Inverter, Powerlink industrial Ethernet, IP67 bus controller, PC touchscreen controls machine

B&R Industrial Automation offers the Acoposinverter P84 with an integrated Powerlink interface from 0.37 to 500 kW; Ethernet Powerlink is widely used for hard-real-time motion applications; B&R's new Powerlink X67 bus controller with IP67 protection; and thermoformer machine uses one industrial touchscreen PC as an HMI and for machine control, were among Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 announcements.


Acoposinverter P84 with integrated Powerlink interface for the power range 0.37 kW to 500 kW. Courtesy: B&R Industrial Automation

B&R Industrial Automation, among Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 exhibitors, now offers the Acoposinverter P84 with an integrated Powerlink interface from 0.37 kW to 500 kW; cited that Ethernet Powerlink is widely used for hard-real-time motion applications. Also B&R's new Powerlink X67 bus controller has IP67 protection, and, saving control panel space, a thermoformer machine uses one industrial touchscreen PC as an HMI and for machine control. In addition, B&R sponsored student activities at Pack Expo to introduce bright young minds to packaging and machine builders and end-users to a new talent pool.

Frequency inverter with a Powerlink interface

For complex machines and systems, B&R offers the Acoposinverter P84 with an integrated Powerlink interface and a performance range of 0.37 to 500 kW. The P84 has a selection of onboard digital and analog I/O channels to control a wide range of technology functions. An integrated Powerlink hub also greatly simplifies bus cabling. An encoder interface can be added to the P84 for applications with strict requirements for speed or torque control, helping the inverter synchronized motion with the servo drives.

The integrated B&R Automation Studio environment provides all the needed software. The Motion Wizard assists the user when inserting the P84 into the project and handles the most important basic settings. This takes much of the guesswork out of commissioning. The System Diagnostics Manager makes it possible to perform full diagnostics or read the status of the machine, even over the Internet, with appropriate security clearance.

Powerlink axis systems lead, <250 µs

Anton Meindl is CEO of the Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG). Courtesy: B&amp;R Industrial Automation

Powerlink is the world's most widely used Industrial Ethernet protocol in applications where plant productivity depends on fast axes and machine and sensor data is transmitted in hard real time, according to Anton Meindl, CEO of the Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG). In the year 2010, more than 100,000 new axis systems with Powerlink interfaces were put into operation. Meindl said, “In machines with 24 axes and in I/O stations with 110 digital and 30 analog I/O channels, Powerlink provides a drive-to-drive reaction time of less than 250 µs. One extreme example of Powerlink's performance is a machine in a pharmaceutical application with more than 500 axes. Powerlink's open source license and the support given to developers and users by the user organization EPSG are additional competitive advantages.”

Powerlink bus controller: Tailored to any application

The new Powerlink X67 bus controller from B&amp;R offers users virtually unlimited freedom in system design. Courtesy: B&amp;R Industrial Automation

B&R's new Powerlink X67 bus controller with IP67 protection is equipped with 12 digital channels that can be configured as either inputs or outputs, so the module can be adapted to varied applications. An analog channel for 0-20 mA extends the range of potential applications for the Powerlink bus controller. The freely configurable input filter provides additional flexibility for project implementation. One input can be used as a counter input for an event counter. All connections are designed for M12 standard plugs. The Powerlink module has two network connectors, for daisy chain wiring, if needed.

Thanks to the remote backplane, the Powerlink bus controller can be expanded to include additional X67 or X20 modules over long distances, providing a wide range of design freedom.

New blister thermoformer has modular design, integrates high performance touch panel

PharmaWorks (also at Pack Expo) will equip its large format (220 mm x 290 mm) TF3 blister thermoformer with a sleek new Intel Atom-powered, IP65 rated touchscreen PC from B&R that allows replacement of a separate HMI and industrial PC.

A sealed aluminum HMI panel runs FactoryTalk View Machine Edition from Rockwell Automation, combining a protected operator interface with the ability to run Microsoft Windows applications that are increasingly important for production management, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), vision, video and serialization applications.

To increase machine modularity, PharmaWorks has implemented distributed, machine-mounted IP67 I/O modules, also from B&R, that connect to the control system’s EtherNet/IP network. This provides the flexibility to ship machines as modules and reconnect them at the customer site with plug-and-play cables.

B&R sponsors future workforce with new pavilion, student contest

“Investing in the future of packaging innovation,” said B&R president, Marc Ostertag, is why the automation provider sponsored the Pack Expo Education Pavilion and student design contest.

The pavilion’s central location and seating areas let students, recent graduates, educators and hiring managers meet each other in an environment conducive to dialogue. As the exclusive sponsor, B&R staffed a human resources kiosk where mechanical, electrical, computer science and mechatronics engineering students could learn about career opportunities in automation.

“This is all about investing in the future of packaging innovation,” said B&R president Marc Ostertag. “It’s why we run a 12-week, hands-on engineering ‘boot camp’ for our new hires. It’s why we’re actively contributing content to the PMMI Education and Workforce Development Committee’s new mechatronics curriculum. And it’s why we participate in mechatronics programs, such as Purdue Calumet’s groundbreaking packaging machinery curriculum.”

Ostertag contends that the packaging industry is experiencing a skills gap, between rapid changes in automation and information technologies, and the design engineers and technicians who must apply and maintain ever more productive and sustainable packaging machinery. “The packaging community faces an education imperative,” said Ostertag. “We all need to step up to the plate.”

Ostertag, who also sits on the PMMI Business Intelligence Committee, added that the student contest and pavilion aim to “introduce bright young minds to packaging, as well as machine builders and users to the talent pool.”

Tom Jensen, technology evangelist for pavilion sponsor B&R, said, “We (on the education committee) have worked hard the past two years to refresh outdated courses and tests.  Standards, integrated safety, robotics, modern Intel-based automation platforms, servos and networks have forever altered how we design packaging lines. The choices to date have been to hire already-experienced technical people if you can find them – or to forego all the competitive advantages these technologies bring.”

Marketing manager Melissa Freeman, who conducts campus recruiting for B&R, planned to leverage the pavilion sponsorship to “encourage promising automation-minded engineering students, who like to work with technology as well as their hands, to explore their career path with B&R.” She said B&R “boot camp experience culminates with applying control systems to a real-world machine. Our applications and sales engineering jobs involve travel, working with our customers’ breakthrough machinery technology, and access to the latest engineering tools.”

B&R, a privately held automation equipment manufacturer, was founded in 1979, employs 2,300 employees worldwide, and has more than 162 sales offices in over 68 countries. B&R Industrial Automation Inc. North America, based in Atlanta, GA, has been working closely with customers since 1987, now with more than 24 offices throughout the USA and Canada.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering.

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