“I Wish I Had a Control Chain!”
I wish! What machine builders want is the ability to deploy appropriate control technology to configure motion so that it optimally supports the application at hand and works reliably. But how about taking a system-oriented approach to connecting the control system? What benefits do digital decision-making aids deliver for optimizing startup? The WEISS Group shows the way forward for both fixed-cycle and freely programmable systems with its WEISS Application Software (W.A.S.) suite, which efficiently combines and reduces required work steps.
Automation is a highly diverse and complex field. Engineers who have specialized in it deal with a vast range of system architectures, many of which consist of a large number of individual hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, electronic and/or mechanical components. They are laboriously cobbled together like a jigsaw puzzle to create complex automation systems that meet the design and electrotechnical requirements of modern mechanical engineering. But wouldn’t things be a lot easier if fewer puzzle pieces were needed?
Unfortunately, human beings are creatures of habit, and that includes machine builders. They therefore keep on laboriously assembling entire systems from scratch. Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday work, they neglect the development, testing, and use of innovative approaches and digital infrastructure. As a result, far little attention is still paid to adopting functional approaches that involve fewer versions and suppliers and more standardized, scalable assemblies.
Systems Engineering as a Mantra
Modular, functionally oriented engineering also has potential for reducing interface problems. This can happen during the design phase, addressing everything from electrical engineering all the way to commercial deployment. But many engineers continue to focus on combining individual components, despite the fact that it is laborious and time-consuming to individually define suitable energy transmission and control components for an entire functional flow. WEISS systems take a different approach to controlling motion, which is evident in their drive platforms and handling units. From the systems engineering perspective, different control packages are suitable for fixed-cycle units such as rotary tables or freely programmable drives such as linear motor axes. The so-called WEISS Application Software (W.A.S. for short) spans both worlds, constituting the heart of the control packages and digitally supplementing mechatronic control.
„Parametrize instead of program’ is what W.A.S. is all about – because what counts is to get WEISS axes moving as quickly as possible.“ Christian Göltl, Produkt Manager Controls, WEISS Group.
If it’s fixed-cycle, then …
we’re talking about TC and TR rotary indexing tables, which are geared and require asynchronous three-phase motors and controllers for use. The systems approach taken by WEISS makes it quick and easy for users to use the motor terminal board as the electrical interface for operating them. Where control technology is concerned, WEISS offers a choice between a control card with contactor that integrates the control logic and power source on the one hand, and a compact all-in-one rotary table controller with integrated control logic that acts as a servo-drive regulator on the other. This solution includes a graphical user interface, self-tuning function, energy saving mode, and cam controller function. Coordinated control of the motor holding brakes prevents wear.
If more than two million cycles are executed very dynamically per year, it’s advisable to opt for EF2 or EF3 controllers. If there are fewer, time-uncritical cycles with long pauses, the more cost-effective TS controller card will do the job. The WEISS online CAD configurator is effective for obtaining optimal results. When ordering a TC rotary table in combination with an EF2 or EF3 controller, customers receive a warranty extension to facilitate long-term planning.
If it’s freely programmable, then …
this applies to a directly driven round axis, linear motor axis, or pick&place unit (TO, ST, HL, HN, or HP). In this case, the servomotor’s connector plug is the switching interface, with the possibility of using either a single-axis controller for CR, TO, or HP components or else a multi-axis controller for multiple components. It’s then only necessary to choose the interface; the options are field bus to SPS or drive controller.
The system enables easy control using basic components available from WEISS that are designed to prevent incorrect connections, minimize installation times, and optimize the overall control chain. Preterminated connection cables and drive controllers designed and preparametrized to work with specific axes constitute the visible part of the WEISS Application Software (W.A.S.) along with the graphical user interface. The connections to the machine controller remain quite inconspicuous while sending all required signals via a field bus line. A lean standard configuration makes for comfortable setup; alternatively, an advanced version is available with flexibly configurable assignment of data words containing information on the WEISS axis.
The W.A.S. WEISS Application Software contains all of our expertise on how to operate our products in the best possible way. The software allows all the WEISS components connected to the W.A.S. 2 control system to be started up and programmed quickly and easily – independently from the overall system. It also offers many useful functions for optimization and diagnostics.
Sensible use of software.
Software like the W.A.S. system facilitates configuration by controlling axes, handling motion control, and harmonizing the communication interfaces. This software tool ensures easy programming, fast processes, and appropriate motion profiles and checks all the way down to the last bit. It’s a smart service that significantly facilitates startup with autotuning and diagnosis.
Two different versions support a system-oriented approach: W.A.S. 2 Compact equipped with a drive controller and integrated motion controller for up to four axes, and W.A.S. 2 Scalable boasting a separate motion controller and safety function for up to 32 axes. The safety functionality includes a Safe Limited Speed (SLS) feature that can be selected when configuring pick&place units to provide greater safety for users working close to axes.
Summing up, there’s no doubt that the effort required to integrate a WEISS axis along with the corresponding control package is considerably less than for a conventional configuration. The benefits include superior performance due to optimized cycle times, reduced maintenance requirements, and last but not least a systemic approach that yields significant time savings during startup. If what matters most is to save time (and time is money!), a control chain “Made By WEISS” lets you concentrate on leveraging your own creative skills while taking advantage of smart functionality.
Under the motto What's Next? The German SPS_Magazine present a series of articles in cooperation with the WEISS Group that focus on the digital transformation. Both internal and external topics are examined in depth. They follow technologyand customer-oriented possible steps of a digitization strategy and show added values for mechanical engineers or end users. Join us on this exciting journey ... your WEISS Team.