Editor's Choice

The future of automation

First Quarter 2021 Editor's Choice Electrical switching & drive systems & components

Drive specialist, SEW-EURODRIVE, is stepping into the future with its latest innovation, the MOVI-C automation system. Ready for Industry 4.0, this is the company’s next generation of automation technology, Generation C. It provides a complete automation solution from one source, from planning and commissioning through to operation and diagnostics software, electronic control and monitoring devices, mechanical drives, and gearmotors.

MOVI-C comprises four components: MOVISUITE engineering software, MOVI-C Controller control technology, MOVIDRIVE inverter technology, and MOVIGEAR, MOVIMOT decentralised drive technology comprising the company’s flagship range of mechatronic drives – which includes gear units, motors, electric cylinders, brakes, built-in encoders and diagnostic units. Together these components form one end-to-end modular automation system and can be combined to suit any bus topology.

Maxolution engineer, Dylan Enslin, says that a key change from SEW-EURODRIVE‘s Generation B range is the uniformity of the look and feel of these newly developed products and software across the range, which, building on previous generations, greatly improves the user interface. “The new MOVI-C designs are different but the actual interface is the same across the range. They also have a whole lot of new features, and will be phased in gradually, starting with the popular sizes,“ he explains. “In essence, MOVI-C combines the advantages of decentralised installation – saving space and lowering costs – with the flexibility of SEW-EURODRIVE’s modular portfolio.”

Free communication across topologies

All components of a MOVI-C system can be fully integrated into any automation design, fieldbus topology or network standard. There is complete freedom of configuration, as MOVI-C is compatible with protocols from Profibus and Industrial Ethernet through to Modbus. ”With Generation C, Profinet is included as an onboard option on the decentralised products,“ adds Enslin. “This has opened doors and is a huge benefit to customers as it simplifies the installation and programming.“

MOVI-C applications can draw on a variety of configurations. Examples are single-axis automation in materials transportation; motion control in multiple column hoists, tripod mechanics and robots; module automation in packing and processing machines and complex transportation tasks; and functionality as an EtherCAT motion slave in series machines with numerous axes and kinematic calculation in high level PLC, with EtherCAT CiA402 also available as an integration option.

Functional safety

SEW-EURODRIVE‘s MOVISAFE safety cards have made functional safety an integral part of all MOVI-C inverter applications. Higher level safety functions are achieved by inserting an option card connecting to the inverter technology – encoder, communication and STO. Costs are thus reduced to only the function actually needed. Enslin says that this is a vast improvement on Generation B and makes it easier to get a machine up and running quickly in the event of a breakdown.

Faster and simpler

The MOVISUITE engineering software allows quicker and simpler planning, commissioning, operation and diagnostics, reducing costs for users while improving usability. MOVI-C Controller allows more freedom for parameterisation, with less programming and centralised data management for greater simplicity – thanks to the ready-standardised MOVIKIT software modules. The end result is reduced cost and complexity.

Single-cable technology with a digital encoder for synchronous and asynchronous AC motors is another big improvement. Now only one hybrid cable is required for the data and power connection between the frequency inverter and electric motor. A further innovation is the new digitaL MOVILINK DDI data interface, which sends performance, brake and diagnostic data from the motor.

Customisation for clients

“What this means for our clients is that everything looks completely new, but is simpler, easier and more user-friendly. The revamped software has been optimised, with improved electronics on the component level,” Enslin explains. “With Generation C we have improved control, higher efficiency and more features, as well as added flexibility in applications. Everything is modular and decentralised. Our aim is to service customers more efficiently and effectively, and be able to provide each with a fully modular and customisable solution.”

The road ahead

“Looking to the future, SEW-EURODRIVE has embarked on an exciting new project – the construction of a new R200 million head office and factory to accommodate its phenomenal growth. The approximately 25 000 m2 building is situated alongside the company’s existing 5000 m2 headquarters in Johannesburg . “We are on track to take occupation in early 2022,” he adds.

The high-tech facility will accommodate existing assembly plants, as well as the new MOVI-C facility, in order to improve efficiencies and contain costs. The factory will be automated, with state-of-the-art equipment ready for Industry 4.0.

“SEW-EURODRIVE is very fortunate to be diversified, with markets spanning mining, food and beverage, and automotive, so we can still function no matter the challenge. These figures tell the story and put our growth into perspective,” Enslin concludes.



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

The top three reasons cylinders fail
Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa Editor's Choice
Cylinder operation requires precise fluid pressure on both sides of the piston. If a seal breaks down and allows fluid to leak from one side of the piston to the other or out of the cylinder altogether, ...

Rugged, reliable electro-hydraulics
Axiom Hydraulics Editor's Choice
From simple switching valves to sophisticated closed-loop control, Sun’s line of E-H products powers your most demanding applications.

What you should know about air preparation
Editor's Choice
Compressed air quality has three potential problem areas to consider: particles, water and oil.    • Dust and other airborne particles: The compressed air leaving the compressor room, which has already ...

Superconductivity for aircraft
Editor's Choice Other technologies
In 1911, Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes found himself preoccupied with one question: what happens to the electrical conductivity of pure metals at very low temperatures? During an experiment, ...

Yaskawa steps into the future
Editor's Choice Robotics & Mechatronics
Crackett says that Yaskawa Southern Africa has installed more than 2500 Motoman robots. The company’s main target market is automotive, having cut its teeth here when Terry Rosenberg first started up ...

Cool move for rotor hubs
Editor's Choice Electrical switching & drive systems & components
At the company’s new Mechatronic Competence centre, machine houses and rotor hubs are produced for the entire Enercon range of products. After painting, the large volume cast bodies of the rotor ...

Industrial gearboxes for DRC mine
SEW-EURODRIVE Electrical switching & drive systems & components
When a greenfields project for a major copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo required 55 conveyor drive packages and 25 spare industrial gear units for its underground in-plant and above-ground ...

How to embrace the benefits of smart pneumatics
Emerson Automation Solutions Editor's Choice Pneumatic systems & components
Understand how this challenge creates opportunities It is important to consider how insights from data can help end-users react to real-time events or even predict the future. For example, the Emerson ...

PC-based control runs the stage machinery for Rigoletto
Beckhoff Automation Editor's Choice Electrical switching & drive systems & components
In the production, the court jester Rigoletto becomes a clown. Only the head, encircled by a wide collar, and the hands of the gigantic clown protrude from the lake. Eventually the clown becomes the victim ...

Robotics and the potential for the lights-out factory
Omron Electronics Editor's Choice Other technologies
However the 100% automated, fully lights-out factory is not a realistic goal for a large proportion of manufacturing businesses currently operating. A key reason is that manufacturing needs people. Human ...