Programmable absolute encoders for EtherNet/IP applications

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Programmable absolute encoders for EtherNet/IP applicationsSick UK is launching a range of EtherNet/IP-compatible programmable absolute encoders - the first EtherNet-based fieldbus encoders in Sick's portfolio. The new Ethernet/IP AFS60 single-turn encoder and Ethernet/IP AFM60 multi-turn encoder offer diagnostic and monitoring capabilities for improved plant reliability and availability.

Designed for both precision applications and harsh industrial conditions, the new Sick EtherNet/IP encoders are said to be the first to integrate DLR (Device Level Ring) technology for continuous monitoring of network integrity. Network communications can be rebuilt seamlessly in the event of a cable break, thereby preventing downtime. Furthermore, the position of the break is reported, enabling remedial action to be taken quickly and efficiently at the next convenient opportunity.

The innovative round loop capability of the AFM60 EtherNet/IP multi-turn encoder cuts programming and hardware costs for machine builders. Its rotary axis function enables the number of encoded rotations to be defined as a fraction, which is an important function for rotary applications such as turntables or power presses that often have gearing between the encoder and the rotating axis. This saves complicated PLC calculations and control programming, and cuts costs during installation, maintenance and service.

Comprehensive new diagnostic capabilities are integrated and, as a result, commissioning is simplified. Security against failure is significantly increased, so reducing risks of downtime and increasing plant availability:

  • Temperature within the encoder: temperature limits are user-programmable. When a Sick EtherNet/IP encoder reaches the defined maximum or minimum value, the encoder generates a message to the controller warning of a potentially critical state.
  • Two operating hour counters: One starts when power is switched on, the other monitors actual shaft rotations. This information can be utilised to create preventative maintenance alerts relating to the mechanical components connected to the encoder.
  • Five dual-colour LEDs: Each encoder has five dual-colour LEDs that continuously show the current operating state of encoder functions and data transfer. Programmable position limit values can also be monitored to realise soft limit switches or programmable cam functions.
  • Speed and acceleration detection protects the process: In addition to position information, each encoder provides speed and acceleration feedback and has configurable limits. By monitoring these values, speed and acceleration sensitive components in the drive chain can be protected.

System integrators can be confident of compatibility due to the new Ethernet IP encoders' compliance with the latest ODVA (Open DeviceNet Vendor Association) specifications.

EtherCAT and ProfiNET variants will be added to Sick's AFM60 and AFS60 families of encoders during the coming months. For more information on the EtherNet/IP-compatible programmable absolute encoders contact Andrea Hornby on +44 (0)1727 831121 or email .

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