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Servo drive portfolio with impressive sound range


April 25, 2023

When it comes to machine building, reducing complexity and ensuring reliable supply are critical to success. Nigel Dawson, Head of Business Development for Electrical Automation at Festo, explains how Festo is helping the industry seamlessly connect equipment and reduce the complexity of power supply and control.

In 2022, Festo launches the latest series of its successful CMMT-AS low-voltage servo drives, re-developing the product from the ground up to incorporate the latest semiconductors and transforming the product into a true multi-protocol servo drive.

This change in drive connectivity allows a single drive to be connected to PROFINET, Ethernet IP, EtherCAT and Modbus through a simple selection in the software or the flip of a switch on the device. Of course, this is unlikely to happen, but changing the protocol on an already installed device will never happen, but the advantages of this option are many.

By reducing the combination of drives with specialized protocols to a single drive with all protocols, scope complexity is significantly reduced. This reduces production complexity, increases drive availability and ensures that Festo can keep production costs to a minimum and therefore provide value-for-money solutions.

In addition, firmware adaptation is simplified, which means Festo can bring newer feature sets to market faster and provide its customers with more options for their applications.

For machine builders, the advantages are even greater. In an era of unpredictable supply, machine builders need product availability but never know which product they will need next. With Festo’s multiprotocol drives, machine builders can carry a small inventory as a buffer because they know it doesn’t matter what PLC or network appears on the next machine. Whatever the end customer’s network requirements are, Festo drives can be switched to suit the needs.

This has proven to be very popular among Festo customers and 85% of CMMT servo drives are now in the multi-protocol version.

This summer, Festo will release a new product for this multi-protocol series: the ultra-low voltage servo drive CMMT-ST. This 24v-48v DC servo driver can drive stepper motors and BLDC motors with full servo closed-loop control. It delivers up to 300W of power and has the added advantage of a maximum supply voltage of only 48v DC. This means machine builders and end customers can install and maintain drives outside low voltage regulations, streamlining the process and increasing safety.

The ultra-low voltage drives use the same firmware platform as their larger brothers in the low voltage range, so the main PLC does not notice any differences in the drives. This ensures that all power levels and voltages of drives can be mixed and matched on one machine, utilizing the most efficient size for each task, thus saving on machine costs.

Multi-protocol cabling isn’t the only new feature of the new ultra-low-voltage drivers. The driver benefits from a microprocessor that delivers three times the power of previous versions and increases peak current levels to 2.5 times the rated current. This allows for better performance in applications while also extending the range of BLDC motors that can be used with the drive.

seamless connection

With the promise of seamless connectivity now extended to low voltage and ultra-low voltage servo drives, one might think that the product portfolio is complete. However, this approach also applies to Festo’s remote IO series.

The CPX-AP-I remote IO system allows users to use the same distributed digital and analog blocks, IO to connect the main station and valve island, regardless of the industrial network chosen. This is thanks to the AP backplane that runs throughout the system. Users only need to select the required bus network node to connect up to 80 different IO modules and still maintain a data rate of 200 MBaud in real time. This performance enables true connectivity from the workpiece to the cloud, allowing actuators from the Festo Simplified Motion series to be connected via IO links. This connection across the entire network to the cloud can transmit real application data for maintenance or artificial intelligence applications. In addition, standard cable lengths of up to 15 m mean that the entire installation of a single network node can extend up to an impressive 1.2 km.

Now, the CPX-AP-A modular IO system extends this range even further. The product portfolio is a new and redesigned version of Festo’s successful CPX system. It uses the same AP backplane running through a modular system as the AP-I system to ensure lightning-fast communication and big data processing.

Because modular and decentralized systems use the same AP backplane, they can be combined into architectures, and machine builders can choose a combination of both to provide the best layout at the best combination of price and floor space. When this unique combination is added to the three types of pneumatic valve terminals, this series becomes the most unique and flexible IO system on the market.

Regardless of application topology, communication protocols, power requirements or architecture, Festo’s electrical automation portfolio connects all levels of machine architecture in all industries.


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