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Unique hybrid CNC tool solution uses Beckhoff controls to integrate additive manufacturing with standard CNC machining Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies has developed a unique CNC-based hybrid tool control solution that enables virtually any CNC machine or robotic platform to deploy both metal-cutting and metal-adding heads in the spindle and conveniently change between them. The new AMBIT multi-task system is set to be a gamechanging technology in the world of metal fabrication. Hybrid Technologies turned to Beckhoff Automation Ltd. to supply a state-of-the-art control solution that would allow users to effectively leverage and exploit the full capabilities of this new machining approach. Founded as a commercial entity in 2012 by Dr. Jason Jones and Peter Coates, Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies actually began life in 2007 when the active use of a high-speed milling machine was initiated at De Montfort University’s Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing research laboratory. The cross-pollination of additive and subtractive technologies led to a four year, UK-based research project named RECLAIM (REmanufacture of high-value products using a Combined LAser cladding, Inspection and Machining system) with support from the Technology Strategy Board and a number of industrial collaborators. Key to the technology is its ability to provide both metal adding and metal removal tools on the same spindle; operations normally undertaken by discrete machines and requiring lengthy additional changeovers and programming steps. This also means that the majority of metal parts made by additive manufacturing can have post-processing operations, such as polishing, milling and surface blasting, performed without having to locate to another manufacturing cell, resulting in fabrication and surface finishing being achieved in a single setup. The hybrid approach also allows different compositions of materials to be used in the same component, while inprocess inspection can assure quality levels otherwise impractical or impossible to evaluate. The company initially had issues – relating to both the Ethernet communications and the HMI – with its original control solution, which lead to the first contact with Beckhoff Automation in 2014. The result of this collaboration was a control solution that not only addressed the communication and HMI issues, but also facilitated easier connection at customer sites and offered greater capability to expand the solution as the technology and the customers’ needs evolve. The technology is compatible with most CNC machine configurations and robotic platforms and can be supplied in collaboration with an OEM as an option on a new machine or added as a retrofit to new or used machines already in the field. A machine tool builder adopting Hybrid’s system can use it to add additive manufacturing to the capabilities of a 4 - Automation Update May 2016
standard machine. Hamuel, for example, first introduced an additive-capable model to a line of their machine tools in 2013 and several other machine tool builders have followed suit. The current Hybrid system supports a range of AMBIT™ processing heads with different geometries, laser profiles, powder delivery configurations and de-focused energy beams to support tasks including 3D deposition, cladding, marking, cutting, drilling, pre-heating, annealing/stress relieving, surface re-melting and cleaning among others. The default setup accommodates up to 15 processing heads, but it can be expanded indefinitely, subject to space in the tool changer and controller capacity. Beckhoff’s motion control solution comprised a number of elements from its industry-leading portfolio. These included the EK1100 EtherCAT Coupler and other EtherCAT terminals and a Beckhoff CP2218 panel PC running Microsoft Windows 7 and TwinCAT 3 software for programming and control. Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies were particularly impressed by the Beckhoff HMI solution and the ability to deploy EtherCAT in the machine head. Peter Coates, Co-founder of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies elaborates on the technology and its capabilities: “We can make bespoke heads for customers, depending on their precise application needs, and these heads can be attached to virtually any machine tool. Looking beyond the machine, Beckhoff’s use of EtherCAT means that connection to other cells is straightforward, and being based on a Window
platform makes interfacing with Enterprise Systems far simpler from a protocol perspective and can leverage existing communication backbones. We will be looking to deploy Beckhoff systems in our standard product offerings as we expand worldwide, in step with the granting of foundational patents and intellectual property rights around the globe.” Commenting on the move to a new control solution, Peter Coates, explains: “It was a bit of a culture shock, as we were used to working with software and hardware from another supplier, but we were able to do all the programming using the TwinCAT 3 software with minimal training. We found it incredibly easy to use and will exploit further training opportunities to improve our knowledge of the system’s capabilities. The beauty of the structured text programming is that we don’t have to change the platform, this also allows us to expand it seamlessly by simply adding new PLC code and all of the controls run the same code, which is unbelievably
useful. The connectivity will also allow us to license the software in a way that allows users to deploy it on a pay-peruse basis.” According to Stephen Hayes, Managing Director at Beckhoff Automation Ltd.: “Beckhoff worked really well with Hybrid, forming a strong relationship. The project itself was very smooth, with very few issues encountered during the development phases. We were chosen because our technology is easy to use, is much more open than other industrial solutions and, as a result, is easier to integrate. Other suppliers were also unable to meet required specifications.” By offering an open architecture running on off-the-shelf software solutions, Beckhoff products can be used as separate components or integrated into a complete and seamless control system. This open approach also facilitates integration into customer sites, especially in relation to the deployment of Ethernet-based control and ERP solutions, which have establishing an incredibly strong foothold in a wide variety of industries. Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, named as the inaugural winner of the International Additive Manufacturing Award, the largest 3D printing award in history, is already looking to the future and is considering the next steps in the development process. These include the possibility of migrating machine tools into the office space to help with development and research efforts and the development of a user interface that is intended to form the basis of a future industry standard. firstname.lastname@example.org | www.beckhoff.co.uk Automation Update - 5 May 2016
The benefits of choosing CD Automation UK Superior product performance and exceptional pre & post-sales support go hand in hand at CD Automation and are fundamental to the companies continued growth. Two significant ways Soft Starters can save you money On average 96% of the lifetime costs of an electric motor are associated with energy consumption, which means there’s a huge potential for savings by running your motors efficiently. Easier said than done you might say but using the right soft start solution can provide significant benefits. Let’s be honest, motors aren’t cheap to run. They have a large appetite for energy and can need constant servicing with the prospect of lengthy downtime periods associated with motor repairs. Costs that directly affect production and your bottom line. This is where a good ac motor soft start solution can save you money and where the CD Automation soft starter range fits in perfectly. How do we do that? By offering a product that will improve efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. 1. Efficiency Savings - our soft starters improve motor efficiency by controlling how much energy is used when starting the motor. By producing a controlled start, acceleration and stop, your motors will use a precise amount of electricity rather than over (or under) power during motor operation. This consistency means your electricity usage will no longer go through the roof when trying to start a heavy process load. 2. Maintenance Cost Reduction - the elimination of motor judder during startup, a typical issue with non-controlled motors, will prevent shaft cracking, uneven coupling wear and insulation damage that will naturally reduce maintenance costs. By using a quality soft starter you will experience a gentle start up to full speed which sustains the life of the motors internal mechanisms. Simply put you will no longer have to spend as much, or as frequently, on motor repairs and your process productivity will increase as a result of reduced downtime. Request our free no-obligation guide to Soft Starters to see how you can save money using our new ST soft starter range. 6 - Automation Update May 2016
After Sales Support You Can Count On Following extensive customer consultation CD Automation have launched a number of customer focused supply initiates that are hoped will provide their customers with real value add benefits. One such initiative is the FREE Three-Month Trial - No Risk Guarantee as explained by Jez Watson, CD Automation’s UK Managing Director: “Simply put, if after three months our customers are not satisfied with the product for any reason, or for no reason at all, they can send it back to us for a ‘full and courteous refund’. We will also organise collection of the product free of charge if requested. Why would we do this?
Advanced process communications with the REVO M Thyristor.
It’s quite simple really. We don’t want them to take any risk whatsoever when they start using our products. We shoulder all the risk. If we don’t live up to their high expectations, we suffer – NOT THEM. We don’t believe they should have to make the decision to try a new supplier on just one or two calls, or a few emails or visits to our web-site. Therefore we give them the opportunity and time to sample our product & services before committing. This is as fair as we can be. Unlike the product, our service & support are ‘intangible’. You only see the benefit once you start using them. Therefore we give three months to try our product and services, and then decide if we’re right for them and their company. If we’re not, they simply tell us and we give a full & courteous refund.
Simple but cost effective motor control with the STB Soft Starter.
A FREE three-month trial period is the best method we use to get new clients. Because we’re very good at what we do, the trial period helps us to prove how good we are, without any financial risk to them.” For more information simply request the ‘So what makes us different” check list from your nearest CD Automation support team. Tel: 01323 811100 Email: email@example.com Web: www.cdautomation.co.uk
Enhanced motor control and communications with the STE Soft Starter.
Modules and Much More
Pallet Handling Systems Modular. Compatible. Versatile.
mk Profile systems limited a company of the mk Technology Group Unit 2·Wolds Farm Business Park Kinoulton Lane·Kinoulton·Nottinghamshire, NG12 3EQ Phone +44 (0)1949 823751·Fax +44 (0)1949 81270 www.mkprofiles.co.uk·firstname.lastname@example.org
New WinTec Sensor: Industry Trendsetter wenglor Presents the World’s Smallest Transit Time Sensor Where checking for presence and position monitoring in tight spaces are concerned, the world’s smallest Transit Time Sensor, namely the WinTec P1KY001, is distinguished by its minimal housing size (22 x 32 x 12 mm) and an enormous working range of 1000 mm. Equipped with wenglor’s legendary interference-free technology (WinTec) which permits interferencefree detection of black or glossy objects even at extremely inclined angles, wenglor is once again laying claim to technology leadership in the field of Photoelectronic Sensors with this new product. Despite its extremely small size, the new P1KY001 Transit Time Sensor includes numerous capabilities which permit use in complex automation applications. For example, the high-performance triple-dot laser diode (laser class 1) even detects black and glossy objects with unsurpassed precision at a switching frequency of 1000 Hz. Predestined for temperatures ranging from -40 to +50° C, the P1KY001 is even in demand in extremely adverse environments, for example in cold storage facilities. Its large 1000 mm working range, two switching outputs (antivalent) and the 270° potentiometer assure extraordinary performance on the one hand, as well as user-friendly, intuitive operation on the other hand. Furthermore, the two LED displays which are visible over nearly all axes provide information regarding supply power, switching status and error diagnostics. And thus, for example, blinking signals inform the user that the sensor may be contaminated, has been incorrectly mounted or has not been properly adjusted to the object. 10 - Automation Update May 2016
“The P1KY001 can be used in all applications where quick and accurate object detection is required in extremely tight spaces”, explains wenglor product manager Christoph Lang. The wenglor innovation has already been successfully integrated and tested in shuttle systems in automated small parts warehouses, at manual workstations in the automotive industry and in industrial saws in the woodworking industry, to mention just a few relevant industry applications. In particular WinTec technology, established in 2010, is keeping the new Transit Time Sensor ahead of the competition. “Thanks to WinTec technology, the new P1KY001 is extremely well suited for objects with black or glossy surfaces which have to be reliably detected in highly inclined positions. Combined with the extremely small housing, the sensor is unique throughout the world.” The Features at a Glance • Miniature format: 22 x 32 x 12 mm • Working range: 0 to 1000 mm • 2 switching outputs (antivalent) • Switching frequency: 1000 Hz • Triple-dot laser (laser class 1) for high edge definition and accurate object detection • 270° potentiometer for easy adjustment • LED display for power, switching status and error diagnostics • Temperature range: -40 to 50° C Contact
www.wenglor.com wenglor sensoric Ltd. Unit 2, Cherry Hall Road Kettering Business Park NN14 1UE Kettering Northants UNITED KINGDOM
weQube Series 2016
weQube âˆ’ the Smart Camera weQubeSeries 2016 enhances the weQube modular image processing platform with numerous innovations! Select between weQube with autofocus or with C mount threaded connection and combine the software packages on your Smart Camera just as you need.
weQube with C mount
weQube with Autofocus Software
weQubeOCR reads predefined OCR-A and OCR-B fonts over several lines in a single scanning operation.
the character recognition package
weQubeVision combines any number of image processing functions in one application.
the image processing package
weQubeDecode reads all common barcodes as well as 2D codes even if damaged or poorly readable.
the scan package
The new firmware update permits you to simply switch weQube with Industrial Ethernet to PROFINET or EtherNet/IPâ„˘ protocol. All weQube models incorporate an Ethernet TCP/IP and a RS-232 interface as standard.
Reliably Automating Blood and Stem Cell Banking Reliance Precision Limited is delighted to announce that its Cool Muscle motors have now been used in 500 Biosafe Sepax systems. The Sepax systems are used for automated adult stem cell banking and cell processing applications. The Biosafe Sepax system is an automated, mobile, closed unit for the efficient and consistent processing of umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, peripheral blood or other cell based products. Biosafe began trialling Reliance’s Cool Muscle motors in 2010 in its Sepax systems, using the motor to help accurately separate the different cell components via singleuse cell separation kits. The Cool Muscle motor senses when the different single-use cryobags are filled with the correct amount of cellular products and was so successful in trials that Biosafe continued to use it in its Sepax systems, more than 500 of which are now in use world-wide. Julien Camisani, Scientific and Technical Director at Biosafe explains: “We used to have stepper motors in our automated blood banking systems but this process was sometimes inefficient.
12 - Automation Update May 2016
Since adding the Cool Muscle motors to our Sepax systems we have not experienced any of the issues we did when using stepper motors. We are so satisfied with the excellent quality of the Cool Muscle motors that we intend to continue using them in our Sepax systems and in future development projects.” Stephen Guy, Reliance’s Business Manager, Life Sciences comments: “We’re delighted to hear that our Cool Muscle motors are making such a difference in the Sepax systems. Biosafe’s continuing use of our motors in this important life science application is an excellent endorsement and demonstrates to laboratory automation suppliers that Reliance can consistently provide high-quality components for producing robust, reliable laboratory automation and processing platforms.” www.reliance.co.uk
• From 3-6 axes of precision motion • Proven reliability for 24/7 manufacturing • Noncontact, direct-drive for all axes enabling high-throughput alignment • 2 nm linear and 0.05 μrad rotary minimum incremental motion • Powerful controls with standard scanning algorithms and virtual pivot-point kinematics
FiberMaxHP 3-6 Axis Second Generation, Photonics Alignment Platform FiberMaxHP is a second-generation 3-6 axis photonics alignment platform built on Aerotech’s proven ANT nanopositioning product line. It is designed for critical photonics alignment in a highly automated, 24/7 production environment with no compromise in speed, accuracy, and resolution. This highly reliable, unique drive and control technology ensures many years of maintenance-free service in a high throughput, 24/7 manufacturing environment. Ultra-Precision Direct-Drive FiberMaxHP noncontact direct-drive technology enables high-precision alignment without sacrificing production throughput. It is capable of 2 nm linear and 0.05 µrad rotary minimum incremental motion, with speeds to 400 mm/s, to meet the challenges of aligning next-generation photonics packages. The direct-drive technology employed in FiberMaxHP offers a significant precision and throughput advantage over other alignment platforms. Powerful Kinematics and Scanning Routines Aerotech’s controllers work with a variety of smart cameras and machine vision systems to help facilitate first light. Our power servo scanning algorithms can be called to optimize power coupled through the devices. Standard scanning routines include fast align, hill climb, spiral, and raster searches in up to six axes of motion.
than the physical rotation point of the FiberMaxHP axes. This assists the speed and accuracy of active alignment. We have an extensive array of software and hardware options to suit your specific needs. Flexible System Configuration The FiberMaxHP is available with 3-6 axes of direct-drive alignment allowing the platform to be specified with the exact number of axes needed for the application. Since many applications require manual adjustment of fixtures and parts for a one-time initial alignment, the FiberMaxHP comes with 1-3 axes of manual angular alignment with ±2° of motion. These manual adjustment axes mount directly to the direct-drive platform and offer a more economical approach to alignment when adjustment is not frequently required. Aerotech has many years of experience providing solutions to the photonics industry. We realize that your application may be unique and require customization. The FiberMaxHP is a modular design and can be easily customized with special arrangement of axes, fixturing, and mounting patterns to meet the needs of your specific application. For further information, please contact Steve McLane at 412967-6854 (direct), or via e-mail at email@example.com. In addition, the FiberMaxHP data sheet is available at https://www.aerotech.com/product-catalog/industry-solutions/fiber-optics/fibermaxhp.aspx
Our advanced kinematics enable a virtual pivot point where rotation can occur at any user-defined point in space rather Automation Update - 13 May 2016
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SEISMIC SAFETY SWITCH PROVIDES HIGH-INTEGRITY PROTECTION High integrity seismic protection of critical assets such as oil, gas, nuclear and hydro-electric installations, pharmaceutical and medical facilities, where accurate detection of structural vibration in conjunction with safe shut-down procedures is an essential requirement. SENSONICS, the leading supplier of seismic monitoring protection systems to the UK’s nuclear industry, offer a range of solutions which are ideally suited to most applications.
he SA safety seismic switch is a good example of Sensonics expertise in developing innovative seismic monitoring and protection systems which are trusted by the UK nuclear industry. The SA-3 seismic safety switch provides triaxial vibration detection and is ideal for protecting vulnerable structures from ground borne vibration events and incorporates a range of safe shutdown options, depending on the application. The SA-3 model features three high-integrity low-noise piezoelectric seismometers positioned at 90º to each other along with the associated alarm circuitry housed within a robust weatherproof painted steel enclosure. It is seismically qualified to IEEE-344 (Standard for Seismic Qualification of Equipment for Nuclear Power Generating Stations) and utilises technology operationally proven in harsh environments. The switch operates on seismic events and when the signal from any axis exceeds the pre-set alarm level, the alarm relay is activated.
The sensors consist of a unique system of matched piezoelectric elements arranged in a ‘reciprocal’ configuration providing a functional test capability. Application of a 1Hz signal to the calibration crystal element mechanically excites the measuring elements resulting in a defined signal output which can be used to perform a full loop check of the seismic switch. Such a facility is essential for applications where the switch is located in a hazardous area and requires full-proof testing on a regular basis. As well as the usual seismic and EMC approvals the SA-3 switch is available for functional safety applications up to SIL-2 and can also be provided in an explosive-proof housing for intrinsically safe applications. For more information about the SA-3 seismic safety switch and the other seismic monitoring and protection products available from Sensonics contact: Russell King, Sensonics Ltd, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1442 876833. Email:email@example.com www.sensonics.co.uk
Automation Update - 15 May 2016
UK Manufacturing Heavyweights return to PPMA Total 2016
27 – 29 September 2016, NEC, Birmingham Showcasing the UK’s latest innovations in processing and packaging machinery, materials, containers and packaging design, the PPMA Total Show 2016 is set to return to the Birmingham NEC this September for the first time in its history, moving from its usual spring slot – with over 300 exhibitors already signed up to exhibit at the 2016 event. The likes of Loma Systems, Rotech, Bosch and Schubert UK have already confirmed to exhibit at the PPMA Total Show 2016, which will be the first under the sole ownership of the PPMA for over a decade. Incorporating PPMA, Pakex and Interphex, the show aims to provide businesses across the processing, packaging design and materials and pharmaceutical sectors with an unrivalled opportunity to reach the right decision makers and showcase precisely how their solutions can address a number of particular packaging and processing challenges. Speaking about the exhibition ahead of its return to the PPMA Total Show 2016, Toby Kemp, Global Marketing Manager at Loma Systems & Lock Inspection, commented: “Loma Systems has generally exhibited every year at the PPMA show, as it is a great place to meet up with both existing and potential customers involved in the packaging and processing industries. At the 2016 PPMA Total show we will be showcasing a selection of our latest, advanced product inspection developments and giving customers the opportunity to meet with our technical and application experts. “The show is good business platform that offers networking opportunities and provides a platform for the latest industry developments and trends, including new machinery and technology. It offers a key meeting place for the processing and packaging industries as a whole, allowing visitors to see the most up to date equipment innovations.” 16 - Automation Update May 2016
Also returning to the PPMA Total Show 2016, Rotech, designer and manufacturer of offline advanced carton feeding systems, will be launching two new products. Speaking about the decision to return, Richard Pether, Director at Rotech said: “We’ve decided to return to the PPMA Total show again this year, because we can see that the event is “on the up” once more and its annual slot at the end of September makes perfect sense. “We have two product launches planned for the 2016 show, which is a key milestone on the project plan. The exposure that the show gives us, with both the visitors that come onto our stand and the media interest in the show, means that it’s a key method for promoting our product range.” Mark Stepney, Managing Director of Schubert UK, also highlighted the benefits of exhibiting at the PPMA Total show: “The show gives us an opportunity to reach an audience who know nothing of or have pigeon holed Schubert. We are seen as a specialist high end supplier. Whilst the quality and performance is high end, the technology on offer is available for smaller, lower throughput applications. The show gives us a barometer of the current state of the industry, not only with the size, but also by the various trends highlighted either on the stands or in seminar theatres.” Speaking about its return, Grant Jamieson, Chairman, PPMA Group of Associations, said: “The PPMA Total Show brings together buyers and sellers at one of the most visually
dynamic exhibitions of the latest processing and packaging machinery, materials, industrial automation and vision innovations. What’s more as a trade association we have been able to keep stand space pricing as competitive as possible, offering the very best value to members and nonmembers alike. Attended by thousands of quality buyers and industry experts, this event is not to be missed.” New PPMA Group CEO, Andrew Mint, who joined the association on the 1st February 2016, said: “I am delighted to join the PPMA Group ahead of The PPMA Total Show 2016. The show is a great opportunity for businesses to get their brand, products and equipment in front of a high profile audience and celebrate the innovation that the industry has to offer.” For more information on the PPMA Total Show 2016, or for details on exhibiting please visit www.ppmatotalshow.co.uk, call +44 (0) 20 8773 8111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNCAGING YOUR ROBOT Collaborative robots - or cobots as most are affectionately known - are bringing the fences down in manufacturing and production facilities all over the world. Unlike early industrial robots that had to be isolated behind a protective cage, this new wave of robots comes equipped with sensors, vision and, in most cases, plenty of programmed self-control, enabling people and robots to work safely side-byside. Always ahead of the curve, FANUC has recently launched the world’s first collaborative robot with an impressive payload capacity of up to 35 kg (exceeding all current competitor robots by 24kg). Compared to its yellow cousins, the Kermitgreen FANUC CR-35iA is a totally cagefree species of robot. Designed for tasks like heavy workpiece transfer and parts assembly, robot and human operator can work collaboratively alongside each other without a safety fence. A dexterous 6-axis arm with a reach of 1.813 metres, the CR35iA also has a gentler side, including a soft green surface to reduce impact force and prevent a human operator being pinched. Certified to meet the requirements of international standard ISO 10218-1, if it comes in contact with a human co-worker or any object with a certain force, it stops or retracts immediately. In Japan, the robot has demonstrated its unique higher payload credentials, lifting and putting down a wheel. Thanks to the success of the 35kg payload collaborative robot, FANUC will shortly introduce another collaborative robot to their range - the CR-7iA with a payload of 7 kg with mechanics corresponding to that of the company’s LR Mate-series. This newest development represents a significant leap in addressing robotic safety hazards. Although it doesn’t eliminate the need for comprehensive workplace risk assessments, the increased adoption of peripheral safety devices is enabling robots and humans to work in close proximity of each other, eradicating the fear of interrupting production or worse, causing an accident. Embedding greater automation operations
“Until recently, the mindset of most people was if you have a robotic hazard you banish humans from the robot working area with a physical guarding solution,” highlights Steve Capon, technical manager at FANUC UK. “That thought process for many is changing thanks to rapid advancements in sophisticated software control technology and integrated safety.” This now means that you can impose set limits on how fast your
18 - Automation Update May 2016
robot works and the operational areas it can and can’t enter, programme your robot to slow down as it approaches a hazard rather than coming to an abrupt standstill, and even introduce presence-sensing detection. Above all, the newest robotic software is enabling manufacturers to think more creatively around how automation equipment is deployed and how companies can boost production efficiencies whilst also saving space in valuable commercial real estate. “Safety risks vary depending on the selected robot and application,” emphasises Steve. “One of the key advantages of being able to embed more of the safety-related functions into the robot controller is you can design out the various safety hazards whilst also eliminating the need for external fixtures or mechanical devices to supply this functionality. FANUC recently demonstrated an example of a fenceless robot cell in collaboration with Rockwell Automation. In this showcase, Rockwell safety laser scanners were installed close to floor scanning horizontally for any approach to the system. As an intrusion got closer, these scanners informed the robot system to operate slower. Additional mini scanners were concealed under the FANUC robot system mounting, providing an invisible shield and initiating the robot to stop when the box of light is encroached. Setting your safe limits Many of these developments, including FANUC’s Dual Check Safety (DCS) Position & Speed Check solutions, were initiated in the automotive sector on FANUC CNC robots. However, the trend for built in logic and safety motion is rapidly spilling into other markets, including packaging and palletising, claims Steve. In addition to meeting the safety requirements for electronic control systems, DCS Speed and Position Check offers significant benefits to applications where the travel of the robot needs to be restricted due to floor space or process limits that are less than the full reach of the robot. Restricting the robot motion in Cartesian space means the robot can be restrained to exactly designated safe area in which it works; something that is not possible with systems that limit robot motion externally using limit switches. What’s more, this software works across the whole robot model, not just a single
point. For example, Position Check can identify multiple areas of the robot, including any attached end effectors. The safe zones around the robot arm and its end effector can be modelled within the software, using geometric shapes of up to eight vertical lines each. These areas can be adapted – enabled and disabled to change the areas that the robot is not allowed to enter – depending on the task it is undertaking and the changing conditions within the defined area. “This is a useful feature for applications that require an operator to load parts into a fixture, for example,” says Steve. “An operator can safely walk into the area because the robot will stop the task it is performing. And when the operator leaves the defined area, the robot is able to continue with its task.” The DCS Speed Check functionality makes it possible to define the maximum speed that the robot can travel during normal operation. Speed can also be changed in reaction to a defined event, in addition to ensuring that the robot holds a position when necessary. This can be used for zero speed monitoring, explains Steve “Often, there are rotary fixtures within a cell which must not move while the operator is undertaking a loading procedure. The DCS Speed Check functionality allows the speed of the fixture to be monitored, and ensures it remains motionless when required. There are also process safety benefits to this, for example if the robot is working with delicate products that need to be moved at low speeds.” Ultimately, the onus on safety still rests with humans. Even with all these technology advancements and comprehensive workforce training you can’t risk becoming risk complacent. Deep within our human genetic makeup is that niggling desire to test the boundaries and ‘see what happens’. Every intentional and unintentional scenario when interacting with robots should be factored in when conducting regular risk assessments. With safety, getting it mostly right isn’t an option!
“The Right Connection” For Your Hygienic Process
Fittings, Tube & Adapters Manual & Actuated Valves Food & Beverage Hose Assemblies Bespoke Design and Fabrications DIXON GROUP EUROPE LTD Tel: +44 (0)1772 323529 Email: email@example.com www.dixoneurope.co.uk
HARTING Customised Solutions Kitting, Cable Assemblies, Box Builds and Product Modification
HARTING Customised Solutions - bringing together market leading connectors with expert local and global production capabilities. Capabilties include; Kitting, Cable Assemblies, Box Builds and Product Modification UK and Global production facilities In-house CAD Engineers to help design your customised solution Quality Assurance team to ensure the highest quality throughout Transmit any combination of power, signal, data embedded processor I/O Ethernet communications and fibre-optics To discuss your requirements phone +44 (0) 1604 827500 or e-mail gb@HARTING.com www.HARTING.co.uk/customised-cables