24 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

PLCs implement motion functions directly in CPUs

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Yaskawa, and its German controls subsidiary Vipa, unveiled a system that implements motion control functions directly in PLCs.

The jointly-developed system links a new Vipa CPU, called the SLIO iMC7, with Yaskawa’s Sigma-7 servodrives, via EtherCat. The CPU is configured via Vipa’s Set Card (VSC) – an SD memory card which is also used to activate the motion control and EtherCat functions.

The latest version of Vipa’s Speed7 Studio programming and configuration software includes drivers for the Sigma-7 servos that support EtherCat communications. It allows direct communications between the iMC7 CPU, the drivers and I/Os. The Sigma-7 drive modules can be configured using graphical drag-and-drop techniques.

A library of PLCopen-compliant Step 7 motion control function blocks supports single axes or groups of axes. Programming of applications and the creation of cam profiles is said to be easy using the function blocks, even for people who are not familiar with motion programming.

Yaskawa’s Sigma-7 servodrives can be used with linear or rotary motors. Self-tuning functions allow servo axes to be set up in less than two hours. The range includes matching rotary motors in ratings from 50W to 15kW, and linear motors capable of peak forces up to 7.56kN. The motors do not need cooling when operating in temperatures up to 55°C, cutting energy consumption by around 20%, according to Yaskawa.