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Conveying system

Drives communicate via CANopen

Interroll (Switzerland) has developed the Rollerdrive system comprising a PLC and drives. The devices are linked optional via CANopen.

The Rollerdrive products are designed for material flow systems (Photo: Interroll)

"With the new DC Platform, system integrators and plant constructors can choose from an innovative, coordinated range of technological solutions from a single supplier, all based on years of development and testing," explained Armin Lindholm from Interroll. "It enables them to deal with users' requirements in a more individual manner. This new platform can be used to create a unique range of conveying solutions, from autonomous conveyors that can be commissioned without a programmable logic controller (PLC) using plug-and-play, all the way to tailor-made, high-performance systems that can be consistently and transparently integrated into the data universe of Industry 4.0 applications for the purpose of monitoring in control stations, for preventive maintenance or for other functions."

The modular platform makes it possible to design conveying systems according to customers' requests in both 24‑V and 48‑V versions. The 48‑V systems enable the use of up to 50 percent fewer power supply elements than in 24‑V systems. They allow using of smaller wire cross-sections and longer wire lengths, and reduce the number of error sources, for instance as a result of voltage drops on the wires. This reduces the investment required in the entire system and the risk of errors during commissioning.

Alongside the tried-and-tested analog interface, the EC5000 can be supplied with CANopen interfaces. This means that modern conveying systems can offer data transparency. The CANopen connectivity enables users to carry out control functions. As a result, users can control the acceleration, speed, and deceleration of the conveyed goods in the system more precisely. This allows them to position the relevant goods on the conveyor to the nearest millimeter – a key requirement in order to guarantee seamless conveying interplay between the conveyor solution and robots or automated gripper arms.

In combination with an Interroll control system with multi-protocol capability (Profinet, Ethernet/IP, and Ethercat), this means that users can consistently visualize a range of information and functions on the screen using the PLC or a web interface. One example is the display of general information about the current operating state and the operating load of the individual drives over time. In parallel, the control systems enable a range of detailed information such as precise error statuses, torque or temperature, for instance, to be read out for each individual drive.

The Rollerdrive EC5000 also offers more flexibility in terms of its mechanical output power. The motor rollers are available in 20‑W, 35‑W, and 50‑W versions that can take on any transport tasks for light or heavy goods. To support the implementation of conveyor solutions for heavy goods, Interroll offers the 50‑W power option as well as a Rollerdrive version with tubes measuring 60 mm in diameter instead of 50 mm. The IP66-rated products can be installed in areas that are cleaned using water jets or that reach temperatures as low as -30 °C.

The Interroll Group with 32 companies and more than 2000 employees is a provider of material handling solutions. The company was founded in 1959. It provides rollers (conveyor rollers), drives (motors and drives for conveyor systems), conveyors, and sorters as well as pallet and carton flow systems. The products are in operation in express and postal services, e-commerce, airports, the food and beverage industry, fashion, and automotive sectors, and many other manufacturing industries. Among the customers are brands such as Amazon, Bosch, Coca-Cola, DHL, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, Walmart, and Zalando.


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