PINning Down a Flexible Solution

DT Industries' Assembly Machines Incorporated (AMI) Division (Erie Pa.) is part of the Parker Integration Network (PIN). The PIN organization brings system solutions to end users through independent systems integrators backed by Parker Hannifin Corp.'s (Cleveland, O.) global technologies and local sales and service.


DT Industries' Assembly Machines Incorporated (AMI) Division (Erie Pa.) is part of the Parker Integration Network (PIN). The PIN organization brings system solutions to end users through independent systems integrators backed by Parker Hannifin Corp.'s (Cleveland, O.) global technologies and local sales and service. PIN's philosophy involves bringing state-of-the-art component and subsystems technologies into the system integrators' machinery.

John A. Miller, systems integrator manager, Parker Hannifin Corp., explains "Parker and AMI have worked together to take a successful standard rotary indexing assembly machine and make it even more flexible by incorporating device networks, multi-axis servo control with soft CAM, and soft logic."

The company's new AMI/4 servo-driven rotary dial machine assembles a variety of small components, Mr. Miller says. It features multiple pick-and-place motions that precede a servo-driven dial index capable of infinite dial speed variations and direction. Mr. Miller outlines how Parker's pneumatic, electromechanical, and machine control teams worked with AMI to implement these improvements:

Man Machine Interface (MMI) —Traditional hardwired pushbuttons used to control the machine have been replaced by a PC-based PowerStation touchscreen workstation and Interact MMI software. The PowerStation performs basic machine functions such as Start, Stop, Reset, Axis Align and displays actual machine images to pinpoint trouble areas.

PC-based Machine Control —MachineLogic, a PC-based deterministic machine control software, replaced PLC and Ladder Logic. MachineLogic allows the user to program in any or all of the five IEC languages. It runs on the PowerStation workstation in conjunction with the Interact MMI software, forming an integrated, high speed control system. Using the power of the PC PowerStation, MachineLogic runs faster than a traditional PLC and has a shared memory communication interface to Interact.

Profibus Network Controls the Machine —MachineLogic uses a Profibus interface to control the machine's I/O. Since the hardwired devices were replaced by the PowerStation touchscreen, the number of I/O points were reduced. Also, using Profibus allows the machine I/O to be distributed rather than centrally located, reducing installation labor, wiring runs, wire conduit and maintenance, while allowing for quick add-ons.

Two-Axis Servo Control —The assembly machine had been driven by a constant-speed ac motor coupled with a fixed cam driven indexer. Vertical and horizontal tool motion was driven at a fixed speed and a fixed cycle rate. Now it is driven by Compumotor servo drives that are integrated to provide flexibility of dial speed, machine dwell time, and pick-and-place motions.

Standardized Parallel Gripper —Parker's new parallel grippers have a large grip force that help replace the need for two different gripper sizes. Previously, larger grippers were used when heavier parts were handled by the assembly machine.

Inclusion of this advanced control into the AMI/4 is direct result of the partnership between Parker and DT Industries. It has allowed AMI to use leading edge control systems to offer its customers a better, more flexible product.

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