Quadrel Labeling Systems designs and builds all of their stepper-based Pressure Sensitive and Shrink Sleeve Labeling Systems using stepper motor technologies and has been doing so since the late 1980s.
Certain situations can prompt a company to change components within a system. For example, when a supplier is sold to a larger company, which then discontinues the product line being used. Quadrel had this occur with their motion system components, which meant that they needed to find another vendor with a product of equal or greater capabilities.
The motion product selected was Applied Motion Products’s STAC6-S advanced microstep drive with encoder input. The STAC6-S stepper drive is a two-phase, bipolar step motor drive specifically for high-speed, high-torque applications. It uses current control for smoothness over a wide speed range. The STAC6-S operates on single-phase 120 Vac and outputs up to 6.0 A/phase (peak-of-sine) to the step motor and features over-voltage, over-temperature, and over-current protection and is complemented by a specially matched set of low-loss NEMA 23 and NEMA 34 frame step motors.
The STAC6-S was able to duplicate the performance, match the footprint, and offer programmable features and IO at basically the same price as the discontinued product. Further, the STM-24 integrated drive and motor was also used to replace a bulky synchronous stepping motor, which allowed Quadrel to offer programmable variable speed for their TableTop systems at basically the same price as the synchronous motors.
A few of the features of the STAC6 that make it a good fit for Quadrel’s Labeling Systems include anti-resonance, torque ripple smoothing, and microstepping. Additionally, the company gained a bonus capability—the STAC6 product line is fully programmable, which offers the company’s engineering team-high levels of flexibility with their stepping motor applications. And, there is no need to provide additional electrical components to gain this flexibility.
The drives have simple and intuitive fault protection that designers, as well as users, can implement when debugging controls. Simple multicolor blinking LEDs with a printed decode chart right on the controller case makes it easy for the team to find wiring errors, missing motor fields, low input voltages, and much more.
While in operation, the resolution, direction, output torque, and integrated programmable inputs and outputs offer plenty of application flexibility to use the component in most of Quadrel’s wide variety of Pressure Sensitive and Shrink Sleeve Labeling system designs.
Quadrel’s electronic architecture sends step pulse signals via high-speed I/O ports to different components during operation. The STAC6-S stepper drive comes with an RS-232 port for configuration and programming. It also provides an RS-485 port for streaming serial (SCL) and Q commands over serial networks with up to 32 axes. Accelerations and decelerations, profile, and multiple continuous control data following pulse trains are sent to the drives. When a servo application is too expensive for one of Quadrel’s customers, the company will essentially mimic the servo application using the STAC6 controller and do so at a much lower price point for the customer.
Nearly all of the company’s labeling applications only need 1000 steps per revolution, but labeling requires high current and low inertia to cycle the label drive system and precisely control the label movement. Each STAC6 drive comes with an encoder feedback connector for applications such as these that demand high levels of position accuracy not typically available when using typical open-loop step motor systems. Through the use of a double-shaft step motor with incremental encoders Stall Detection or Stall Prevention can be activated in the drive.
The STAC6-S Advanced Microstep Drives have three pulse-based control modes, including step and direction, A/B quadrature, and CW/CCW pulse; as well as velocity control mode with joystick operation; streaming serial command mode for commands sent from a host PC or PLC using serial communications ports; multi-axis stored program mode; seven digital inputs and three digital outputs that are all optically isolated; two analog inputs; torque ripple smoothing; and microstepping to 51,200 steps per revolution. UL Recognized (File No. E310506), CE approved, and RoHS compliant.
Applied Motion Products