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Encoders with EtherNet/IP ports diagnose faults and monitor networks

02 February, 2012

At the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, Sick unveiled its first rotary encoders with built-in Ethernet IP interfaces. The AFS60 single-turn and AFM60 multi-turn absolute encoders use the Ethernet interfaces for diagnostics and to monitor networks.

The built-in diagnostic functions include monitoring the encoder’s internal temperature. If preset limits are exceeded, the device generates a message warning of a potentially critical operating state.

The programmable encoders are also equipped with two hour counters: one starts when power is applied; the second counts shaft rotations. Five dual LEDs show the status of the encoder’s ports, its functions and data transfer activity. Programmable position limit values can also be monitored – for cam switching, for example. Speed can be detected to protect the encoder and the plant from overloads.

The encoders comply with ODVA specifications. A DLR (device level ring) network monitoring function transmits information packages called beacon frames via the encoder’s dual port switch at brief intervals. The sensor can carry out availability tests on networked devices and on the connections between them. If there is a fault, the transmission changes direction in less than 3ms to restore communications between the devices and the controller.

The multi-turn encoder incorporates a rotary axis function that cuts the time and cost of machine integration in applications such as rotary tables, and drives with transmission or reduction gears. The function, which represents the steps per rotation as a fraction, can help machine-builders to avoid complicated drive calculations and control programming.

Sick is planning similar encoders that will support Profinet and EtherCat.

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