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Industrial Automation

Atlas Servo Amplifiers can now communicate with range of controllers



INMOCO the Daventry based specialist servo company has announced its ATLAS digital amplifiers can now be used with third party microprocessors or field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) via Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) communications. ATLAS digital amplifiers are made by Performance Motion Devices Inc, a leading US provider of innovative, high performance integrated circuits, boards and drive-based motion control solutions to OEMs around the globe.

Originally designed to be used in conjunction with Performance Motion Devices’ Magellan motion control ICs, ATLAS digital amplifiers can now also communicate through SPI with other controllers. This significantly increases the range of applications where ATLAS amplifiers can be deployed, and includes robotics, medical devices, laboratory equipment, scientific instruments, fan and pump control, precision motion and industrial motor control.

“The new controller options combined with the ATLAS amplifiers’ high power density, digital current loop, and IoT (Internet of Things) capability results in a powerful and flexible amplifier,” says Gerard Bush of INMOCO.

ATLAS digital amplifiers are compact single-axis modules that provide high-performance torque control of DC brush, brushless DC and step motors. Featuring the highest power density in the industry, ATLAS versions are available in 75W, 250W, and 500W power configurations in two module sizes: 27 x 27 x 13mm and 39 x 39 x 15mm.

For additional flexibility, ATLAS package options can be mounted to a printed circuit board in either vertical or horizontal configurations depending on application requirements and customer preference. ATLAS amplifiers integrate a field-oriented control (FOC) digital current loop, which enables finely-tuned motor current control and lower power consumption and noise.

“The amplifiers can record IoT information such as commanded current vs. actual current, temperature, bus voltage, etc, enabling host processor access to critical motion control parameters,” explains Gerard. This enables users to monitor system performance and proactively address problems before they arise.”

The amplifiers are powered from a single supply voltage, and provide automatic protection from overcurrent, under-voltage, over-voltage, over-temperature, and short circuit faults. Other advanced ATLAS features include; programmable gain parameters and performance trace.

I manage the editorial affairs for MONETA Tanıtım, which produces specific publishing, specially for the sphere, Turkey industry. We work for content development through digital and print media, with a new generation, dynamic publishing intellection.

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Industrial Automation

Multifunction controller boasts ethernet connectivity



The Type 8619 multiCELL controller from Burkert is a popular choice for delivering multi-channel measurement and control for a range of sensors. Now the benefits for process control systems have been extended with the addition of Ethernet connectivity, which will reduce installation time and greatly improve the connectivity of the control network.

With direct connection of a wide range of sensors to measure parameters such as flow rate, pH, ORP, temperature and conductivity, the multiCELL is ideally suited to the control and monitoring of water quality in industrial processes. Designed to provide flexibility and an easy-to-use interface, the multiCELL can be easily configured to suit a wide range of process control systems.

As more and more control systems start to integrate Ethernet communications, so Burkert is adding this important communication tool to many of its products. The continued implementation of this technology is making it considerably easier to install and operate process control infrastructure.

The initial product release by Burkert will enable communication using Modbus TCP and this will be shortly followed by the introduction of PROFINET and Ethernet/IP capability. This will greatly simplify the connection between the multiCELL and the PLC as well as removing the need for an additional I/O card in the PLC.

Built-in flexibility

Each controller can be configured for a range of sensors as well as having up to six pre-configured I/O boards to accommodate any signal requirements.  In addition, the multiCELL can be configured as a datalogger, using the built-in SD card slot for data storage. This SD card slot can also be used to save sensor parameters and control application settings to allow the same settings to be replicated in another multiCELL controller; ensuring accurate transfer of control parameters between sites.

Sophisticated electronics and state-of-the-art control algorithms ensure that optimum process control is maintained at all times with minimal operator intervention. Chemical dosing pumps or control valves can be controlled via pulse, on/off or analogue signals, depending on the application in question. The adaptability and versatility of the multiCELL allows it to be integrated into a variety of applications, from the very simplistic to the more complex designs.

Monitoring and maintaining water quality within an industrial process requires an array of sensors, flowmeters, pumps and control valves. By introducing the highly functional multiCELL, all of these components can be easily configured with parameters being set at the touch of a button.

In many cases, maintaining precise control over the quality of water within a process is a fundamental requirement. At the same time, improved communication and flexibility can go a long way to reducing down-time and maintenance costs.

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Industrial Automation

NSK is more dynamic with miniature linear-guided pick-and-place machines



As machines for the semiconductor industry operate with cycle times of one second or less, pick-and-place units must offer very high dynamic performance. A case in point can be seen at a manufacturer of chip-mounting systems, where NSK recommended a combination of its ball screw and miniature linear guide technologies to replace the existing linear motor and significantly increase dynamic capability. Assembly machines in the semiconductor industry put high demands on pick-and-place units.

With regard to the process, the pick-and-place unit of the assembly machine grips a semiconductor chip and inserts it inside a package. During this operation, the facilitating 40 mm stroke is executed at a speed of 2.5 m/sec.

The linear motor used previously was performing this task at the limit of its capability, which prompted the OEM to approach NSK for an alternative solution. After a comprehensive assessment of the application, NSK´s engineers proposed the use of a BSS Series ball screw in combination with PU Series miniature linear guides.

NSK´s PU miniature linear guides are purpose-designed for demanding applications such as those found in semiconductor manufacturing equipment and medical devices. Smooth ball recirculation enables effortless motion, while an enhanced seal prevents friction dust from entering the surrounding environment. This makes PU miniature linear guides suitable for use in clean room applications with an appropriate lubricant.

Another advantage of the PU Series is low weight: the carriage is approximately 20% lighter than comparable systems on the market, which makes a considerable difference in highly dynamic applications. The drive unit of the pick-and-place system now weighs only 1 kg, while its operating speed is 2.5 m/s (with an acceleration of 40 g). In addition, it offers a 40 mm stroke and a maximum ball screw rotational speed of 5000 rpm.

Thanks to this high-performance capability, the NSK solution delivers much higher dynamics than the linear motor it replaced. Furthermore, the manufacturer of the chip mounting systems says it is fully satisfied with the reliability and lifespan of the PU Series miniature linear guide and BSS Series ball screw.

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Industrial Automation

A perfect solution in Bakery Automation



For the pre-ferment, Bühler has developed a solution – JetMix – Better hygiene thanks to KOLLMORGEN´s stainless-steel servo motors1 AKMH Servomotor Using the AKMH stainless-steel motor from KOLLMORGEN, Bühler drives pumps, dosing units, and a centrifugal stirrer.

No hearty rye bread without sourdough. The stollen becomes deliciously soft when some of the baking ingredients are first mixed together and left to rise (thanks to the properties of yeast) before all the other ingredients are blended into the main dough. The mixture made mainly from cereal flour and bulk liquids such as water and milk is known as pre-ferment among bakers. With the JetMix, Bühler has developed a solution for the fully automated production of pre-ferment and sourdough. By using AKMH stainless steel servo motors from KOLLMORGEN, Bühler successfully combined high productivity with maximum hygiene.

Combine water and flour into a smooth and lump-free pre-ferment using dough hooks – this view is shared in domestic kitchens and among the medium-sized bakery sector. If the focus is on larger bakeries, then the JetMix is the ideal solution. The compact machine from Bühler does not combine water and flour mechanically, but through effective hydration. During this continual process, each flour particle is evenly hydrated by the finely atomized water spray. The result of this process has impressed users, mainly thanks to its high productivity and the quality of the fine and smooth pre-ferment.

The quicker way to the perfect pre-ferment

The technical aspect of the JetMix consists of four servo axes: Two of them form the pump drive for the water and ensure the pre-ferment is pushed along. Each of these axes drives the dosing screw as well as the centrifugal stirrer. “There, the flour is accelerated radially so that we can create a perfectly formed ring from flour”, describes Heinz Lauermann, team leader of Material Handling Powder & Liquids at Bühler. The ring of flour that arises from the centripetal force reacts with the water spray in the mixing tube, which is introduced from the outside through fine nozzles by the servomotor driven pumps. The pressure is accurately regulated by the precisely operated servo drive.

JetMix application

Bühler´s JetMix processes flour and water into a smooth pre-ferment.

This precision is therefore necessary, because when the flour and water come into contact, they coalesce into a lump-free dough. “Mechanical kneading methods for dough production are always associated with a high energy input. With the JetMix, the production of pre-ferment is significantly faster and more energy efficient”, emphasizes Lauermann. The Swiss works at Bühler´s Headquarters is in Uzwil.

The AKMH stainless-steel motors are connected by just one cable,

including recirculation to the AKD servo controller

Always enthusiastic about special ideas and alternative solutions, for Heinz Lauermann, the advancement of the JetMix, fitted with a stainless-steel servomotor from KOLLMORGEN, which was first presented at a specialist trade fair in the USA, illustrates a highlight in the industry from a hygiene perspective. The most powerful of the four AKMH stainless-steel motors drives the centrifuge that produces the ring of flour – comparable to a hand blender.


Pre-ferments are common elements of recipes in bakeries.

Sourdough from rye flour is one of the most well-known substitutes.

“The broad speed control range of the motor helped us a lot during development to identify the correct speed for different types of flour and pre-ferments”. The finely balanced interplay between the spinning speed and the water spray being introduced with a pressure of up to 16 bar ultimately guarantees the perfect mixture – and can therefore also be stored as a tried-and-tested reproducible pre-ferment recipe in the control system. “If we had small drops rather than a fine spray, we would get lumps. Drops create lumps”, says Lauermann, who explains that after being mix in the JetMix, the pre-ferment is pumped into a storage tank for further fermentation. According to Bühler, the JetMix´s performance stands at 3.0 tons per hour. “If we multiply this amount by four, then we get the quantity of finished dough”. This makes 12 tons – and they are needed. The capacity of the ovens is especially large in industrial bakeries associated with discount stores. 100 to 120 tons of flour are processed daily for bread, bread rolls, cakes, and baked goods.

One cable solution

The single cable connection technology of the servo motors provides many advantages from a hygiene point of view.

A high speed control range for production and cleaning

AKMH Hygienic Servo Motor

The stainless-steel motors from the KOLLMORGEN series AKMH can be conveniently designed for different rotational speeds due to their wide adjustment range.

Considering these quantities in a price-sensitive market with low profit margins, there is the risk that little attention will be paid to cleaning the machines. “This task reduces productivity. The longer the cleaning takes, the less the companies earn”. During the development of the JetMix, Bühler was adamant that it would be equipped for CIP i.e. that it must be attached to a central cleaning system (Clean In Place). The AKMH stainless-steel motors from KOLLMORGEN must, therefore, operate at a high rotational speed, as that is required during the production phase. “That was an important discussion in the design of the drive system, to obtain a water velocity of up to 3 m/s, so that during cleaning, leftover dough does not remain stuck on the sides”. Moreover, the drive systems must deliver such a performance that they can even push a so-called pig through the pipes. This is shaped in a figure-of-eight, nestles up to the sides and pushes the dough caught in the pipe in to the fermentation tank. Bread factories waste less food because of this and do not excessively burden the CIP system or the local sewage plant. Furthermore, bread dough does not pass well through the sewage system and quickly begins to rot.

A more hygienic stainless-steel motor with a single cable

Heinz Lauermann even describes the exterior handle of the AKMH stainless-steel motors from KOLLMORGEN as pioneering. The use of stainless-steel 1.4404 makes the AKMH series corrosion-resistant against aggressive cleaning products. The design of all the edges to have a radius of at least 3 mm and the surface finishes with a roughness of <0.8 μm prevents the accumulation of dirt. The AKMH stainless-steel motors are connected by just one cable, including recirculation to the AKD servo drives, so that the installation of Bühler´s JetMix also contributes to the hygienic aspect. On the one hand, halving the cables halves time and space during installation and, on the other hand, is also an advantage for hygiene and operational safety. Using just one cable means soling and leaks are less likely. “Integrating the recirculation system in the motor cable was worked out very well by KOLLMORGEN”, acknowledges Heinz Lauermann. He describes a hygienic motor including “very perfectly rounded motor mountings”.

The compact units of sizes two to six are also used outside of the baking industry, especially in machine areas with direct product contact and aseptic processes. The AKMH stainless steel servo motor dissipates any lost heat effectively to the outside and therefore lowers derating. As a consequence, the FDA certified series, developed according to the EHEDG guidelines, supplies higher continuous torques at lower volumes.

The Bottom Line

Bühler´s JetMix clearly demonstrates how hygiene properties and cleaning capabilities of machines in the food industry can effectively be improved when stainless-steel motors are used. It is not enough, however, to be satisfied with the material selection for the motor housings. Rather, the contour guide, connection technology and function must perfectly meet the requirements of Food Safety. “Our eyes have been opened from a hygienic perspective by AKMH”, summarized Lauermann.

Martin Zimmermann

KAM Switzerland, KOLLMORGEN Switzerland

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