We are witnessing the increasing take-up of IE (Industrial Ethernet) as engineers continue leveraging the benefits of network connectivity over traditional hardwired networks. The trick, however, has been achieving IE connectivity in a cost-effective and simple way. For those tasked with finding a cost-effective means of connecting valve systems to IE, Parker's new network node can provide a solution.
The need for connectivity largely results from the potential for real-time control of manufacturing processes, which in turn captures and generates data to aid the implementation of predictive maintenance strategies and make decisions based on shop-floor trends. Several IE protocols such as Profinet, Ethernet /IP, EtherCAT and others are introduced and widely adopted due to their advantages over traditional fieldbus networks. You will probably not be surprised to learn that IE protocols are today the fastest growing deployed network type in new industrial installations with an annual growth rate of 22 percent.
IE become popular thanks to the availability of several protocols, broad market acceptance, a good degree of backwards compatibility and the availability of rugged components (hardwired) which are typically protected from electrical noises.
Parker network connectivity options
Parker’s global focus on factory automation means has resulted in an extensive range of network connectivity options with the addition of a cost-effective IE node. The new P2M IE node provides an inexpensive means of connecting Moduflex Valves, H Series ISO valve and H Micro valve families to IE. P2M IE node is intuitive, and easy to use, install and maintain. Moreover, the network node is safe-power capable, meaning auxiliary valve power can be supplied by a safety device in support of the European Machinery Directive. This capability allows for test-pulse (OSSD) compatibility and can be supplied with auxiliary power from a safe output device, such as a safe relay or a remote safe DO module.
With the P2M IE node, simple diagnostic input data is provided over the network for easy troubleshooting and predictive maintenance. There are useful diagnostic flags in process (cyclic) data for easy access, including voltage and temperature warnings, communication error and solenoid short-circuit error. This is complemented by detailed diagnostic information in parameter (acyclic) data, such as voltage readings, configuration options and cycle count for each solenoid.
Low-cost connectivity with integrated diagnostics is at last a reality, further reducing complexity and cost at the machine, while aligning with the needs and objectives of smart factory and Industry 4.0 objectives.
Today Parker offers a full range of IE connectivity options, including EtherNet/IP, Profinet IO, EtherCAT, Ethernet PowerLink, Modbus TCP/IP and CC-Link IE protocols.
Find out more about Parker's P2M network mode and the benefits it can bring to your project.
Article contributed by Patrick Berdal, EMEA product manager for control devices, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
5 Jun 2019
As Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continue to grow and evolve, they promise numerous benefits for a leaner enterprise. In the realm of machine tools, the IIoT can certainly offer chances for improvements in monitoring and maintenance. There are, however, some concerns that must be addressed before this becomes a reality.
Machine tool manufacturers seek to use such components to make their products more reliable and productive, without increasing initial machine cost. This situation is driving a trend of increased cooperation between end users, machine design engineers and their engineering partners in electro-mechanical and pneumatic motion components.
The end goal is to offer useful information to factory managers who can act on the data that machines collect. Considering this, all partners must work together to set up effective IIoT-capable systems. End users know what information they need for their businesses. Machine designers know the unique concerns and opportunities present in a particular application. Automation component suppliers know how to get data from edge devices to factory software and the internet. Together these engineers can create systems that help factories achieve a leaner, more automated business.
These alliances work to find automation solutions that cost-effectively incorporate better connectivity, control and intelligence into machine tools. Engineering partners can make sure that all collected data is accurate and that it represents important parameters relevant in the real world. They can specify which components to use and which communications protocols make sense for a given application.
Take, for example, a pneumatic tool used to grasp blank parts and load them into position on a cutting machine. Its pneumatic valves are controlled by solenoids, and the voltage of the coils can be monitored for signs of impending failure. To make this data actionable, machine designers need a means of acquiring that information. Open-standard protocols such as IO Link provide affordable serial communication with low-level edge devices, connecting them to motion controllers which in turn connect to the factory network and, if desired, to an internet gateway. Motion component manufacturers are starting to offer IO Link modules for their pneumatic valves, providing an easily integrated, cost-effective solution.
Rather, it is an approach that allows the collection and effective interpretation of data. So far, the status quo in industrial equipment and machine tools has been to monitor one or two aspects of a system, such as position or speed. However, tracking the number of cycles could supply business managers with data that is important for measuring production, service life and total cost of ownership.
Other parameters such as thermal warning may allow engineers to spot when equipment is not operating correctly or as efficiently as it could. Managers can then schedule maintenance predictably and prevent small problems from becoming big headaches.
A good example is a motor that powers the position of a cutting tool. In the past, the motion controller or PLC received only speed and position information from the motor and its encoder. Now it must be able to receive information about errors, temperature and power factor. Most PACs (programmable automation controllers) are able to handle these inputs and provide the logic that determines when to send a maintenance alert. Some PACs even have internet gateways as part of their embedded HMIs (human-machine interfaces). This greatly simplifies the programming required to connect machines to the internet.
3. Marry the muscles of machines with intelligent motion control
As industry continues to move into the 21st century, the demand for automated, intelligent equipment and controls is sure to expand into machine tool applications, as well as transportation, energy, food and beverage, and life sciences.
Each of these applications has its own set of unique requirements. For example, food and beverage applications require absolute cleanliness and frequent, periodic maintenance, whereas transportation applications require long operating times and harsh, continually varying environments. For machine tools, the approach marries the muscles of machines with intelligent motion control, and then shares information about machine health and production with the entire enterprise.
As mentioned, the IIoT is a highly integrated approach to industrial applications, machine tools and operations. It requires collaboration on many levels between machine tool builders, motion control suppliers, sensor manufacturers, infrastructure vendors and machine end users. When each partner offers the essential expertise needed, then machine intelligence can be applied to many different kinds of processes and business goals.
Article contributed by Linda Caron, product manager for Factory Automation, Pneumatic Division
31 May 2019
As a concept, right-sizing is inherently linked to smart machine design, which brings about rewards such as optimised space, considerable savings on components and installation, inherent safety by design and, oh yes, that all-important future-proofing against ever-changing requirements.
Of course, the design engineers need a sound understanding of standard machine components, as well as knowledge of current machinery safety standards and a firm grasp of the desired outcome in terms of machine function. Meeting all of these requirements when selecting products is a process known as right-sizing. In pneumatic applications right-sizing can impart considerable benefits, especially with regard to valve manifolds.
Valves are generally sized by cylinder bore, actuation speed and required pressure. In the past, the entire valve manifold would be sized based on the largest force/speed requirements to ensure enough flow was present in the pneumatic system, or by splitting between two manifolds (low and high pressure/flow). However, this methodology results in waste, both in terms of compressed air and the expense and size of the manifold, not to mention the labour needed to install two manifolds.
Today, right sizing is achieved by selecting the correct valve for each actuator on one manifold based on speed and bore size for a given flow requirement. In addition, we are pleased to report that some ISO valve manifolds, such as Parker’s H Series, offer a broad range of flows (0.55 Cv up to 3.0 Cv) on one manifold for ease of right-sizing.
Here’s a practical application to consider. Assume a machine that needs the following: four actuators requiring <0.5 Cv; four actuators requiring 1 Cv; and two actuators requiring 2 Cv. This application can be sized several different ways based on the highest flow requirements (solution 1), by splitting the application into two different manifolds for varying flow (solution 2), and by right-sizing each valve to the corresponding actuator (solution 3).
In this example, a cost estimation was produced for a collective hard-wired system and a networked (Ethernet) system in all three solutions. Right-sizing each valve to the corresponding actuator (solution 3), proved to be the most cost effective for both. Beginning with hard wiring, right-sizing saved $92 against solution 2, and $656.60 against solution 1. Similarly, for the networked system, right-sizing produced savings of $552 compared with solution 2 and $656.60 when pitched against solution 1. In addition, labour is not included in these estimations, which would be a particular cost for solution 2, where two manifolds have to be installed.
We can say with certainty that right-sizing works for a number of reasons. Aside from certain valve manifolds offering a broad range of flows, buying just one manifold means purchasing fewer overall components. In addition, the cost of smaller valves is less, installation costs are reduced and less space is consumed within the machine.
Think smarter, lighter and faster.
If you would like to find out more about Parker’s H Series valve manifolds, and the benefits they can bring to machine-building projects, read the white paper "Why Right-Sizing Matters".
Article contributed by Linda Caron, product manager for Factory Automation, Pneumatic Division
24 May 2019
Manufacturing businesses have witnessed the rapid ascension of industrial networks, and in the pneumatics industry, there’s a real desire to ensure the benefits that connectivity can bring are leveraged. To maximise this opportunity, those looking to connect pneumatic valve manifolds to an industrial network will want to make sure of an optimised outcome. But how?
To begin with, select the network and communications protocol that is best suited to the application.
Common Ethernet networks and protocols, such as PROFINET IO, EtherNet/IP, EtherCat and Modbus TCP, have been around for some time now. However, the high cost of adopting such systems has restricted the range of their application to those requiring the highest levels of system sophistication. This factor is precisely why cost-effective fieldbus networks like PROFIBUS DP, DeviceNet, CANopen and AS interface have become popular for more straightforward operations.
And yet these too, are getting squeezed out of the picture. To find out why we only need to look at rapidly emerging technologies like wireless networks and open communications protocols. A clear case in point can be seen with IO-Link, which thanks to simple installation, better control and enhanced diagnostics capabilities, has already secured a large user base.
In support of IO-Link’s increasing stature, Parker has released its P2H network node, an addition to the H Series ISO valve platform. The good news is that P2H delivers a robust way of connecting H Series valves to the IO-Link network, therefore saving total system and installation costs compared with Ethernet or hard wiring.
Applications include vehicle body welding and assembly, along with systems for applying adhesives and sealants, end of arm tooling (EOAT) for robots, riveting machines, blow moulding machines and case erectors, to list but a few.
Regarding network connectivity, flexibility and modularity are the factors underpinning ease-of-use and space saving. The value of our P2M IO-Link node module, for example, is as a low-cost network connection with simple integration and easy-to-use local diagnostics. In addition, voltage monitoring and cycle counting are available through the network, simplifying diagnostics and supporting the take-up of predictive maintenance strategies.
Many general pneumatic control applications can benefit from such modules, including packaging machines, automotive systems and factory automation. In fact, if you happen to visit any automotive or packaging facility, the ‘elephant in the room’ will be clear to see: the big controller cabinet housing the PLCs and contactors. These cabinets consume valuable floor space, but now they are set to shrink in size. Safety relays are increasingly moving out of the cabinet, and trends indicate that PLCs are soon to follow. This ‘do more with less’ business model should encourage any of you who typically still hard-wire valve manifolds, to make that leap towards industrial networks.
24 Apr 2019
This blog post will describe current best practice or optimising the installation of a continuous position sensor (CPS) on to a pneumatic linear actuator.
For the purposes of the guidance, we’ll use the Parker P8S CPS (Continous Position Sensor) as a reference example. Despite being available in a range of configurations – including IO-Link or analog feedback signal, a choice of outputs and various measuring ranges – the installation procedure is common for all P8S types.
The P8S CPS is suitable for direct mounting to any T-slot cylinder. So, as a point of note, if another cylinder variant is used, such as a tie-rods or round body type, separate brackets will be required.
First of all, please appreciate that the CPS should be installed in line with the correct operating voltage. After all, there will clearly be differences between, say, an M8 analog connection versus an M12 IO-Link.
When ready to begin, move the position of the cylinder’s piston to the desired starting point – known as the zero point. Now you can insert the CPS into the cylinder’s slot or bracket, with the cable pointing back towards the zero point. To determine exactly where the CPS should be positioned, move the device until the yellow LED is illuminated. Then, slide the CPS away from the zero point until the LED turns off, and slide it back again to the position where it lights up once more. That’s your position for the CPS, so you can now secure it in place using the set screws.
Moving to configuration, this process can be performed using the teach button on the CPS. With the CPS correctly installed and the piston in the zero position, press and hold the teach button for two seconds. The LED should now blink and you can release it. The zero point has been stored in memory.
Next, set the piston position for the end point of the desired measurement range. Press the teach button once, and the measurement range has been stored. The analog signal or IO-Link process data is now configured to this range.
So far, so good. Now, move the piston from zero point to end point and check to ensure the LED remains lit throughout the travel. If you notice that the LED turns off at any point, simply repeat the configuration steps above.
To reset the measurement range to the maximum possible range, press and hold the teach button for five seconds. If you are deploying the IO-Link version of the Parker P8S, the measuring range can be configured using parameter commands, which also outline how the teach button can be locked out, for example. You can refer to the installation guides for more details on specific parameter commands.
All pretty straightforward - like anything it’s only easy if you know what you’re doing! Hopefully this short blog has proved useful in highlighting best practice when it comes to installing and configuring CPS sensors.
Watch in this video How to Install and Configure the P8S Continuing Position Sensor.
Article contributed by Franck Roussilon, product manager, Actuators Europe, Parker Hannifin, Pneumatic Division Europe
11 Apr 2019
25 Mar 2019