Open search

Motion control programming

Implementation of automated tile manufacturing equipment

Tiles are transported by a conveyor belt to be processed to various recipes and then transported to the next stage. At the core of the implementation is a CANopen-capable Delta DVP50MC series motion controller. It is also responsible for controlling the conveyor belt.

The programmable logic controller (PLC) DVP50MC with CANopen support (Source: Delta Electronics)

The company explained: As a material for the home, workplace, or retail environment, tiles provide a robust and durable surface that can be both practical and elegant. With earliest examples dating back to the 13th century, they last for decades with no visible loss in pattern brilliance or color fade. As good conductors of heat, they adapt to the room’s warmth and help keep a home feeling cozy. And when compared to other materials such as timber and marble, they are sustainable as they are made of natural material. A core step in the manufacturing process is the application of glazes, engobe (a colored slip), and other crystalline protection.

These provide adhesion to the tile body along with the required high abrasion resistance and anti-slip coatings needed for locations like restrooms and kitchens where water is present. Companies such as E.G. Sistemi are focused on system integration for the manufacturing equipment used in today’s automated ceramic industry, Data Electronics further explained. Situated in the ‘ceramic valley’ in Maranello, northern Italy, E.G. Sistemi have recently retrofitted the multi-axis airless station with independent translators, said Delta.

Such equipment is coupled with a conveyor belt that delivers tiles to the airless station where they are processed according to one of a number of recipes. Once the process is complete, the tiles are transported to the next stage by the conveyor belt. Such a dirty and dusty environment demands multi-axis motion controllers and motor drives for the servos. Additionally, a human-machine interface (HMI) is essential, said the company.

The ASD-ASDA-A2 servo drives (Source: Delta Electronics)

At the core of the implementation is a Delta DVP50MC series motion controller. Capable of controlling up to 24 axes in one millisecond, this solution supports both single-axis motion instructions, such as velocity, torque, and position, as well as multi-axis instructions, such as electronic cam (E-CAM) and gear. G code can also be used. On the connectivity side, CANopen, EIA-232, and EIA-485 are available in addition to Ethercat for the motion control and an Ethernet port. The CANopen interface can be used as “commander” or “responder”. Other signals can be wired to the 16 high-speed inputs, while eight high-speed outputs provide additional control options. The motion controller also supports an SSI absolute encoder and two incremental encoders to provide servo position feedback.

The multi-axis airless station requires three axes for its three independent translators. To implement this, three ASDA-A2-E series servo drives with STO safety function were coupled with three 180 mm, 3-kW ECMA series servo motors featuring integrated encoders. The servo drives link back to the motion controller via Ethercat. By combining these two components, the team benefitted from control provided by the 1-kHz frequency response and 1 ms settling time. This provided superlative vibration suppression for accurate material application during tile processing, explained the company. These servo drives support up to 720 electronic cam (E-CAM) points in the ASDA-A2-E. The configuration software ensures that interpolation points can be defined automatically.

The DVP50MC is also responsible for controlling the conveyor belt. For this task, the team selected an MS300 series vector control drive to couple with the chosen motor. The control drive comes with CANopen as an option. This variable frequency drive (VFD) series supports motors from 0,2 kW to 22 kW and is available in both single and three-phase options for everything from 115 V to 460 V systems. Remarkably space-saving at 40 % smaller than comparable drives, the MS300 simplifies installation and wiring within the electrical cabinet, the company continued explaining. The unit is linked to the motion controller via EIA-485.

A 15-inch, DOP-100 series HMI that enables the operator to select the correct recipe for the tiles being manufactured is also offered in the implementation. This IP65-rated display provides a narrower frame that leaves more room for displaying the input controls and system feedback, said Delta. Due to its power isolation, the display is protected from accidental surges caused by other equipment on the same electrical supply.

Beyond the hardware, the short learning curve for the software development of the DVP50MC really excited the team, said the company. Due to defining E-CAM and Gear control, they completed around two-thirds of the software implementation within a single day, they continued. Furthermore, having all the elements sourced from a single supplier ensured that, should an issue arise, only a single contact was required to resolve it. “Sorting out development problems is also possible remotely,” said Giuliano Castioni, Field Application Engineer. “By leveraging our ASDASoft servo software, we could trace the source of a vibration issue back to the mounting bolts used. As a result, the customer saved much time thanks to our rapid problem resolution.”


Publish date

Delta Electronics