Subscribe and listen to AW’s podcast!
Subscribe and listen to the Automation World Gets Your Questions Answered podcast!
Listen Here

Elau to broaden Gen3 controller line

As one of the most vocal proponents of so-called Generation 3 (Gen3) packaging automation equipment, controls vendor Elau Inc.

(, Chicago, is gearing up to promote the concept further at this month’s Pack Expo 2003 packaging show in Las Vegas.

The company will roll out three new backward-compatible additions to its PacDrive controller line at the Oct. 13-15 event, says John Kowal, Elau global marketing manager. The new controllers—the PacDrive C200, C400 and C600—are designed to provide scalable control solutions for Gen3 packaging systems, and will supplement the company’s current PacDrive MAx-4 controller. “What we’ve simply done is try to go both up and down in terms of performance, with the one in the middle (the C400) pretty close to where the MAx-4 is today,” Kowal explains.

Like the MAx-4, each of the new controllers is designed to take advantage of Gen3 architectures, which feature servo-centric designs with integrated motion and logic control on a single processing platform. Compared to first generation all-mechanical machines and second generation servo-mechanical hybrids, Gen3 machines are designed from the ground up to exploit electric servo motor technology and open, integrated control systems. The results, say proponents, are mechanically streamlined packaging systems that offer significant improvements in flexibility and performance, as well as lower cost of ownership.

Elau’s new low-end entry, the C200, is designed to bring Gen3 performance at an affordable price to small machines that have up to four servo axes, Kowal says.

The mid-range C400 can easily handle “mainstream” packaging machines with servo axes counts rising to 40 or more, and falls in the same capability range as the existing MAx-4, Kowal says. “The C400 has got some things built into it, such as Profibus, CANbus and Ethernet interfaces, that are options on the MAx-4,” says Kowal. “So if you don’t need some of those things, we could save you a few dollars by going to the MAx-4,” he notes.

Elau’s new high end, the PacDrive C600, will feature a 1-gigahertz Pentium M class processor, and is geared toward use on today’s largest packaging systems. “Let’s say you’re running a whole packaging line or even some of the newer packaging machines that are going up over 50 servo axes now, then you’d go with the C600,” Kowal says. The C600 can handle systems with up to 99 servo axes, 99 additional virtual axes and hundreds of input/output, he adds.

Discover New Content
Access Automation World's free educational content library!
Unlock Learning Here
Discover New Content
Test Your Machine Learning Smarts
Take Automation World's machine learning quiz to prove your knowledge!
Take Quiz
Test Your Machine Learning Smarts