Smart Protection: Avoiding machine damage in gantry applications

Jürgen Dlugosch, Baumüller Nürnberg GmbH

Read min.

Baumüller Smart Value
Get more out of your drive technology with IoT: Baumüller Smart Value is all about the added value that smart drive technology gives mechanical engineers and machine operators. Baumüller Smart Value enhances the scope of our servo drives: It takes existing data, such as power, current, torque, speed and position, and provides users with important additional information (e.g. machine operating status) or decisions are made directly in the drive to prevent machine failures. The same can be said of the associated design software, which ensures that the motor / controller combination is optimally dimensioned for the respective application and the controller is parameterized. In addition, the design can be immediately verified and optimized on the digital twin using simulation technology.

Gantry drive

A gantry drive is a form of electrical drive, in which two or more motors drive an axis jointly. The motors run with angular synchronism and are either connected by a soft coupling or a rigid coupling. Cost advantages can result by using several smaller motors instead of one large one. Applications are, for example, gantry drives in machine tools or injection casting machines.

The problem

If an error occurs in a motor and the corresponding servo drive, the motor could stop. If the other motors with servo drives cannot respond in good time, a position difference occurs between the system’s individual motors. The problem being that it is possible for the mechanics to cant. High machine repair costs, damage to the workpiece and production standstill can be the consequence.

If the machine’s mechanics are designed so that canting does not occur if a drive stops (soft coupling), the failure can be compensated by load balancing of the motors.

The solution

However, in the case of the rigid coupling, the failure of a motor frequently leads to canting of the machine. In this case, the “gantry function with synchronous error response” protection function can be activated. The function can be activated via ProDrive. As a result, both drives can respond synchronously, i.e. at the same time and with the same movement, as soon as an error is detected. Communication here takes place directly in the double axis or via the fieldbus. As a result, there is no time delay. If the error has been corrected, the gantry application can continue, expensive damage to the mechanics is avoided.

Do you have any questions?

Jürgen Dlugosch
Senior Product Manager I Baumüller Nürnberg GmbH

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