Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

January 13, 2021

By Guido Selhorst, Head of Marketing Services, HARTING Technology Group

75 years of the HARTING Technology Group: During this period there have been many innovative developments and solutions in the automation market. Even though HARTING has been working in partnership with SEW-EURODRIVE for less than 75 years, there have been numerous successful joint projects over the past few decades.

The SEW group of companies – with headquarters in Bruchsal, Baden and with more than 18,000 employees worldwide – is one of the global market leaders in the field of drive technology and drive automation. They offer a wide variety of competent products, solutions and services. From individual drives to complete drive systems, SEW-EURODRIVE provides complete user-specific solutions by taking advantage of a comprehensive modular system of electromechanical components, electronic speed control systems and computer-aided calculation programs. 17 production plants and 81 drive technology centres in 52 countries ensure a global presence, the best service and rapid availability. The company generated sales of over 3.3 billion euros in the 2019/2020 financial year.

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HARTING has evolved into a global technology company within the last 75 years. The technology group is the global market leader in electrical and electronic connection technology. The company's business units offer a wide range of tailor-made solutions for industrial applications. The product portfolio includes connectors, device connectivity, network components and assembled system cables. All solutions focus on providing clear benefits to the application. HARTING products connect and network devices, machines and facilities – providing data, signals and power. This creates solutions for markets in automation technology, energy, traffic engineering, mechanical engineering and medical technology applications. HARTING also produces electromagnetic components for the automotive industry, charging technology and cables for electric vehicles, and solutions for housing technology and shop systems.

The recipe for success: HARTING has always adapted itself to different market requirements and has repeatedly "reinvented" itself over the decades. For example, the division originally founded to develop music and cigarette vending machines in the 1950s has developed into today's business unit handling the installation of entire shop and cash register systems in food retailing. The same goes for the continual development of actuators. Originally, magnets developed by HARTING were used in textile machines, but later they also found their way into automobiles. A high level of innovation, uncompromising quality, well-defined customer orientation, international orientation and social responsibility have all been decisive factors in the company's success story. Our future is being shaped as the driver and motor of Industry 4.0.

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At the end of the 1990s, automobile production was a major driver for a trend that continues to this day. It was quickly apparent that machine availability was strongly associated with the speed of service calls. Now, drives could be replaced simply by fitters – without any additional service from an electrician. This brings a clear cost advantage: the resources of the technicians were saved and such replacements only required a fraction of the previous time. The Han® 10E has thus become the standard used for motor connectors. With the matching housing solution, Han-Drive® was born as the standard for pluggable drives.

And SEW-EURODRIVE played a major role in developing this solution. After all, many of their motors were installed in the corresponding applications of the automobile manufacturers. Whether in conveyor technology, in assembly or even in painting applications, drives from SEW-EURODRIVE can be found everywhere. This flexibility was beneficial in the next technical step with the decentralised drive technology. It was quickly apparent that, when there are many drives of the same type in a long facility topology, a single supply line for power would be advantageous. A pluggable (and thus versatile) line topology was just as necessary as an intelligent control for the decentralised drives.

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At SEW-EURODRIVE, this solution was called MOVIMOT or later also MOVIPRO. The switchgear has moved from the former central cabinet to the decentralised units on or near the motor. An initiative called DESINA, from the VDW, has pushed this concept forward significantly, even if from today's perspective the technology was too early and its positioning in the machine tool sector did not encounter the necessary success. However, the idea was driven forward strongly in other applications and industries, which is why decentralised technology is an absolute standard nowadays.

In spite of increasing energy demand, drives and decentralised units became smaller and smaller. This trend toward miniaturisation is also clearly evident in automation. That is why it became necessary to also find a new solution here. New interface standards (with the Han Q 8/0 and Han® Q 4/2) were then developed. These were also incorporated into the DESINA standard and found their way into various solutions at SEW-EURODRIVE. With the Han Q 4/2, a decentralised subscriber could now be supplied with sufficient energy. It can even conduct bidirectional energy flows in a touch-safe manner. The Han® Q 8/0 ensured the direct supply of the drive from the decentralised converter.

Therefore, this was soon available as a shielded solution in order to take the EMC issue into account. Automation devices such as decentralised drive units, however, must also confront the solutions for the central structure on the market. Automation devices such as decentralised drive units, however, must also confront the solutions for the central structure on the market. In order to be able to automate the manufacturing processes as much as possible, a PCB adaptation was made that reduces the manual efforts to a minimum.

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But miniaturisation also had an impact on the design of the electronics within the device. With the har-flex THR, a solution was designed for the new MOVI-C modular electronics system that meets the requirements for robustness as well as the requirement for using less space in the device. The necessary modularity of the interface could be implemented very flexibly with the new solution because of the modular design of the new converter series.

The requirements for safety and robustness could not be achieved using the existing SMD contacts. Therefore, a mutual search for alternatives was carried out – and the perfect connection technology was found by integrating THR technology. Thus, it was then possible to install an option plug-in slot that enabled you to quickly adapt to customer needs. Dr Hans Krattenmacher says, "We need to make our  equipment more modular and flexible so that we can react faster to customer needs. The markets are developing differently, especially in Asia and in the USA. This forces us to build devices more modularly in order to be able to respond to the respective individual needs“.
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Thus, it was then possible to install an option plug-in slot that enabled you to quickly adapt to customer needs. With the use of more electronics and ever smaller, more compact devices, the level of complexity that is being brought into the field is constantly increasing. In the future, intelligent systems will be needed that make this complexity manageable.

Regardless of whether there is centralised monitoring using Ethernet-based bus systems or a clear on-site display – safe operations depend on the ability to make clear decisions of action. Predictive maintenance, requirements for functional safety and integrated energy management are just a few of the examples.

The increasing demand associated with digitisation to optimally evaluate sensor data, the need to achieve more flexibility when using devices with modular systems, and the capability to adapt to increasingly compact electronics integration: all these aspects are the challenges that SEW-EURODRIVE and HARTING have continually met successfully in recent years. This is what has enabled us to successfully bring optimal solutions to the market.

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Editor's Pick: Featured Article


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New woodlands are being created in the UK with the help of Mid Wales-based Invertek Drives through the Forest Carbon project to offset its carbon footprint. The company, which manufactures variable frequency drives (VFD) at its global headquarters at Welshpool, Powys, has worked with a local printing company to purchase ‘carbon balancing’ paper for all of its in-house printers, including the printing of its products’ handbooks.

Forest Carbon plants woodlands for companies wanting to mitigate the impact of their greenhouse emissions, as well as making a contribution to wider environmental benefits. It is the only UK-based carbon standard and is supported by the government.

The woodlands are planted at locations where they would not otherwise be commercially viable. The paper purchased by Invertek Drives is currently helping plant trees on land near Carlisle, Cumbria.

The new woodlands will not only help capture CO2, but also provide benefits for local biodiversity, landscape, flood management, water quality and recreation.

Referring to companies like Invertek Drives, Carbon Forest states: “These are companies who already avoid and reduce their emissions as far as they can and want to finish the job by capturing the remaining balance.”

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Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) was recently pleased to announce that Electrocomponents plc, a global omni-channel solutions partner for electronics, industrial and automation customers and suppliers has joined the association as a global member, along with its subsidiaries Allied Electronics & Automation (Allied), a distributor of automation and control, electronic, electrical, mechanical, and maintenance products in North America and RS Components (RS), a global distribution partner for industrial customers and suppliers involved in designing, building or maintaining industrial equipment and facilities.

Electrocomponents will be represented on the ECIA by Chris Beeson, Senior Vice President of Electronics at RS. Peter Malpas, EMEA Regional President for RS; Sean Fredricks APAC Regional President for RS; and Ken Bradley President of Allied in the Americas will represent their respective regions.

“We recognize the importance of partnering with other industry leaders in electronics manufacturing and distribution to stay on the cutting edge of technology for the wide-ranging benefit of our customers,” said Beeson. “Membership in ECIA allows Electrocomponents, Allied and RS to have a seat at the table with other global distribution and manufacturing leaders to solve problems and advance our industry.”

“We are excited to work alongside our distributor peers and suppliers as ECIA tackles critical industry issues and global technical standards,” said Bradley. “This is an excellent opportunity to focus our collective power on customer-facing challenges we can solve together.”

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The second generation of safety light curtains, PSENopt II, provide safe access to the production process and provide finger, hand and body protection, depending on the requirement. The first Type 3 safety light curtains are specifically designed for applications up to PL d of EN/IEC 61496-1. Type 4 light curtains are also available for applications up to PL e of EN/IEC 61496-1/-2.

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With our new accessory PSENopt II lockout for the PSENopt II range of light curtains you can prevent the machine restarting. This is necessary, for example, when carrying out maintenance work within the danger zone. PSENopt II lockout consists of an assembly unit that is attached to the side of the light curtain like a swivel arm. If the danger zone is accessed, the swivel arm can be folded out in front of the light curtain’s field of vision and fitted with a lock. As a result the light curtain no longer has a free field of vision, so start up is prevented.

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