Automation and safety balanced in one motion control system

New motion control products supply a complete motion control safety automation system by providing and extending the capability of PLCs and servo motors in industrial machines and systems.

AS PROGRAMMABLE electronic solutions become ever-more sophisticated and capable, they’re also becoming easier to integrate, configure and use. One of the remaining areas for convergence is machine automation solutions that offer an effective balance of integrated control and safety products in one system under one label.

Pilz Automation Safety believes its newly expanded product line does just that. The company reports its new PMCprimo and PMCtendo motion control products supply a complete motion control safety automation system by providing and extending the capability of PLCs and servo motors in industrial machines and systems to now include Pilz’ well-known safety technology.

“It's like squaring the circle, combining automation and safety technology within one concept,” says Klaus Stark, head of product management at Pilz. “Although both are based on very different requirements, combining automation and safety can be achieved only if they’re properly considered within the concept and are integrated from the very start.”

Included in Pilz’ new products family is its PMCprimo 16+ for controller-based automation of machines designed for multiple axes of motion. “Control of more than 100 synchronic axes of motion is possible,” says managing partner Renate Pilz. “The PMCprimo drive, by comparison, provides complete automated control of drive-based machines designed for one through nine axes of motion.” PMCtendo DD is a programmable servo drive for electrically commutated motors, and PMCtendo AC is a brushless electric servomotor.

The new motion-control products are the latest in Pilz’s development history of providing automation products that integrate safety technology. “All current products from the range of PSS programmable safety systems and Pilz’s open bus safety system SafetyBUS p are approved to SIL (safety integrity level) 3 of EN IEC 61508,” says Stark. “Safety and control technology initially tended to be built around the actual automation technology, but it must communicate with its environment, from the very simplest status message to the complex shutdown of a machine, if there is a safety problem.”

Pilz adds that, “As a result, this product family provides complete safety automation that can be integrated and networked for a growing number of multi-axis industrial applications. Complex multi-axis applications such as packaging lines, printing and paper machines, and many other pieces of complex production equipment can be controlled safely, easily and quickly.”

Pilz notes the primo line of motion control systems was developed specifically for the type of complex, multi-axis motion systems typically found in packaging applications. “Modular control systems that include the tendo DD digital servocontroller and tendo AC servomotors synchronize axes as part of each cycle,” he says.

Meanwhile, Stark highlights the expanded motion control system’s jerkless positioning, virtual mainshaft and electronic gearbox efficiencies, integrated flexible cam synchronization, and tensioning control as examples of the high-end motion control that the drives provide. “The modular approach makes sense,” says Stark. “The machine builder can start with the primo drive to control up to nine axes of motion. A bank of primo 16+ drives enables more than 100 axes of decentralized control. The unit can be used as a central host as well as a decentralized slave. And it all follows central, consistent programming based on IEC 61131-3 languages, and motion control functionality programmed in ready-to-run function blocks.”

The primo and tendo line of products formerly belonged to the systems division of Mayr GmbH, Mauerstetten, Germany, before the firm transferred its Mayr Systems division to Pilz GmbH earlier in August 2005.

Stark reinforces Pilz’ objective by describing the non-negotiable performance requirements that must be considered first with new products. “A mixed system must meet the objective of safety technology, which is the protection of man, machine and the environment” he says. “The state of the art is set down in the standards, among other places. And the current status of the standards changes along with technical progress. An innovative, new system must consider current and future requirements at national and international levels.”

Consequently, says Stark, Pilz designs to Category 4 in accordance with EN 954-1 and its successor ISO EN 13849-1. “The platform is designed in such a way that systems can be constructed to SIL 3 of EN 61508, while covering the requirements of the sector standard EN 62061-1,” he adds.

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