Increasingly Smarter Mechatronics

Electric axes, motors, precision grippers. And the addition of several “Industry 4.0-ready” functionalities on the EB80 solenoid valve system, now available also in the Splash Area version for use in areas subject to sprays of water or other liquids. These are only some of Metal Work’s newest releases.

by Corrado Tamiozzo

The potential of the Metal Work EB80 solenoid valve system is extended. New closed loop control functions of the cylinders connected to the EB80 solenoid valve are added to the functionalities of the island internal fault analysis (short circuit, open circuit, out of range voltage, number of cycles performed). The island, for example, is capable to monitor the delay between the actuation of a cylinder and the movement of the cylinder, acquiring the input signal coming from the limit sensor mounted on the cylinder. Or it can control the movement time of a cylinder by reading the switch-off and switch-on signals of the two sensors mounted on it. These values can be altered by an external event, such as the variation of a load or the breaking of a component: in this case, the EB80 island is capable to signal the fact that the acquired data has come out of the set control range.
The data related to the cylinder operation (a component external to the island) and the operating data inside the island (number of cycles, out of range voltage, short-circuit or open circuit faults, etc.) are stored inside the island and they can also be made available to an external storage unit.
This unit can be physically on site, close to the island, or on the cloud: applications have been developed where a user (or Metal Work itself) can monitor the data of an island physically installed miles away.

The launch of the Splash Area version
Again with regard to EB80, the first part of the year saw the launch of the Splash Area version (i.e. for use in areas subject to sprays of water or other liquids); in this version, the island is mounted at the back of a pneumatic interface plate, equipped with gaskets and fittings, which protect it from aggressive substances. The pneumatic inputs and outputs are accessible via wall-to-wall fittings.
Input modules for reading the temperature sensors will also be available. With these, the EB80 can acquire read data from thermocouples and resistance thermometers. Finally, the multifunction modules for EB80 will be launched. These accessories are to be inserted in the outlet ports of the single valve and they perform the typical functions present in a pneumatic circuit (flow regulator, pressure regulator, quick discharge valve, etc.).

Electric axes, motors, and precision grippers
Speaking of other products, it is worth mentioning the creation of the new BK series belt-driven electric axis, available for now in only one size and with different types of trolley guide (with guide and wheels for light loads or with ball recirculating roller in the heavy duty version). Equipped with brushless or stepper motors, the BK axis will have a maximum stroke of about 4 m.
As for the other Elektro family products, Metal Work offers a series of its own motors but it is absolutely available for the assembly of third-party ones; all the motors can be mounted indifferently on each of the two heads. With the product release, a Gantry type portal version will also be available.
Also for this product, Metal Work provides a highly qualified support for sizing and selecting the right product for the customer’s application.
Lastly, we would like to mention the wider range of precision grippers with two and three gripping fingers, series P3 and P12, with the progressive launch of the 40, 64 and 100 sizes. These will support the current 80 size, which has been on the market for over a year. Characterized by an extreme coupling precision and a protective ceramic coating, the new sizes will also be made in the version with standard clamping force or with reduced stroke and increased clamping force. The position of the jaws will be read by proximity and it will also be possible to choose the version with a V-Lock interface.

(Eng. Corrado Tamiozzo is Chief Engineer at Metal Work Spa)