Hannover Messe’s Synchronised Servos

04 May 2009

A popular way to show precise motion control at Hannover Messe is to display spinning wheels that are carefully aligned in real time to form recognisable patterns. Lately we’ve seen this technique to show off high speed motion control buses.

Siemens Profinet IRT in 2005
Siemens Profinet IRT in 2005

Four years ago Siemens used 54 servo drives networked with Profinet IRT. Ten Simotion D systems, equipped with the then-new ERTEC 400 chip co-ordinated the effort and provided synchronisation to within one millisecond.

The servomotors were spinning CD-ROMs. Each had a small hole that revealed a blue laser light, synchronised to flash at the moment the disk’s hole passed above it. Seeing all 54 lasers at the same time was dramatic proof that Profinet IRT was working, and the demonstration was able to achieve this, up to 1,700 rpm.

To make it more interesting and to demonstrate compatibility with standard Ethernet, TCP/IP video signals were passed from one PC to another across the same Profinet cable. By switching the video signals on and off, and switching from standard Profinet to Profinet IRT, and varying the speed of the drives, observers could see how the system responded to different levels of communication loading.

Baumüller’s 125 servos networked with EtherCAT
Baumüller’s 125 servos networked with EtherCAT

At this year’s Hannover Messe, Baumüller topped this number with a cabinet with 120 servo axes, all driven by Baumüller’s servo drives and motors networked with EtherCAT.

And if you walked past the EtherCAT stand in Hall 9, you would see another display of spinning wheels, but one that wasn’t so impressive at first look: there were only 25 synchronised wheels.

But Martin Rostan said, take another look at this.

25 different servos networked with EtherCAT
25 different servos networked with EtherCAT

It was a synchronised motion interoperability demonstration for EtherCAT, but with a difference: there are 25 different synchronised axes, using 25 different servo drives supplied by 16 different vendors: AMK, Beckhoff, Baumüller, Control Techniques, Copley Controls, Danaher, ESR Pollmeier, Fuji Electric, Jenaer Antriebstechnik, KEB, Kuhnke, Lenze, LTi, Moog, SEW-Eurodrive, and Stöber Antriebstechnik.

The servo drives filled two cabinets, one on each side of the spinning wheels. The photo shows only one side of the cabinet.

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