Consumer expectations are changing, so manufacturers must respond to the growing demand for a wider variety and more personalized products. Legacy equipment may result in inefficient operation from frequent changeovers and increased downtime. As a result, manufacturers may struggle to maintain Overall Equipment Effectiveness and capture bottom line efficiencies.
This article will introduce how Agilix and Rockwell Automation mechatronics solutions can support manufacturers’ flexibility requirements and increase profitability in the age of Industry 4.0.
What is Mechatronics?
Mechatronics is a type of engineering that focuses on bringing together mechanical devices and electronics in an integrated way to perform a specific task. You can think of it as a complete automation-enabling solution that combines mechanical and electrical components.
Mechatronics is applicable in a variety of industries, but is primarily being used today in the Consumer Packaged Goods (Food/Beverage and Home Personal Care), Life Sciences, Automotive, and Tire manufacturing industries. It is especially valuable in the OEM segments of Manufacturing & Assembly, Packaging, and Converting (Print & Web).
Now that we have a basic definition and defined applications, we’re going to explore the various mechatronics portfolios offered by Rockwell Automation.
Rockwell Automation’s motion control portfolio is built to provide a wide range of solutions for industrial customers. Each component in the portfolio is tailored to simplify machine design, provide greater system flexibility, and improve overall performance. These components fit seamlessly into the Logix platform, allowing for users to experience easy configuration, system integration, and their choice of network and safety options.
Rockwell Automation’s motion control products include:
- Servo Drives
- Servo Motors
- Motion Software
Rockwell Automation partners with best-in-class robot makers to connect their standard-setting control software with the latest robotic technology. Third party robots integrate with their Studio 5000 environment via the choice of two connectivity paths:
- Ethernet/IP Connected – a dedicated robot controller is connected to Logix PLC via the standard, unmodified Ethernet protocol.
- Unified Robot Control – A Logix controller works with Kinetix drives to directly control a robot arm.
Independent Cart Technology
Independent Cart Technology (ICT) is a new approach to linear motors and provides a flexible solution for OEMs and end users to get more from their machines in today’s consumer-driven market. While traditional conveyors rely on gears, chains, and belts, ICT uses magnets to precisely control motion with frictionless propulsion. Rockwell Automation’s ICT portfolio includes MagneMotion®, and iTRAK®.
MagneMotion is an intelligent conveyor system that is a modular, flexible, and highly controllable transport and positioning solution for large and small loads. Meanwhile, the intelligent track system for iTRAK is a modular, scalable linear motor system that allows independent control of multiple movers on straight or curvilinear paths.
Digital Twin Software
Emulate3D is a digital twin software designed to help users reduce the risks associated with automation investments. It can be used for virtual commissioning, throughput simulation, and industrial demonstration. Controls testing with Emulate3D allows for engineering teams to develop, test, and produce robust PLC controls systems offline before building the real system to avoid costly, last-minute changes. Digital twins can be used to create predictive models to improve production and circumvent machine failure. They can also be used to train workers in a virtual environment to react to various scenarios in a place where mistakes can be made without real life harm.
A Smarter Approach to Industrial Automation with Mechatronics
As your authorized distributor of Rockwell Automation and Allen Bradley products, Agilix Solutions is committed to helping our customers realize the benefits of Industry 4.0 technology. Mechatronics can help you reduce machine design time and commissioning risk, and Agilix Solutions’ in-house specialists can help you take the first steps. Reach out to your Agilix Solutions Account Manager or your local branch to learn how to put mechatronics to work for you.