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insights / New Technology Demo Cell
New Technology Demo Cell
Featuring several exciting new technologies, our Demo Cell is on display now on our factory floor.
As a fun way to explore emerging technologies, the Modular engineering team designed and built an automated demonstration robot that uses multiple technologies to sort letter blocks and spell the words Design, Build and Control.
In recent years, several intelligent conveying systems have come to market, which use moving magnetic fields to move vehicles along a rail and stop accurately without mechanical assistance. MagneMotion®™ Lite is one of these transport systems, and we chose to use it in our demo cell architecture to investigate its accuracy, reliability and ease-of-use for future projects. MagneMotion®™ has been acquired by Rockwell Automation, and we look forward to exciting new improvements to the Allen Bradley control platform as they integrate MagneMotion®™ products.
Pneumatic energy is coming under the manufacturing industry spotlight as a major contributor to energy costs, so we’re investigating possible replacements to pneumatic actuators on our demo cell. The robot end-of-arm tool is a Robohand electric gripper made by DESTACO. This maintenance-free gripper uses electrical energy to open and close, removing the need for a compressed air supply. This device, along with our MagneMotion®™ transport system, significantly reduces the energy footprint of our cell by completely removing pneumatic energy and this also makes our demo cell is more mobile, so we use it for engineering showcases around the country.
Allen Bradley Hardware & S88
The GuardLogix platform was chosen to control our cell and interface between our associated devices. We are currently standardising our program structure for Allen Bradley controllers in line with S88 guidelines on several projects. This initiative also includes our HMI faceplates. This will benefit our controls department in the future by leading to shorter development times and faster debugging of issues, which means reduced costs and increased reliability for our customers.
Modular Automation have a long-standing history as a Mitsubishi robot integrator, and this cell uses a Mitsubishi RV-F series six-axis robot to perform the loading and unloading tasks of our letter blocks. Significant time was spent implementing inching functions as well as path continuation after an unexpected interruption, such as an emergency stop event, which will be used in future customer projects where such functionality is desirable.
Demo cell operation status is indicated by a Balluff BNI0072 Smart Light. This unit can have up to five LED segments in any of five colours. The unit cycles through several different colour sequences as the machine cycles through its phases of operation. Using this technology also trials another emerging technology called IO-link, which adds increased functional and diagnostic scope to smart sensors and actuators.
Visit our factory floor to see our new technology Demo Cell in action. For more information or to discuss an automation project, contact our team today.
Tell us about your manufacturing challenge, and one of our senior engineers will be in touch to explore how we can help.