product orientation module for beverage packages by WestRock will be showcased at interpack.

(3) Efficient – end-to-end digital engineering

Ever more complex design needs and shorter time-to-market requirements are fueling the demand for model-based engineering with simulations and virtual commissioning. As a technology partner with industry expertise, Open Core Engineering not only ensures seamless integration of the machine control with simulation platforms such as MATLAB/Simulink or 3DEXPERIENCE by Dassault Systèmes. For immediate creation of a digital twin that can be simultaneously used by mechanics, electricians and software programmers, Bosch Rexroth delivers digital behavior models of its automation products as standard.

Bosch Rexroth also provides a comprehensive library of prepared technology functions along with the machine control. By emphasizing parameterizing instead of programming, flow wrappers, secondary packaging systems, fillers or sealing machines can be commissioned more quickly. Integrated standard kinematics and functions for delta, parallel and palletizing robots are also available. Object-oriented PLC programming and high-level languages, such as Java and C++, facilitate creation of the machine control software. The controllers feature a web server for easy integration of Internet technologies such as visualization using HTML5. Of course, standardized programming templates support the creation of machine programs following OMAC/PackML standards as well as the Weihenstephan standard and PLCopen.

(4) Adaptive – the adaptivity trend

What if the packaging line automatically adjusted the product stream in the event of a fault, instead of jamming and displaying a lot of error messages? Prefabricated software functions such as intelligent infeeds or product grouping are already available, even for these trend-setting M2M scenarios. For the use of robots and flexible transport system a separate controller is not needed anymore. These are managed by the standard machine controller, and the number of interfaces and the effort required to use transport systems or robotics are reduced.

In view of increasingly complex packaging processes, there is also a need for machines to automatically adjust to their environment. Machines require Smart Sensor Nodes with MEM technology like XDK in order to “learn” from their current state. Virtual sensors like servo motors and drives, including the intelligent MS2N servo motor, provide useful information.

Last but not least, next-generation packaging machines automatically adjust to the current format and regulate process speed as well as product handling. Adaptive software functions have also been developed for this scenario of the future. The spectrum ranges from flexible electronic cams in the machine control (FlexProfile), drive functions such as auto-tuning and anti-vibration to frequency response measurements and innovative filter functions for minimizing resonance frequencies in mechanical parts.

(5) Cabinet-free – much more than just space saving

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This trend in packaging is not just about saving space in the automation technology, machine footprint and control cabinet space. Instead, it’s about a modular machine configuration that allows machine operators and customers to respond flexibly to different requirements. The individual modules are connected to one another only by a single hybrid cable and can be easily integrated into the machine or retrofitted later. This reduces the installation area and increases servo density in favor of greater flexibility. Installation space, cabling and maintenance costs are also reduced. Such modular approaches are especially useful for secondary packaging and rotary machines such as filling and capping machines as well as retrofit projects.

Solutions for these packaging trends are already available. Use them now!

Manufacturers and users of packaging machines already have numerous options for boosting their competitiveness through intelligent and connected automation solutions. But to achieve this, they need an industry-oriented, expert partner with a broad ecosystem of solutions. At interpack 2017, Bosch Rexroth will give visitors the opportunity to experience the trade show theme of “Connected Automation i4.0 now live in all of its facets – including modern networking, simple design, model-based engineering and groundbreaking service. The future of automation has already begun and is ready for “installation” in the latest generation of packaging machines. Now!

 

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Decentralized Control Systems to the Rescue

Guest contributor,  Bob White, Kollmorgen

Less Cabling, Smaller controls cabinet, Less heat…wow, that’s all great stuff.  I can achieve this all with a decentralized solution? Absolutely – and even more! 

Decentralized Control Architecture means shifting the motion control drives from the crowded cabinets, and moving them near to the motors – out on the machine where the action is.  Immediately you can see that this can reduce the size of the controls cabinet, moving all of those drives out onto the machine – but how do I see these other advantages?

Decentralized ArchitectureIt’s not JUST about moving the drives out onto the machine, near or integrated with the motors, but also how you design your entire control system.  Think about a conventional Centralized Control Architecture – all of your drives, power supplies and other I/O are jammed into a large cabinet and cables are run to each motor – and since we are talking conventional, this likely means multiple cables (power and feedback for each motor). So in a decentralized solution, the motor, feedback and fieldbus communication needs to be run through a single cable, and the control architecture  allows communications to function over the fieldbus loop.

So thinking about it that way, with an 8 axis machine – Control cabinet 5 meters from the initial motor, and subsequent axes 3 meters apart – this adds up quickly to almost 250 meters of cabling (Power and Feedback) using a centralized approach.

Centralized vs Decentralized ImageImagine now – A decentralized solution, drives located within a meter of the motor they are driving – you cut cabling down to a mere 35 meters!  Do the math – an 86% reduction!  Throw in extended I/O and your savings jumps to almost 90%  SO – Point 1 – Substantially reduced cables cost – not just from the mere reduction in cable length, but in reduced costs associated form cable management trays and even the labor to run the cables.

But there’s more (or do I mean less).  Smaller cabinet, less electronics, means less heat to dissipate – electronics usually don’t like the heat, so they tend to get some cool air, provided by some nice air conditioning system.  Less heat, less need for an expensive air conditioning unit, AND less energy consumption.

One other element not so readily apparent with a good decentralized design – flexibility!  Designing with a decentralized drive architecture in mind from the start opens up new possibilities.  This allows more flexibility in modularization.  We’ll cover this modularization concept in a follow on blog topic next time…

All of these advantages help the OEM build a more efficient machine, with less components, reduction in assembly time, and more flexibility in design – improving the marketability of the machine.  End users enjoy the lower cost of ownership and increase reliability – and potentially space savings on their factory floor.

Decentralized Machine Vision

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Kollmorgen distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.