When the global economic crisis took hold in 2008, it was necessary throughout the world to make a series of decisions for future strategy. The same was true for Danish motion control specialists JVL Industri Elektronik A/S.
Should the company steer through the crisis as best as possible by generally adapting to the situation - or should JVL focus on the future and on new development? After closer study and surveys amongst representatives, agents and customers in Europe and the USA, a new strategy was drawn up. It proposed radically to invest heavily in new product development. So instead of focussing on sales, which were under pressure anyway due to the crisis, attention was directed to development and to the future once the crisis was over. This meant employing new development engineers. At the same time, sales staff and production were aligned with actual market conditions.
The plan was that when the crisis was over, JVL would be able to offer the servo motor of the future, in the range 50W to 3.0kW, based on industrial Ethernet - i.e. EtherCAT for the European market and EtherNet/IP for the American market.
Industrial Ethernet will become the motor interface of the future - partly due to the immense support by large industrial companies such as Siemens, Rockwell, Beckhoff, Schneider, B&R, Phoenix, etc, and partly because of its relative low price for a high-speed interface bus. Moreover, the goal is that by 2013 at the latest, JVL will be the leader in industrial Ethernet for integrated servo motors - worldwide.
To achieve that goal, other industrial Ethernet buses such as Profinet, Powerlink, Sercos III would be continuously developed when needs arise. In addition, Profibus, CANopen and Devicenet modules would be updated in both software and hardware so that communication with the basic motor could be achieved at up to 2Mbit/s via the MODBUS interface.
The situation today
Today JVL has industrial Ethernet modules with EtherCAT and Ethernet/IP which are already installed in machines in Germany and the US. Powerlink was to completed in May 2011.
A new high-speed MODBUS interface has been developed for all JVL's integrated motors. And fieldbus systems have been generally upgraded. JVL thus now stands stronger than ever with a complete programme of integrated servo motors in the range 50 to 75W. The larger, 1.5 kW and 3.0kW integrated servo motors are under development and will be launched at the upcoming SPS/IPC/Drives trade-fair in Nuremburg in the autumn of 2011.
Today, customers prefer a network interface between the PLC/pc and motor control. This can be achieved very simply with JVL's new Ethernet modules, which enable the PLC to control the servo 100 per cent.All registers, positions, speeds and error messages can be mirrored to the PLC at very high speed, typically within 100 to 200µs.
Since JVL supports explicit and cyclic messages (implicit), the company's motors can be used with almost all PLCs and computers. In the motor itself it is only a matter of configuring a few parameters, and in the example of an Ethernet PLC configuring corresponding parameters to identify the correct values, for example five read and five write (cyclic) variables.
To quickly get started with JVL's integrated motors, the M12 Ethernet connector is mounted and AC or DC supply connected. The motor is then largely ready to run: no driver to mount in a cabinet, nor a maze of cables and connectors to be fitted.
The integrated Ethernet motor is the solution that all machinery producers have been waiting for - and will use in the coming years.
Advantages of integrated motors
Customer requirements to machines and applications are that they must be smaller and smaller, yet include increasingly more functionality. In addition, the motor must use as little energy as possible.
The solution to this is integrated motors. Integrated motors are the motors of the future, since customers need only pay for what they require - and additionally save space in control cabinets and reduce the number of cables and components.
Moreover, noise problems from motor cables are eliminated as any noise is confined within the motor.
By integrating the motor, controller, power supply and Ethernet interface bus in a single unit, there is no longer a need to mount motor amplifiers and EMC filters in a control cabinet. Space savings are a minimum of 75 per cent compared with conventional systems.
In integrated motors of the future it will also be possible to handle necessary safety functions, which will be an additional bonus for the overall system, and a further benefit in terms of fewer components to mount in a system cabinet.
Integrated motors are specifically developed with the aim of minimising generation of heat.
Highly efficient components and switching technology are used to avoid the motor from over-heating. Both the motor and the power circuitry generate a lot of heat, so each Watt that is eliminated makes the motor correspondingly cooler.
Moreover JVL requires that the motors are UL-approved - and UL certification puts very stringent demands on internal and external temperatures.
The standby consumption of integrated motors is typically 50 per cent lower than that of corresponding systems with discrete motors and amplifiers.
A beneficial side effect of using integrated motors is that heat generation in the control cabinet is reduced significantly so cooling fans are often completely unnecessary.
Adapt to needs
JVL's modular construction makes it easy to adapt machine construction to customer needs - now and in the future. In the past the need was for example Profibus. Today it is industrial Ethernet, and tomorrow it will be wireless communication.
In the past a machine constructor was always concerned about customer needs and expectations regarding communication protocols. But there is no need for concern any longer. With interchangeable modules it is easy to switch from one module to another.
When Ethernet modules are used, using the same hardware it will be possible to switch between EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, Powerlink, and Sercos III. This means that customer outlay is minimised since a module can be adapted to communicate with all common PLCs throughout all of the world.
Reduce installation costs
By eliminating expensive and specialised cabling and connectors to the motor and encoder - and due to component savings in the control cabinet - installation costs are reduced by approximately 65 per cent.
All CANopen, Profibus, Devicenet and Ethernet modules have additionally bus IN and OUT facilities, via which a reliable and inexpensive network can be established.
All of the above provide machine constructors who use integrated motors with an Ethernet interface bus that offers significant advantages in relation to competitors who use traditional technology.
Future motor control requirements
In the US, customer requirements for the servo motor of the future include: energy efficiency, user-friendliness and cost efficiency.
"JVL servo motors have proven to yield very high torque in relation to their size, while consuming less energy than competitors' products to do the same job. JVL's software MacTalk and the elimination of separate drivers/controllers make JVL servo and stepper motors easy to implement and maintain", says Greg Fischer of JVL USA.
He continues: "JVL motors are competitive in price and a lot of cost is saved by removing the need for cabling. The motion control markets that are buying right now in the USA include the medicinal, component, and packaging industries, as well as the public sector and the space industry (NASA).
EtherNet/IP is the preferred network in the USA due to the strong presence of Rockwell/AB."The new JVL modules are therefore very much in demand in the USA," concludes Fischer.
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Mads Vernon Jorgensen is Managing Director with JVL Industri Elektronik A/S, Birkerod, Denmark. www.jvl.dk