22 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Integrated stepper motors connect directly to each other

US-based AMCI (Advanced Micro Controls Inc) has expanded its SMD (stepper+motor+drive) integrated stepper motor family to include a function that allows coordinated motion control with Allen-Bradley servo systems, and a fault-tolerant device-level ring (DLR) topology with an embedded Ethernet switch, that allows direct SMD-to-SMD cabling, without external switches. AMCI says that these developments mark the biggest expansion of the SMD family since its launch in 2004, and will widen its applications.

The new SynchroStep technology allows coordinated motion control between the SMD motors and Allen-Bradley servo systems. It allows multiple axes to be synchronised and geared to a master virtual axis running on a PLC. According to AMCI design engineer, Stanko Mantchev, this development will fill a gap that currently exists for small, inexpensive synchronised motion systems.

Users will be able to configure, program, and coordinate all of their axes using the PLC’s native software, without needing to buy or learn new software.

The fault-tolerant DLR topology with an embedded Ethernet switch allows SMD motors to be connected directly to each other without using external switches.

According to Mantchev, users have been asking for an integrated system that both protects against water spray and eliminates the need for external switches. “Packages requiring an Ethernet switch with about 20 ports are expensive and unavailable in IP67 boxes,” he points out. “That is where the DLR solution was needed – a cable that goes from device to device and provides both simple execution and robustness.”

The DLR-supporting motors are compatible with PLCs and PACs from Rockwell, Siemens, Omron and Schneider that support EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP or Profibus. They are ODVA conformance tested. AMCI says that the DLR technology will save on installation and maintenance costs.

Options for the SMD motors include Nema size 23 or 24 packages, IP67 protection, encoders, gearboxes and cord sets.