When it comes to manufacturing individualised products in a quantity-oriented and space-optimised manner, innovative production concepts are essential. These challenges can be solved efficiently with the XTS and XPlanar intelligent transport systems, as well as with the PC-based control technology from Beckhoff as a whole. Both of these transport systems are ideal for use in applications including battery manufacturing and electric motor production.
The automotive industry is currently undergoing a structural change that is set to take some time to complete, with digitalisation, Industry 4.0, automation and networking all changing the face of production processes and plants. PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology from Beckhoff uses industry and IT standards and components for cloud communication and big data, making it ideal for implementing these concepts.
The challenges and opportunities here are manifold, and cover not only the vehicles themselves, but to a large extent also the production plants in the field of e-mobility. As Jörg Rottkord, automotive industry manager at Beckhoff describes it, “Beckhoff supplies all the key control elements for the production and assembly of typical automotive components. In addition to body construction, material flow and painting, this notably applies to the areas of powertrain and battery cell production. In particular, the focus on alternative drive types such as e-mobility and fuel cell technology is generating immense market demand for our components and solutions.
“In addition to production, this also includes the measurement and testing functions of the components produced. Examples of this are the ageing test and analysis for battery cells after their production. The entire functionality of the Beckhoff modular automation toolkit is typically used, from a wide range of CPU variants and modules for EtherCAT-based data acquisition to the functional safety of the production machines and plants. It also includes automated versioning of application code, and tool chains for continuous application improvement of the TwinCAT control algorithms in use. The consistent use of Beckhoff control technology increases production capacity, product quality and, above all, scalability for possible future expansions of production facilities. This is an approach that more and more innovative automotive companies are taking.”
Condition monitoring in a forging press retrofit Beckhoff Automation
System Integration & Control Systems Design
Significantly increased vibration on machines can result in many forms of negative impacts such as reduced system performance or damage to the machine and foundation. Using the example of retrofitting a forging press with a maximum press force of 2000 tons, Wölfel Engineering explains how efficiently the process was tailored and implemented with PC-based control and measurement technology from Beckhoff.
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Hamer has joined forces with Beckhoff to develop a thermoforming machine for water-based cellulose pulp to produce fully recyclable and environmentally-friendly cellulose packaging.
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System Integration & Control Systems Design
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IT in Manufacturing
Large language models offer a number of benefits for both automation engineers and enterprise management. For automation engineers, LLMs have the potential to revolutionise the development process by automatically generating and completing code. From an enterprise management perspective, LLMs promote knowledge transfer within the organisation.
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The integrated ASI8100 stepper motor drive from Beckhoff’s range of compact drive technology products up to 48 V DC combines a stepper motor, stepper motor output stage and fieldbus connection in a space-saving design. As an EtherCAT slave, it can be placed directly on the machine without a control cabinet or upstream I/O level, allowing for highly compact, control cabinet-free machines.
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Sensors & Transducers
The EP3751-0260 EtherCAT Box module by Beckhoff connects an acceleration sensor with an inertial measurement unit - a gyroscope. This provides accurate detection of acceleration and rotational motion in addition to shock, vibration and tilt measurement, both as preprocessed values and as raw sensor data.
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The AL8000 and AL8100 linear motor series now offers integrated position detection, thanks to the addition of a feedback system. This makes the entire process of integrating a motor into a machine much easier, as users no longer have to mount the scanning head themselves. Users also benefit from all the advantages of Beckhoff’s One Cable Technology.
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Beckhoff’s AX8820 regenerative unit for effective energy management is designed for a nominal supply voltage of 400 to 480 V AC, nominal output of 7 kW, and a maximum DC link voltage of 848 V DC. The regenerative energy is initially stored in the DC link.
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Editor's Choice System Integration & Control Systems Design
Automation is an essential part of manufacturing today. Whatever the size, an upgrade or migration project can be complex, and the risks can be high. This is where system integrators (SIs) can help. They can bring together complex subsystems or components of a larger system and make them operate as a whole.
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toolcraft manufactures on behalf of its customers using its 60 CNC machines, and designs, plans and builds turnkey production systems for companies in various industries, having added injection moulding, mould making and additive manufacturing technologies along the way. Robotics is the company’s newest technology division. This is why toolcraft relies on PC-based control, including in the production cells, which have seven-axis milling robots for machining components at CNC level.