Rockwell Automation works to ensure it has several important Encompass Partners, meaning that a company’s products work within the Rockwell architecture. Because the partnership program includes a large variety of different companies, there were several partner companies in attendance at the Automation Fair. These companies offer different solutions that complement the Rockwell portfolio such as robotic welding, smart motors, energy control, and intelligent conveyor systems.
The Original vs. Latest PLC
Starting off the fair was a look at the progress being made in motion control. The bottom box is the original Allen-Bradley 1774 programmable logic controller (PLC). It was a groundbreaking device for factory automation, allowing for hight-control functions. The small white box on top is the modern Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5370 Controller, which uses single Ethernet/IP, using 100 times more powerful and requires 1/16th less space than the 1774 PLC.
The Magic Carpet System from Itoh Denki
This conveyor system from Itoh Denki can handle flexible line layouts to sort a variety of packages from any direction. The ability to handle multi-directional conveyor systems comes from the independent modules installed at the intersection. The Magic Carpet System uses individual modules that have four independent drives, which operate in their own direction.
Panhandle Pumping Unit
Panhandle’s Guardian Series’ pumping unit includes design enhancements for better performance. It can operate at speeds as low as 1 stroke per minute. Rockwell’s OptLift RPC is integrated into the pumping unit and provides accurate and flexible dynamometer-based pump-off control, local HMI convenient on-site configuration, process visualization, alarming functions, diagnostics, and oil, gas, and water production calculations.
Gas Wellhead for Oilfields
The gas wellhead here uses Rockwell’s ConnectedProduction. Just like the pumping unit, the OptLift NF for natural flowing wells monitors tubing, casing, and flow line pressures and temperatures. The iSense GP and iSense T2 provides wirelessly pressure and temperature read outs. That data is used to control an automated choke valve for improved performance.
SCR Power Controllers from Advanced Energy
Here are the silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR) power controllers from Advanced Energy. As an Encompass partner, the Advanced Energy Thyro product line of digital power control modules provides customers solutions for electrical heating applications. Using ODVA-certified Ethernet/IP communications, the Thyro-A, Thyro-AX, Thyro-P, and Thyro-S interface directly with Rockwell Automation Logix PAC systems. They offer power controller from single-phase to 3-phase, 500 V to 690 V, and 280 Amp to 2900 Amp.
Weiss’ Barrel Cam Index Tables
The TC Cam Index Tables from Weiss are a new expanded line that provides more features with the same exterior profile as its predecessor. The electromechanical TC range has a larger central opening for the 120-320 sizes. The cables and hoses can now be guided downwards directly through the table or through the practical side channel. The index tables are used across the globe for a wide range of automation requirements in the most diverse of sectors.
Tolomatic’s Food-Grade Servo Actuators
Tolomatic is an Encompass Partner with expertise in motion control. The new line of servo actuators is available to use in the food industry. The IMA food-grade servo actuators are able to be used in sanitary situations due to their washdown capability. This ensures that the product can be cleaned easily while being resistant to rust or contamination.
Innovations in Servo Sensing from Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation introduced a new way to monitor servo actuators. On the back end of the servo, a new sensor expands on traditional sensing capabilities beyond bearing vibration detection. The new sensors can detect off loading, misalignment, and rotary belt wear.
Wittenstein’s Motion Control Line
The line of motion control and servo drive products from Wittenstein offers modern controls for any drive system. The Cyber power motors offer ultra-low rotor inertia motors with high power density ac synchronous motion with continued power between 20 kW to 100 kW. The Cyber dynamic linear actuators and the Ternary linear actuators offer a ball-screw servo solution and an all-in-one servo actuator. The Cyber actuator is an anti-rotation closed-rod system with no need for lubrication.
Burket’s Fluid-Control Systems
Burket is a company specializing in fluid control systems. They develop systems for food and beverage, pharmaceutical, water treatments, and chemical plants. Tucked into the layout in this hydraulic system, is the FLOWave flowmeter. It is used for hygienic and process applications. The device has no sensor technology within the tubes; instead, it uses Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) technology to detect and measure flow. The SAW technology can detect not just flow rate but also temperature. By using SAW, Burket offers a complete hygienic solution for flow measuring.
Welding Robots with FANUC
Robots are poised to take over many tasks in automation, making jobs less focused on dangerous and repetitive tasks and more on improving production. A key example was on the show floor with the FANUC robot demonstrating how it can be used for welding applications. By using a robot for welding, it can improve the accuracy of the weld but also low the danger welding brings to the human worker.