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5 August, 2021

TSN servodrives can predict machine maintenance

01 March, 2021

Mitsubishi Electric in Europe has unveiled a new generation of servodrives which support the CC-Link IE TSN (time-sensitive networking) technology which offers 1Gbps transmission speeds, and ensures synchronisation across all connected devices – including safety devices, which can be connected on the same network as standard control products such as variable speed drives, HMIs and I/Os.

The Melsec MR-J5 series amplifiers can be used with motion modules that can each synchronise up to 256 axes. The system can support three of these modules, allowing installations of up to 768 axes to be controlled. It boasts a frequency response of 3.5kHz and a communication cycle time of 31.25µs.

As well as CC-Link, there are EtherCat versions (both of them available in one-, two- or three-axis versions). Other network versions are also available.

The J5 has been released nine years after the previous generation – the J4, which will continue to be available – and adds 25 new frame sizes, including 5kW and 7kW models. As well as TSN, the new drives (which are backwards-compatible with the earlier models) add technologies including:
single-cable connections for encoder, power and electromagnetic brake signals, avoiding the risk connection errors, cutting costs and reducing spares;
embedded predictive maintenance functions for both the drive parts and mechanical parts in controlled machines;
• the ability to mix-and-match motor and amplifier voltages (200V and 400V), giving more flexibility, achieving faster operating speeds, allowing larger amplifiers to be used to develop more torque, and reducing the need for spares;
• a one-touch locking connector that eliminates the need to tighten screws; and
battery-less 26-bit absolute encoders in the matching motors, that generate 67 million pulses per revolution, ensuring precision motion and reducing the need for maintenance.

Mitsubishi says that the embedded predictive maintenance functions will help to reduce downtime. The AI-powered functions can spot changes in vibration and friction levels in mechanical components such as belts, gears and ballscrews, allowing deterioration in driven machines to be detected long before maintenance is needed.

Mitsubishi’s MR-J5 servodrive system can control up to 768 axes

No tuning experience is needed to set up the drives – a quick-tuning function generates all of the gain values automatically in about 0.3s. Machines are then ready to run as soon as the servo is enabled, cutting commissioning times and effort. The system supports the IEC 61131-3 programming languages.

The MR-J5 series integrates a wide range of safety functions and safety communications can be carried on the same network as regular control signals.

Pricing for the MR-J5 servodrives – which were announced in Japan and the US last year – is said to be similar to that of the previous MR-J4 generation. The J4 will be preferable for some simpler local machine control applications involving a single network.

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