Sensors

Classic qualities remain in demand

Guest Contributor: Thomas Fey, Bosch Rexroth

Machine tools are rightly considered to be technology carriers and trailblazers for other industries in mechanical engineering. They frequently are the first to try new technologies and optimize existing ones. For this reason, machinery users expect every new piece of equipment to increase productivity. 

The users of machine tools face global competition. When they invest in new machines, they generally have two main issues in mind: cycle times per processing step and throughput times for the completely processed component. At the same time, they continue to increase their requirements for surface quality and tolerances. Machine tool makers respond with higher dynamics in all movements and the integration of additional processing technologies. Increasing numbers of sensors are now monitoring the processing job to create reproducible quality.

These three trends – more speed, more completeness and more precision – place increasing demands on the control system. Every gain in speed requires shorter control cycles. The CNC control unit must provide additional capacities to integrate additional processing stations and technologies. At the same time, data transmissions in a machine are rising inordinately  because of the sensors.

In this regard, Bosch Rexroth has significantly raised the bar with its new generation of the CNC system MTX. The smallest version is a compact solution for up to 12 axes. The highest performance level extends all the way to 250 axes with a hardware control system. In the controllers, high-performance, multi-core processors intelligently assign the different tasks for CNC, PLC and communications. Fluctuating processor utilization levels that vary based on the configuration for the application remain non-reactive and ensure constant overall performance. This is important because the CNC system solution provides the shortest PLC and CNC cycle times even as the number of axes rises, even for high-speed processing. In the process, machine manufacturers can significantly increase the dynamics of their products.

More computing power for increased processing quality and the parallel exchange of information with superior IT applications: Rexroth’s CNC system MTX. (Source: Bosch Rexroth AG)

At the same time, more and more users, particularly automotive industry suppliers, are investing in production lines for complete processing. To reduce wrapping and handling times, they are looking for multi-technology solutions. For this reason, machine manufacturers are increasingly combining classic processes like drilling, milling and grinding into one system. They are also increasingly adding non-cutting technologies like laser cutting and welding or additive processes. The printed components are given their final shape in subsequent processing. These technologies are sometimes very computationally intensive. They are also done simultaneously with other processing steps. The idea of offsetting these performance peaks by using separate control systems with a machine’s own hardware significantly increases the complexity of automation. The MTX offers sufficient power reserves here to display all currently known uses on hardware. This is also the case for the automation of machine tools. A number of manufacturers have said that between 50 percent and 80 of all machines they deliver have integrated loading and unloading systems. The MTX also takes on this task.

Increased productivity through complete processing: Manufacturers are increasingly combining cutting and non-cutting technologies like laser cutting and welding as well as additive processes in a single machine. (Source: Bosch Rexroth AG)

While these trends move forward, machine manufacturers are also increasingly adding more and more sensors. These data support process optimization and monitor the processing in situ. With fast I/O, the MTX ensures that the sensor data are transferred and analyzed in real time. In the process, it lays the foundation for short control cycles that measurably increase the precision of processing and surface quality.

In short: To achieve the classic qualities of increased productivity, all roads lead to higher-performance CNC system solutions. The MTX currently offers the highest computing capacity and system capability for rising demands by offering increased dynamics, technology combinations and amount of sensors.

Learn more:  CNC system solution MTX 

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.

Non-Contact Transmission of Power & Data on Transfer Rails & Grippers

Guest contributor, Stefanie Roedl, Balluff

For press shops utilizing transfer rail systems, fixed sensor connections regularly cause frustration. Cables and contacts are often subject to heavy strain. Cables can wear out and break, damaged pins or mechanical collisions can cause hours of machine downtime, and the replacement of large multi-pin connectors comes at a high cost.

Inductive couplers offer an ideal solution: By using these non-contact, wear-free products you can eliminate pin connections and simplify job changeovers on the press. Inductive couplers transfer signals and power contact-free over an air gap. The quick-disconnect units are easy to use and require no maintenance, enabling you to meet new demands quickly. Mechanical wear is a thing of the past. This increases system availability, reduces cycle time and enhances the flexibility of workflow processes.

Inductive coupling example

Replace pin connections for transfer rails

Typically, two pin-based connectors connect the transfer rail to the transfer system on the press. The connections are on both the feed and exit sides of the rail to the control. If there is any misalignment of the connections, damage regularly occurs. By replacing the connectors with pin-free inductive couplers, the connections are simplified and repair work is minimized. Additionally you don’t have open pins exposed to the environment (dust, water, oil) that can also cause nuisances in the connection process.

Replace pin connections for grippers

To connect the transfer rail on each gripper, normally a pin-based connector is used. As the grippers are changed on each tooling change, the connectors become worn and damaged with regularity. By replacing the pin connector with non-contact inductive couplers, the two sensor signals are maintained but the maintenance of these connections is reduced dramatically. An additional “in-zone signal” verifies that the gripper is installed and connected. This provides assurance during operation.

Inductive couplers offer IO-Link functionality

Inductive coupling with IO-Link technology adds more benefits besides replacing the pin coupling. It allows users to transfer up to 32 bytes of data in addition to power for actuation or sensors. If you connect IO-Link enabled I/O hubs or valve connectors to the remote side, you can also store identification data on the IO-Link hub or valve. When the connection is established, the controller can request the identification data from the tool to ensure that the system is utilizing the correct tool for the upcoming process.

With pin based coupling you needed up to 4-5 seconds to first engage the tool and to mate the two ends of the pin couplers and then request the identification. With inductive couplers, the base only needs to be brought closer to the remote so that you quickly couple and identify the tool before engaging the tool — this takes less than a second. Additionally the base and remote do not need to be well aligned to couple. Misalignment up to 15-20 degrees of angular offset or 2-4 mm of axial offset still provides functionality.

The benefits at a glance

  • Power and signals transfer with pin-less connectivity
  • Reduced downtime due to rail or gripper repair
  • Know that the gripper is present and powered with in-zone signal
  • Inform the controller that the rail has power and connectivity to the sensors

To decide the right coupler for your next application visit www.balluff.com.

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff 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.

With Digital Twin to the Factory of the Future – Part I

Guest contributor: Hans Michael Krause, Bosch Rexroth

Bosch Rexroth and Dassault Systèmes will use a modular assembly line to show how the Factory of the Future can be efficiently planned, implemented and continuously improved using digital twins. The key ingredients for this recipe for success: model-based systems engineering, intelligent controls and drives with open interfaces, and continuous improvement through IoT services.

Manufacturers of complex products and machines face the challenge of meeting the most diverse requirements in even shorter development cycles. With a demonstration assembly line, Dassault Systèmes and Bosch Rexroth will show at the Hannover Messe how time-to-market can be shortened with the greatest possible flexibility if production and product engineering seamlessly mesh on the data side. In addition, the turnkey assembly line highlights the added value that machine builders and end users can generate in conjunction with IoT services. The cornerstone of all this is the ‘digital twin’, a realistic depiction of product, production and performance.

 

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At the Hannover Messe, Bosch Rexroth and Dassault Systèmes will demonstrate the seamless and profitable interaction of line and product engineering.

“Single source of truth” for the product, production and performance

Dassault Systèmes integrates the sample project from Bosch Rexroth into the integrated engineering workflows of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which provides a central source of information for designers, electricians and programmers. All platform functions for virtual engineering access a common database. For example, the simulation software receives direct access to the design data from the CAD program. In addition, it enables visualization in real time, so that visitors to the Bosch Rexroth booth can observe the 3D model of the demo line connected with the real object in real-time via sensors.

Shortened initial start-up through model-based engineering

The demo assembly line has a modular structure and is based on intelligent, decentralized automation components that are networked horizontally and vertically via open standards. The product that is assembled on the assembly line, the SCD – Sense Connect Detect sensor introduced by Bosch Rexroth, controls itself along the line using an RFID identifier. As in previous projects, such as the WestRock packaging machine, this system has also been developed, put into virtual operation and implemented in a very short time using models in the framework of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform. In addition to the CAD data, the behavioral models from the automation also flowed into the digital twin.

DC-AE_SMP4_Dassault_AE_Demonstrator_4-768x898The assembly line at the Hannover Messe.

Collaboration between production and product engineering

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform also acts as an interface to the end user. If the user also depicts a product using a digital twin, the system can adjust to their requirements within a short time. An example: a manufacturer of construction vehicles wants to use the SCD sensor in a future excavator to measure vibrations from the hydraulic pump. He uses the sensor model in the virtual prototype of the excavator and defines a required housing modification. Bosch Rexroth then creates a new digital twin, inserts it into the virtual line model and validates the production capability in the simulation environment. In the same way as in this example, machine builders can use their digital twins to test in advance how new variants affect space requirements, stability, geometry, storage life or transport. In addition, the simulation also exposes critical areas for product quality, thereby reducing the risk of product recalls.

Economical production of batch sizes of 1

The close interlinking of product, production and performance via digital twins also allows for much more flexibility in production. This aspect is also illustrated by the joint demo project from Bosch Rexroth and Dassault Systèmes. To economically produce different sensor variants in small quantities down to a batch size of 1, Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform works with the system via its MES functions. It transmits the jobs individually to the assembly line via the OPC UA interface, and from there receives the production and quality data for each manufactured SCD sensor.

Dassault Systèmes’ and Bosch Rexroth’s partnership is a powerful testament to the competitive advantages that machine builders and end users derive from a seamless workflow, from virtual engineering to intelligent automation.

The digital twin is the key to the Factory of the FuturePart II  Blog Continued here:

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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.

When and Where to Use Continuous Cylinder Position Sensing

The role of smart cylinders — hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders with integrated position detection capability — has increased as manufacturers constantly strive to improve efficiency through automation. Smart cylinders can use either continuous or discrete position sensing, providing manufacturers with options, but possibly leaving them with questions on which is best for their application.

In this post we will review the benefits of continuous position sensors and list the applications where this is the best fit.

Continuous position sensors provide near real-time position feedback throughout the entire stroke of the cylinder making them the ideal choice for applications at the higher end of the control spectrum. Closed-loop servohydraulic systems can achieve sophisticated, dynamic control of motion across the entire cylinder stroke.

Continuous position sensors are commonly used when the application calls for closed-loop servo control, where the position, speed, acceleration, and deceleration of the cylinder must be controlled. Closed-loop servohydraulics have been widely used in industrial applications, such as sawmills, steel processing and tire manufacturing, and more recently in cylinders in off-highway equipment.

Magnetostrictive linear position sensors are the most commonly used continuous position sensors in hydraulic cylinders. These sensors are installed into the back end of the cylinder. The sensor detects the position of a magnet attached to the piston and provides a continuous, absolute position signal.

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Magnetostrictive linear position sensor installed in hydraulic cylinder

The sensor is rated to withstand the full pressure of the hydraulic system. Magnetostrictive technology offers the advantage of being completely non-contact, meaning it requires no mechanical contact between the sensor and the moving cylinder and is not subject to wear and performance degradation. In addition, numerous electrical interface options are available, from simple analog (0 to 10V or 4-20mA) to high-performance industrial fieldbus interfaces that offer advanced functionality.

Continuous position sensors can also be used in pneumatic cylinders. While closed-loop servo control with pneumatics is not as common as it is with hydraulics, there are situations where pneumatic cylinders require continuous position sensing capability. For example, low-pressure pneumatic cylinders are sometimes used as measurement probes, or touch probes, where the cylinder rod is extended until it touches a part to be measured or gaged. In these situations, it is beneficial to be able to get continuous position feedback, especially when there is variability in the measured part.

To learn more about cylinder position sensing, visit www.balluff.com.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff 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.

IO-Link Measurement Sensors Solve Application Challenges

In industrial distance and position measurement applications, one size definitely does not fit all.  Depending on the application, the position or distance to be measured can range from just a few millimeters up to dozens of meters.  No single industrial sensor technology is capable of meeting these diverse requirements.

Fortunately, machine builders, OEM’s and end-users can now choose from a wide variety of IO-Link distance and position measurement sensors to suit nearly any requirement.  In this article, we’ll do a quick rundown of some of the more popular IO-Link measurement sensor types.

(For more information about the advantages of IO-Link versus traditional analog measurement sensors, see the following blog posts, Solving Analog Integration Conundrum, Simplify Your Existing Analog Sensor Connection, and How Do I Make My Analog Sensor Less Complex?)

Short Range Inductive Distance Sensors

These sensors, available in tubular and blockScott Image1.JPG style form factors are used to measure very short distances, typically in the 1…5 mm range.  The operating principle is similar to a standard on/off inductive proximity sensor.  However, instead of discrete on/off operation, the distance from the face of the sensor to a steel target is expressed as a continuously variable value.  Their extremely small size makes them ideal for applications in confined spaces.

Inductive Linear Position Sensors

Inductive linear position sensors are available in several block style form factors, and are used for position measurement over stroke lengths up to about 135 mm.  These types of sensors use an array of inductive coils to accurately measure the position of a metal target.  Compact form factors and low stroke-to-overall length factor make them well suited for application with limited space.

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Magnetostrictive Linear Position Sensors

IO-Link Magnetostrictive linear position sensors are available in rod style form factors for hydraulic cylinder position feedback, and in external mount profile form factors for general factory automation position monitoring applications.  These sensors use time-proven, non-contact magnetostrictive technology to provide accurate, absolute position feedback over stroke lengths up to 4.8 meters.

Laser Optical Distance Sensors

 

Scott Image 4.JPGLaser distance sensors use either a time-of-flight measuring principle (for long range) or triangulation measuring principle (for shorter range) to precisely measure sensor to target distance from up to 6 meters away.  Laser distance sensors are especially useful in applications where the sensor must be located away from the target to be measured.

 

Magnetic Linear Encoders

IO-Link magnetic linear encoders use an absolute-codedScott Image 5flexible magnet tape and a compact sensing head to provide extremely accurate position, absolute position feedback over stroke lengths up to 8 meters.  Flexible installation, compact overall size, and extremely fast response time make magnetic linear encoders an excellent choice for demanding, fast moving applications.

IO-Link Measurement Sensor Trends

The proliferation of available IO-Link measurement sensors is made possible, in large part, due to the implementation of IO-Link specification 1.1, which allows faster data transmission and parameter server functionality.  The higher data transfer speed is especially important for measurement sensors because continuous distance or position values require much more data compared to discrete on/off data.  The server parameter function allows device settings to be stored in the sensor and backed up in the IO-Link master.  That means that a sensor can be replaced, and all relevant settings can be downloaded from master to sensor automatically.

To learn about IO-Link in general and IO-Link measurement sensors in particular, visit www.balluff.com.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff 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.

Where did you find that sensor?

Guest contributor: Shawn Day, Balluff

I recently visited a customer that has a large amount of assembly lines where they have several machine builders manufacturing assembly process lines to their specification. This assembly plant has three different business units and unfortunately, they do not communicate very well with each other. Digging deeper into their error proofing solutions, we found an enormous amount of sensors and cables that could perform the same function, however they mandated different part numbers. This situation was making it very difficult for maintenance employees and machine operators to select the best sensor for the application at hand due to redundancy with their sensor inventory.

The customer had four different types of M08 Inductive Proximity sensors that all had the same operating specifications with different mechanical specifications. For example, one sensor had a 2mm shorter housing than one of the others in inventory. These 2mm would hardly have an effect when installed into an application 99% of the time. The customer also had other business units using NPN output polarity VS PNP polarity making it even more difficult to select the correct sensor and in some situations adding even more downtime when the employee tried to replace an NPN sensor where a PNP offering was needed. As we all know, the NPN sensor looks identical to the PNP offering just by looking at it. One would have to really understand the part number breakdown when selecting the sensor, and when a machine is down this sometimes can be overlooked. This is why it is so important to standardize on sensor selection when possible. This will result in more organized inventory by reducing part numbers, reducing efforts from purchasing and more importantly offering less confusion for the maintenance personel that keep production running.

Below are five examples of M08 Inductive sensors that all have the same operating specifications. You will notice the difference in housing lengths and connection types. You can see that there can be some confusion when selecting the best one for a broad range of application areas. For example, the housing lengths are just a few millimeters different. You can clearly see that one or two of these offerings could be installed into 99% of the application areas where M08 sensors are needed for machine or part position or simply error proofing a process.

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For more information on standardizing your sensor selection visit www.balluff.com

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff 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.

Imagine the Perfect Photoelectric Sensor

Guest contributor: Jack Moermond, Balluff

Photoelectric sensors have been around for a long time and have made huge advancements in technology since the 1970’s.  We have gone from incandescent bulbs to modulated LED’s in red light, infrared and laser outputs.  Today we have multiple sensing modes like through-beam, diffuse, background suppression, retroreflective, luminescence, distance measuring and the list goes on and on.  The outputs of the sensors have made leaps from relays to PNP, NPN, PNP/NPN, analog, push/pull, triac, to having timers and counters and now they can communicate on networks.

The ability of the sensor to communicate on a network such as IO-Link is now enabling sensors to be smarter and provide more and more information.  The information provided can tell us the health of the sensor, for example, whether it needs re-alignment to provide us better diagnostics information to make troubleshooting faster thus reducing downtimes.  In addition, we can now distribute I/O over longer distances and configure just the right amount of IO in the required space on the machine reducing installation time.

IO-Link networks enable quick error free replacement of sensors that have failed or have been damaged.  If a sensor fails, the network has the ability to download the operating parameters to the sensor without the need of a programming device.

With all of these advancements in sensor technology why do we still have different sensors for each sensing mode?  Why can’t we have one sensor with one part number that would be completely configurable?

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Just think of the possibilities of a single part number that could be configured for any of the basic sensing modes of through-beam, retroreflective, background suppression and diffuse. To be able to go from 30 or more part numbers to one part would save OEM’s end users a tremendous amount of money in spares. To be able to change the sensing mode on the fly and download the required parameters for a changing process or format change.  Even the ability to teach the sensing switch points on the fly, change the hysteresis, have variable counter and time delays.  Just imagine the ability to get more advanced diagnostics like stress level (I would like that myself), lifetime, operating hours, LED power and so much more.

Obviously we could not have one sensor part number with all of the different light sources but to have a sensor with a light source that could be completely configurable would be phenomenal.  Just think of the applications.  Just think outside the box.  Just imagine the possibilities.  Let us know what your thoughts are.

To learn more about photoelectric sensors, visit www.balluff.com.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff 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.