Preview: Mitsubishi iQ controls sequence, motion, process, CNC, robotics; has connectivity
Vernon Hills, IL– Mitsubishi Electric Automation will preview its new iQ Automation platform at 2008 fall trade shows targeting machine builders, such as PackExpo and the International Machine Tool Show (IMTS). The new platform will be available in January 2009, but the company gave Control Engineering a preview of what users can expect from the new offerings, including better data integration and more connectivity to third-party systems.
Mitsubishi polled its OEM and end user customers to find out exactly what they were looking for. “Our customers face the same challenges Mitsubishi Electric faces. We are a global manufacturer supplying automation products throughout the world. Our customers are demanding an unprecedented level of automation integration. They are looking for a platform that will significantly reduce their total cost of ownership,” said Sloan Zupan, product marketing manager.
Mitsubishi found that users of controllers cited three main pain points, which the iQ Automation platform seeks to address:
1. Great expense and time is spent on projects that link information technology with manufacturing . “IT professionals are challenged with how to reduce risk and budget overruns associated with plant floor integration projects,” says Zupan. “Providing a uniform method of sharing information between the various systems is no longer a challenge. Customers who have previewed the iQ Automation platform in conjunction with our integrated enterprise connectivity appliance are impressed with the simplicity of the configuration environment, the granularity of the security and the flexibility to future change that the solution provides,” he added.
2. “There are many types of control being used within a single manufacturing facility . Customers have equipment with CNC, robotic, sequence, process and other control disciplines. These systems traditionally require their own architecture. Significant effort is spent designing, implementing and supporting these different systems which drives up the total cost of ownership. iQ Automation provides a single platform that can be used for every imaginable control discipline, with common communication interfaces, I/O and software tools to help manage the automation assets throughout the entire life cycle,” explained Zupan.
3. “Customers have tried to implement solutions based on open standards like Ethernet ,” says Zupan. “Ethernet has been implemented differently by automation suppliers. CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association recently launched CC-Link IE, which is an open gigabit fiber optic Ethernet controller level network. CC-Link IE provides the bandwidth needed to accommodate the ever increasing need to share information between manufacturing assets,” he adds.
Zupan says, “The new iQ Automation platform, planned to be released in January 2009, leverages the very successful Q Series platform. The iQ Automation platform now integrates CNC and robotic control with sequence, motion, process, c language and PC based controls for a single user experience.”
Zupan continues, “iQ Works software suite is an integrated engineering environment providing our customers with a common tag database, security, simulation and troubleshooting of the entire system. The integrated system is designed to be used by customers throughout a machine’s lifecycle. You can use a product called MELSOFT Navigator, a component of iQ Works, to design automation systems and networks. The drag and drop interface makes designing a system simple and intuitive. iQ Works provides customers with powerful tools like simulation, diagnostics and revision control. The environment lends itself to reuse of applications and allows a system to be designed, operated and supported concurrently by multiple people.” He adds, “Customers will be able to provide solutions more quickly and with more consistency. This will create a competitive advantage for our customers.”
iQ Automation products will be on display at key trade shows in Chicago: the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) , Sept. 8-13, and PackExpo International , Nov. 9-13.
For more information on the Q Series and iQ Automation products, please visit www.meau.com.
– Renee Robbins , senior editor
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