Decentralised drives simplifies installation

Paul Boughton

Nord Drivesystems is expanding its range with a comprehensive portfolio of decentralised drives and related automation components.

By eliminating traditional panel building and cabling requirements, the technology can simplify the construction of large conveyor applications in, for example, production lines, warehouse and logistics centres, or baggage handling lines. The resulting network-based automation provides a clear and logical plant structure that is said to be simpler to plan, install, operate and maintain.

Nord's decentralised drive range includes everything required for conveying and material handling applications. Options range from simple motor/starter combinations to smart geared motors with integral speed control electronics and I/O for process automation.

One of the innovative attributes of Nord's decentralised range is a configurable 'field distributor' module. The modular architecture of these components allows drives to be customised with the exact fieldbus, I/O, local user control/HMI and connection facilities required to provide cost-effective and compact decentralised automation. For example, configurations might combine variable-speed conveyor control with interfaces for photoelectric or proximity sensors, plus actuators for rotation tables or product diverters. A very wide-ranging choice of network interfaces ensures that OEMs and end users can build complex systems very easily and integrate them with existing factory networks. Plug-on communications options include Profibus, Canopen, Interbus, AS Interface and Devicenet.

One of the major advantages of the decentralised approach compared with traditional system building techniques is the elimination of long cabling between motors and panel- or cabinet-mounted drives and controls. The switching frequency of an inverter combined with long cable runs can give rise to a number of problems that can complicate system building, including interference, power loss, and spikes that can damage motors. The very close coupling between Nord's decentralised motor and drive products avoids such issues.

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