Drive technology that is innovative, space-saving and energy-efficient needs to be clearly comprehensible and easy to use so that machine builders and system integrators can maximise the benefits. This is where Lenze comes in with a promise of simpler engineering that makes life as easy as possible for the design engineer - for example, creating the possibility of very short commissioning times. Showing how different machines can be up and running in three, five or seven minutes, Lenze has demonstrated that this can be achieved in real-life applications.
Three minutes for a simple roller conveyor with adjustable speed, five minutes for a more complex variable-speed belt conveyor application, and seven minutes for a multi-axis robot application.
The significance of these figures is not the exact number of minutes but Lenze's promise to enable a different way of developing and implementing drive applications. Efficient engineering means not wasting time on simple materials-handling applications because the products are complex or because of overall poor usability. It also does not mean having to employ expensively trained specialist personnel to commission machinery.
In the case of horizontal materials handling conveyors, drive design always involves a balancing act between comparatively low running torques during operation and the high torques required when the system is started. The classic way to go about this is to design the motors for the maximum power needed (ie for the breakaway torque). The concept of 'more is better' leads to a solution that works but wastes a great deal of energy - in some cases up to 60 per cent.
With the new mechatronic unit consisting of the Lenze Smart Motor and g500 gearbox, Lenze offers a different way of doing things - an easy and intelligent way to supersede the conventional mains motor with starter. The speed of the motor is now easy to set by means of a Lenze smartphone app with NFC (Near Field Communications) data transfer to the motor. Lenze has demonstrated at exhibitions worldwide that the Smart Motor mechatronic drive can be programmed in less than three minutes.
In the case of the new Lenze i500 series of frequency inverters, the development team placed importance on easy use and universal application, as well as being compact, high-performance drives. This promise of ease of use continues during commissioning when the inverter is being parameterised. This can be done with the help of either the Lenze 'Engineer' software tool and a PC or a new Lenze smart phone app. Another option is WLAN, a plug-in module that is destined to be a real time-saver - especially when control cabinets are put in places with difficult access and connecting a cable between the inverter and a laptop proves to be difficult. The result being that the system's availability will increase. Instead of having to go to the trouble of getting to where the drives are physically located, the WLAN module can be used to establish a mobile connection to the drive settings. This allows new ways of communication, resulting in record-low times for commissioning as well as during servicing.
It is a fact that design engineers want to build competitive machines. In this context, it is not only innovation, flexibility and performance that matter but also - and more than ever before - faster completion of the development work. Lenze supports this with its FAST Application Software Toolbox. Thanks to the use of standardised and modular software, ready-made motion functions such as winding, registration and positioning can be very easily integrated into the machine control system. They can be reused with minimal effort for subsequent machines. The FAST technology modules all use the same standardised interfaces which can be easily combined in a number of ways. Software programmers have more time for development and testing of their special machine functions, while this opportunity to 'concentrate on the essentials' is said to give the company an advantage over its competitors.
But does this also apply to apparently complex robotics applications? Commissioning a pick-and-place application in just seven minutes - is that possible? It is - with the complete, ready-to-use FAST robotics solutions. These are powerful pick-and-place modules with a fully-fledged robotics core, into which everything that the design engineer needs for fast, productive and flexible handling technology has already been integrated. They make it very easy to integrate robot kinematics into the overall automation and motion control system. Pick-and-place movements can therefore be easily executed by means of parameterisation and without any detailed knowledge of robotics. This massively reduces engineering time and effort for the machine builder.
Drive technology is critical in machine building because it is responsible for controlling motion. In future, it will be even more important to make the parameterisation of motion as easy as possible. In the course of Industry 4.0, modern machines have to deliver flexible and customised outputs. To ensure that the level of complexity for designers and end-users is kept under control, Lenze has created new methods to set up and control machine drives.
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