How to integrate smarter motion controls into machine designs

Integrating smarter motion controls add flexibility, safety and efficiency, as shown Festo Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023 booth.

By Mark T. Hoske November 1, 2023
Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how redesigning machines can add flexibility, precision and reliability.
  • Learn how adding a linear axis can extend the reach of a collaborative robot with little extra system integration.
  • Explore how a new proportional pneumatic pressure regulator adds precision to pneumatic controls.

Motion control, integration insights

  • Redesigning machines can add flexibility, precision and reliability.
  • Adding a linear axis can extend the reach of a collaborative robot with little extra system integration when the robot software can accommodate.
  • A new proportional pneumatic pressure regulator adds precision to pneumatic controls.

Automation education, motion control flexibility, motion control safety, collaborative robot mobility and advanced pneumatic controls were among topics discussed at the Festo Corp. Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023 booth.

Festo Didactic provides learning and training in modular pods of hardware and software, to help teach about automation, including motion control, collaborative robots, pneumatics, simulation, troubleshooting and other areas, explained Brad Schulz, industry segment manager, end of line packaging, and Troy A. Manley, sales director-food and packaging, North America, both with Festo Corp.

This redesigned Codi machine, now using electric controls instead of pneumatics, added efficiency, reliability and flexibility, as shown at the Festo Corp. booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. The six-pack rings (also called handles or yokes) that were just applied two at a time to cans are made with sustainable (biodegradeable materials).

This redesigned Codi machine, now using electric controls instead of pneumatics, added efficiency, reliability and flexibility, as shown at the Festo Corp. booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. The six-pack rings (also called handles or yokes) that were just applied two at a time to cans are made with sustainable (biodegradeable materials). Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

Machine redesign add flexibility, precision, reliability

Codi Manufacturing, a machine builder for cans and bottling packaging for distribution, demonstrated efficiencies created when redesigning a machine that had used pneumatics with electronic motion controls, a programmable logic controller, drives, distributed input/output connections and modern human-machine interface, explained Shane Loer, craft brewery specialist, food and packaging. Mike Hoffman, Codi Manufacturing engineering manager, noted that the design changes increased automation cost for the machine about 25%, however the resulting design increased throughput and accuracy, decreased design complexity, enabled easier switchover to different height cans with an anticipated decrease in machine maintenance. See photos. Codi products and services include fillers, conveying systems, canning line design and training.

While electric automation for this redesigned Codi machine cost more than pneumatics, electric controls add precision, efficiency, reliability and flexibility, as shown at the Festo Corp. booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.

While electric automation for this redesigned Codi machine cost more than pneumatics, electric controls add precision, efficiency, reliability and flexibility, as shown at the Festo Corp. booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

Extending the reach of existing robots

Another demonstration showed how to add an axis of motion to a robot, extending its reach and usefulness by mounting the robot on a horizontal slide powered with a motor, according to Alejandro Lopex, B.Eng, project leader, Festo Corp. The extra axis of motion is integrated into the Universal Robots controller, so an additional controller and communications systems are not needed. See photos. For more on extra axis integration with Universal Robots in a welding application, see a Control Engineering video.

In a cooperative demonstration with Sick, area sensors create a safe zone around a robot, so the robot slows when people near and stops when people get too close.

The linear guide on the left adds an axis of mobility to the attached UR5 robot from Universal Robots (see other photo). This design can handle up to a UR20 size, and the Universal Robots software (see teach pendant, top right) integrates the extra axis as its own, as demonstrated at the Festo Corp. booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

The linear guide on the left adds an axis of mobility to the attached UR5 robot from Universal Robots (see other photo). This design can handle up to a UR20 size, and the Universal Robots software (see teach pendant, top right) integrates the extra axis as its own, as demonstrated at the Festo Corp. booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

A cooperative effort with Rittal showed how pre-integration of servo and motion controls in a cabinet with cables can be designed for applications as needed.

IO-Link, a sensor network, can be used to lower communications costs to sensors, actuators and other devices then communicate needed information into higher-level networks and controls.

Festo Corp. demonstration at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023 shows a Universal Robots UR5 whose reach to grab cupcakes is extended with a slide (see other photo) and motor. The Universal Robots collaborative robot software integrates the extra access of motion seamlessly. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

Festo Corp. demonstration at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023 shows a Universal Robots UR5 whose reach to grab cupcakes is extended with a slide (see other photo) and motor. The Universal Robots collaborative robot software integrates the extra access of motion seamlessly. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

New proportional pneumatic pressure regulator

Proportional pressure controls can expand accuracy of pneumatics and decrease related wear and maintenance. Among products displayed was Festo VPPI, a high dynamic, direct-actuated pneumatic pressure regulator (photo). It is said to have a long service life, a TFT display that can be turned in 90-degree steps for flexible mounting, pressure control from vacuum to 12 bar (maximum 13 bar), with maximum flow rate of 1,100 liter/minute and repetition accuracy of <0.5% full scale (FS).

Festo VPPI is said to be a high dynamic, direct-actuated pneumatic pressure regulator, have a long service life, includes a TFT display that can be turned in 90-degree steps for flexible mounting. VPPI handles pressure control from vacuum to 12 bar (maximum 13 bar), has maximum flow rate of 1,100 liter/minute and repetition accuracy of <0.5% full scale (FS), as shown at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.

Festo VPPI is said to be a high dynamic, direct-actuated pneumatic pressure regulator, have a long service life, includes a TFT display that can be turned in 90-degree steps for flexible mounting. VPPI handles pressure control from vacuum to 12 bar (maximum 13 bar), has maximum flow rate of 1,100 liter/minute and repetition accuracy of <0.5% full scale (FS), as shown at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering

Also see more about “Five advances in motion control, communications, design to ease automation use.”

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Motion control, robotics

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Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.