Careful and correct sensor installation is vital if accurate and reliable information is to be measured and communicated from the sensor.
What all engineers want when it comes to sensor installation is a simple, secure and rapid assembly process, without complicated processes such as the need for additional mountings.
The P8S proximity sensor offers universal use, flexible integration and excellent form. Its square design is also suitable for rapid installation in industry-standard T-slots, regardless of cylinder profile or brand. The upshot of this direct, drop-in design – as opposed to ‘turn-in’ or ‘slide-in’ concepts – is a significant reduction in installation time.
Among the innovations with the P8S are retaining ribs on the side of the sensor body that enable simple mounting, including hard-to-reach locations or overhead assemblies. These ribs ensure the sensor conveniently holds its position in the T-slot even before the screw is tightened.
To begin the installation, simply slide the sensor into the T-slot. When in the desired position, a quarter-turn of the eccentric stainless steel screw is all that is required to secure the sensor. To further simplify mounting, the screw head design is such that it accepts either a flat-blade screwdriver or Allen key. The mounting screw even features a knurled head that helps to withstand shock or vibration.
Of course, not all cylinders have T-slots. With P8S sensors this is not a problem as they also mount externally to cylinders. As a result, fitment to round, tie rod and profile cylinders are straightforward.
To make life as simple as possible, every P8S sensor is delivered with a specific adaptor to suit dovetail grooves. Also available are special brackets for round and tie-rod cylinders. The concept is to provide one sensor for all actuator types and brands - not just Parker units.
Cables are be supplied in three or 10 metre lengths (flying lead) or 0.3 metres with an M8 rotating plug, as standard.
Ultimately, automation demands excellent functionality and precision, which in turn requires solid expertise and knowledge at all levels, including best-practice installation.
To discover more about Parker P8S sensors and benefits they can deliver, watch this video:
This article was contributed by Franck Roussilon, product manager, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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.
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
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
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.
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
To ensure optimum machine safety, design engineers need a solid understanding of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and how to comply with required safety levels.
A safety exhaust valve when incorporated into an air preparation system, lets the user safely and reliably shut off the pneumatic energy, stopping compressed air-flow to the machine and allowing downstream pressure to exhaust.
Installing a pneumatic safety exhaust valve is a simple and cost-effective way to achieve machine safety and to comply with the directive.
Here are four things to consider for your application:
To eliminate the danger of residual energy making its way into the machine, select a solution which offers a series-parallel flow design, such as Parker’s P33 valve. This permits higher exhaust flow capability and ensures low residual pressure during a fault.
Essentially, the two valve elements are arranged such that air from inlet to outlet must pass through both valves in series, but the flow path from outlet to exhaust is in parallel.
Cross-flow technology ensures that both valve elements (redundant design) must shift to supply air downstream and, if either valve element is out of position with the other, downstream air will dump to exhaust in parallel.
Monitoring detects faults or failures in control systems, and checks for short-circuit faults. The monitoring portion of a safety system must check if both sides of the safety valve shift together every time by monitoring the condition of pressure-operated sensors. These sensors are hardwired into the controls and monitored by the external control system.
This is generally done with most safety relays and safety PLCs. The use of sophisticated controls and monitoring ensures sensors are not bypassed and faults are detected so the valve functions as intended.
Statistical component life (B10d) is key to any safety component. When designing a safety system according to ISO 13849-1, each component in the system needs a B10d or a mean time to dangerous failure (MTTFd).
Engineers use a B10d value, along with the number of operations (nop) to determine the MTTFd of the component for the application:
MTTFd = B10d/nop.
Valves that use electromechanical components for monitoring are usually limited by the life of the circuit boards or mechanical wear parts.
Using solid-state electronic pressure sensors for monitoring greatly improves the B10d numbers as there are no mechanical wear components.
The required Performance Level (PLr) should be determined by a risk assessment. Once a PLr is determined, application statistical component life (MTTFd), controls architecture (Category), diagnostic coverage (DC), and consideration of common-cause failures (CCF) can be used to determine the system PL. The system PL must equal or exceed the Performance Level.
For applications where the severity of injury and level of exposure to the hazard are high, the percentage of diagnostic coverage of the monitoring system must be high as well. Depending on the safety relays or safety PLCs used, the system can achieve a High-Performance Level, up to PL e and Safe Integrity Level to SIL 3.
If a risk assessment demands a safety rating of PLc or higher, a redundant safety exhaust valve is a simple-to-implement and cost-effective way to attain the required safety level.
Our white paper Selecting & Integrating Pneumatic Safety Exhaust Valves provides more in-depth support with the correct specification and integration of safety exhaust valves.
Article contributed by Linda Caron, global product manager for Factory Automation, Pneumatic Division.
With the ever-increasing complexity of modern pneumatic components, it becomes crucial to know what to look for and what is best suited to your system. Choosing and maintaining system components wisely, right through from compressors to workstations, can help save the expense of unplanned downtime or costly rebuilds. Conversely, a few wrong choices can lead to everything from wasted energy to system failures. To avoid these pitfalls, here are some simple steps to take when looking to maximise the performance of your company’s all-important pneumatic components.
Preventive and predictive maintenance
Just like carrying out maintenance tests and oil changes on a vehicle, pneumatic systems also require regular upkeep to prevent more serious issues down the line. In compressed air systems, it is important to ensure that lubricators are not left to run dry; filters are cleaned; and all contaminants such as rust, metal shavings, water, and unwanted oils are removed.
Predictive maintenance is about being proactive, rather than reactive, to avoid component failures, and it is often the work of sensors (available for almost every factory component) that alert you to potential problems. A flow sensor that fits in-line with a Filter Regulator Lubricator (FRL) unit are able to identify blocked filters, while continuous position sensors can be an indicator over time to the wear to which cylinders are exposed.
Compliance and safety
Making sure that a system is compliant with current standards is also critical to avoid costly downtime and equipment overhaul. The recently-updated standard known as DIN ISO 8573-1 governs filtration levels. Defined down to the micrometre, it identifies the solids, water and oil that should be separated out to maintain a well-functioning system.
Similar to checking system compliance, carrying out a risk assessment and consulting an administrative body that serves those involved in workplace health and safety are important procedures to help minimize the risk of workplace injuries. Bringing in light curtains, interlocks, machine guarding or safety exhaust products to block or prevent hazards can be impactful measures in this regard.
Specification and integration
Right from the start of the specification process, selection of accurately sized equipment saves money and valuable energy, which oversizing wastes. As alternatives to oversizing and waste, consider implementing pressure boosters that allow the flow from a compressor to the largest workpiece, and pneumatic zoning on manifolds that can be used to mix pressures. The simple step of locking regulators prevents workers from adjusting a system’s overall pressure to supply more air to individual workstations which ultimately could damage a sealing system, waste energy, or even cause physical harm.
Updates in terms of the connectivity of the factory floor are worth considering as well. Low-cost Ethernet connections are more frequently replacing hardwired solutions and associated trunks of cables to provide network-based connectivity across a facility. IO-Link connectivity, to run field-level devices back to the IO-Link master, provides further opportunity for savings in time, wiring, component cost and troubleshooting. Additionally, many of today’s advanced network nodes are able to supply prognostic data for predictive maintenance and in-built sensors to check for shorts, over current, cycle counting, thermal management, among other things.
If you would like to discover out more about Parker’s range of pneumatic components, please click here.
Article contributed by Linda Caron, global product manager for Factory Automation, Pneumatic Division.
The demand for aluminium has been on a relentless growth track, driven by the needs of many and diverse industries in established and rapidly developing regions of the world. The introduction of point feeding in the aluminium processing and production industry back in the 1970s helped provide a welcome improvement in equipment and pot life as well as reducing maintenance costs and downtime.
An additional important benefit has been a significant advancement in the controllability of alumina feeding. A regular repeatable small alumina dose is critical to the control of reduction pots, providing the operator with control over the pot, optimising its performance and reducing generation of global warming gases.
Controlling alumina feeding enables the cells to run at an optimum level and prevents the build-up of undissolved alumina in the bath, leading to a “mucky” pot. Point feeding the pot correctly requires the feed hole in the crust to be open at the time of alumina discharge.Crust breaker technology advancements
The quest for open feeder holes has led to crust breaker technology advancements and the introduction of bath sensing systems. The bath sensing system controls the operation of a pneumatic crust breaker cylinder to break the crust and retract as soon as the contact with the bath is detected. The decision to pursue advanced crust breaker technology was based on the compressed air consumption and its associated costs. Generally, over 80 percent of compressed air consumption is for breaker/feeder devices. Thus, it important to target performance improvements by adopting an evolutionary crust breaker technology on pot lines.
Crust breaker technology has evolved and improved, and this along with data driven process control enhancements have helped maximise the benefits of point feeding. In simple terms, pneumatic cylinders are used to break the crust. The fact that the crust to penetrate may vary from strong to weak, or indeed may not have formed at all, raised the need for intelligent crust breaking (ICB) technology developed by Parker.
The operating principle in ICB differs from that of a standard actuator with the air supply being fed to the piston via flow restrictions to reduce the air feed to the actual driving sides of the piston. The resultant effect of the air restrictions is that low piston loads are applied to more than 90 percent of crust breaker strokes – effectively apply the force required as opposed to a repeated high force.
Parker's ICB solution
The ICB has served the industry well, but additional gains are possible if, rather than sensing the ICB end of stroke, the ICB reverses on contact with the bath - Parker’s Bath Sensing Modules (BSMs) enable this. A signal to the Pot Control System from the BSM indicates that the ICB has sensed the liquid bath. The sensing of the bath effectively means that there is an open hole in the crust and that alumina can be properly fed.
Parker’s electronic BSM is able to operate in the harsh environments of a pot room in magnetic fields and at high temperatures. BSMs currently installed have proven to be 100 percent reliable with zero defects over a five-year period. The units are optimised for ease of deployment and use and are plug-and-play with a ‚self-teach’ routine, tuning the modules internal electronic component parameters to suit environmental and pot conditions.
If you would like to find out more about Parker's Intelligent Crust Breaking cylinder and Bath Sensing Technology contact us.
Article contributed by:
Madhu Gaste, application manager, global primary aluminium smelters, Parker Pneumatic Division Europe.
Alex Moerel, senior electronic engineer, Parker Pneumatic Division Europe.
Goran Kling, gobal marketing manager, primary aluminium, Parker Pneumatic Division Europe
Soumen Mitra, business development manager, Parker India