Once a bastion of proprietary systems, the automation industry has increasingly opened itself up to partnerships with both complementary and, potentially, competitive companies (see links at the bottom of this article to connect to recent Automation World coverage of various industry partnerships). One partnership in particular—between National Instruments (NI) and Bosch Rexroth—has been particular active this year.
At Hannover Fair 2015, I reported on the launch of the partnership’s use of NI’s LabView graphic programming system to program Bosch Rexroth’s electric and hydraulic drives using Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering platform. That same report also included news of EtherCAT Technology Group’s (ETG) alliance with the OPC Foundation to develop common interfaces for Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things applications.
Now comes another announcement from NI and Bosch Rexroth on the combined use of NI’s CompactRIO control hardware and LabView programming environment with Bosch Rexroth’s IndraDrive C drives systems and IndraDyn S servo motors. The purpose of this technology combination is to provide OEMs with a proven interface for programming motion sequences for machinery measurement and testing without the need for PLC code.
Using CAN over EtherCAT, a CompactRIO controller can directly accesses the drives as a master. This allows manufacturers to program process and motion control in the drives via LabView. The plugin SoftMotion Drive Interface (SDI) required for IndraDrive Cs can be downloaded and installed from the LabView development environment.
Using this configuration of NI and Bosch Rexroth technologies, Bosch Rexroth’s EasyWizard start-up assistant reportedly shortens the initial start-up of the drive systems to three minutes by automatically recognizing the respective motor values via the electronic nameplate of the Rexroth motors. This means that, for the initial start-up of IndraDrive Cs drives, the user only needs to enter a few application-specific values. Graphical programming of specific movements can then be completed in LabView.
Bosch Rexroth points out that the IndraDyn S synchronous servo motors that are part of this technology partnership can meet IP54 or IP65 requirements, and that the motors are equipped with encoder systems for standard or precision requirements.
CompactRIO is known for its use in point-to-point movements in applications with a small number of axes. However, for more complex, multi-axis applications in measuring and testing machines, Bosch Rexroth’s Motion-Logic-System IndraMotion MLC can be used within LabView. IndraMotion MLC contains more than 550 virtual tools and modules for movement control within LabView.
Other recent Automation World coverage of automation industry partnerships: