Reducing complexity and securing reliable supply is critical to success when it comes to machine building. Nigel Dawson, Head of Business Development for Electric Automation at Festo explains how Festo is assisting the industry in connecting devices seamlessly and reducing the complexity of supply and control.
In 2022 Festo released the latest family of their successful CMMT-AS low voltage servo drive, redeveloping the product from the ground up to incorporate the latest semiconductors and changing the product to a real multi-protocol servo drive.
This change in the connectivity of the drive allowed a single drive to be connected to PROFINET, Ethernet IP, EtherCAT and Modbus by the simple selection in software or a flick of a switch on the device. Whilst of course it is highly unlikely, changing of a communication protocol on an already installed device would never happen, the advantages of such an option are numerous.
By reducing the portfolio of drives with dedicated protocols down to a single drive with all protocols, the range complexity is reduced significantly. This reduces the complexity of production, increasing the availability of the drive and ensuring Festo can keep production costs to a minimum, thus offering a value for money solution.
In addition, adaptions to firmware are simplified, meaning Festo can bring newer feature sets to the market faster, offering more options for their customer applications.
The advantages for machine builders are even greater. In these times of unpredictable supply, machine builders need availability of product but never quite know which product they need next. With the multiprotocol drive from Festo, machine builders can carry a small amount of stock as a buffer, secure in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter what PLC or network appears on their next machine. No matter what their network requirements are from their end customer, the Festo drive can be switched to suit.
This has proved very popular amongst Festo Customers with 85% of all CMMT servo drives now supplied in multi-protocol version.
The extra low voltage drive dwarfed by its bigger brothers, packs a punch when it comes to performance
This summer, Festo will release a new product to this multiprotocol family with the extra low voltage servo drive CMMT-ST. This 24v-48v DC servo drive is capable of driving stepper and BLDC motors in full servo closed loop control. It offers power up to 300W with the added advantage of having supply at only 48v DC maximum. This means machine builders and end customers can install and maintain the drive outside of the low voltage regulations, simplifying the process and increasing safety.
The extra low voltage drive uses the same firmware platform as its bigger brothers in the low voltage range and therefore the main PLC sees no difference in the drives. This ensures all power classes and voltages of drives can be mixed and matched on a single machine, utilizing the most efficient size for each task thus saving costs on the machine.
Multiprotocol connectivity is not the only new feature of new extra low voltage drive. The drive benefits from a microprocessor with 3 times the power of the previous version and an increased peak current level of up to 2.5x the nominal current. This allows better performance in the application, also extending the range of BLDC motors that can be used with the drive.
With the promise of seamless connectivity now extended to low voltage and extra low voltage servo drives, one might think the portfolio is complete. However, this approach also applies to the range of remote IO from Festo.
Decentralised remote I/O
CPX-AP-I remote IO system allows users to use the same decentralized digital and analogue blocks, IO link masters and valve terminals, irrespective of the industrial network selected. This is thanks to the AP backplane running throughout the entire system. The user only selects a required bus network node and then can connect up to 80 different IO modules and still maintain a data rate of 200 MBaud in real time. This performance allows true connectivity from the workpiece to the cloud, allowing Festo Simplified Motion Series actuators to be connected via IO link. This connectivity through the entire network to the cloud transports real application data for maintenance or AI applications. Furthermore, standard cables up to 15m long mean an entire installation from a single network node could stretch an impressive 1.2km.
New: the modular CPX-AP-A
This range has now been further extended with the CPX-AP-A modular IO system. This portfolio it a totally new and redesigned version of the successful CPX system from Festo. It utilises the same AP backplane running through the modular system as found in the AP-I system, ensuring lightning-fast communication and large data handling.
As the modular system and decentralised system utilized the same AP backplane, they can be combined for architecture where machine builder can choose a combination of the two to give an optimum layout with the best price and footprint combination. When this unique combination is added to the inclusion of three types of pneumatic valve terminal, this range becomes the most unique and flexible IO system on the market.
Irrespective of the application topology, communication protocol, power requirements or architecture the Electric Automation portfolio from Festo connects all levels of machine architecture across all industries.