Schneider Electric has added new functionalities to its Modicon MCM series safety controllers. In particular, the processing capacity of the function blocks in the CPU has been significantly increased. In addition, the evaluation of analogue measured values is now implemented and the number of controllable outputs has more than doubled. Furthermore, modules with switching currents of up to 2 A are now available for the outputs.
Where classical safety relays reach their limits, safety controllers come into play. The interaction of several safety elements does not have to be realised by complex hard wiring. The logic linking takes place purely virtually in the CPU. A user-friendly software environment is available for the safety-oriented Modicon MCM controllers from Tech-Konzern Schneider Electric. This offers the possibility of implementing safety concepts without special IT knowledge with the help of ready-made function blocks, Boolean functions and graphic lines in time and in budget. The programme structures created in this way are not only uncomplicated to save and copy, they can also be flexibly changed during the planning or operational phase. New security elements are easy to add and can be virtually tested for their effectiveness even before they are implemented. This creates investment protection and prevents bad purchases. In addition, the safety controllers from Schneider Electric offer a diagnostic function that allows the causes of malfunctions to be located quickly and precisely. In detailed form, this can be done directly on the controller CPU via a USB connection. The same software is used here that was used for programming. Thanks to the fieldbus connection, the higher-level management system can also be informed about errors.
Modular design and profitable innovations
The safety controllers from Schneider Electric have a modular structure. They always consist of a CPU unit and associated I/O modules for connecting the safety elements. A communication module for the connection to the controller, such as Ethernet, is also available. In the case of extensive, large machines, it is also possible to install the modules decentrally. While the intelligent CPU module and some I/O modules find space in the main control cabinet, further I/O modules can be distributed to up to five different control cabinets along the machine.
With the extensions that have now been made, even more sophisticated and elaborate safety concepts can be realised from now on. In particular, the processing of analogue measured values makes it possible to integrate safety precautions more ergonomically into operating procedures. By means of appropriate measuring devices, potential hazards for man and machine can be detected more precisely and earlier, for example, by measuring temperature, weight or gas concentrations. The evaluation of these measured values in the safety controller optimally prevents accidents and costly downtimes.