Programming motor controllers and integrating them into machine environments often takes several days and quickly costs several thousand euros. A barrier that the Cologne-based company Igus is now removing. Free motion pattern programs make it possible to commission dryve series motor controls in just a few minutes and connect them to higher-level programmable logic controllers (PLCs). This benefits automation newcomers and professionals alike.
The level of automation is increasing rapidly in many companies. The workload for technicians and engineers responsible for programming and synchronizing automation movements is increasing accordingly. "To provide relief, we make free sample programs available for download for our dryve motor controls," says René Erdmann, head of the drylin E drive technology business unit at Igus.
Customers worldwide mostly use the cost-effective controllers for comparatively simple automation tasks - for example, for controlling DC, EC and stepper motors in single axes, line gantries, area gantries, space gantries and delta robots. "Thanks to the ready-made sample codes, users can now integrate our motor controllers into higher-level programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and machine environments at lightning speed and define motion sequences in a time- and cost-saving manner." The sample programs are thereby compatible with PLC manufacturer Siemens, but also with industrial PCs, microcontrollers such as an Arduino and single-board computers such as Raspberry Pi. Further sample programs for Beckhoff, Wago and Eaton are already being planned.
User saves several days of programming work
Access to the sample programs is barrier-free: users can find videos on the Igus website that show the most common automation movements - such as a carriage moving to different target positions on a linear axis. If the motion program seems suitable, the user can download the software code and load it into the master controller. The actions of the motor can then be parameterized and adapted to the user's own requirements via an intuitively understandable graphic interface. No programming knowledge is required to set travel distances, target positions and accelerations.
The advantage is obvious: "Initial customer feedback confirms this: With some sample programs that map more complex motion sequences, users save several days of programming work," says Erdmann. So far, the offering includes 19 pattern programs suitable for positioning tasks, test and experiment equipment, pick-and-place handling, automatic assembly machines and feeding systems. "In the future, the offering will steadily expand to include motion programs that customers need most often. If a sample program is ever missing, for example for a special application or for a different master control, the desired program can be requested on the Igus website."
Instructional videos speed up motor control commissioning
To further accelerate the commissioning of motor controls, Igus has also implemented the so-called dryve Experience in addition to the sample programs. An online world to complement classic analog media. Instead of poring over printed operating instructions, customers can learn how to use the motor controls with videos. Erdmann: "The short films cover topics that customers most frequently ask our telephone hotline about - such as connecting brakes to the engine control unit. With the videos, they now have new, easy-to-understand 24/7 support." All relevant digital documents for smooth commissioning of the motor controls can also be found online - including firmware, Eplan macros and 3D drawings.