Whether simple or complex: motor control systems for automation

Supplier: Treotham Automation
08 July, 2020

Igus D3 and D1 dryve motor control systems from Treotham ensure a speedy start-up of linear and rotational systems

Setting-up control systems to drive axes is usually time-consuming and can require software programming knowledge. igus has now developed two new cost-effective and easy-to-operate control systems so that users – from all areas of industry – can quickly start-up their motorised drylin E drive axes. The D3 dryve controls simple linear or rotational axes with DC motors without any software or a PC. For more complex travels such as with multi-axis robots or delta robots, Treotham offers the igus D1 dryve, which is a control system for stepper motors, DC motors and EC/BLDC motors. The motor control system can be modified live or simply operated via a web browser.


Industry 4.0, IoT and M2M are fields calling for real products and solutions that promote factory digitalisation and therefore automation as well. With its low-cost igus automation range, Treotham offers myriad solutions for a variety of applications. In its drylin product range, Treotham has been offering lubrication-free linear axes with matching stepper and DC motors for several years. From low-cost solutions, for very simple movements, to rails made of stainless steel Treotham offers a large diversity of options to suit any application requirement. Depending on the process, the customer is supplied with the axis or linear robot that will best meet their requirements. With "drylin E", users can deploy the already-configured lubrication-free linear or rotational axes , which are ready-to-install and can be motorised in different installation sizes as a single axis, or a linear robot structure in the case of format and height adjustment systems or pick-and-place applications. For easy control and operation of the axes, igus' D3 dryve offers users a motor control system for simple movement and the D1 dryve a motor control system for more complex tasks. This allows a variety of tasks to be automated without the need for advanced programming.


D3 dryve: Quickly set, directly automated

The D3 control system was developed to perform simple tasks quickly and cost-effectively. The control system is designed for all standard DC motors. "When developing the D3 dryve, we mainly focused on enabling a simple, user-friendly start-up for anyone", explains Rene Erdmann, Head of Business Unit drylin E Drive Technology. No licences or software are needed for installation of the control system as all functions have been integrated into the device directly. An 8-page manual ensures that the control system is set up very quickly. Simply connect the control system to a 24V power supply and set the operating mode, end-position switch-off, and the motor current by means of DiP switches. The speed can be adjusted with an integrated rotary controller. Current-limiting is done by means of a screwdriver with another controller. Once made, the settings are permanently stored. An LED display indicates the current status of the control system to the user via various colours.


From the private sector to industry

External switching elements such as joysticks can be connected to the control system easily. Another advantage of the D3 dryve is its particularly cost-effective price. This means that private individuals as well as small and medium-sized enterprises can use motorised drives for automation without prior programming knowledge. The new D3 dryve control system is used in camera guidance systems, in furniture manufacturing for drawer push-out mechanisms, or for changing the position of monitors. In large industries, the control system is suitable for very simple automation tasks. "Where very simple positioning tasks with a low cycle rate are concerned or also in the case of railway point-switching mechanisms, the D3 dryve can be used without any problems", says Rene Erdmann.


Complex tasks implemented quickly

Where it is necessary to automate more complex tasks for multi-axis linear robots, delta robots, or pick-and-place applications, users can deploy the intuitive D1 dryve motor control system. The control system is suitable for all stepper motors, DC motors, and EC/BLDC motors. igus motors, as well as motors of other manufacturers, can be easily controlled using this control system. What is special about the control system is that it can be operated without downloading any software, but via a web browser from a fixed PC or a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet – all without an Internet connection. The user only needs a wireless router if mobile devices are used. A clear interface helps the customer with the correct parameterisation and again, as with the D3 dryve, no programming knowledge is needed. "A motor-operated axis together with the new D1 dryve control system can be started-up in a few minutes thanks to its user-friendly interface", explains Erdmann. "Afterwards, the values can also be changed, or intermediate steps can be added easily via the web browser. A time-consuming transfer of data backwards and forwards is unnecessary, and this saves money once integration has been completed."


D1 dryve: intuitive interface for speedy set-up

The user interface of the motor control system is called up via a web browser and IP address. There are seven menu items for the user to alter the settings. Different languages can be selected for the control system, and it can be protected with a password login. In addition to this, configurations that have already been created can be easily uploaded to the motor control system, as a result of which the time needed for start-up of a delta robot is considerably shortened. The "Motor" menu item is used to load all the settings of the motor into the control system after the igus article number has been entered. Where motors of other suppliers are concerned, the user only must amend the settings according to their data sheet. The user can also use the menu to enter the settings for the linear or rotational axis as well as to set the route and feed rate. The travel profiles, which can be altered live, are mainly what simplifies the motor control system at its centre. Time-saving automation without transfer or loading processes is therefore possible. Networking with a higher-level control unit such as a PLC is also possible via Ethernet or CANOpen. In addition, an oscilloscope has been integrated into the web face in order to monitor the performance of the motor. It shows live values relating to motor current, speed, actual position, and setpoint position.


Operation without any software or storage media

The special advantage of the D1 dryve is not only the fast set-up and its user-friendliness but also the networking capability of the control system. The control system has intentionally been designed to save space. It can be easily mounted on a top-hat (DIN) rail in switch cabinets and controlled via fixed wiring. Alternatively, the D1 can be connected to a wireless router, after which the system can be controlled wirelessly. The integrated web server does not require any further software on the operating devices, nor does it need additional storage media or the like. This means that users do not have to install or incur additional costs.


Saving energy with closed loop mode

Another special feature of the D1 dryve is the integrated closed loop mode. While in open loop mode, the stepper motor is set so that it safely moves the maximum necessary load but wastes energy when subjected to low load, whereas the closed loop ensures current control that matches the actual performance. The consequence of this energy adaptation is that, thanks to the current being regulated according to performance (actual load moved), high loads are moved quickly with a lot of energy and low loads are moved slowly with little energy. In addition, the motor does not consume any energy at a standstill, in contrast to the open loop mode. A further advantage: due to efficient current control, there is less heat loss in the motor thus keeping it cooler.


Directly controlled immediately after inputting settings

The D1 dryve is already being used for the igus delta robot. The robot is based on three maintenance-free drylin E ZLW toothed belt axes with stepper motors, lubrication-free igubal coupling bars, and matching adapter plates. The stepper motors with encoders ensure fast handling of up to 1 kilogram with a precision of ± 0.5 millimetres. The delta robot is available in two sizes, with a working space diameter of 360mm or 660mm. The complete system can carry up to five kilograms at low speeds. Three D1 dryve control systems ensure quick and easy set-up of the low-cost automation solution. One configuration per axis is sufficient. This can be stored and directly transferred to the other two control systems. The delta robot can therefore be started up in just a few minutes.


Try out the control system live online

To give prospective customers an opportunity to test the D1 dryve control system for themselves, igus offers its customers an online simulation at www.igus.com.au/dryve. Here, the customer can change the values of the control system and experience the effects on a live animated axis. Another service offered is the igus Learning Channel on YouTube. It helps the user with short video clips of the fast and simple installation and parameterisation of the D1 and D3 dryves. Both control systems are available from Treotham.