The pressure to add more automation capabilities to your machines can be intense. Your customers face extraordinary workforce challenges in addition to unexpected disruptions that threaten their ability to compete. Eighty percent of manufacturers see smart manufacturing as key to future success.
But you face a dizzying array of choices for automation and motion controls to design better machines for your customers. From nano programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to robotic motion controllers, these components provide end users with additional layers of intelligence, automation, and machine analytics. It can be overwhelming.
You want to reduce time for commissioning new machines, debugging, and maintenance. You are looking for automation platforms that are flexible, but also help you grow.
Controllers provide flexibility to differentiate your machines
The newest controllers offer machine builders a strong foundation but also creative freedom to differentiate. These control systems can handle simple to complex machine architectures and integrate into large complicated systems. They help customers of all types and sizes achieve highly productive, efficient, scalable, and sustainable machine designs.
The software helps you grow and differentiate your business. The leading software solutions for machine builders are based on global automation standards and offer flexibility and scalability. The software has core functions but is not a black box that always does the same thing. You do not need to create code from scratch with every new machine. You can create custom libraries or utilize existing, tested, and validated libraries and functions. The software also allows any users to lock up intellectual property.
High performance robotic solutions with dynamic servo technology
Your customers seek to integrate robotic solutions into machine design, especially for material handling, material working, and packaging segments. The complex machine functions can be performed by single-axis robots, cartesian robots, delta robots, and SCARA robots. The spectrum of high-performance offerings for machine builders also includes:
- Dynamic standalone servo drives with servo motors
- Integrated servo drives and motors
- Linear motion, Cartesian robots, and Delta robots controlled by servo drives
The latest generation of servo drives embed intelligence and support multiple fieldbuses. They also support third-party motor commutation capability and can be integrated for a wide range of motion control functionalities, machines, and systems.
An example of the latest innovations is a new multi-carrier transport system that allows machine builders to design machines that are faster and more flexible with a smaller footprint. The system uses the latest linear motion technology to move products individually through the machine. It allows end users to expand their throughput without expanding their footprint. They can do more without having to expand to another line, which might be impractical or expensive if they have to go to a new or bigger building.
Digital twin: a powerful tool to simulate new systems
The most innovative controllers include digital twin capabilities to reduce commissioning time and improve ease of implementation of systems. A digital twin is a powerful tool for helping machine builders advance their code optimization, design validation, and problem solving. The software runs real-time simulation of physical systems without having to wait for the physical system to be built.
A digital twin framework allows you to:
- Increase productivity
- Improve product design and quality through simulation of “what if” scenarios and incorporating feedback
- Improve machine performance by anticipating and avoiding potential operator mistakes
With the latest software advances, which include digital twin capabilities, customers can quickly commission and run a virtual delta robotic system for pick-and-place with infeed conveyors or an MC12 system, just by connecting with the robotics controller.
The power of software innovations brings technology together
End users want you to help them build a machine that can push information to the shop floor. The latest innovations in software accomplish this by providing a single platform for many functions, including motion control and robotics/mechatronics. The software:
- Is scalable, secure, and works with PLCs and nano-controllers through robotics controllers, at a connected level, and with different networks and Ethernet protocols
- Saves engineering time with predefined and validated templates that allow you to apply complete libraries or even a new machine module
- Creates freedom to differentiate; once you embark on machine design, the software offers creative freedom
- Automates regression testing, which reduces commissioning time, debugging time, and helps test your application to make sure it does not impact other features
- Provides an open connection to third-party networks and fieldbuses
The software platform should give you the peace of mind of creating robust and reusable code while making it easier for you to offer your customers smarter machines.
The right partner matters from design through the machine life cycle
Ultimately, you want a partner who can help you bring innovations to the market faster. No matter where you are on the machine builder spectrum, from small to global, you neeed a partner that will be side-by-side with you, devoting vast resources to help you incorporate more automation and motion.
A partner’s R&D should show you what to think about for the next level of machine automation and motion control, such as a multi-carrier transport system. Your partner should be able to educate you on machine analytics and how to leverage the leading machine programming software. Seek out a partner to prototype and test innovations that are not fully developed. Find a partner that will listen and go back to its design team with the feedback.
One differentiator to look for in a partner is whether their engineering resources will lead you to the right component based on what you need, or do they limit you to the components they offer? Does your partner have a cohesive automation and motion solution portfolio, all-in-one software, and openness with third-party network connectivity?
Learn how a partner can help you build better machines that incorporate more robotics and motion.
Filed Under: Schneider Electric Sponsored Content