Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors


Control cabinet-free automation

May 2024 Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors

As a replacement for the conventional control cabinet, the MX-System from Beckhoff offers some major efficiency advantages. It also provides a great deal of optimisation potential in terms of the increasing shortage of skilled workers and the expanding presence of DC supply networks across the industry. This makes it possible to achieve greater future-proofing in industrial production, which benefits not only machine and system engineering companies, but also end users.

The MX-System is a uniform modular automation system that can be used to completely replace traditional control cabinets with function modules in many applications. This waterproof and dustproof system, which can be mounted directly on the machine, comprises a robust aluminium baseplate with integrated module slots, featuring EtherCAT for data communication, and integrated distribution for different voltages. Its extensive portfolio of function modules includes the mains connection, drives, power supplies, industrial PCs and I/Os. Boasting all of these features and more, the MX system easily covers the full range of functions of conventional control cabinets.

The function modules can be easily attached to the baseplate, and simply screwed into place. This eliminates the need for any mechanical assembly of the control cabinet and its mounting plate, not to mention time-consuming manual wiring. All of this is directly reflected in the time required to set up the MX-System. Including the necessary tests and checks, an MX-System can be set up in just one hour, in contrast to at least 24 hours for a comparable control cabinet. In this way, the MX-System also counters the shortage of skilled workers, as individual employees are less tied to a single task and can move on to the next project in no time. A further advantage is the straightforward pluggability of the function modules, which means they do not need to be connected by specialised electricians – a real bonus for companies lacking the necessary expertise in this area.

A notable application scenario involves the use of a higher-level DC power supply. The DC supply for complete production halls is based on the strategy of providing electricity from renewable energies in combination with storage technologies for machines and systems as a mains voltage of 600 V DC. The MX-System is already designed to be DC-ready, in that it can distribute DC voltages and also be used directly for protective extra-low voltage power supply lines or modules for controlling synchronous and asynchronous motors. By facilitating the continuous use of DC voltage, it offers the major advantage of buffering the braking energy of the motors in the storage units of the DC networks rather than losing it through braking resistors. This possible use of the MX-System is already being implemented in a trial project.


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