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Networked automation system speeds helical insert production
Continuing our series of articles in which we look back at interesting applications, we're going back 10 years to a networked automation system we designed for new machinery at WTI Fasteners of Measham.
The machines, designed and built by WTI to their own specifications, produce helical inserts that are used in fastening applications to prevent threads from becoming worn or stripped, and to enable higher torque settings for fixing bolts and screws.
The servo systems installed by Motor Technology formed part of a fully networked automation system that enabled remote access to each machine and allowed interrogation and control functions to be performed from either local or remote PCs. It also provided full data logging of production and system operations on faster machines that are capable of producing a new helical insert every two seconds.
The system design was based on digital brushless servo systems with controllers that were based on an industry hardened PC. DSP based axis modules provided fully integrated high-performance motion control, so freeing the main processor from other tasks. Machine I/O was fully configurable for software interrupts and open standard ISA or PC card expansion slots provided cost effective third-party ethernet adaptors and connectivity via an ethernet TCP/IP interface for remote access using web enabled software tools.