CNC Motion Control

Intralogistics markets expand motion control use

Huge demand in warehousing, food and beverage, and other interior logistics (intralogistics) applications expand variable frequency drive flexibility and features.

By Mark T. Hoske April 8, 2021
Courtesy: Siemens in a ProMatDX preview

 

Learning Objectives

  • Intralogistics markets are accelerating automation investments.
  • Automation vendors are making variable frequency drive systems easier to implement and use.
  • ProMatDX online digital show is April 12-16 and organized by MHI, the material handling, logistics and supply chain association.

Prior to the pandemic, warehouse automation had been growing at about 8% annual growth rate, but COVID-19’s demands for home deliveries increased that investment to 12%. 2020 was the largest year of shipments to date and the total market is expected to double in size from 2020 to 2026, said Craig Henry, Siemens intralogistics industry manager.

In response, automation vendors have made products more flexible, easier to install and use, faster and enabled with Industry 4.0 technologies, such as advanced variable frequency drive (VFD) systems. Intralogistics is the transportation of materials inside buildings or at a location. Modern technologies move and track products and deliver information along the way, Henry said.

Henry made his comments with other experts in an April 7 press briefing in advance of the ProMatDX online digital show, April 12-16, organized by MHI, the material handling, logistics and supply chain association.

Motion control logistics applications

Generally, motion control for interior logistics applications has a 10-year lifecycle and apply to conveyers, automatic storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), and vertical lifts: scissor lifts and other lifters. Market drivers for enabling automation include global markets, push for single source provider to decrease integration and inventory, shorten delivery times, apply to varied electrical grid conditions, include seamless hardware and software, easy use over the product’s lifetime and reliability in harsh conditions.

Intralogistics market includes automated guided vehicles (AGV), ASRS, conveyors, picking, palletizing, and services, and key end users are Amazon logistics and fulfillment businesses, parcels (DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS), food and beverage and consumer package goods (CPG) including Walmart, Target and Kroger.

In addition to the e-commerce boom, there’s a shortage of transport space, rising energy prices, lack of qualified staff and the need for speed, Henry said.

The Sinamics G115D variable frequency drive system is a distributed VFD for conveyor technology applications, and no enclosure is needed, according to Rafael Larcher, Sinamics drives product marketing manager. The drive has simple setup and optimized user interface via Startdrive software and with the Sinamics Smart Access Module (SAM) to connect via mobile device to the drive over Wi-Fi access, over 150 ft. WAP-2 encryption supports HTTPS. It also has Profinet and EtherNet/IP communications and safety integrated safe torque off (STO), and integrates with Totally Integrated Automation, device to cloud architecture. Applications include conveyors, turntables or corner turntables, traveling trolleys for intralogistics, airports, automotive and food and beverage markets. Courtesy: Siemens in a ProMatDX preview

The Sinamics G115D variable frequency drive system is a distributed VFD for conveyor technology applications, and no enclosure is needed, according to Rafael Larcher, Sinamics drives product marketing manager. The drive has simple setup and optimized user interface via Startdrive software and with the Sinamics Smart Access Module (SAM) to connect via mobile device to the drive over Wi-Fi access, over 150 ft. WAP-2 encryption supports HTTPS. It also has Profinet and EtherNet/IP communications and safety integrated safe torque off (STO), and integrates with Totally Integrated Automation, device to cloud architecture. Applications include conveyors, turntables or corner turntables, traveling trolleys for intralogistics, airports, automotive and food and beverage markets. Courtesy: Siemens in a ProMatDX preview

Intralogistics markets are accelerating automation investments more quickly than manufacturing, Henry said, which is making incremental improvements along the way. Logistics applications are ahead in digital twin use, he said.

Sandi Hirschlein, marketing manager, low voltage drives, gave a preview of the Siemens online booth at ProMatDX. John Meyer, Siemens marketing communication manager, served as moderator for the media preview event.

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

KEYWORDS: Intralogistics, motion control, variable frequency drives, VFD

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Mark T. Hoske
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.