The New Servo Drives between Tradition and Innovation

During a press conference organized on April 20th at the Unicredit Pavilion in Milan, Control Techniques presented a preview of the new Digitax HD servo drives. The latest additions to the Control Techniques range of drives, featured by extremely small dimensions, ease of installation, performance and speed, are the result of a high-tech project that lasted 3 years and started from
the analysis of customers’ needs.

by Fabrizio Dalle Nogare

Like the best recipes of haute cuisine, even on the technological, rather than sensorial, level of motion control systems, the secret of success lies in creating the perfect union between tradition and innovation.
With the launch of the new Digitax HD range of servo drives, Control Techniques – just over a year now part of Nidec Corporation – shows its strong focus on research and technological development to improve the product features and application possibilities, without however neglecting the value of the company image developed over its 45-year history.

The different sides of innovation
This is why, alongside the words Innovation and Customers, the Vice President EMEA Marcello Vendemiati highlights another term, Legacy. “One of the main targets of Control Techniques is to maintain the image acquired over the years as a high-end player. It is important to notice that Unidrive M were the first IoT-ready drives for remote cloud-based data monitoring as well as the first drives on the market that ensured the possibility to decentralize machine control”. In addition to the several technology upgrades of the new M750 series, mentioned later in the article, innovation lies in their complementarity with the products by Nidec, a Japanese benchmark motor manufacturing. And if it is true that drives are required to operate an engine, then such a synergy can only have positive effects.With 7 production sites worldwide, 4 engineering centers, 26 automation centers (one of which is located in Italy), over 1,000 employees and more than 3 million units installed, Control Techniques is a truly global reality. Within the EMEA, which remains the first market in the world, Italy has a primary role, especially for servo technologies.

Symbol of a new era
Developed in the UK, the project that led to the creation of the new Digitax HD range of servo drives is the symbol of a new era for Control Techniques. A project that required over 3 years of work and a total investment of 5 million euro. Talking a bit more about figures, over 2 million lines of code have been developed, as told by Andrea Annunziata, Global Product Manager Servo Drives: “Digitax HD servo drives, which complete the existing range of drives for industrial automation, are divided into 3 different sizes up to 7.5 kW. Market leading performance, integrated intelligence, reliable technology and open architecture are the four key concepts.
As for the last one, in particular, we do not intend to bond customers to our technology but we have developed drives that can easily communicate with the most widespread communication standards, from Ethernet/IP, Profinet and so on”.
Minimum size, speed, precision and extremely fast installation times were the main demands of the market, met in the long process that led to the launch of the new range.

Reduced cabinet size
Talking about compactness, the drive is designed to fit within shallow 200 mm cabinets.
Its patented Ultraflow™ system allows machine builders to further reduce cabinet size by up to 50% through expelling heat from the drive directly outside the cabinet. This approach offers the further benefit of enabling drives to be stacked without the need for a large air channel between them. As for performances, high dynamic applications will benefit immensely from Digitax HD’s 300% peak performance pulse-duty overload capabilities, along with its 62 µs current loop and 16 kHz switching frequency. Its flexible speed and position feedback interface supports a wide range of feedback technologies, from robust resolvers to the latest single cable digital encoder technologies. The complementary motor line-up is the Digitax HD series, Control Techniques’ Unimotor hd is a high dynamic AC brushless servo motor featured by a wide torque range, from 0.72 Nm up to 85 Nm with 255 Nm peak, rated speeds from 1,000 to 6,000 rpm, several inertia levels and a broad selection of feedback options.