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You’ll often hear it said that small but powerful PLCs, coupled with today’s industrial networking capability, are underpinning the evolution of the next generation of distributed control architectures. Further, the marriage of conventional PLC control and motion control in a single device promises to deliver a broad range of operational and financial benefits to machine builders, system integrators and factory floor users.
Industry is moving rapidly to this type of decentralized control because of its ability to reduce design engineering and wiring costs, as well as improve machine response time. Smaller controller formats that decentralize system intelligence are the essential element to further popularizing distributed control architectures. Each controller becomes responsible for a machine module or production element such as filling or packaging in the complete manufacturing process. These, in turn, often are networked together and overseen by a larger supervisory controller that manages the total operation.
SEW-Eurodrive believes it has exactly the right product for this approach in Movi-PLC, its new slimline controller series that integrates PLC control and motion control in one compact device. The company introduced MoviPLC to the U.S. During last year's PackExpo in Chicago.
By moving control system intelligence to the device level, SEW Eurodrive engineers say Movi-PLC enables industrial OEMs and their customers to gain improved design engineering flexibility, efficiency of operation and overall system cost savings.
“The Movi-PLC series represents the next stage in the evolution of drive-based automation systems," says Dave Ballard, SEW’s U.S. marketing director. “Designed to support SEW inverters, these new field controllers can be housed in their own enclosures or slotted into the drive system’s option slot. In standalone operations, Movi-PLC eliminates the need for a dedicated PLC system and time-consuming drive-to-PLC interfacing.”
A library of pre-written and tested standard control and motion function blocks within Movi-PLC enables users to more easily set up application parameters by eliminating the laborious and costly process of programming control machine-by-machine and drive-by-drive. “It’s usable in any of the five standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages,” adds Ballard. “These function blocks are compliant with the PLCopen motion control standard and include functions such electronic cam, virtual lead axis, cam controller and synchronous operation.”
Highly scalable, the basic class of these controllers can manage up to 12 axes synchronously over the system bus. The advanced class of products can handle up to 64 axes synchronously over Ethernet. Movi-PLC can be installed as an option card in MoviDRIVE B drive inverters and MoviTRAC B frequency inverters, in SEW’s new MoviFIT decentralized control system or as a compact controller mounted on a DIN rail.
Movi-PLC can be incorporated into a broad array of system architectures, says Ballard, as a standalone controller supporting multiple connected drives, as a slave controller working in response to a supervisory PLC or directly linked to an operator interface panel for local control and monitoring.
“As a distributed controller, Movi-PLC delivers increased security to machine OEMs and system integrators,” says Ballard. “A centralized control system typically provides a single point through which a person can gain access to the entire control algorithm. That’s an ‘open door’ to an OEM’s intellectual property. Movi-PLC reduces this risk, allowing an OEM not only to program and test the entire machine module before it is shipped as part of a larger skid-mounted package, but to lock down intellectual property. That’s a major deterrent to competitors targeting reverse-engineering strategies. It also eliminates the ‘fiddle factor’ from production floor personnel.”
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