Synchronised motion of 14 axes presents a challenge

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A manufacturer wanted to produce a custom machine design for automated dying of book edges, and the challenges for Yaskawa were many-fold. The principle features were ease of start-up, which was required for a very demanding schedule, auto feed insertion for correct book placement and accurate edge detection accommodating random in-feed. It further needed precise placement for rotational clearance. All this meant synchronised motion of 14 axes.

The OEM makes a variety of custom automation equipment to serve a wide industrial market. This application required placement of randomly incoming books that must be placed accurately such that the book can be rotated for a full-edge dye operation. The in-feed sensor activates a series of rollers that grab the edge of the book and pull it in to a specific target determined by a latch sensor. Once the product is placed correctly, a pneumatic actuator clamps the book in place. Two sets of dye rollers extend along each side applying the desired colour. The book is then rotated 180 degrees such that the remaining two sides can be dyed accordingly; it is then ejected to the next stage in the process. The system comprises two independent identical paths and controls a total of 14 servo axes with one MP2300Siec controller to accomplish the task.

This system achieved a performance of 20 books per minute throughput, placement accuracy of +/- 0.25mm, and auxiliary functions of book rotation, out-feed control and machine I/O sequencing. The differentiating features included a pre-written feed-to-length template, high-speed latch for accurate in-feed registration and a tuning-less servo function.

Benefits were a proven core code, which reduces commissioning time, reduces project risk and improves performance. There is greater accuracy for tight rotational tolerance, faster start-up time and overall much improved performance.

Micromech is the UK distributor and systems integrator for Yaskawa motion products; for more information email , or visit the website at

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