Packaging system makers can enjoy safer networking of modular machines
Sick has equipped its flexi soft modular safety controller with new functionalities. With the flexi loop functionality upgrade, packaging system manufacturers benefit from the safe networking of modular machines, and with the drive monitor motion control module from the safety oriented monitoring of drives.
With the cascading of safety sensors, the safe networking of modular machines, and safety oriented drive monitoring, the firm provides efficient safety solutions for all phases of the packaging process.
Materials supply, servicing, and maintenance work, as well as error rectification, are the most important reasons that packaging machines are often provided with a variety of safety doors, service panels, or covers.
Along with these, emergency stop push-buttons are almost always provided, as well as safety laser scanners or safety light curtains in some applications where machine openings without a mechanical, physical guard must be accessed.
Due to the special screened cables involved, as well as the discrete wiring and safe inputs for the safety controller, integrating all of these switches and sensors separately would until now have incurred significant costs. The flexi loop functionality upgrade fulfils the requirement for cost-saving cascading of safe switches and sensors, with which safety doors and servicing panels on machines are protected up to performance level (PL) E in accordance with DIN EN ISO 13849-1.
Up to 32 sensors, even those produced by other manufacturers, can be cascaded and receive voltage supply via loop nodes in enclosure rating IP67. This minimizes expenditure on cabling and frees up safety controller inputs. Here the power supply and communication paths between the individual loop nodes can be as long as 30 m, meaning that a full “loop” may amount to a total length of 960m. The connection is achieved via an unscreened standard cable with M12 connectors.
Flexi loop almost eliminates the current costs for wiring and for safety inputs and outputs, and, unlike conventional series connection, detects if consequential errors are masked by the series connection.
Furthermore, unlike discreet wiring, the response time of the whole system is reduced, as the response time of flexi loop is significantly shorter than the sum of the response times of the individual sensors. As the flexi loop strand monitors each sensor individually, it provides comprehensive diagnostic information during running operation. The duration and costs of machine down time in a packaging line are minimized in an efficient manner, and availability is optimized.
The efficacy of safety oriented optimization of individual machines is, however, dependent on linking the control systems of the individual system modules and integrating their safety functions process logically through the bi-directional communication of the safety signals.
The flexi line functionality upgrade enables up to 32 machine elements of a complete packaging line to be networked safely, without additional modules and over distances of up to 1000m between the stations. In this way, established and simulated safety functions can be installed easily during final assembly, or commissioning at the end customer’s installation – without additional electronic components, or extra expenditure on software or programming. It means the addition of machine modules and their control systems, for safety purposes, can be achieved in the simplest and most efficient way.
An additional benefit is the migration capability of safe drive monitoring with the drive monitor. Expansion of up to six drive monitor modules is possible, which is ideal for achieving intelligent multiaxle applications with up to 12 drives.