Motion Control & Drives

'ABS-brakes'for pnematics

April 2000 Motion Control & Drives

Festo is launching its Smart Soft Stop solution that provides a 50% speed increase of linear movements in pneumatics. With conventional technology, increased speed of operation requires increased acceleration resulting in a build-up of kinetic energy, which has to be controlled and transformed during the deceleration phase without damaging the flow control valves, end position cushioning and shock absorbers. This new system features minimal vibration, self-optimisation, increased productivity and simple installation.

The Smart Soft Stop solution supplies a controlled, opposing air supply before the stroke is completed. A typical, standard rodless drive unit with shock absorbers is capable of 13 double strokes in 20 s. The same drive without shock absorbers or sensors coupled with a linear potentiometer completes 21 double strokes in the same time. It also requires no adjustments and programming to boot. A DGP/L series cylinder, which is equipped with a type MLO-POT linear potentiometer, as well as an MPYE 5/3-way-proportional valve, is required. The controller continuously compares set-point and actual positions at the drive and optimises cylinder movements with the proportional valve.

The load, the cylinder diameter and the stroke are configured at the SPC 10 control unit with six DIP switches. When the teach-in key is activated, the controller memorises the positions for both stops, as well as frictional influence. Changing operating conditions are continuously compensated for by means of powerful adaptive control techniques.

Movement into the end positions is fast, impact-free and quiet, and high cycle frequencies, as well as improved productivity are achieved. The Smart Soft Stop sub-system can be integrated into the control sequence with only two digital inputs and outputs presenting new applications for pneumatics instead of more expensive, end-position-controlled electromechanical axes.


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