Cabinet free modular machines saves space for OEMs, plant operators

Automation and machinery applications designer Bosch Rexroth demonstrated drive, motion and controls products, and cabinet-free devices that allow fully distributed control. There were also working presentations of mechatronics, anti-slosh and anti-vibration systems at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago.

By Bosch Rexroth November 7, 2014

Bosch Rexroth’s demonstrations at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago consisted of drive, motion and controls products, and cabinet free devices, in addition to working presentations of mechatronics, anti-slosh and anti-vibration systems. 

Direct connect drives

IndraDrive Mi is Rexroth’s newest drive servo that was on display at the expo. It performs logic and motion tasks based on IEC61131-3 and is facilitated by the integrated Rexroth IndraMotion MLD.

One master drive is capable of controlling up to nine slaves in real time via the secros automation bus. Furthermore, Ethernet actuators and peripheral devices are directly connected to the device, allowing users to preassemble complete modules without control cabinets, which reduces wiring by up to 85%, according to Rexroth.

Configuration of the Sercos, Profinet I/O (RT), EtherNet/IP, and EtherCAT Ethernet communication protocols is executed exclusively via the software, which provides machine manufacturers with the flexibility to adapt pre-assembled series modules to individual machine versions with different communication architectures. A communication cord is the only connection to the superordinate control system.

Another feature is the distributed Safe Torque Off (STO) Safety on Board function that provides enhanced modularization options. When the STO function is enabled, the drive interrupts the torque and field-forming current to the connected motor within a few milliseconds independently from the control cabinet and superordinate control system. 

Cabinet-free modular machines

Decentralized supply and mains modules are giving machinery manufacturers more design options. The newer, more compact machines are freeing up more space in plants and factories. Following this shift is Rexroth’s IndraDrive Mi line of cabinet-free supply and mains modules.

The mains module includes a mains filter, mains regulator and the mains protection in one device. The energy recovering power supply, control electronics, brake resistor and brake transistors are located in the supply module. The machines and modules are connected to the power supply directly without deviation via the cabinet. This reduces machine assembly wiring by 90%, according to Rexroth. Machine manufacturers are increasingly reallocating control functions to the individual machine modules, to achieve consistent modularization. With a drive-integrated control unit, drive functions, motion control and flow logic merge into an open automation platform. 

Adaptive systems motion control technology

This motion control technology is applied at the drive level to reduce movements in machinery, such as oscillations, vibrations, sloshing and sway. Adaptive System motion control can handle high-speed inputs and deterministic events with closed-loop response times. For example, current closure can be accomplished in 62.5 microseconds, speed loop closure in 125 microseconds, and position closure in 250 microseconds, according to Rexroth.

For the beverage, chemical, oil and pharmaceuticals industries, controlling slosh can have benefits such throughput improvements of 10-50%, when adaptive system technology is employed. A booth demo quickly moved a jar of water about a foot and stopped it suddenly creating a splash. Using the motion dampening technology, the move was repeated without a slosh.

Bosch Rexroth works with mobile applications, machinery applications and engineering, factory automation, and renewable energies to develop components and tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth provides hydraulics, electric drives and controls, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology.

– Edited by Eric R. Eissler, associate editor, CFE Media,


Key concepts

  • Cabinet-free is the up-and-coming trend for drives and modular machines
  • Motion control technology to reduce vibration saves on wear and tear and increases throughput values
  • Drives able to operate independent of cabinets.

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Read and watch more about motion control, automation, and vibration dampening.