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Ethernet-based smart automation for DC drives

03 April 2012

At the SPS/IPC/Drives show in Nuremberg Sprint Electric introduced a new version of drive.web, an Ethernet-based distributed control system for its range of DC drives.

drive.web system concept graphic, depicting the distributed control of a printing press or strip mill. Clockwise from the top, it shows a Smarty Universal Automation Controller (a stand alone distributed control module containing drive.web), an AC dr
drive.web system concept graphic, depicting the distributed control of a printing press or strip mill. Clockwise from the top, it shows a Smarty Universal Automation Controller (a stand alone distributed control module containing drive.web), an AC dr

At the event the system was demonstrated through an interactive iPad demo. Engineers were controlling a DC motor 6000 miles away using an iPad and watching it live via webcam. Using drive.web, they were able to stop, start, and change the speed and direction of the DC motor and see the changes happen instantly.

The drive.web system includes graphical configuration tools that provide diagnostics and configurability of all drives on the network, either locally or remotely via the Internet. The graphical tools allow the full configuration of the drives, provide service diagnostics, full documentation and an operator interface for local control, all without the need for a PLC or supervisory computer.

The Sprint Electric digital range of drives type PLX can be drive.web enabled by adding an option board. Other drives, even simple analogue ones, can take advantage of the technology by using a separate stand-alone DIN rail mounted drive.web module.

The drive.web hardware consists of an Ethernet port and processor that takes information dynamically from the drive and makes it available over the Ethernet network. Additional hardware includes interfaces to AC drives and remote I/O modules that provide increased access to the network for other control elements. The configuration software runs on the platform-independent Java operating system, therefore the control system will run on PCs, Macs and Linux based computers. The software provides graphical configuration and documentation tools for AC and DC drives, start-up / commissioning assistance with real time information from the drive and network and a very clean operator interface with dynamic access to machine information. The drive.web control technology is cost-effective in systems of any size and complexity, without the need for a PLC or supervisory computer.


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