The Platform Tuned In to Predictive Maintenance

Interroll presents, on the occasion of SPS Italia, the innovative DC Platform: a significant step forward in the world of components for “4.0” logistics. The offer of integrated RollerDrives, controllers and power supply units aims at helping the transition of systems integrators and manufacturers of plants towards a predictive maintenance logic, enabling decisions which are fundamental in the production’s overall management.

by Cesare Pizzorno

The continuous improvement of efficiency is one of the main objectives of the progress of the industrial world.
Productive efficiency implies a better quality of the product with lower costs. It is not a coincidence that the manufacturing industry is moving in this direction, along the lines laid down by Industry 4.0.
Some data may help in understanding how far we have gone along this process. The growth of the Industry 4.0 market in Italy, including IT solutions, enabling technological components on traditional productive assets and connected services, reached about 2.4 billion euro in 2017, 90% concerning Industrial IoT, Analytics and Cloud Manufacturing projects. According to the IDC research company, within 2022 40% of operating processes will be capable of “self-learning” and “self-repair”.

An intelligent control of product flow
Interroll, with its know-how, fits perfectly into this context and presents, as a premiere for Italy during the next edition of SPS, the DC (direct current) Platform, which represents a significant step forward in the world of components for “4.0” logistics since it can detect and communicate information useful to monitor their state, thereby helping so-called predictive maintenance. “The requests of technological performances in material handling systems with zero pressure accumulation (ZPA) are continuously on the increase”, said Claudio Carnino, sales manager and country speaker for Interroll Italia. “It is no longer just a matter of flow speed or of greater variety of the products to be handled. With growing automation, even the intelligent control of the flow of goods in handling plants takes up an increasingly important role. With the new direct current platform, systems integrators and plant manufacturers are presented with a new and integrated technology from a single source, the outcome of years of developments and tests. The new platform enables the creation of an exclusive range of handling solutions: from the autonomous transporter which thanks to its plug-and-play insertion maybe turned on without using PLCs, up to the customized high performance system, which may be integrated coherently and transparently in the world of data from modern Industry 4.0 applications, such as, monitoring in control stations, predictive manufacturing or other functions”.

Reducing downtime to a minimum
There was much talk about predictive maintenance during a seminar for the trade press which Marco Macchi, Tenured Professor at the Management Engineering Department of Milan’s Polytechnic, held in Milan on April 10th (see box above). “Maintenance is an ancient activity, entwined with the very evolution of civilization and of building and manufacturing logic to the benefit of mankind’s life and well-being”, Professor Macchi said, among other things. “As soon as a product or an asset/durable good is designed, the possibility of maintaining it is an “investment” which guarantees reduced repair times”.
“The manufacturing industry today is committed to the greatest flexibility, so it has to make efforts in reducing almost to zero the losses due to maintenance following faults. Monitoring conditions, being able to collect and analyze data coming from machines or plants, enable to reduce the downtime of structures to a minimum. With DC Platform, Interroll has started off on the path of intelligent components whereby customized high-performance systems may be created and integrated coherently and transparently in the world of data from modern Industry 4.0 applications”, Carnino added.

More sizing options
The new DC Platform introduced by Interroll allows systems integrators and plant manufacturers to design not only 24 Volt systems but also, upon request, systems with 48 Volt technology which allow, for instance, to use up to 50% less electrical power supplies compared to 24 Volt plants. This brings about a considerable decrease in the investments of the entire system and a significantly lower percentage of errors in commissioning.
The new direct current platform offers much larger opportunities not just in terms of sizing of the power supply: the new EC5000 RollerDrive increases flexibility even in the power of mechanical output. Motorized rollers are available in 20 W, 35 W and 50 W versions, which satisfy the most diverse transportation requirements, from light to heavy products.
In order to support the creation of solutions for the transportation of heavy products, the RollerDrive is not only available with 50 W power, but also with a 60 mm diameter rather than 50 mm. The well-known “IP66” and “Deep Freeze” formats are also available; these allow to use this solution where cleansing with powerful water jets is necessary or when goods need to be moved in environments where temperatures are as low as -30°C.
An automation-proof interface
Besides the tested analog interface, EC5000 will also be available, on request, with Bus interface based on the CANOpen standard. This means that, for the first time, modern transportation plants will offer wide and easy access to their data.
It will therefore be possible, in connection with Interroll’s multi-protocol controller (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP and EtherCat), to visualize on screen a wealth of information and functions using the PLC or a web platform.
An example is the indication of general information on the current operating state or on the workload of single drives over time.
At the same time, controllers enable to visualize detailed information from every single driver, such as, precise fault conditions, torque ration or temperature.
In addition, the Bus interface of the new EC5000 RollerDrive enables the realization of totally new command functions, such as, those needed for automation.
Besides, it is not only acceleration, speed and deceleration of goods carried using the plant which may be influenced in an even more precise way, but the products may also be placed with a precision measurable in millimeters on the transportation line: a prerequisite for the continuous interaction of transportation solutions with robots or automated holding grips.