At SPS Nuremburg in November 2012, Control Techniques will be launching Unidrive M, a new family of drives tailored to the needs of manufacturing automation customers. The top range product, the Unidrive M800, integrates a new breed of high performance MCi machine controller within the drive. The solution is designed to enhance machine throughput by providing comprehensive control across complete customer machines. They are configured using the CODESYS programming environment with standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages and standard Ethernet for communication across drives, I/O, HMIs, PLCs and other industrial devices.
Onboard real time Ethernet (using IEEE 1588 V2) provides improved machine control with fast and flexible communications, achieving synchronisation rates across the network of below 1 µs, update rates as low as 250 µs and a virtually unlimited node count. Control Techniques' advanced new Real Time Machine Control Protocol uses standard Ethernet TCP/IP and UDP to provide a highly efficient and compact message structure that frees up Ethernet network bandwidth and minimises network loading. This allows Unidrive M models to talk directly to each other instead of having to route all communications through the traditional machine controller. Each Ethernet-enabled drive incorporates a dual port Ethernet switch with standard RJ45 connectors, greatly simplifying the task of networking machines.
Certain applications, such as electronic line shafts, can be set up without having to write any programming code at all. In these instances, the drives will start communicating with one another automatically, synchronising their control loops so that they can operate in seamless coordination. Standard Ethernet allows Control Techniques' protocols to work alongside others, such as PROFINET RT, Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP/IP.
Another area of innovation in the development of Unidrive M has been the PC tools: Unidrive M Connect and Machine Control Studio. Unidrive M Connect is Control Techniques' new drive configuration and monitoring software, designed to make it easy to access the products' full feature sets. The tool allows users to optimise drive tuning, back up the configuration set and troubleshoot more quickly.
Machine Control Studio supports Control Techniques' new integrated MCi machine control functionality within Unidrive M. The software provides a full function automation development environment that uses open industry standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages and is powered by CODESYS to fully meet Manufacturing Automation application requirements.