The arguments advocating more automation in our factories and process plants are gaining momentum and translating into a revolution in production environments.
Parker designs automated linear motion solutions such as electromechanical actuators to offer a combination of load handling, space saving and reliability attributes. This all links to the overall goal of optimising throughput and minimising costs. We’ve also noticed that versatility and simple utilisation in multi-axis solutions are also becoming more important, particularly for applications such as materials handling and feed systems, as well as production and packaging machinery.
The latest high-load rodless linear actuators, such as the HLR series, achieve a load capacity at 3847 Newtons (N) that is circa 20 percent higher than existing solutions. Notably, we’ve incorporated a square rail, which not only promotes higher load capabilities, but also longer operating life. Performance parameters include speed up to 5 m/s, acceleration up to 50 m/s2 and repeatability of ±0.05 mm.
Having high load and thrust force capabilities can save money for your plant by allowing the deployment of a smaller actuator than would normally be required. We all know that floor space costs money, so the opportunity to use more compact automation solutions and create space for additional capacity is quite literally, priceless.
Parker’s compact HLR actuators also facilitate the fast and easy creation of multi-axis solutions. If your machine or system is based on a double or multiple axis gantry design, then the HLR concept can be expanded quickly and easily, saving money by reducing design resource and solution complexity.
For instance, in double-axis applications, our system makes use of a connecting shaft to ensure synchronous and rigid transmission of the drive torque to a second linear actuator arranged in parallel. With the use of toe clamps for mounting the actuators, one or two cross beams can be fastened directly to the carriage of linear actuators, dispensing with the need for additional connection plates.
Sometimes, a complete, pre-defined drive and control package can be supplied to match and integrate actuators into a wide range of applications, and here at Parker, we can supply it. By using a pre-defined drive package consisting of actuator, motor, gearbox and servocontroller, a complete drive train can be quickly selected to suit your specific task.
Automating a machine or system is one thing, but sourcing innovative automation offering genuine competitive gain is quite another, particularly with regard to linear motion. Here, only factors such as high-load capabilities, high speed, compact dimensions, reliability, repeatability, and the simple creation of multi-axis solutions can provide the levels of future-proofing required to remain ahead of the pack.
If you would like to discover more about our HLR actuator and the benefits it can bring to your project, please click here.
This article was contributed to by Olaf Zeiss, product manager, Electromechanical and Drives Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
24 Sep 2019
It’s no secret that the Millennial Generation’s practices and preferences are shifting consumer product design and marketing messages across the board. But how does that trend affect product design in the world of industrial manufacturing? Are we seeing similar trends in pneumatic and electromechanical design on the factory floor?
The short answer is yes. Millennial engineers, or makers - a popular term coined by this generation, are leading the transformation of our industry. Makers are known for their self-sufficiency. They don’t want to have to make a phone call or wait several days for information. They want to be able to find the answers themselves and get on with their creations.Challenging the status quo
The key is that members of this generation are not afraid to challenge the process or the system. When it comes to pneumatic and electromechanical actuator sizing, the process has been the same for decades. Actuators are designed conservatively to meet many safety and service factors. Calculations are complex but everyone has designed this way because it has worked, and why fix something that is not broken? The reality of this approach, is that very large actuators are specified across a machine and the makers are asking “do the actuators really have to be that big?”
Tools that allow users to simulate their system design with the exact components they need to create the desired motion are helping us to understand that the actuators can be much smaller. We can now design actuators that are specific to the application, while saving money and cost.Modern actuator sizing
Parker’s Virtual Engineer is a web-based product selection program that enables this generation to go out there and get the answers. Users don’t need to have studied electrical engineering to operate. Recently graduated engineers are being asked to specify components on a wide variety of machinery or systems that they haven’t created. No matter what your technical background is you can specify an actuator. It allows the designer to jump in and make a difference – and that’s what the makers are looking to do.
Virtual Engineer was designed for pneumatic and electromechanical actuator sizing in linear motion applications. Users are able to:
Attending PackExpo 2019? Meet our engineers at PackExpo in Las Vegas September 23 - 25 and see a demonstration of the Virtual Engineer at booth LS-6288. Not attending the show? Learn more about Virtual Engineer here.
This article was contributed by Marissa Tucker, product marketing manager for controls and HMI and Tim Faillo, global program manager for factory automation, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
5 Sep 2019
This is the final of a three-part series that spoke to the various feedback devices that are provided as options on Parker Servo Motors. Part 1 & Part 2 provided the basic theory of operation for the devices and provided some guidance on why you might choose one versus the other, along with some helpful formulas for calculating required resolution. The following is a quick summary and recommendations on selecting the best feedback device for your motion control application.
Incremental encoders (optical)
Good resolution - up to 20,000 ppr on standard Parker product
Good for applications where going back to home for out of application situation (power down) is not a concern
Provide absolute position upon powering up (no homing required)
Provide a very high resolution
16 bit = 65,536 ppr
20 bit = 1,048,576 ppr
Options for memory download to support “smart” encoder option
Option to allow for single cable from the motor for power and feedback
Good resolution (12 bit)
Very rugged – 40g vibration and 200g shock
High temp suitability – up to 200 deg. C
Provide absolute position within a single turn
Accuracy not as good as incremental or absolute encoders
Article contributed by Jeff Nazzaro, gearhead and motor product manager, Electromechanical & Drives Division, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
31 Jul 2019
In an industrial manufacturing environment, t-slot framing is often used for workstations, machine guarding, enclosures, tables, carts and more. When you have your initial idea for building with t-slot framing, how do you convey the concept? Do you use a piece of paper, CAD or even the famous napkin to sketch out your thoughts?
Traditionally, and still today, the “napkin sketch” method is how most t-slot aluminum framing companies encourage the user to send in information. It is very effective and allows the customer to quickly convey their ideas.
You might notice a trend that takes the customer from the “paper napkin sketch” to the “electronic or digital napkin sketch.” With the increasing use of 3D CAD systems, customers can use electronic tools to create their designs. The user libraries can be downloaded from the web and all the parts and components become available for use in your CAD system. Some companies offer a plug-in to a specific 3D CAD system. This means that their software works with that specific 3D CAD system, which may or may not be the system that you’re using. Other companies offer a standalone tool that can export files into various 3D CAD formats.
Here are a few ways to access these tools
With so many projects and the time constraints that go along with them, it is important for users to work efficiently. Using an electronic tool to “sketch” your design will allow you to import that assembly into your current project. This is very valuable if it is part of a larger machine design. Also, being able to interact with a trusted partner to quickly receive a quote helps with the process of understanding project costs along the way.
Are you ready to take your concept to completion? Start with the Parker T-Slot Aluminum Design Architect (TADA). This is a free tool that you can use to design your tables, carts, workstations, enclosures and more. We also have a network of Design Centers located throughout North America that are ready to help you with your design needs using T-slot aluminum framing.
Parker is making t-slot aluminum framing design easier than ever. For mechanical design engineers, lean manufacturing leaders and do-it-yourselfers, the Parker T-Slot Aluminum Design Architect (TADA) software allows you to take more creative control over your assembly designs. Download your free, fully functional copy today.
Article contributed by Mario Mitchell, product manager for T-slot Aluminum Framing, Electromechanical & Drives Division North America, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
11 Apr 2019
Stretch films are essential in the packaging industry as they provide a versatile and high-quality solution for packing products in a safe and economical way. Film is produced by a flat die extrusion process where AC motors and AC variable speed drives play a significant role in ensuring a high-quality output.
The process starts with the extruder that is essentially a pump that melts and transports fluids of high viscosity. The polymer enters into the extruder via a gravimetric feed, and through the combined actions of heat and mechanical stress, the material is melted, mixed and pushed through an extrusion head to give the desired shape. After exiting the extrusion head, the material enters a cooling unit, here water cooled ‘chill rolls’ reduce the temperature of the film before it is finally wound onto rolls.Extruder
The extruder consists of a hollow cylinder in which rotates a single or double screw driven by an electric motor; this is usually coupled to the plasticising screw by a gearbox. The motor provides the torque required and rotates at a speed necessary to obtain the expected melt flow rate. Any failure in the precise control of the screw speed can cause changes in film thickness in the machine direction.
For the past 20 years, AC motors have typically taken over from DC motors in the control of the extruder screw in cast film line applications. They have been able to deliver many advantages in terms of convenience, reliability, low maintenance and a reduction in the overall dimensions of the system solution. AC motors are controlled by AC variable speed drives that guarantee stable rotation - even at very low speeds (via a closed loop circuit through incremental encoders), provide short circuit protection (low or high voltage), and incorporate EMC filters to eliminate electrical noise and interference.
In recent years, along with AC motors and drives, torque motors have also been utilised in screw extrusion control. These offer a complete direct drive solution that does not require the assembly of different elements such as a gearbox, belts and pulleys. Torque motors guarantee uniformity in the motion, linearity and constancy in the extrusion of the plastic material.Cooling section
As previously mentioned, when the material leaves the extrusion head, it is melted on chilling rolls that form the cooling section of the cast film production line. The cooling unit is comprised of a primary quenching roll, that cools the film on one side, and a secondary roll, that cools the film on the opposite side. It also includes a motorised roll positioning system for correct vertical and cross machine direction alignment of the rolls, and in many cases a vacuum box and/or air knife.
The rolls must be perfectly aligned with the web to guarantee uniform tension and to minimise thickness variations across the width of the film. In addition, the angular velocity of the rolls must be well controlled to prevent film thickness fluctuations in the machine direction.Accumulator and winder section
Within the cooling and winding sections we find the accumulator, this is used to allow splicing of the web being fed from an empty winder to a full winder at zero speed without stopping the line.
At the end of the process, a further winder brings the extruder material onto rolls. The winding process has to preserve the film’s properties and dimensions when the rolls are unwound in other downstream processes.
There are several different types of winders, although the typical one used one in cast film applications is a ‘turret’ or ‘centre’ winder where the web tension decreases as the roll diameter increases.
All the movements performed in the cooling, accumulator and winder sections are driven by AC motors and drives that govern the web speed and the correct web tensioning.
AC Drives and Motors
AC Drives with high-end control are very important for guaranteeing high-quality film throughout the process. Easy-to-configure software for the closed loop control and optimum efficiency for many different types of material is a vital element of a cast film line system and process.
Parker's AC30 series with power ratings ranging from 0.75 to 450 kW coupled with the company’s Quicktool software with full IEC61131PLC functionality or Parker DSE Lite software, provides all the features needed to achieve optimum synchronisation between all line sections. It allows customers to create, parameterise and configure user-defined applications using dedicated function blocks such as the winder, PID and diameter calculator. The AC30 series also provides access to a large library of application macros and worked examples.
Connectivity via EtherCAT, Profinet, Ethernet IP and Modbus TCP IP through a dual Ethernet port enables communication between individual drives in a simple and flexible way and supports intelligent data analytics and connection to external servers. The line setpoint can be sent through a very fast channel supported by 1588 time synchronised peer-to-peer communication, and each part of the machine has its own regulation, either within the drives, or through communication protocol by the PLC.
An animation shows how high a performance drive solution supports the optimal control of a cast film line.
Article contributed by Jean-Philippe Olry, application engineer industrial market, Electromechanical & Drives Division Europe of Parker Hannifin Corporation.
4 Apr 2019
Using a variable frequency drive (VFD) can be beneficial in many constant speed applications driven by electric motors, such as those that require controlled starting and have been historically served by a reduced voltage soft-starter (RVSS). While an RVSS and a VFD can both provide a controlled start, let’s examine the benefits of each technology and when it makes sense to use one over the other.
The differences between RVSS and VFDs and when to select one or the other for an application is determined by the following factors (when using a NEMA design B three phase induction motor):
An RVSS can be used to limit inrush current and reduce mechanical stresses on the motor and device it is powering during the starting cycle. The RVSS ramps the starting voltage from 40% (typical) to 100% over a set time (2 - 15 seconds typical). Starting torque is significantly reduced, rising to full torque at rated voltage.
By using an RVSS, locked rotor torque will be approximately:
Rated Torque x 2 x (% applied voltage)2
At a 40% start voltage, locked rotor torque will be:
Locked Rotor Torque = Rated Torque x 2 x (0.40)2 = 0.32 (32% of rated torque)
Because both the voltage and frequency are varied with a VFD, the motor will be at 100% flux at any speed resulting in the ability to produce 100% torque at 100% current at any speed below base speed. Therefore, a VFD can be used as a full torque soft starter in place of an RVSS. When used in this capacity, a VFD is capable of starting loads that require up to 200% torque such as mixers and production machinery with no inrush current.
Parker has recently introduced the AC10 series of general purpose VFDs, available at 230V to 20HP and 460V to 250HP and offer:
Article contributed by Bill Riley, business development manager for the Drives Business Unit, Electromechanical & Drives Division North America, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
6 Mar 2019