Machine Design

Bus-box kit simplifies pneumatics control

System brings DeviceNet capability to stand-alone in-line valves and vacuum generators.

The Valve Bus Box is the first commercially available system that permits DeviceNet control of a single vacuum generator.

Manufacturers of packaging and handling machinery are turning to fieldbus networks to simplify designs and add functionality. A recently introduced Valve Bus Box offers control of stand-alone, in-line pneumatic valves and vacuum generators using DeviceNet protocol, which is growing in popularity in conveyor, handling, and packaging applications.

The system is from Festo Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y., which previously offered products in the mid to upper range of DeviceNet compatible pneumatics. Festo's introduction of the Valve Bus Box (VBB) adds a diverse group of low-cost solutions for single-unit DeviceNet-controlled pneumatics where applications require directional valves and/or vacuum generators.

The VBB kit includes a universal electronic module packaged to mechanically attach to a wide array of Festo CPE, Midi, and Tiger 2000, 5/2 and 5/3 single and double-acting valves, and various configurations of vacuum generators. Assembly involves mounting the electronics module to one side of the pneumatic component using DIN rail technology with standard, supplied hardware.

The "bus box" represents a breakthrough in pneumatics, since it marks the first time that a single vacuum generator, under the control of a DeviceNet protocol, has been commercially available. The kit design provides flexibility when integrating the company's DeviceNet-compatible electronics with standard valves and vacuum devices, forming a compact and space-efficient single assembly.

Another advantage is that the modular design permits isolation of the pneumatic section (including solenoids) from the controlling electronics, thus making replacement of either fast, easy, and cost effective. All electrical connections are made with IP-65 compatible plugs and connectors, and the VBB units are completely hardware configurable. No software is required.

The VBB is CE compliant and meets DeviceNet Specification (Version 2.0). The inputs and outputs (type pnp) are optically isolated for protection from overcurrent and short circuit. The output is designed with an electronic fuse (1.5-A trigger after 350 msec) which resets automatically when a fault condition is removed. Supply voltage is 24 Vdc, and the normal operating temperature range is 5 to 50°C.

The Valve Bus Box is currently operating in air-conveyor systems and pharmaceutical applications.

Information for this story provided by Festo Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y.

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