Rockwell Automation's Motion Analyzer, which so far has only been used for motor computation, has now become a centralised tool that can be used to optimise machine designs. With Motion Analyzer 4.7, application data can be imported into SolidWorks 3D CAD software (which global market research identified as by far the most widely used 3D CAD package among machine builders). An estimation of the loading, as was often the case previously, then becomes superfluous and a genuine computation of the drive load is possible. Based on this data, the tool suggests a suitable drive, taking into consideration local conditions such as the supply voltage and even the altitude.
Furthermore, Motion Analyzer is able to carry out a comparison of costs and performance for various drive technologies. This means that users can select the variant most suitable to the machine's use and the customer's requirements. System designs can also be optimised for energy efficiency and/or performance, yet payback periods for additional-cost options can be assessed before any specification is finalised.
For optimum machine performance the drive not only has to be able to execute a movement, but this also has to be accompanied by minimal mechanical loading (limitation of jerking). In addition, the movement has to be very soft; it should heat up the motor as little as possible and have minimal energy consumption. Note that Motion Analyzer 4.7 enables users to create custom motor profiles, so motors from third-party suppliers can be modelled and simulated.
With the aid of Motion Analyzer, users can adapt the movement to the conditions in the mechanical system and optimise it for the application. There is an export function to the Logix controller so that the computed travel profile can also be executed later on the machine. A cumbersome adaptation and optimisation of the travel profile on the machine is therefore not needed.
The mechanical design clearly profits here from the efficiency analysis. This shows at a glance in which part of the application the applied torque is present. If the motor is dominant here, then its selection is too large for a dynamic application. A small motor would be much more effective here and also less expensive.
In addition, the way in which mechanical modifications affect drives can be assessed. With the tolerance analysis facility, each of the application parameters can be modified over a range. This means that an overview of the limits of the drive and also of the machine itself is obtained quickly and it is possible to determine the application modifications necessary for a drive system.
Similarly, the reaction of the drive can be simulated. Here, its coupling to the application is the primary consideration. In particular the effects of couplings that are less torsionally stiff are highlighted. From this, conclusions can be drawn about the feasibility of various design structures for the mechanical construction and adaptations carried out as required.
A secondary effect here is the generation of settings for the control system. The tool calculates using exactly the same values as RSLogix 5000. This is used as a development tool for the whole control environment from Rockwell Automation. This parameterisation is also transferred to the controller and the tedious tuning of the servo drives is drastically shortened, thereby simplifying on-site commissioning.
Other notable features of Motion Analyzer include Emergency Stop Analysis and Lifetime Estimation. The former is said to take the guesswork out of understanding safe stopping distances and times, enabling safety-related control systems and guard designs to be optimised. Lifetime Estimation provides L10 lifetime estimates for Allen-Bradley integrated linear stages, as well as sizing the stages and associated drives.
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