Smart Ethernet drives make automation EASY ...

Written by: Baldor UK Ltd | Published:

Baldor's 'smart' drives offer economic and space-saving solutions for common single-axis automation problems, plus an Ethernet interface compatible with the Powerlink motion control standard and TCP/IP. Programming capability is fitted without cost on all Baldor's MicroFlex and MotiFlex single/three-phase drives. It allows standalone drives to implement common automation tasks such as cut/feed to length, indexing, simple pick and place, and machine adjustments.

More flexible motion control systems building

'Smart' drives offer economic and space-saving solutions for many common single-axis motion control automation requirements. Baldor's latest smart drives also feature an Ethernet-compatible interface compatible with the deterministic motion control networking protocol, Powerlink.

The programming capability is a subset of the well known Mint language called Mint Lite, and is now fitted without charge on all of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100 single- and three-phase drive ranges. These are available in a broad choice of power ratings up to 33.5 A - with higher ratings available shortly. The versatile drives may be used to control rotary and linear servo motors, linear motors, closed-loop vector motors, and in V/Hz control modes.

Built-in support for common tasks
Mint Lite allows standalone drives to provide solutions for many common automation tasks such as cutting or feeding to length, indexing axes, simple pick and place motion, and machine adjustments such as changing guides or backstops to reconfigure machinery for new batches. Such capabilities are widely required in a large number of manufacturing and processing sectors. More flexible PLC interfacing is another notable application for the new drives. The drives' TCP/IP-compatible Ethernet interface also makes it simple to link into Ethernet factory networks for changing product recipes, reporting production metrics, etc.

All of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100 drives come with built-in I/O as standard - including fast latch inputs for registration applications - plus CANopen manager capability to support distributed I/O expansion and HMI interfacing. MotiFlex e100 drives offer card slots for further local I/O expansion and fieldbus connectivity (supporting interfaces such as EtherNet/IP, Profinet-IO, Profibus and DeviceNet).

If used in a Powerlink system, the local intelligence adds versatile system building capabilities. Critical events can be acted on directly, eliminating the impact of network and controller scan time latencies; the faster response of critical axes can be translated directly into higher throughput. Another fundamental difference a smart drive can make is by using the local intelligence to offload a centralised Powerlink network controller. For machine builders configuring systems with large numbers of motion axes, this can save a lot as Baldor fits Mint Lite capability as standard.

Development and configuration tools for the drives are included in Baldor's development environment, Mint WorkBench, which is provided without charge to users.

The smart drives complement Baldor's existing Powerlink network control possibilities: a traditional central controller available for varying numbers of motion axes - NextMove e100 - and a plug-in controller for drives called Mint Machine Module that can control either two or five axes. The plug-in control card provides access to the full capabilities of the rich Mint language, and is capable of being programmed to perform very sophisticated motion functions such as gearing and cams.

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