The new Servo Drive Combines Japanese Mechatronics and Scalability

Among remarkable innovations presented by Panasonic during the recent SPS IPC DRIVES Italia trade show in the motion domain there was a world premiere: MINAS A6 MULTI, the new servodrive which satisfies the requirements of manufacturers in terms of mechatronical performances of the Japanese engines and the typically European demands linked to scalability.

by Silvia Crespi

With the aim of providing the perfect solution for the segment of servodrives most widely used in Europe, Panasonic introduced at SPS IPC DRIVES Italia, as a world premiere, the new scalable 400 V servo, MINAS A6 MULTI, on a double-axis scalable platform, developed to minimize the floorspace and increase performance.
Behind the design of MINAS A6 MULTI there is the idea of bringing the performances of Panasonic’s stand-alone servos to a completely scalable, book-type layout. By means of a single power module it is possible to use several drivers. The floorspace of the control panel is thus reduced by up to 64%; drives are connected to one another by means of a DC bus connection system with frontal assembly, without screws, to allow an immediate and fast installation.
Thanks to an exclusive control algorithm, the servo’s response is rapid and precise. The simple and remote management (EoE – Ethernet over EtherCAT) and high-speed communication are ensured by means of the EtherCAT connection.
MINAS A6 MULTI integrates 14 advanced safety motion functions, therefore it does not require external safety components, an aspect which reduces costs and allows to save space in the production plant.
Particularly important for some applications is the perfect unbalance of the axes; with the same driver 2 servomotors of different sizes may be controlled, and this optimization brings flexibility to the machine’s design.
Currently available servomotors range from 750 W (2.4 Nm) up to 5 kW (24 Nm), but even motors starting from 400 W (1.27 Nm) will be released. All motors adopt revolving connectors with rapid disconnection, to satisfy properly the machines’ requirements.
Conceived for the packaging sector, MINAS A6 MULTI is the ideal solution for multi-axis machining in different segments: metal machining, plastic, wood, paper, textiles, assembly… in all of these applications there are also two factors linked to performances which coexist: precision and power.

Japanese mechatronics combined to a modular layout
At the Panasonic stand, with Giuseppe Zampolli, Product Manager, Control & Drives, we went into further detail. “MINAS A6 MULTI is the first model of servodrive which combines two concepts: scalability, which is typically European, and performance, typically Japanese.
The layout completely fulfills the demands of European machine manufacturers who use 400 V modular, bi-axis motors: by means of a DC bus other modules are added to a first power segment, where each additional module drives two motors. The peculiarity of the system lies in the fact that the two motors may be unbalanced. This means that, within a predefined power range, they may be of different sizes, which provides maximum versatility to the manufacturer as well as to the end user.
Even other properties contribute to versatility: from standard connectors, to the DC bus, right up to the possibility of controlling and managing parameters remotely using the web.
Everything which was already present in MINAS A6 in its stand-alone version has been brought into the new scalable product which also includes increased performances”.
As mentioned, anoher very important aspect in may applications, such as, packaging, is provided by the floorspace. “MINAS A6 MUTI – Zampolli continued – develops vertically and is much more compact in width. The reduction of horizontal floorspace within an electrical cabinet is a highly appreciated property”.
The new engineering of the servodrive was designed by the Italian and Japanese R&D team in synergy, succeeding in their objective of satisfying the demands, typical of European manufacurers, fro multi-axis machines which require high power and performances at the same time. A prototype was on show at the trade event and, at the time f writing, beta tests are being carried out which are already providing excellent feedback. The company envisages beginning mass production by the end of the year.

Remarkable innovations even in the networking and sensing domains
Let us also mention other innovations presented in Parma. As regards networking, the company presented, as a European premiere, FP I4C, an intelligent gateway which responds to the need to capture and transport data to higher corporate levels, that is, where information useful for management decisions are processed. News even in the sensors domain: thanks to IO-Link, the new sensors have a digital bus, diagnostics for preventive maintenance (for instance, working life of the sensor or short-circuit control) as well as the possibility of configuring the sensor remotely for remote assistance or more simply to facilitate the test phases.