All posts by Brian Hughes

PLC vs. DCS: What’s the difference?

Before we get into the differences of a PLC’s and DCS’s, we need to talk about what each of them are designed to do.

What is a PLC?

A PLC, or Programmable Logic Controller, is a computer that has been adapted to specifically meet the needs of any specific manufacturing process. These devices come in many different shapes and sizes, with many options for digital and analog I/O, as well as protection from high temperatures, vibration, and electrical noise. The invention of the PLC allowed computers to be streamlined into the industrial automation process.

A PLC can be a single device calculating and executing operations, or a rack of different modules may be used to meet whatever your automation system requires. Some of the additional components include processors, power supplies, additional IO, interfaces, and much more.  Every part works together to be able to run open or closed loop operations that are rated at high speed and high precision. Take a CNC machine for example; a PLC would be used to control positioning and motion, as well as torque control. These devices are popular because they are very inexpensive relative to the amount of power and how many hours you get out of them.

 What is a DCS?

A Distributed Control System is an automated control system that streamlines the functionalities of the various devices that are used throughout an entire work space. This type of system uses many different controllers to allow all the machining parts to talk to each other as well as computers that can input parameters and display information such as power usage, speed, and much more. These controllers are distributed geographically across a plant to allow for high-speed communication to the control room. When using different types of modules however, the system may require different communication standards such as Modbus and Profibus. DCS’s started coming to fruition throughout the 1960’s once the microcomputer was brought widespread into the market.

Then what exactly is the difference?

A PLC will probably be used to control a machine that isn’t too complex wheres the DCS can have total control of all the operations in an entire plant. The PLC is preferred in situations where the machine does not have to worry about meeting specific conditions inside the plant. These conditions typically involve operations that may need to stop or restart, as well maintaining precise temperatures. A DCS will be able to take advantage of all the aspects of an automated system, from the machines and sensors to the controllers and computers. An entire DCS is much more expensive than a few PLC’s, but each have their advantages in any given situation and certain automated systems will always require one over the other.

Visit MRO Electric and Supply’s website to see all of our available Programmable Logic Controllers. If we don’t have what you need listed on the site, contact us at sales@mroelectric.com or (800)691-8511 and we will be happy to help.

Motoman Teach Pendants And More

Yaskawa Motoman, an American subsidiary of Yaskawa Electric Corporation, was founded in 1989 and since then have been able to get over 380,000 industrial robots, 10 million servos, and 18 million drives into automation systems around the world. Robots are the wave of the future and Yaskawa Motoman is at the top of this market. Using an automated robotic system in your work space will allow you to free up many other costs and resources that may not have been available before.  The key to efficiency is simplicity and using  Motoman Teach Pendants to give instructions to your robot makes that possible.

Teach Pendants are non-tethered devices that allow your robot to be controlled remotely. These devices are crucial for industrial robotics as they are not only used for assigning operations but they are able to edit commands, emergency stop commands, and even view past operations. Motoman Teach Pendants are split between the older models(ERC, XRC, MRC) and the newer models(DX and NX Series’).

MRC

The older models such as the MRC, which came out in 1994, were able to increase the workload of an industrial robot by up to 300%. This was also the first time ever that a single teach pendant was able to control two robots at the same time. Four years later when the XRC model was released, it was a huge improvement as Motoman was able to add control of more axes and even up its synchronous control of two robots to four industrial robots.

nx100

Later in 2004, the NX series of controllers was released. These devices featured Windows CE with a high-power processor, back-lit color touchscreen, built-in ethernet, and a huge amount of memory. A single teach pendant can control up to 36 axes and 4 separate robots. It’s Advanced Robot Motion control allows for the most accurate results. For information about the DX series, please visit one of our previous blog posts featuring the DX200 controller and Yaskawa’s new ArcWorld project.

Looking inside the ArcWorld 6000 and DX200 Controller

Yaskawa’s ArcWorld 6000 line of robotic welding systems offer the most cost efficient and powerful solution to your welding needs. ArcWorlds are pre-built, easy to install, and ready to run immediately after installation. The units can configured with multiple robots, a heavy duty positioner or servo controlled external axes. The 6000 line can handle payloads from 755 kg to 1255 kg over a 2 or 3 meter span.  There are many other cool benefits to running the ArcWorld over a traditional welding system:

  • All controllers and power sources are installed and shipped on the frame for minimal setup
  • The world class MA1440 arc used for welding can be combined with multiple robots to cut cycle time by 15%
  • Twist locking connectors for all cabling
  • Fully compliant with most recent robot safety standards (ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012)
  • A standard workcell is only documented and supported by Yaskawa Motoman

arcworld 6000

The RM2-Series Positioners are are powered with three AC servo motor drives and have a payload capacity of 1555 on each side. With a 6.5 second rapid indexing time, the positioners have a part length between 3000mm and 3500mm. Convenient slip ring built for  the fixture of utilites such as Ethernet and DeviceNet. The positioner uses MotoMount mounting technology inside of the Yaskawa ArcWorld Unit.

Typically used inside of the ArcWorld 6000 line is the DX200 controller. These controllers can coordinate motion between 8 robots with up to 72 axes. Its Advanced Robot Motion control gives the ArcWorld unit the ability to use the arc’s at their peak performance with pinpoint precision. DX200 controllers are available with Cat 3 Functional Safety Unit. Maintenance is hardly necessary as these controllers efficiently use energy and use top of the line prevention methods for most types of failures. Contact Yaskawa Motoman right now to inquiry on price options for different ArcWorld models and make your automation system perform at its best.

dx200

 

Siemens Sinamics DME20 Hub Module: Beyond the User Manual

The Siemens SINAMICS DME20 DRIVE-CLiQ Hub Module is used to implement a star-shaped topology of a DRIVE‑CLiQ line. Two DME20 DRIVE‑CLiQ Hub Modules can be connected in series. Signals from more than one encoder can be collected with one DRIVE-CLiQ Hub Module and forwarded to the Control Unit through a single DRIVE-CLiQ cable. The Siemens SINAMICS DME20 is used to connect direct measuring systems for the feed axes and expansion axes of the S120 Combi.

dme20

The DME20(6SL3055-0AA00-6AB0) DRIVE-CLiQ hub module offers the following features:

  • 6 DRIVE-CLiQ sockets for connecting up to 5 more DRIVE-CLiQ modules
  • 1 connection for the power supply module via 24V DC circular supply connector
  • 4 x 0.75 mm pins (pins 1 and 2 are bridged, along with pins 3 and 4)

The SINAMICS DME20 uses the Siemens STARTER software to parameterize and commision drive units. The STARTER commissioning tool can be used for commissioning, testing through a control panel, drive optimization, diagnosing drives, and setting up and running built in safety functions. The tool offers support for various operating wizards, running trace functions to optimize drive controllers, creating and copying data records, loading projects from the programming device to the target device(and vice-versa), along with so much more.

Does your Siemens SINAMICS DME20 hub module need to be serviced? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products. Minimize your future downtime today by contacting MRO Electric and Supply right now.

For a free repair quote on DME20 hub modules, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.

Siemens Sinamics GM150: Beyond the User Manual

The SINAMICS GM150 is a universal single-motor drive for applications involving square-law and constant load characteristics without regenerative feedback into the line supply. These drives are especially suited for pumps, fans, compressors, mixers, crushers and ships. Simplicity of the Siemens SINAMICS GM150 variable speed drives is due to the use of standardized engineering tools such as SIZER and STARTER. Some of the advantages of the GM150 include:

  • Power ratings from 9 MW to 27 MW
  • Induction and synchronous motors
  • Integrated maintenance functions
  • Factory-tested interaction between motor and drive
  • Simple integration into existing automated system
  • Compact design with highly flexible configuration
  • Top tier toughness due to HV-IGBT/IGCT technology with a fuseless design
  • Designed to handle both air and water cooling

gm150

The drive units are equipped with maintenance functions that tries to prevent faults by fixing them before they happen. The drive will send signals when it knows that a part will need to be fixed or replaced. With a high degree of flexibility when it comes to connections and mounting, Siemens GM150 and SM150 systems have very user friendly operator panels for the easiest operator control and visualization. Reliability is key in any automated system.

Does your Siemens SINAMICS GM150 module need to be serviced? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products. Minimize your future downtime today by contacting MRO Electric and Supply right now.

For a free repair quote on GM150 modules, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.

Looking Inside the Siemens Sinamics CU305, CU310-2, and CU320-2

Electronically coordinated single-motor drives work in unison to perform your all of your drive needs. In multi-axis drives, the individual drives are controlled from a higher-level control system in a way to achieve the desired coordinated movement. A centralized Siemens SINAMICS Control Unit has control over the drives for all connected axes and also establishes the links between the drives and/or axes. Since all required data is stored in the central Control Unit, it does not need to be transferred. The CU310-2 is used in conjunction with power modules and single-motor drives whereas the CU320-2 is used with all motor modules or line modules for both single and multi-motor drives.

Different versions of these control units include:

All of these control units are based on an object-oriented SINAMICS software called SIMOTION. The firmware included contains all common control modes and can be scaled to meet almost all automation requirements. This firmware will contain instructions for infeed controls for main infeeds, and all vector an servo controls.

Does your Siemens SINAMICS CU305, CU310-2, or CU320-2 control unit module need to be serviced? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products. Minimize your future downtime today by contacting MRO Electric and Supply right now.

For a free repair quote on CU305, CU310-2, and CU320-2 modules, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.

Looking Inside the Siemens Sinamics SME20/25 and SME10/125 Encoder

The encoder system is connected to the SINAMICS S120 via DRIVE-CLiQ. Motors with DRIVE-CLiQ interfaces are designed for this purpose. These motors simplify commissioning and diagnostics because the motor and encoder type are identified automatically. The Sensor Modules(SME20, SME25, SME120, and SME125) are only to be used with machines and may ONLY be connected to the DRIVE-CLiQ interfaces of proprietary components. Direct encoder systems outside the cabinet can be connected to the Sensor Modules External. The SMEs evaluate these encoder systems and convert the calculated values to DRIVE-CLiQ. No motor or encoder data is stored in the Siemens SMEs. The Sensor Modules External provides the encoder power supply. The power supply for the SME is provided from the connected DRIVE-CLiQ cable. This should be taken into consideration when selecting the DRIVE-CLiQ cable. SMEs have a higher degree of protection(IP67) which means it is suitable to be installed on the outside of the cabinet.

Part numbers for the SMEs include:

Below is a chart that shows the connectable encoder systems between the SMC and SME modules.

sinamics

Does your Siemens SINAMICS S120 series encoding module need to be serviced? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products. Minimize your future downtime today by contacting MRO Electric and Supply right now.

For a free repair quote on SME20, SME25, SME120, and SME125 modules, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.

Siemens Sinamics PM230, PM240, and PM250: Beyond the User Manual

The Siemens SINAMICS G120 inverter has been designed for the accurate and efficient control of the speed and torque for three-phase motors. The Siemens SINAMICS G120 system comprises two basic modules, the Control Unit (CU) and the Power Module (PM).

PM230 Power Modules, are focused on the HVAC industry sector especially for pump and fan applications. The Power Modules are available with class-A filter or unfiltered in a rated power range from 0.37 kW to 90 kW and a line voltage range from 3 AC 380 V to 480 V. The PM240 Power Module comes with resistor braking and dc braking functions, and a supply voltage of 3 AC 400 V. The PM250 Power Module includes the regenerative braking function, and a supply voltage 3 AC 400 V. For the power modules, induction motors are permissible in the range from 25% to 150% of the inverter power without any restrictions. Wiring diagrams, specification datasheets, and user manuals are available on the MRO Electric and Supply website.

Some of the part numbers for these Power Supply Modules include:

240

Maintenance is needed to preserve the specified condition of the Power Module. Dirt
and contamination must be removed regularly and parts subject to wear replaced. The
Power Module comprises mostly electronic components. Apart from the fan(s), the unit,
therefore, contains hardly any components that are subject to wear or that require
maintenance or servicing.

Does your G120 Series SINAMICS power supply module need to be serviced? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products. Minimize your future downtime today by contacting MRO Electric and Supply right now.

For a free repair quote on PM230, PM240, PM250 modules, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.

Looking Inside the Siemens Sinamics SMC10, SMC20, and SMC30

Siemens SINAMICS SMC10, SMC20, and SMC30 drives include high-performance single drives and coordinated drives (multiple-axis applications) with vector or servo functionalities that allow for implementation of truly customized high performance drive solutions for the ultimate in flexibility and increased productivity. In addition to an innovative system architecture and digital communication options, these drives come in a variety of designs and cooling types, each delivering performance from 0.16 to 6,000 HP, and feature efficient engineering and quick commissioning resulting from innovative tools and simple wiring. The SINAMICS series is built to be as streamlined with your automation operations as possible. Different Siemens SINAMICS S120 versions can be combined as required through the DRIVE-CLiQ interface.

A few of the popular modules for the SINAMICS S120 series of drives are the SMC Sensor Modules. The cabinet-mounted sensor module is necessary to evaluate the encoder signals of motors without  a DRIVE-CLiQ interface.

Part Numbers:

smc10

The SMC10/20/30 Sensor Modules feature the following connections and interfaces:

  • 1 encoding connection including motor temperature sensing via SUB D-connector
  • 1 DRIVE-CLiQ interface
  • 1 power supply connection (24 V DC connection)
  • 1 PE connection

Has your S120 Series SINAMICS module failed? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products.

For a free repair quote on SMC10, SMC20, SMC30 modules, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.

Siemens Sinamics VSM10 Module: Beyond the User Manual

The Voltage Sensing Module VSM10 is integrated in chassis format AIMs but may also be used to improve booksize ALMs compensation for fluctuations in the supply voltage. An Active Interface Module (AIM) is essential for the operation of an ALM. The AIM contains a reactor and filter to ensure compliance with category C3 (EN 61800-3) EMC regulations. An additional EMC filter is available for booksize modules to restrict emissions to within limits set by category C2(EN 61800-3) EMC regulations – however, a TN supply is required. The VSM10 provides a feed forward control signal of the actual supply voltage rather than requiring the ALM to detect and then react to any fluctuations in the DC bus. It  is used to operate a permanent-magnet synchronous machine without encoder with the requirement for switching to a machine which is already running (flying restart function).

VSM10

The VSM10 features the following interfaces:

  • 1 connection for direct voltage sensing up to 690 V
  • 1 connection for voltage sensing using voltage transformers, maximum voltage 100 V
  • 1 temperature sensor input (KTY84‑130 or PTC)
  • 1 DRIVE-CLiQ socket
  • 1 connection for the electronics power supply via the 24 V DC supply connector
  • 1 plug-in jumper for either grounded (delivery state) or isolated measurement
  • 1 PE connection

The status of the VSM10 Voltage Sensing Module is indicated by a two-color LED. The VSM10 Voltage Sensing Module can be snapped onto a TH 35 mounting rail according to EN 60715 (IEC 60715). Below is a wiring diagram for the the VSM10:

Has your VSM10 module failed? As with all of our services, our repairs come with a 12 month guarantee. Our repair service is based on doing the right job, and getting your part back to you as soon as possible. Every part we refurbish is tested to make sure they work the way they are supposed to. Our factory-trained technicians have many years working with Siemens products.

For a free VSM10 repair quote, please email sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.  For more information on our Siemens repair capabilities, you can visit our Siemens Repair page.