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Efficiency and connectivity: what’s new in the market?

13 February 2015

Plenty of new technology and innovations have hit the drives, motors and controls market as companies showcase their latest developments. Here, Food Processing rounds up some of the latest solutions on offer for those working in the food and drinks industry.

One of the big drivers for growth in industry as a whole is digitalisation and integration. Siemens have long championed digitalisation of industrial automation and they’ve recently pinpointed the merger of industry software and digital technologies as pivotal factors behind the company’s continued growth. In the food and drink industry, as well as other process industries, stable processes and resource-saving technologies have been given prior significance. “The value chains and work flows taking place in the process industries call for a close-knit technological partnership based on trust,” says Peter Herweck, CEO of the Process Industries and Drives Division of Siemens. “We have aligned our portfolio including services along the entire lifecycle of our customers. Our offering unites high-grade, proven and standardised products with industry-specific solutions, covering all the decisive core elements – from integrated engineering systems and process control systems through integral communication down to the field level, for instance with process instrumentation and analytics, as well as Integrated Drive Systems (IDS) with outstandingly efficient and reliable drive technology.”

The continued progression towards Industry 4.0 continues, with themes woven through many new products as companies look towards integration, flexibility and expandability. COPA-DATA are the company behind the zenon product family for HMI/SCADA, Dynamic Production Reporting and integrated PLC systems, which allows companies to establish solutions for control, visualisation and data analysis. In particular, COPA-DATA focus on security, as there is a growing concern that production processes are open to attack, whether on site or in the Cloud. The 128-bit encryption of the communication between server, standby server and client, comprehensive access control with the integrated user administration and active directory support protect the user from unwanted data loss. Zenon allows networked, secure communication. 

Often, the goal for manufacturing companies is to increase overall equipment effectiveness and reduce consumption in the factory, while at the same time large companies divide their production and production and consumption data across plants at various different sites globally. This can result in optimisation potential being lost. If businesses moved their data into the Cloud, they could profit from tools or cross-equipment and company-wide benchmarking, and comprehensive analyses for total consumption or for quality figures from the entire operation. 

“Volatile and rapidly changing markets, as well as complex manufacturing processes present major challenges for production companies,” says Jürgen Schrödel, Managing Director of COPA-DATA in Germany. “Flexible and quick-reacting production systems support companies with overcoming this challenge and allow them to be able to continually react economically.”

Phoenix Contact
Meanwhile, Phoenix Contact are also pushing towards Industry 4.0 with their demonstrator, a machine that illustrates how some aspects of the Industry 4.0 future project can be implemented based on the example of automated control cabinet construction. During the first step, the user creates a wiring diagram with an ECAD system and then uses the diagram to design customised terminal blocks. The wiring diagram is used as input for the design of further assembly stages and serves as the basis of the wiring concept. The idea behind this is to encourage compatibility, as most companies use different engineering tools for separate planning steps and these tools are generally incompatible with one another.

Phoenix Contact combines standards AutomationML and eCl@ss to create a continuous engineering process. AutomationML defines systems as well as articles to be produced in the plant, which allows all engineering tools to work with the same files. In order to have a consistent interpretation of the file data, the AutomationML version used at Phoenix Contact includes role class libraries on the basis of the eCl@ss classification standard and this precision article description scheme enables developing technical systems in the spirit of Industry 4.0 by allowing them to independently identify the manufacturing stations required to produce a system.

Crouzet Automation
Crouzet Automation has released em4, a high performance nano-PLC with the ability to communicate as part of the Internet of Things. Recognising the challenges of machine-to-machine technology, Crouzet sought a solution to the need for connectivity of their installations. The new nano-PLC can be fully remotely controlled and has been designed to make a totally integrated solution available to integrators and OEMs, allowing them to reinvent their applications and generate new business opportunities. The em4 range comprises of em4 remote, fully connected to the secure infrastructure, em4 alert, capable of sending SMS or email alerts and em4 local, designed for applications that do not require remote communication or only a local area network.

One of the main strengths of em4 remote, the flagship product, is its connection to the internet. That means it can offer programming, monitoring and control and datalogging functions that allow remote management of an application, a single machine or a fleet of machines, making em4 part of the Internet of Things. In terms of data exchange, em4 has no embedded web server, but operates on a machine to machine connection. This is essentially an exchange of raw data between the controller and the dedicated server. Communication is therefore optimised and the server’s memory space is prioritised over the em4’s embedded memory. 

In the under 50 I/O category, em4 is the first automation component that can interact with high precision industrial sensors operating at 0-20 or 4-20 mA. These robust inputs embedded directly in the product avoid measurement errors linked to the distance between sensor and controller, while ensuring one per cent measurement accuracy. 

Invertek have recently launched the third generation range of their Optidrive general purpose drives. Available in four frame sizes, Optidrive E3 offers energy saving performance and is compatible with global supply voltages for motor control up to 22kW. Optidrive E3 also has extended motor control to cover IE2, IE3 and IE4 permanent magnet and synchronous reluctance motors and has been developed to ensure it is easy to use globally. 

A robust design allows Din-rail mounting or simle keyhole mounting as required, and the power supply is connected at the top with the motor supply connected at the base. The design makes installation easy and with 14 basic parameters, setting up the drive for a huge range of applications is simple and with less than 60 parameters in total, Optidrive E3 offers a high degree of flexibility. 

The new range is available in IP20 and IP66 versions and can be directly mounted to machines and specified with an isolator / disconnect switch. Optidrive E3 is equally suited to fan and pump applications, switching from industrial mode to fan or pump mode at the touch of a button.

Lenze have proved that being more efficient does not automatically mean being bigger. The company has launched new m200-P and m500-P three-phase AC motors which achieve the premium IE3 efficiency class in accordance with IEC 60034-30 without any jumps in size compared to IE2 motors. The m200-P motor offers a power range between 5.5 and 45kW with a variety of voltages for direct on-line mains operation with fixed speeds and 400V supply, while the m500-P motors cover the same power rang and are optimised for use with frequency inverters, but can also be operated straight from the mains. 

The m200-P motors are designed for simple fixed speed applications and costs are minimised by limiting the range of options, although spring-applied brakes are available and not grading the insulation for inverter operation. The m500-P motors suit more challenging applications, while use with inverters is unrestricted and the full range of options includes brakes, encoders, blowers and plug connectors.

The two new ranges reduce the amount of energy lost and therefore reduce energy costs by up to 20%, meaning that investment in the technology usually pays for itself within the first two years. Other advantages include increasing the inertias, the starting torques and starting currents, which may require a re-evaluation of the drive train, as for example the gearbox may not suit the increased starting torque. 

TE Connectivity
With several new products in the market, TE Connectivity has solutions for both factory automation and machine building applications. Their new range of ruggedised industrial RJ45 connectors for industrial use is equipped with robust termination technology for time saving and flexible field installation. The range includes an Industrial RJ45 Push Pull Variant 14 connector with a plastic shell and an Industrial RJ45/Fibre Optic Push Pull Variant 14 with a metal shell. Both types have durability to provide reliability for increased lifetime, which will result in cost-savings. Both also offer high-grade IP shielding and temperature resistance, which makes them suitable for harsh and outdoor environments. TE has also launched a new range of high-speed industrial RJ45 Cat6a field-installable connectors, which enables excellent signal performance for field termination without tools. The connectors support 10G/s Gigabit Ethernet and their connector structure and IDC contacts allow reliable installation.

Molex Incorporated have introduced modular D-Sub mixed layout connectors and cable assemblies through FCT electronic GmbH, a Molex company. The UL-approved D-Sub mixed layout connectors can combine power, signal, RF and pneumatics to accommodate a range of industrial automation applications and are tailored to meet specific customer requirements. For harsh environments where regular wash-downs are required such as the food and drink industry, up to IP69 sealing is available.

“The mixed layout series is designed modularly,” says Thomas Winderl, Marketing FCT, Molex. “We offer 75 and 50 Ohm coaxial contacts, high power contacts up to 40 A, high voltage contacts up to 3kV and pneumatic contacts with numerous different contact arrangements accommodated according to design requirements.”

Solder, straight PCB or crimp terminations are available, depending on the end application. And depending on customer requirements, various plating options are available, as well as a comprehensive range of accessories including sealing plugs, guide pins, guide plates, hoods, spring locks and slide locks.

Delta Electronics
Delta Electronics have expanded their Delta Industrial Ethernet Total Solution range with two new industrial Ethernet switches. The DVS Series features numerous management functions in order to ease configuration and to ensure a safe operation. IPv6 address is suitable for larger network and neighbour discovery. They support EtherNet/IP and MODBUS TCP protocols that facilitate the remote management by SCADA and other industrial devices. The rugged switches are designed to operate in harsh industrial environment and feature a wide operating temperature from -40°C to 75°C. They comply with international safety standards (UL 508, EN 6090-1 and IEC 61131-2) and are fully proofed against mechanical damages. 

maxon motor
Adding to the ESCON servo controller family, maxon motor has developed a miniaturised postage stamp-sized OEM plug-in module. Designed to command permanent-magnet-activated brushed DC motors and BLDC motors (brushless DC motors, so-called EC motors) with Hall sensors up to 48W continuous output and 144W peak output, the high performance 4 quadrant PWM servo motor controller has high usability and power density. The servo controller has new functionality, including RC servo signal evaluation for speed or current set values, current limiter and offset and the option to predefine analogue speed ramps. With speeds up to 150,000 rpm, the OEM plug-in module provides extensive functionality with free configurable digital and analogue inputs/outputs which can be operated in various modes. 

As maxon motor believes that top performance should not be a matter of trial and error, the servo controller has been designed specifically with easy start-up and user-friendliness in mind.

There are a host of new products being released by ABB that are targeted specifically at the food and beverage sector. ABB’s industrial drive AVCS880 includes fourth generation DTC with enhanced performance in open and closed loop and a higher switching frequency. And in March 2015, the ACS580 replaces ABB’s most successful drive to date. The ACS355 is, according to ABB, is the ultimate drive for high pressure cleaning in food and drink environments. Highly resistant waterproof casing and rounded edges prevent ingress of water and build up of bacteria. There is no external fan, making the drive more hygienic and an enclosed control panel behind a protective membrane.

ABB are also providing a new service, their Energy and Productivity Improvement Plan. With 10 stages, it is designed to help food and drink manufacturers assess the benefits of installing motor and variable-speed drive (VSD) technology. It features a six stage energy and productivity appraisal that can be carried out in half a day. Data analysis, calculations, measurement, recommendations and follow-up complete the appraisal steps to deliver energy and productivity improvements.

The new ACOPOS P3 is a 3-axis servo drive that offers a power density of 4 A per litre, which makes it one of the most efficient servo drives with integrated safety functions on the market. The housing is as small as a conventional one-axis drive, which makes it possible to reduce the amount of space required in the control cabinet by 69%. The short cycle time opens up new opportunities for drive control and the drive features many safety functions that satisfy SIL 3 / PL e / Cat 4 requirements, and the Safely Limited Torque (SLT), a new function, checks whether the maximum permitted torque has been exceeded.

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