How to use TSN to improve machine design performance, precision

An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that specializes in pad printing and hot stamping machines used time-sensitive networking (TSN) to improve overall performance, accuracy and precision for its motion control applications. See video.

By Thomas Burke February 5, 2024
Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

 

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how time-sensitive networking (TSN) helped a printing and stamping OEM improve its motion control applications.
  • Learn how the OEM developed a universal, modular machine for direct, multi-color printing on cylindrical goods, such as bottles.

Time-sensitive networking (TSN) insights

  • CC-Link IE time-sensitive networking (TSN) technology enables extreme synchronization for high-speed printing, ensuring consistent quality at 3,000 units/hour, which supports ambitious setups.
  • Keller’s modular machine, utilizing CC-Link IE TSN, offers scalable, versatile printing solutions with enhanced productivity, flexibility and future integration capabilities.

Printing and stamping are among the most demanding motion control applications, as they use multiple axes that need high levels of synchronization to operate effectively at extraordinary speed with high repeatability. When looking at communications requirements, these motion control functions need to be supported by deterministic, real-time communications across multiple axes.

At the same time, end users are demanding ever-more high-speed, advanced machines, meaning that implementing a network technology that can achieve this is key. Time-sensitive networking (TSN) can address these requirements and offers future benefits. These include the possibility of using a converged network architecture to simplify machine design, reduce costs and decrease time to market. This is enabled by multiple kinds of traffic being combined, rather than using separate networks as in the past.

Figure 1: In its drive to serve the market with state-of-the-art printing technologies, Keller was keen to adopt the most promising, innovative automation devices and industrial communications solutions. To develop a universal, modular machine for direct, multi-color printing on cylindrical goods, such as bottles, machine designers asked Mitsubishi Electric for help.

Figure 1: In its drive to serve the market with state-of-the-art printing technologies, Keller was keen to adopt the most promising, innovative automation devices and industrial communications solutions. To develop a universal, modular machine for direct, multi-color printing on cylindrical goods, such as bottles, machine designers asked Mitsubishi Electric for help. Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

Poland-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Keller was keen to adopt automation devices and industrial communications solutions. When machine designers there wanted to develop a universal, modular machine for direct, multi-color printing on cylindrical goods, such as bottles, they asked an automation vendor for help. The team set out to identify the most suitable options to create the best machine to support future ambitions and customers’ needs.

Automation system uses industrial Ethernet with TSN

The unique setup developed by the companies, which combines screen printing and hot stamping on cylindrical objects, used an industrial automation system that incorporates CC-Link IE TSN network technology. This includes servos controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC).

They used a combination of TSN and gigabit bandwidth to offer Keller a system that could provide fully deterministic control of up to 128 axes. It also enabled extreme synchronization accuracy in the order of microseconds. This helped ensure the machine can deliver prints of consistently high quality while maintaining a rate of 3,000 units per hour, with a plan to reach 3,600.

Figure 2: Keller wanted a really advanced and ambitious setup, with 20 axes per color head and a total of 65 servo drives, in addition to 18 auxiliary virtual axes.

Figure 2: Keller wanted a really advanced and ambitious setup, with 20 axes per color head and a total of 65 servo drives, in addition to 18 auxiliary virtual axes. Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

Michal Cydzik, product manager for control systems at Mitsubishi Electric, said, “What Keller wanted was a really advanced and ambitious setup, with 20 axes per color head and a total of 65 drives, in addition to 18 auxiliary virtual axes. CC-Link IE TSN provided the necessary determinism, capacity and bandwidth required to handle this while delivering the performance Keller needed.”

Figure 3: Keller’s unique setup, which combines screen printing and hot stamping on cylindrical objects, utilizes an industrial automation system that incorporates CC-Link IE TSN network technology to offer ground-breaking performance.

Figure 3: Keller’s unique setup, which combines screen printing and hot stamping on cylindrical objects, utilizes an industrial automation system that incorporates CC-Link IE TSN network technology to offer ground-breaking performance. Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

Opening the door to future-oriented manufacturing

The resulting machine offers end users a modular, versatile solution that delivers enhanced productivity, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and high print quality. Moreover, the setup is scalable, as it can incorporate up to eight colors (and their necessary axes) and is reconfigurable. It can be extended to include additional printing modules to deliver a highly integrated system. The result was an industry leading machine enabled by an open industrial Ethernet technology.

Figure 4: The setup includes Mitsubishi Electric’s Melsec MR-J5 servos controlled by an iQ-R series PLC,A which are all compatible with CC-Link IE TSN.

Figure 4: The setup includes Mitsubishi Electric’s Melsec MR-J5 servos controlled by an iQ-R series PLC,A which are all compatible with CC-Link IE TSN. Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

Thomas Burke, global strategic advisor for the CLPA Americas, said, “It’s really exciting to see how Keller is using CC-Link IE TSN to stay ahead in its field. Keller has tapped into the technology’s full range of features to create efficient, high-performance solutions for its customers. What’s more, it’s looking ahead by planning to add new features like vision systems, all on the same network. This approach not only simplifies the design process but also cuts costs and speeds up time-to-market. Keller’s work is a great example of how CC-Link IE TSN is making a real difference in various industries.”

Figure 5: CC-Link IE TSN network technology offers Keller a system that could provide deterministic control of up to 128 axes. It also enabled extreme synchronization accuracy in the order of microseconds. This ensures that the machine can deliver prints of consistently high quality while maintaining a rate of 3,000 units per hour, with a plan to reach 3,600.

Figure 5: CC-Link IE TSN network technology offers Keller a system that could provide deterministic control of up to 128 axes. It also enabled extreme synchronization accuracy in the order of microseconds. This ensures that the machine can deliver prints of consistently high quality while maintaining a rate of 3,000 units per hour, with a plan to reach 3,600. Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

 

Figure 6: The resulting machine offers end users a modular, versatile solution that delivers enhanced productivity, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and high print quality.

Figure 6: The resulting machine offers end users a modular, versatile solution that delivers enhanced productivity, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and high print quality. Courtesy: CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)

Thomas Burke is global strategic advisor for the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), a CFE Media and Technology content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, web content manager, CFE Media and Technology, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

MORE ANSWERS

Keywords: motion control, time-sensitive networking (TSN)

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Author Bio: Thomas Burke is global strategic adviser for CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA). He is the founder of the OPC Foundation and spent much of his career developing software, hardware and firmware for industrial automation, including at Rockwell Automation. CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) is a CFE Media and Technology content partner.