Jetter’s Generation 2 Controllers

30 November 2008

The Ethernet-based JetWeb controller, introduced at the beginning of this decade, ‘was the beginning of the Ethernet revolution around the world,’ according to CEO Martin Jetter. His company is now introducing the second generation, called JX3.

Three sizes of JetControl
Three sizes of JetControl

The JX3 is considered to be a ‘completely new series’ of controllers and expansion modules, with three main characteristics: it is based on Ethernet, has one programming language, and integrates the motor drive systems, down to path control.

The cornerstones of the new architecture are the three 50mm wide controllers themselves: JetControl 340 (3 axes), 350 (8 axes), and 360 (64 axes). The corresponding expansion modules have a width of 25 millimeters. There are two bus modules for networking the system: a two-port Ethernet module, and a CANbus module for existing system bus structures. Eight expansion modules can be connected to one bus controller, either CAN or Ethernet, and with an additional power supply modules, up to sixteen modules can be connected. Thus a maximum of 256 digital input and output channels can be configured for one I/O station. An memory card slot is available so data can be exchanged and software updated among the three controllers with an SD card.

The big advantage, says Mr. Jetter, is that due to their identical design and software compatibility, machine builders can migrate from one to another with few problems. This is important if machines go through different expansion stages or are offered in different performance classes, or when new machine types are developed which overlap considerably with existing machines. All three controllers are programmed with the same software and programming language.

The JX3 concept features one characteristic leitmotif, or dominant recurring theme, according to Mr. Jetter: the integration of all automation functions in one system with only one programming language. ‘The more complex a machine, the more different systems, software tools and programming languages the user has to deal with. This requires a great deal of time and money,’ he says.

The JX3 philosophy addresses these concerns because it offers just one controller for all control functions, point-to-point positioning, technology functions and path control. And the one controller uses the same programming language for PLC, positioning and path control. There is also one drive controller for all conventional electric motor versions. Again one communications medium—Ethernet—is used as the end-to-end communication medium for controller, drive controller and remote I/O.

Eschewing the IEC 6-1131 route, Jetter has chosen to develop its high-level multitasking ‘plain text’ language in the direction of structured text, which it now calls JetSym STX. ‘Only high-level languages are able to meet modern-day demands made of control and drive systems,’ says Mr. Jetter.

‘Not only the scalability and modularity of the system are of interest, but in particular the concept of full integration of automation functions and the JetSym STX programming language,’ he says.

In June 2008 the company celebrated the opening of its SMD (surface mount device) production plant in newly built premises in Ludwigsburg (near Stuttgart). In the past year using the new ‘one-piece-flow’ manufacturing technique the company says it produced 35,000 devices, mounting 11.6m SMT and 3.3m THT components.

Jetter AG

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