PC-based Control and ‘Smart Valves” Improve Machine Hydraulics

Nov. 25, 2014
By embedding intelligence into hydraulic products, Eaton is helping create more intelligent machinery.

Making machines smarter, safer and more reliable are what machine builders around the world are trying to do, and what manufacturers seem ready to spend money on. At the IMTS 2014 and PackExpo 2014 trade shows this fall, the emphasis was on smart everything—and makers of hydraulics technology were not to be left behind. By embedding intelligence into hydraulic products, Eaton, for example, showed how it is helping create more intelligent machinery.

Eaton provides products that help their customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. The AxisPro valve, a recent addition to Eaton’s portfolio of industrial valve products, is designed to provide a higher level of control and programmability than most valves possess, increasing machine productivity and efficiency.

“The AxisPro servo performance proportional valve features embedded intelligence,” said Bill Wesmann, marketing manager for Eaton. “Built-in motion control allows the valve to be integrated into distributed control architectures, reducing wiring costs and machine build time.”

AxisPro is designed specifically for industrial applications in the plastics machinery, metal forming, processing equipment and alternative energy markets. LED indicators and intelligent, on-board diagnostics indicate if the valve is functioning properly and help predict maintenance issues before they happen. Eaton’s ProFX software adds another layer of efficiency to drive results.

Wesmann said, “the right amount of controls sophistication for each machine can be developed in an open controls architecture, which allows custom motion control software to be developed in CODESYS and uploaded in available ‘white space’ onboard the valve controller. This provides the machine builder the opportunity to deliver the right level of machine performance or energy management during specific phases of machine cycles, assuring the right level of control and amount of power only when needed.”

By incorporating smart hydraulic technologies like the AxisPro valve, machine makers can lower build, operating, maintenance and energy costs, Wesmann added.

Available with centralized and distributed control capabilities, the AxisPro valve is designed around open standards and built on the IEC-611311-3 programming standard for application flexibility. Using Pro-FX, AxisPro can be configured to optimize valve availability and inventory levels. The software comes with a library of predeveloped function blocks and features industry-standard CANopen and J1939 protocols.

“AxisPro’s four levels of performance provide unlimited design flexibility to address specific customer needs,” said Wesmann.

To learn more about Eaton’s AxisPro servo proportional valve, visit www.eaton.com/axispro.

For more information on Pro-FX, search www.eaton.com.

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