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Servo-pneumatic control `gives PLC-like performance`

01 August, 1999

Servo-pneumatic control `gives PLC-like performance`

Festo has put more than 15 man-years of development into its latest smart positioning controller and claims that it will deliver considerable performance and cost improvements over its rivals and its predecessor.

The SPC200, powered by a 32-bit processor, can handle two programs concurrently. It can therefore be used to control two independent axes of movement or one axis and an extra function. "This gives almost PLC-type performance but is far more compact," asserts Jim Bannister, Festo`s UK product specialist. "For a two-axis system with I/O control, it`s also far more attractively priced." Four-axis versions are planned.

The controller is designed to handle masses up to 70kg in the horizontal plane and up to 25kg in the vertical plane and to place them to an accuracy of 0.2mm. It compensates automatically for variations in factors such as friction, wear, and air pressure, that can affect operations.

The controller uses true, closed-loop positional feedback with velocity profiling for differential speed and acceleration. Velocity profiling allows the cylinders driven by the controller to move at different speeds in the same direction to handle duties such as soft starts and finishes.

Festo claims that the projects based on the SPC200 can be 40% cheaper than those using comparable servo-electric systems. Bannister points out that no electrical expertise is needed to configure, install and commission an installation. The technology "can be used by a pneumatics engineer as it`s very easy to wire and comes ready to plug together," he says.

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