AMK Blog

MAKe Progress: Take the Complex Software Out of Automation


Jan 18, 2019

By: Tom Jensen
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It’s not just a new year, but a new era. Manufacturers will continue seeking technologies that streamline operations, improve production and positive returns on investments as we cross usher in Industry 4.0, a time when “workplaces and organization are becoming ‘smarter.’ “

This, according to a Forbes article describing the fourth industrial revolution, foreshadows a period of exponential change.

One area that is transforming and reducing the footprint in factory automation is middleware. Today, editors (software used to program controllers) in automation are responsible for:

1.    Providing all the differentiating functionality, including safety

2.    The complete line of hardware from a given manufacturer

3.    Controlling a machine for any market, class and design.

This requires the software to be capable of doing anything and everything. It becomes very complex and superfluous.

Middleware Simplifies Conveyor System

Because we understand our customer’s needs, our approach was to create an automation solution called MAKe. The idea is that our system is so intuitive, there is no need for software. An operator connects the system together, turns it on and configures the system from a resident interface. The operator is not required to undergo extensive software language training and because each of the devices are auto-detected and configured, there is no need for hardware configuration.

Operators only need to input the combination of machine types and our MAKe middleware will configure the system to work. Because this is done without a standalone editor, there is nothing to learn so manufacturers can focus on machine designs and leveraging cabinet-less motion solutions.

Machine designs can include built-in ladder editors, sequencers, basic motion and recipe handlers. There are no limits. Common machine types like simple assembly machine, cell controls, AGVs and auto adjustment systems are just a few directions an original equipment number can go. And with defined fieldbus interfaces, it is easy to connect your AMK-based solution as a supervisory system if the need arises.

By standardizing the control structures for any conveyor component and layout, a manufacturer eliminates multiple integration steps that tune each conveyor separately. This also significantly reduces downtime because the conveyor acts as a single unit rather than an amalgam of disparate sections.

Seamless control response enables modules to respond to common commands regardless of vendor. When coupled with robotic movements, which are precise and exact, manufacturers have an even higher level of accuracy and control.

With its more than 50 years of automation engineering, our teams at AMK excel at streamlining automation systems. Manufacturers seeking flexibility and ease of integration in their servo motor and drive configurations for conveyors and conveyor cells can benefit from MAKe automation middleware.

MAKe kick-start kits will be available later this quarter.

 

To learn more about AMK Automation, call us at 847-565-2652 or reserve a meeting with our engineers at ProMat 2019, Booth S-2095, April 8-11, in Chicago. Register to attend the show by clicking the link.

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QUESTION 1

DOES YOUR MACHINE REQUIRE MORE THAN IP65 PROTECTION?

QUESTION 2

HOW’S THE TEMPERATURE IN YOUR MACHINE’S ENVIRONMENT?

QUESTION 3

ARE THERE ANY MOTORS THAT MOVE A LOAD GREATER THAN 10nM?

prod-illustration-centralized-500x373.png
YOU PROBABLY NEED A

CENTRALIZED SYSTEM

Based on your answers, the most effective and stable motion control framework for your machine locates PLC and drive components in a control cabinet. However, it may be possible to modify certain motor sizing decisions to use a hybrid framework.

prod-illustration-hybrid-500x373.png
You probably need a

Hybrid System

Based on your answers, a hybrid motion control framework will provide the best system. By combining decentralized drives, power supplies and other components with a selective use of cabinet-based components, you can create a smart machine design with modular flexibility.

prod-illustration-decentralized-500x373.png
YOU PROBABLY NEED A

DECENTRALIZED SYSTEM

Based on your answers, your machine seems eligible for a “cabinet-free” or decentralized motion control system. This could simplify many of your engineering, cabling and installation challenges, and free you to design an automated manufacturing system with maximum value.

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