Machinery automation system supplier SA Power KwaZulu-Natal, in April, completed the design, supply and commissioning of a nine-axis press sequencing system, using the latest Lenze multi-axis control technology, for appliance manufacturer Defy Appliances.
The robotic multi-axis system is used to feed material into a press and then sequences the components through the various pressing stages.
As the motion is carried out while the press is in the open position, it has to be precise and quick, explains SA Power MD Scip Vernede.
Defy required fast cycle times, machine stability even with large dynamic loading; ease of operation; and the integration of the new nine-axis press-sequencing system into its existing press programmable logic controller (PLC) system.
To achieve this, SA Power used Germany-based motion centric automation specialist Lenze’s i700 decentralised servo controllers with the 3200 motion controller.
The advantages of the 3200 motion controller are that all motion, logic and visualisation functions are programmed into a single controller through Ethernet.
Axis control of the i700 servo controllers is undertaken through the real-time EtherCat network. This network provides the significant benefit of having a single platform for machine programming and support after installation, explains Vernede.
“The operator interface and visualisation not only gives the operator control functions but also full system and operation diagnostics, which significantly improves the control of a complex machine with many safety interlocks,” he says.
The integrated safety functions of the i700 controllers are used to ensure machine safety in a simple and safe manner.
SA Power carried out the mechanical design and supplied the linear axis systems used. As part of the scope of supply, the company also undertook all of the motion calculations and simulation with the Lenze Drive Solution Designer software, which was critical in ensuring that all performance requirements were met, notes Vernede.
Meanwhile, an important feature of the system is that the complete sequence of operation, with input conditions and outputs, can be taught to the machine by the customer in a step-by-step fashion. This allows new sequences for different products or tooling to be taught to the machine and saved as a recipe for future use.
Existing recipes can be changed or modified as required by the customer, notes Vernede.
Advantages of the system that was supplied to Defy are its ease of programming on the single 3200 controller – for all motion, logic and visualisation software; and the reduced number of components, owing to the i700 multi-axis system design and the EtherCat control network. The local system and product support that SA Power will provide is also highlighted by Vernede.
SA Power is nearing the completion of a second press sequencing system for Defy Appliances, and further multi-axis sequencing system installations for textile, packaging and steel converting lines are in progress.