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SPS IPC Drives 2014 exclusive show report

03 January, 2015
to its Fast application software toolbox (below), making it easy to integrate robots with up to six degrees of freedom into automation systems. The software splits robot programming into kinematics and path planning (which is based on the PLCopen Part 4 standard). For example, there are modules available for pick-and-place applications, and corresponding co-ordinate transformation software for various kinematics. The kinematics modules include versions for delta, Scara and gantry robots. Path planning supports linear, circular, spline and point-to-point commands, and paths can be planned independently of the kinematics.

Mitsubishi has developed a “lite” version of its Maps software (see above). The Maps HMI version has fewer functions and is aimed at applications with simple HMI requirements, which do not need a full Scada package. The standalone Windows-based software offers up to two remote connections and includes tools such as wizards, templates and a graphics library, that make it easier to design HMIs. More than 100 drivers are available, covering most popular PLCs.

At SPS, Mitsubishi was also demonstrating software for packaging applications, which generates programs and creates state diagrams automatically. It is said to allow systems to be set up quickly using predefined function blocks and programs. Function blocks for movement sequences are based on PLCopen standards, while the description of state diagrams is based on the Omac PackML specification.

Pilz has launched a Web-based visualisation package that can be used to operate and monitor its equipment, and to give users a complete view of their plant. The PASvisu software includes a builder module that is used to create and configure visualisation projects. It provides access to project data, avoiding the need to enter and assign variables manually. Selectable styles provide a consistent look-and-feel across a project, while the software also includes pre-defined graphic input and display elements.  [FF]

Bosch Rexroth has developed a “universal translator” that links high-level programming languages and Internet dialects on the one hand, to PLC-based machine controls, on the other. The WebConnector allows VSDs and controls to access Web applications directly and exchange information with them, and opens up the possibility of programming control systems using efficient high-level languages.

The WebConnector marks the next phase in Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering platform which supports a wide range of protocols and programming languages and acts as a bridge between PLC-based automation and the world of IT. At SPS, Rexroth was also highlighting an Open Core interface for its IndraDrive drives family which, it says, will allow new functions and communications possibilities. Applications programmed in high-levels Windows-based languages will have access to the drives’ parameters and functions.

Rockwell Automation has released a new version of its Studio 5000 Logix Designer software which is used to configure Allen-Bradley Logix5000 controllers for discrete, process, batch, motion, safety and drive applications. Version 24 has new capabilities claimed to boost productivity, improve start-up times, and cut lifecycle costs. The enhancements include a “logical organiser” that arranges program code based on users’ applications, rather than how a PLC executes the code. Workflows have been improved and collaborative tools added.

At SPS, Servotronix was demonstrating a multi-axis motion control hardware and software package based on Linux with real-time extensions. The softMC package provides an open, modular machine control environment and can be used to create motion programs with support form pre-emptive multitasking and asynchronous event responses. Its motion functions include support for standard robots as well as non-standard robot kinetics. The softMC package integrates with Servotronix’s servo and stepper systems.

And finally, Wago announced an engineering software package called e!Cockpit that, it says, will shorten automation project development times. Based on Codesys 3, it supports automation tasks from hardware configuration, programming, simulation and visualisation, to commissioning. The graphical programming tool uses drag-and-drop techniques and supports object-oriented programming.

There are more news items from the 2014 SPS IPC Drives show in other sections of the Drives & Controls Web site. Many can be found in the Technology News and Product News sections of the site for December 2014 and January 2015.

The next SPS IPC Drives show will take place in Nuremberg from 24–26 November, 2015.

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