Hannover Fair 2012 Show Report
There was an inescapable Chinese theme at this year’s Hannover Fair. China was the show’s partner country, its prime minister opened show, and the 500 Chinese exhibitors were the largest contingent ever at an industrial event outside China.
By the time the doors closed at the end of the five-day Hannover Fair in April, almost 185,000 visitors had attended the show, about a fifth of them coming from outside Germany. Although the organisers had expected more visitors than in 2010 (the last comparable event), which was badly affected by the travel restrictions resulting from the Icelandic volcano eruption, the visitor numbers exceeded their expectations.
“We knew we would definitely be seeing more visitors than in 2010,” says Dr Wolfram von Fritsch, chairman of the managing board (below, photo: Deutsche Messe), “but we were not at all prepared for almost pulling even with our figures for the boom year of 2008, as well as for a rise in attendance from abroad.”
One drawcard was China’s role as this year’s “partner country”. The Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao opened the Fair jointly with German chancellor Angela Merkel. And around 500 Chinese companies (about 10% of the total of 5,000 exhibitors from 69 countries) were busy promoting their activities at the show – the largest-ever Chinese industrial presence at a venue outside China.
Von Fritsch believes that the 2012 Fair was also a ringing endorsement of the organiser`s efforts to align the event with the global megatrends of energy and environmental technologies, mobility and urbanisation. “The new themes launched at Hannover Messe over the past several years are now at the forefront of interest and are energising the entire show,” he says. “This means that our long-term strategy is proving to be right on target.”
The Hannover Fair is actually a cluster of eight trade fairs, covering industrial automation, energy, electrical mobility, the digital factory, and industrial subcontracting, among other topics.
A central attraction of this year’s automation fair was an “efficiency arena”, dedicated to adapting plants and systems for energy-optimised production. For the first time, the automation show included a feature called MicroTechnology – Smart Systems for Automation.
The MobiliTec electric mobility show attracted about 140 exhibitors focusing on hybrid and electric drive technologies, mobile energy storage and alternative mobility technologies. Nearby, the CoilTechnica fair for coils, motors, generators and transformers, attracted around 100 exhibitors.
Dr von Fritsch is confident that the 2013 fair – which includes the biennial Motors, Drives and Automation (MDA) event – will be successful despite the current economic uncertainty. He reports that more than 600 companies have already registered to exhibit, many of them looking for larger stands. “Next year`s event is likely to fill the entire trade fair complex,” Von Fritsch predicts.
For a non-MDA year, the 2012 provided a healthy crop of motion engineering and automation launches and developments.
MOTORS AND DRIVES
Beckhoff, for example, extended its AM8000 range of synchronous servomotors (below) which use a single cable for both power and communications, and are said to combine high dynamics and high efficiencies with low costs and standstill torque levels up to 65Nm. The new AM8021 model has a standstill torque of 0.5Nm and can be operated from a 565V DC link, allowing it to be used in machines without an additional power supply, because the drives can operate at the same voltage level as other drives in the installation.
Beckhoff’s new AM807x series servomotors are available in three lengths with standstill torques from 25–65Nm. They can be equipped with various encoder systems, backlash-free holding brakes or shaft seals. There are also three new stainless steel models with standstill torques from 7.75–16.7Nm. This means that Beckhoff now offers servomotors with power ratings from 1–16.7Nm for use in extreme, harsh or corrosive environments.
Eura Drives was showing new ranges of servodrives and frequency converters for permanent magnet motors. The SD10 and SD20 servodrives offer position, speed and torque control and dynamic braking. The E2000 drives are suitable for PM motors from 0.2–45kW and offer IP21 or IP55 protection.
Lenze has extended the power ratings of its decentralised, IP65-protected 8400 motec drives (shown below) by introducing three new models (rated at 4, 5.5 and 7.5kW) in addition to the previous 0.37–3kW models. When used with geared motors, the drives form robust, compact mechatronic systems that can be installed on machines. The drives connect directly to Profinet and EtherCat and can be commissioned on site without needing a PC, using DIP switches and a potentiometer. A drive-based Safe Torque Off (STO) function is available as an option. A “VFC eco” mode adapts the motor’s magnetising current to the load, thus enabling significant energy savings in part-load operation.
Nord Drivesystems was demonstrating its ability to supply IE4-rated motors from 0.55–7.5kW (frame sizes 80–100) as well as IE3 motors up to size 180. It was also showing its extended SK200E family of distributed frequency inverters, which now covers ratings up to 22kW, as well as its SK500E control cabinet inverters, now available in ratings up to 90kW, with models up to 160kW on the way. Both of these inverter families use a current control technology that ensures constant speed under changing loads as well as high torque levels during start-up. Nord is now developing efficient systems for encoderless control of PM synchronous motors.
SEW-Eurodrive has revised its CMDV series of compact servomotors to offer precise, dynamic and economical drives, especially for use in restricted spaces or as direct drives in applications such as machine tools where they avoid problems of wear and noise from mechanical components. The IP65-protected motors span 18 ratings in five frame sizes and offer standstill torques from 0.25–32Nm as well as overload capacities up to six times the rated torque. The convection-cooled motors have low mass moments of inertia, allowing rapid build-up of speed.
Siemens announced a slew of additions and modifications to its drives and motors portfolio, including a second generation of its IP65-protected Sinamics G120D inverter (below), which, it claims, is the only decentralised drive on the market to offer positioning and energy-recovery functions. The new version adds safety functions and safe inputs and outputs, while analogue inputs have been added to boost the number of I/O. The drive’s positioning capabilities can be implemented using either incremental or absolute path measurement systems. Enhanced sensorless vector control, and vector control with incremental encoders, improve the drive’s performance.
Siemens has also added two power modules and a control module to its Sinamics G120 inverters. The PM240-2 FSA and PM230 IP20 power modules are based on a new platform that enables higher power densities and provides innovative cooling using a “push-through” technology. The IP20-protected PM230 power module allows the Sinamics G120P inverter to be installed in control cabinets. It offers low reactive power consumption and reduced line harmonics. In an “Eco” mode, the motor current adapts automatically to the prevailing load conditions. A hibernation function supports an energy-saving sleep mode.
In addition to the existing Profibus DP, RS-485, USS and Modbus RTU interfaces, the new CU240E-2 control module supports Profinet, allowing, high simultaneous data rates for both fieldbus and Ethernet communications. Safe Torque Off is standard, while Safe Stop 1 and Safely Limited Speed are available as options.
Siemens` Sinamics S120 modular drive system is now available with the new SLP (Safely Limited Position) function. This allows range limits in positioning applications, handling systems and other motion control applications to be monitored without installing additional limit switches, providing protection for both workers and machines.
The required encoder is integrated as standard in Simotics motors. The SLP function can detect whether a device such as a gripper is operating outside its permitted range and reacts with a parameterised response – for example, by initiating a safe stop. The function is available with the block-size and book-size versions of the S120 for outputs up to 107kW.
On the motors front, Siemens announced a range of IE3 motors with “increased safety” protection, previously available only in IE2 efficiencies. The new motors, which avoid unacceptably high internal temperatures, come in shaft heights up to 450mm and power ratings from 0.12–315kW. Many of the Ex e motors meet the new IEC 60034-30 standard, even though explosion-proof motors are not yet subject to the new energy-efficiency guidelines.
On its Hannover stand, Beckhoff was demonstrating a control system that maintains a cycle time of 12.5µs from the PLC to the I/O, using standard components. This demonstration of “eXtreme Fast Control (XFC)” was achieved using a Beckhoff Industrial PC running TwinCat 3 control software and ultra-fast I/O components with a latency of 1µs. With XFC, control loops are closed faster and delays after transitions are shortened. As is typical for EtherCat, the controller does not need special fieldbus hardware and implements the master in software.
Dr Dirk Janssen, Beckhoff’s manager of software development and one of the inventors of EtherCat, says that the short bus cycle time, while exciting, is not decisive. “A fast fieldbus only becomes a fast control system with a capable controller and ultra-fast I/O components,” he argues. “And only with EtherCat can the highest performance of the fieldbus be implemented continuously through to the I/O signals. All technologies that rely on bus couplers with a separate, local I/O bus suffer here from system-related disadvantages.”
Beckhoff has also extended its I/O portfolio with its new IP69K-protected EQ series EtherCat Box modules which have a stainless steel finish. The rugged distributed I/O modules are designed to be used directly on machines in applications with high hygienic standards, such as in the food, packaging, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The boxes are mounted using brackets that avoid cavities and joints. An integrated EtherCat interface allows the modules to be connected directly to a network without an additional coupler box. There are various digital (up to 16 channel) and four-channel analogue versions available.
Lenze was showing a trio of controllers with touch-sensitive TFT displays (7, 10.4 and 15 inch) from its maintenance-free Panel Controller p500 family. The controllers, based on 1.6GHz Intel Atom processors, are suitable for use in machine-oriented visualisation and control. The fanless controllers include 1Gb of main memory, 2Gb of Flash memory (instead of a hard drive), an SD card slot for application data, two 100MBit Ethernet interfaces with integrated switches, an EtherCat master interface, and two USB connections. There is also a slot for communication cards supporting CAN or Profibus. A maintenance-free internal UPS retains data in the event of a power cut.
Phoenix Contact has developed a controller that can be used to create redundant Profinet control systems to minimise the risk of shutdowns. Two of the RFC 460R PN 3TX controllers (shown below) are used to build a failsafe automation system. One controls and manages the process. In the event of a failure, the second controller is activated. The controllers are connected via a fibre optic synchronisation cable that can be up to 80km long. One of them is programmed and the other is configured automatically for all redundancy functions. Both controllers are synchronised continuously.
Phoenix has also expanded its modular Inline I/O system to include a new communication terminal that integrates RS-232, RS-485, or RS-422 serial communications interfaces. The IB IL RS UNI-PAC Inline terminal handles RS-232 handshake signals and data transfer rates of up to 250kbd.
Rexroth has optimised the latest generation of its IndraMotion MLC control system for use with hydraulics, thus simplifying cross-engineering. The system (shown below) can be used to control centralised or decentralised hydraulic, electric or hybrid axes, and includes predefined hydraulic control functions, thus avoiding the need for hydraulics expertise when parameterising motion profiles. Rexroth is now intensifying the simplification of the design and assembly of fast I/Os. Its bundled I/O strategy offers standardised interfaces for high-dynamic hydraulic applications. The I/Os are available for up to four axes each as compact, cost-effective preconfigured block modules.
Siemens has extended the top end of its Simatic S7-1200 controller portfolio with the addition of the S7-1215C, which has up to four times the user memory capacity (100kb) of previous devices. The new CPU also has a second Profinet interface, two analogue outputs, and fast outputs for controlling up to four stepper motors. The processing speed has also been increased: for example, the Boolean execution time is 0.085µs per operation. There are 14 digital inputs, 10 digital outputs, two analogue inputs and two analogue outputs.
ELECTRICAL AND SAFETY
Eaton`s electrical sector is offering a new circuit-breaker series (called NRX) with ratings up to 4kA, which includes what it claims is the world’s smallest air circuit-breaker. The IZMX40 concept allows side-by-side mounting of two withdrawable circuit-breakers in a 600mm-wide panel. If switching from a distance is needed, a motor for tensioning the spring-operated stored energy mechanism and magnetic coils for the on and off command are integrated into the breaker.
Ifm electronic has developed a device that monitors the transmitted code sequences in AS-i networks. If it senses message deviations or timeouts, it ensures that the system stays safe. The retrofittable monitor (shown below) allows safe and non-safe I/O signals to be transmitted via the same AS-i bus. It can be integrated into an AS-i system at any position and several can operate via one AS-i master. Parameters for functions such as e-stops, two-hand controls and enable switches, can be set via a USB interface, allowing one monitor to replace several traditional safety relays. The device has four safe inputs or eight standard I/O, plus two safe semiconductor outputs and six triggerable outputs. It is certified to SIL3 / PL e.
Energy chain specialist igus has developed a fast, quiet system for supplying power, data and media to handling and storage applications which, it claims, requires 57% less drive power when operating at speeds of 3m/s and faster. The P4 system, originally developed for high-speed container cranes, is now available for smaller applications with travel distances of 40–50m. Rolling friction is said to be 75% lower than gliding friction, and there are also savings from reduced inertia and chain weight.
Phoenix Contact was demonstrating a range of 22.5mm-wide hybrid motor starters for switching and reversing motors up to 4kW quickly and reliably, and relieving loads on relay contacts. The Contractron starters are said to last up to ten times longer than purely mechanical switching devices and to cut wiring costs by up to 75%. One model has built-in fuses that offer protection in the event of a short circuit. To continue operations, the fuses are replaced and the hybrid motor starter is ready to go.
Phoenix was also showing a module for monitoring safe shutdowns and the movement of drive components. Incremental encoders, SIL-compliant rotary encoders and proximity switches can all be connected to the 35mm-wide PSR Motionstop device, to implement safety functions in accordance with EN 61800-5-2. Semiconductor and relay outputs stop dangerous movements, if necessary. Up to four operating modes can be monitored for one machine. STO (safe torque off), SLS (safely limited speed), SMS (safe speed management), and SDI (safely monitored direction) functions are built in.
Pilz has expanded its PNOZ range of safety relays with a device for monitoring emergency stops or safety gates, to provide safety functions to PL e or SIL 3. The 22.5mm-wide PNOZcompact relays use push-in spring terminals for quick installation without tools. The first relay in the range, the PNOZ c1 (shown below) carries a QR code which provides access to online technical information on the product. The relay enables dual-channel wiring with the detection of shorts across contacts, permitting either manual or automatic resets.
Pilz also announced a coded safety switch which provides safe monitoring of up to three positions to PL e and SIL CL 3. The PSENcode switch also offers safe position detection, so that only one safe sensor is needed for position monitoring, reducing the number of safe inputs. Diagnostics are provided via an LED display.
Rittal was showing easy-to-assemble distribution enclosures for its modular Ri4Power system. The ISV enclosures (below) can be used in either freestanding or wall-mounted configurations and are based on standard IP55 TS 8 and IP66 AE wall-mounting enclosures. This means that both stainless steel and painted sheet steel enclosures can be specified. Quick-mounting built-in modules are available for installing components in height units (U) of 150mm and width units of 250mm. Matching expansion modules are available for NH fuse-switch disconnectors in sizes NH 00 to NH 3. Switchgear from ABB, Eaton, Schneider Electric and Siemens up to 630A can be installed using only two different module sizes.
MECHANICAL AND LINEAR
On its stand at Hanover, igus launched a range of ready-to-install linear axis-and-motor combinations that can be used underwater or in vacuums. Special underwater toothed belt shafts can be combined with Nema 23 two-phase hybrid stepper motors that can operate in water depths up to 10m. The corrosion-resistant systems are also suitable for washdown applications. The submersible motors can alternatively be linked to stainless steel linear spindle axes. The vacuum-compatible linear axes are lubrication- and corrosion-free, with low abrasion.
Nord Drivesystems has extended its gearbox portfolio which now spans torque ratings from 25–242kNm. A new two-stage helical-bevel system, shown at Hannover, covers torque ratings from 90–660Nm in five frame sizes. The lightweight aluminium boxes will be available in open or closed washdown designs and are said to be easy to clean. There is also a similar series of worm gears. Nord is also offering a surface treatment for its aluminium gearboxes which, it says, gives them a similar corrosion resistance to stainless steel.
SEW-Eurodrive has added two planetary gears to its P series (above), which now spans torque ratings from 24–500kNm in 11 sizes. The new P092 and P102 boxes are aimed at applications requiring low input speeds and high torque.
Eaton announced a new generation of proportional valves that provide programmable control in electrohydraulic axis control applications. The modular AxisPro valves support both centralised and distributed axis control architectures and contain programmable onboard electronics and spool LVDT (linear voltage differential transformer) sensors to provide accurate, responsive axis control. The initial products are offered in ISO-3 and ISO-5 sizes with rated flows of 40 and 100 litres/min. Both have 350 bar rated P, A and B ports and a 250 bar rated T-port.
Rexroth has developed a new generation of pneumatic valves that it claims are half the weight of standard valves, and 45% smaller. It has achieved this by using high-performance polymers and fewer parts. The components in the AV03 valves are arranged at an angle, and the supply and exhaust channels have been optimised to reduce flow losses, resulting in a claimed flow improvement of 40%. This allows users to reduce supply pressures and raise energy efficiency. Starting with the second valve, numbers can be increased step-by-step up to 40 single or 64 double solenoid valves.
SENSORS AND MEASUREMENT
Balluff announced a new line of captive linear encoder systems based on magnetic tapes supported by an aluminium rail and using a carriage running on lubrication-free runners to guide the sensor head. The compact, low-cost encoders are designed to measure long distances and for applications where machinery such as lifts, cutting stations, cranes and lifting systems, cannot offer precision guidance.
The sensor specialist ifm electronic has developed a two-wire output stage for its OG cube photoelectric sensors which, because of their minimum leakage current of 1.7mA, can be used on mains power at 20–250V AC. The metal-housed sensor is suitable for tough industrial environments where space is limited. It offers long ranges, even with coloured backgrounds, and is colour-independent for grey-scale and black values. The sensors can be supplied in through-beam, retro-reflective or diffuse reflection versions with background suppression.
Phoenix Contact has developed a technology (shown below) for attaching current transformers (CTs) quickly and safely to busbars without tools. The Pact transformers can be mounted by hand where there is not enough space for a screwdriver. A tab on the quick-action connector is inserted into a groove on the CT, and two attachment pins on either side hold it securely in place. The CTs convert alternating currents up to 4kA into secondary currents of 1A and 5A. They are designed for a long-term nominal rated current of 120% of the primary rated current and can capture higher peaks than the nominal currents, without damage.
The German developer Synotech was demonstrating a machinery condition monitoring system that determines RMS values for vibration velocity or acceleration in three definable frequency bands. Inductive or digital rotational speed sensors control the frequency ranges. The CW-220C machine condition monitor also calculates shock levels and crest factors, allowing changes in bearing health to be detected at an early stage. It is also possible to record other parameters, such as bearing temperatures, pressures or power input. Although the module has been developed to monitor standalone machines, it can also be integrated into extended automation systems.
Beckhoff was promoting several new EtherCat developments at Hannover including a coupler (EK1101-0080) and junction (EK1122-0080) supporting “Fast Hot Connect”, which reduces connection times to 1 second. The technology can be used, for example, for fast tool changes on robots, reducing cycle times and increasing output. Using Hot Connect, EtherCat components are coupled into and decoupled from a control system using plug-and-play techniques. Beckhoff’s TwinCat automation suite supports Fast Hot Connect on the master side.
Beckhoff also announced devices for the bidirectional conversion of signals between optical fibre media and copper media. The DIN rail-mountable CU1521 and CU1561 devices are optimised for the use in deterministic EtherCat networks with short cycle times. They can be used where EtherCat needs to be transmitted over long distances, where electromagnetic interference is a potential threat, for data links to rotating parts such as sliprings, or for carriages with long travel distances. The IP20-protected converters can be diagnosed as independent EtherCat devices and allow EtherCat strands to be closed safely in the event of a fault. There are versions for multi-mode fibres and for single-mode fibres, which can transmit over distances of up to 2km.
On its stand at the Hannover Fair, the Hart Communication Foundation had two displays showing how its system operates in both hardwired and wireless versions. One demo exploited the fact that Hart operates at audible frequencies to allow visitors to “hear” Hart messages as well as seeing them via a flashing light. The audible nature of the signals can be used to troubleshoot a Hart installation, allowing users to hear the difference between Hart signals and noise of interference.
The German industrial communications specialist Indu-Sol was showcasing a specially constructed, symmetrical motor cable said to reduce undesirable reverse current paths that can cause faulty communications or system failures in industrial installations. Because the Symflex Emc-Drive cable is optimised for use with frequency controlled drives, it can compensate for these unwanted currents at source by up to 60%. Moreover, the low working capacitance and inductance of the cable, which is enclosed using a combination of braided and foil shielding, is said to minimise electromagnetic interference in neighbouring electronic circuits.
Lütze presented a flexible Category 6 Ethernet bus cable for carrier chain applications. The 7.8mm-diameter Superflex Ethernet Bus cable has been developed to avoid rapid cable deterioration caused by high mechanical loads, narrow bending radii, long travel distances, or high speeds and accelerations. It can handle pulling forces of up to 100N and is designed for around one million bending cycles at speeds of up to 4m/s. It is suitable for accelerations of up to 4m/s2 and travel distances of 10m.
The machine-to-machine wireless communications specialist M2M was showing what it claims is the first Bluetooth USB stick with an operating range of 1km. The Blue-1000 stick has its own Bluetooth stack as well as integrated firmware that makes the use of Windows Bluetooth drivers and stacks unnecessary. Users are not dependent on the Bluetooth stack of the operating system, and can communicate with up to seven Bluetooth devices simultaneously via a virtual serial interface.
M2M also unveiled a wireless router (above) which, it claims, is the smallest available. The Linux-based MR 1002 router measures 110 x 25 x 36mm. It is said to be easy to configure via a Web interface. It is suitable for sending secured data wirelessly to a distant local network, for instance via Open VPN.
Phoenix Contact has developed a wireless data transmission system for large facilities. The Radioline system can distribute signals from up to 250 stations without software and supports I/O mapping with I/O addresses set using thumb wheels to map them to corresponding output modules. Identical signals can also be output several times, supporting intelligent distribution and signal multiplication in the field. Stations can be arranged in point-to-point, star, or mesh topologies and each station can also be used as a wireless repeater for other stations.
Aucotec was demonstrating its vision of how cloud computing and smartphone apps could raise the efficiency of the engineering and maintenance of plants and machines. The company is making its Engineering Base (EB) available for applications via the Web and, at Hannover, it was demonstrating a “dashboard” project overview as well as maintenance applications. These will allow service personnel to use phone apps to call up the status of a plant from the EB database. They could, for example, obtain maintenance deadlines or details about connected cables and their destinations. The app will also allow maintenance information to be entered into the EB database, making current documentation accessible from anywhere.
At Hannover, Eplan was demonstrating an add-on module for its Pro Panel Professional software for designing copper rails and connection elements. The Copper module (shown above) allows 3D assembly designs to be visualised and tested, so that any potential problems are identified early. The casing and accessories, equipment and copper rails are collated from an online component library and assembled to form a virtual prototype. Users can define and fit bent copper rails and connectors anywhere in the 3D design, as well as defining shape libraries. Material properties and manufacturer recommendations are taken into account – so the virtual 3D prototype of the switchgear is available long before the first switchgear component is actually produced.
igus has produced a free iPad app that allows users to find items from its iglidur range of plain bearings. Application parameters can be entered easily and users are informed immediately of suitable materials. They can then view the appropriate catalogue pages and order their bearings online.
Pilz was demonstrating a new Structured Text editor for its PSS 4000 automation system that can be used for both standard and safety tasks. The STL editor, which complies with IEC 61131-3, joins the existing Instruction List and graphical editors. The various languages can be combined with the PASmulti editor to provide structured programming. There is a library of re-usable failsafe and standard blocks.
On its Hannover stand, Wago was demonstrating the latest evolution of its ProServe engineering tool – the soon-to-be-released smartDesigner for custom DIN-rail assemblies populated with terminal blocks and pluggable modules (above). The free online version will provide intuitive, faster engineering, centralised data management on a Wago server, and automatic software updates. It will eliminate customer-based data inventories and local installation on users’ computers. Like the CD version, which will still be available, the online version has interfaces to all common CAE systems. The online configurator, due later this year, will be aimed mainly at electrical engineering and control cabinet applications and will also allow custom marking configuration.
The next Hannover Fair will take place from 8–12 April, 2013.