The terms "fourth industrial revolution" or "Industry 4.0" describe mainly the integration of Internet technologies in industrial production processes or, in other words, the merging of the IT world with industrial applications. Consistent communication plays a major role in this context. With its Ethernet/IP encoders, Kubler is expanding its Industrial Ethernet encoder family. With Profinet, Ethercat and Ethernet/IP, the three main Industrial Ethernet standards are now part of the portfolio.
Particular attention is paid here to the consistent communication via Ethernet up to field level. Manifest innovations will be necessary in the existing communication networks to allow new and much more powerful processes to establish themselves. They must become more available, faster and first of all gigabit-capable.
As in the World Wide Web, the increasing number of participants that will sooner or later become unmanageable will lead to further practical requirements, mainly for safety. The ever progressing use of Ethernet in the industrial environment requires increasingly structuring the resulting Industrial Ethernet and field bus networks. The main focus of Industry 4.0 in the network area is on connectivity, intelligence and transparency – an important evolution for the industry, which wants to reduce the operating costs and in the same time increase customer satisfaction.
Also Kubler's sensors have to support this trend. Industrial Ethernet already reached a market share exceeding 25 percent among the field level communication systems. For over ten years the Ethernet, the second generation of industrial communication, has been continuously conquering terrain in this highlydiverse market. The US advisory group ARC is forecasting for this digital platform an annual growth of about 13 percent. These positive prospects are related mainly to the rapidly growing worldwide communication needs in automation, with the fast interaction of the central computers, the regulations and the communicative end devices.
Besides the speed and the robust design of the components suitable for Industrial use, it is the consistency of information reached meanwhile that increasingly outpaces its field bus competitors. If a local network is to act as an industrial field bus, it must meet certain requirements. These include interference-free transmission in the industrial environment, an installation technology suitable for the industry and, first of all, a predictable behavior in time, that is to say real-time capability. Industrial Ethernet is today able to meet these requirements.
Ethernet/IP encoders with many additional functions
Kubler Sendix absolute encoders with Ethernet/IP functions can be configured freely and flexibly by means of cyclic services. So they are a suitable solution for manufacturers of production machines or plants, as well as for measuring and testing equipment. The absolute multiturn and singleturn encoders in 58mm housing detect positions and measure travels. They are used among others in motor controllers equipped with an Ethernet/IP interface.
Fail-safe signals are acquired and transmitted via the standardized Industrial Ethernet protocol. Accurate cycle times allow calling up realtime information as it is needed at the processing stations. The fast cycle times achieved thanks to Ethernet functions increase the efficiency of the whole facility. Improved diagnostic possibilities for the early detection of critical operating states, which can be located immediately thanks to the operating panel, are another advantage.
The optical Sendix encoders F5868 and F5888 offer comprehensive Ethernet/IP functionalities and are therefore suitable for time-critical applications. As it is known that interruptions cost money, the encoders can allow considerable savings in practice: the fast position value transmission, with a RPI time of only 1 ms, transmits up to five times faster than usual market encoders. This feature allows operating this encoder in time-critical applications up to a 1,000 Hz update frequency.
Equipped with their robust Safety-Lock bearing design, the Sendix absolute encoders F58x8 withstand installation errors, shocks and vibrations. They moreover feature a very short start-up time. It takes place immediately after applying the supply voltage and also contributes to plant performance improvement. So, cost-sensitive stoppages belong to the past.
Fast and simple commissioning, as well as fast configuration, are possible thanks to cyclic services. The implementation of DLR (Device Level Ring) ensures ring redundancy also for the encoders. This ensures permanent ring monitoring; this way, a single cable break does not lead to the stoppage of the whole facility. For this kind of failures, DLR provides addressing the participants from the other direction, ensuring ring communication without loss of time. In addition, the information about the location of the defective element is communicated immediately to the controller. This allows fast replacement of the defective cable.
These absolute singleturn and multiturn Sendix encoders are available in solid shaft or blind hollow shaft version. The blind hollow shaft has a diameter of 15 mm. Thanks to their IP 65 protection level and their wide temperature range of -40 to +80 °C, these optical encoders, which moreover feature 100 percent magnetic field insensitivity, can be operated reliably also in harsh environments. These ODVA-certified sensors operate with a very high total resolution reaching 32 bits.
Automotive production and packaging technology
With their comprehensive diagnostic possibilities and the DLR ring redundancy for the Ethernet/IP variant, these Ethernet encoders meet all expectations of plant operators for a future-proof and cost-effective solution. The Sendix F58 Ethernet/IP encoders detect possible failures at an early state and show their strengths in many different applications. In the automotive production, in logistics and metal processing, as well as in textile, printing and packaging machines, they bring a real plus in terms of failure safety and plant availability.