For more than 25 years, Scheugenpflug AG, based in Neustadt/Danube, Germany, has created machines and production lines for dispensing and metering equipment used in the electronics, automotive and medical technology industries. High end automation with PC-based control and CNC technology from Beckhoff enables finely tuned processes and production results with high repeat accuracy.
A recent example is a production line deployed for an automotive industry supplier that makes heaters for hybrid and electric vehicles. Ulrich Böhm, team leader of development control and drive technology at Scheugenpflug, explains that in contrast to combustion engines, electric motors don’t generate heat that can be used for heating the passenger compartment, which means an electric heater is needed.
The heater production line includes a rotary dispensing system, whose key elements include a loading station with sensors and a scanner, a plasma treatment station, the metering system and two further stations for joining and fastening the electronics housings.
COO, Johann Gerneth describes the specific benefits of the system. “We demonstrated that the complex, high precision dispensing process cannot only be realised as a conventional in-line solution, but must also act as a highly compact rotary indexing system. A prerequisite for this was the application of high performance, modular and flexible control technology from Beckhoff,” he says. Rainer Bröckl, team leader of mechanical engineering, describes the process sequence. Three different dispensing materials are introduced into the workpiece as it passes through the rotary indexing system three times. In other words, the dosing system applies sealing material at three different production stages. In the joining station, the components are then assembled and secured with screw connections. Since all these sub-processes are interdependent, a rotary indexing system represents the ideal solution.
Gerneth says that he was particularly impressed by the openness of the Beckhoff technology and the company’s ongoing development and innovation. “A good example is the high performance drive technology, which enables us to integrate advanced servomotors into our machines. We generate substantial benefits from the One Cable Technology (OCT) here because OCT and the compact motors themselves help save valuable installation space. Moreover, a wide performance range is available for different requirements. In addition to AM8023 servomotors, we use the AM8533 version with increased rotor moment of inertia in the dispensing system,” he continues.
TwinCAT CNC software ensures high precision motion control in the dispensing system. In addition to system continuity, the PC-based CNC offers further advantages. On the one hand, it is very fast and efficient. On the other hand, the openness and flexibility of the CNC for functional extensions allows optimum application-specific functionality. Further benefits offered by TwinCAT include the powerful high level interface (HLI) between the CNC kernel and the PLC, as well as the customisable parameter interface, enabling quick and flexible response to different requirements. In this way, the functionalities commonly requested by customers can simply be mapped as software modules, facilitating a high degree of parameterisation.
Additional features include transformations and a fifth motion axis. This relates to the dispensing needle itself, to apply the sealing material to sloping surfaces, for example. In addition to the functionality of a conventional 3-axis kinematic system, it enables rotation of either the complete tool or just the dispensing needle. The same principle applies to the plasma station, where just a different tool is used. ”The Beckhoff C6920 Industrial PC forms the core of the control system. Together with five two-channel servo drives and two single channel AX5103 units it provides 12 dynamic and precisely positioned servo axes via the servomotors. A total of 21 EtherCAT terminals, 15 TwinSAFE terminals, 21 EtherCAT box modules and a TwinSAFE-EtherCAT box provide comprehensive data acquisition and safety functionality.
According to Gerneth, the openness of the control technology and its communication capabilities are also central aspects from an Industry 4.0 perspective. “Our machines offer a high degree of flexibility and openness for interfacing with MES and ERP systems through the use of ADS, TCP/IP or OPC-UA communication, based on customer demand. To enable traceability, universal communication is a particularly critical requirement in the automotive industry, and will become even more important in the context of Industry 4.0,” he concludes.
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