Integrated servo and network communication technologies are advancing quickly, primarily for the purpose of reducing the complexity of machinery. Fewer components operating more intelligently, and more automatically, deliver many benefits:
Reduced Size: Compressing the controls into the motors themselves reduces or eliminates the control cabinet, making the machine much smaller
Reduced Cost: Fewer components and no cabinet cut costs dramatically
Reduced Development Time: Fewer components to specify, purchase, learn and mount make for dramatically reduced development cycles, getting to market faster, generating revenue sooner and producing a compelling competitive advantage.
Reduced Field Service: Machine repair moves from debugging a cabinet full of wires and controls, to a simple component swap of motors and standard cables.
Reduced Down-Time: Keeping component spares on-hand can virtually eliminate down-time. A traditional control can only be debugged in the cabinet while the machine is down and the factory processes stopped. An Integrated Motor or simple “Y” cable can be swapped out immediately. The faulty component can be debugged, or simply sent back to the manufacturer for analysis and repair – while the machine continues to produce.
Increased Reliability: The fewer components a machine has, the more reliable it is. Also, an Integrated Servo based machine design has considerably less wiring, and wiring is the chief source of failure in most machines.
Increased Versatility: A cabinet-based, separate control approach makes machine design change or expansion extremely problematic. Adding additional axes of separate drives, for example, can be difficult where cabinet space is limited, whereas adding additional Integrated Servos is trivial, and with the additional axes, come additional I/O points and additional processing power, automatically.
Integrated motors are available from dozens of manufacturers, ranging from very low-cost open-loop step motors to very fast, high-performance closed-loop servos. Different manufacturers offer different slants on the solutions. The integrated motor market segment is growing faster than the general industry and the technology is transforming how equipment is designed, manufactured and supported in the field. The Combitronic function represents a leap as significant as the Integrated Motors themselves.