Automate 2022 in Detroit offered the latest and greatest in automation, robotics, and motion control technology. The perception that automation will threaten the livelihood of shop floor personnel is slowly giving way to the idea that these tools and resources will transform shop floors and keep companies up and running. There was no better example of this than the juggling act that occurred across American manufacturing floors during COVID-19. Here is a sample of some of the technologies offered during the show.
Emerson Solutions Improve Energy Efficiency and Connectivity
The new AVENTICS Series SPRA electric rod-style linear actuator is a cost-effective, high-performance solution. The Series SPRA provides enhanced load capacity, accuracy and reliability, as well as outstanding precision and repeatability. Emerson offers the Series SPRA with three different screw technologies that allow implementation within a wide range of applications, making it a versatile and flexible solution. The product is compliant with the ISO-15552 standard, and Emerson provides online selection tools and a wide range of mounting accessories to ensure appropriate implementation for users.
The Movicon.NExT is a highly modular, highly scalable platform that goes beyond SCADA to solve automation problems for both end users and OEMs, from a single machine to a plantwide IIoT project implementation. Among Movicon.NExT modules, Movicon Pro.Lean provides performance data and analytics for evaluations of OEE and Movicon Pro.Energy measures and tracks consumption, while the advanced Movicon NExT.AR solves operational problems through visualization tools that allow personnel to evaluate previously unreachable equipment. For maximum flexibility, Emerson also provides Movicon WebHMI, an HTML5-based visualization tool that can be used as a stand-alone HMI product running on Windows or Linux operator panels, or as a Web Client for Movicon.NExT SCADA applications, as well as Connext, an industrial protocol gateway.
Lenze Offers Cloud-Based Service for Asset Management
When a machine reports a fault, the goal is to capture the fault as quickly as possible, fix the problem, and get the machine back up and running. Lenze Asset Management, in conjunction with machine status and fault management, provides effective support for keeping downtimes to a minimum through rapid troubleshooting.
Which component is installed? Is the documentation up to date? And if the model and variant are known, how do you find the serial number, the index of error messages, or certain technical specifications? Despite all efforts to make processes as efficient as possible, such aspects have not yet been systematically resolved in many companies – which means the service technician loses valuable time in an emergency, resulting in the downtime lasting longer than necessary. Lenze’s digital experts have addressed this issue and, with the aid of automation and smart networking, created a solution that puts an end to the loss of time and efficiency.
Lenze has developed a portal that is directly linked to the OEM’s machines. If an error occurs, the machine can now automatically create a ticket on its own, thereby notifying the service technician early on. The ticket specifies which component is affected. This allows the model, variant, and serial number to be queried, as well as the position in the machine’s topology. Incorrect information due to out-of-date documentation is ruled out. The information comes directly from the PLC, which always reflects the consistent actual status. Further technical information, or additional information, on the error message is just a few clicks away without tedious searching and loss of time. Since the platform is manufacturer-neutral and complies with open standards, it is not only Lenze products that can be accessed. SICK is also already on board, allowing their sensors to be recognized and all existing product information to be made available.
Circular Wave Drive Offers Speed Reducer Technology
CWD (Circular Wave Drive) was founded to commercialize speed reducer technology at The Ohio State University. The speed reducer is a key component in robotics that typically needs to be replaced every 18 – 24 months creating maintenance costs and downtime.
In addition, the technology has not evolved very much in 40+ years. CWD has been able to offer a superior torque-to-weight ratio while producing minimum backlash with its gear technology. With a growing need for smaller and stronger robots to occupy cells in manufacturing and logistics applications, CWD’s technology optimizes productivity, reduces costs, and enables a broader range of automation.
Bosch Rexroth Offers Complete Factory Automation Solutions
The Bosch Rexroth team discussed the launch of ctrlX I/O which adds other interfaces on the field and control levels to the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform. The I/O range facilitates horizontal and vertical integration on the one hand and serves as a functional expansion of the control platform ctrlX CORE on the other. In the future, comprehensive communication and performance enhancements as well as I/O modules geared to technologies of the future like 5G, TSN and AI will be offered. The new comprehensive automation solution will create a broad range of connectivity and networking options in the increasingly digitalized industrial world. The flexibility of ctrlX I/O hints at the solutions coming to the factory of the future where a digital roadmap links individual machines to complete systems and on to the machine operators.
With the new Smart MechatroniX solution platform, Bosch Rexroth offers a combination of its linear motion technology components with electronics and software. These solutions can be used in a variety of areas including commissioning and processing and they can shorten the time-to-market. Modular systems are designed to be retrofitted, giving shop floor personnel a simple way to implement new technologies with legacy equipment already in use in the manufacturing facility.
The Smart Function Kit offers quick and intuitive commissioning and configuration for a range of processes, such as joining, pressing and handling. It works according to the plug and produce principle by combining preselected mechanical and electronic components with software. This modular toolbox consists of an electromechanical cylinder, a force sensor, a motor, a servo drive and a motion controller, plus a software package that enables easy commissioning and operation as well as comprehensive process analysis.
Bosch Rexroth will continue to expand its product offerings for the factory of the future and create advanced manufacturing hardware, software and engineering technologies that deliver maximum speed and minimal complexity.
Yasakawa Expands Ease of Use and Controller Performance
Building on prior software updates, the highly efficient Yaskawa Smart Pendant v2.1 is well-suited for quick robotic implementation of basic assembly, injection molding, inspection, machine tending, material handling, and pick and place tasks.
Enabling previously unsupported functions, software v2.1 provides a built-in classic interface view. Ideal for more experienced robot operators, this option enables the end user to reset minor and major alarms or to edit Concurrent I/O with reduced programming downtime.
Expanding on the performance improvements and extension app capabilities introduced previously, Smart Pendant v2.1 capability further improves configuration and programming of third-party devices, including Yaskawa’s Smart Packager software development kit (SDK). This desktop tool enables third parties to combine multiple components into a single convenient file. Each file, known as a Yaskawa Installation Package (YIP), enables easier robot setup by automating processes typically outlined in a manual.
Various advances, such as YRC1000 controller software updates, multi-touch jogging, 3D viewer optimizations, basic concurrent job support, improved HC-series configuration and other INFORM usability improvements are also included.
Smart Pendant is available for use with select Yaskawa Motoman YRC-controlled robots. Soft Pendant software – a digital version of the YRC1000 pendant that can run on a Windows operating system – is also included.
Expanding Smart Pendant capability for handling tasks, the easy-to-use Yaskawa Smart Pattern extension enables quick development of jobs for repetitive handling tasks. Ideal for common tasks like stacking, unstacking, case packing, machine loading and unloading, this intuitive interface provides guided prompts for single part, grid (2D array), 3D grid (3D array) and stack patterns.
Prompts are provided to create two types of jobs. Pattern jobs define a specific pattern and robot movement for handling each part in the pattern. Supervisor jobs define which patterns should be used to pick and place parts, as well as the overall flow of the system, including basic I/O signals. Easily customizable, job editing is available to accommodate specific system requirements. A wide variety of grippers and end-of-arm tooling can be used.
Compatible with the YRC1000 and YRC1000 micro controllers, Smart Pattern is available as a complimentary download for use with HC-series and GP-series robots.
Siemens Reduces Product Development and Time-to-Market with SINUMERIK ONE
Siemens is expanding digital transformation in the machine tool industry with SINUMERIK ONE. The new controller works with software to create the machine controller and the associated digital twin from one engineering system and thus contributes to the seamless integration of hardware and software. The interaction between the virtual and the real-world benefits machine tool builders and CNC machine users.
The CNC system with integrated Simatic S7-1500F PLC is available in both a control cabinet-based and panel-based version.
Machine tool builders can virtually map their entire development processes—significantly reducing the product development phase and time-to-market for new machines—with Create MyVirtual Machine. The virtual preparation of machine commissioning can also reduce the duration of actual commissioning considerably. Machine users can also benefit from a “digital first” strategy for their central processes during production when they use Run MyVirtual Machine. Programming, production planning and process optimization can be simulated instead of performing them directly at the machine and non-productive times are eliminated. Even training can be carried out using the digital twin instead of training on the actual machine.
The CNC system with integrated Simatic S7-1500F PLC is available in both a control cabinet-based and panel-based version. SINUMERIK ONE fits into the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal and makes a highly efficient engineering framework available for machine tool builders. With Safety Integrated, the new SINUMERIK ONE supports the consistent Siemens industry standard for safety. With IT security integrated in the CNC by design, SINUMERIK ONE implements the multi-layer Defense-in-Depth-Concept. Lear more here:
Heidenhain Offers Variety of Automation Innovations
PressFit rotary encoders from Heidenhain give small-motor manufacturers a better solution for incorporating automated mounting for feedback devices. This new ExI 11xx encoder series features a unique compact design that allows fast and simple mounting by press-fitting into a motor housing while still allowing surrounding space for cables and seals. Heidenhain’s PressFit encoders are made for integration into motors with a flange size as small as 40 mm x 40 mm or an axis height of only 20 mm.
Developed in collaboration with global motor manufacturers, Heidenhain’s new PressFit encoders include a “PressFit” flange that can be secured in a motor housing through a frictional connection, using a specially designed tolerance sleeve. This system promises to support automation efforts by easing mounting requirements, leading to less mounting time being required.
From smart factories and robot builders to mobility companies and interstellar research, Heidenhain positioning control systems are helping shape the safe and productive future of unmanned operations. These components lead the market in positioning accuracy and dependability, ideal for unmanned or low-monitored mechanical designs. Technologies on display included everything from compact incremental solutions to heavy-duty absolute rotary encoders that withstand contaminants or shock.
Automate 2023 will take place May 22-25, 2023 in Detroit, Mich. at the Huntington Place Convention Center.