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Powerful drives ­for the future

The road from the first PCs without a hard drive to today’s connected, mobile device platforms was a long one. The performance of central components such as processors and RAM had to be improved significantly and they had to be made more and more compact and energy-efficient. At the same time, the software became decoupled from the hardware and users could suddenly use a full range of new functions. Similar trends can be seen in the area of automation, and similar requirements apply to the central component in modern automation, namely the intelligent drive system.

All machine types in all sectors have one thing in common: manufacturers are integrating more and more electric drives into machines because they are modularizing their concepts and increasing flexibility for users. But do developers and constructors really need to plan bigger and bigger control cabinets and use various drive ranges with different engineering tools? We think that was yesterday.

From main axes with a power rating of several kW to small handling drives – everything can be found in the control cabinets of modern machines. The new ctrlX DRIVE generation significantly reduces complexity here. It covers the entire power range with standardized software. The modular multi-axis system renders numerous individual components that were previously required unnecessary. Manufacturers can also reduce the drive power and have innovative possibilities for using energy in the optimum way. And when it comes to compactness, machine manufacturers say that with ctrlX DRIVE they only need one control cabinet instead of two.

Quick engineering for short time to money

The universal design of ctrlX DRIVE makes life much easier for developers and commissioning engineers and produces results more quickly. This means a quicker time to market or, even better, a quicker time to money. Many providers of electrical drives cover broad performance ranges and offer numerous functions – but nearly always with a number of product series. In turn, each product series has its own engineering tools, various provider concepts or extension options. As a result, they differ so much that programs and parameter sets cannot simply be copied. This often leads to unnecessary duplicate work.

Not so with ctrlX DRIVE: there are no system breaks at all. Machine manufacturers use one system – from the most powerful main axis to the smallest auxiliary axis. With families of machines, they can scale the power of individual modules as required with no additional outlay. The standardized engineering environment covers all machine forms. The parameter structure is always identical. Customers have confirmed that ctrlX DRIVE reduced their engineering outlay by more than 20 percent.

Modular design for the highest degree of freedom

For us, it is important that users of ctrlX DRIVE can combine all components as required and thus have the highest degree of freedom for their individual solution. For example, they can use compact converters for single and two-axis applications. As soon as there are three or more axes, our modular multi-axis system allows unlimited combination options. Developers can increase the number of drives using single and double-axis inverters with the same form factor.

With multi-axis applications, the drives share a common voltage supply and are connected via a shared DC-bus. Because in practice not all axes can deliver their full power at the same time and the DC-bus results in an energy exchange, machine manufacturers can reduce the installed connection power by up to 70 percent compared to a single-axis supply. In addition, they can cost-effectively improve grid perturbations through additional measures at just one central point. This means smaller components in the mains connection and thus lower system costs.

The common supply via the DC-bus opens up interesting ways of increasing energy efficiency. The Smart Energy Mode software function allows the DC-bus voltage as well as the upper limits for feed-in and feed-out power to be set in a variable manner. As a result, capacity modules in the DC-bus for reducing load peaks in the supply network can be used in an optimum manner.

Space is money

Machine users are demanding smaller and smaller machines with smaller control cabinets so that more machines can be accommodated on the factory floor. We assist machine manufacturers with the most compact drive technology: ctrlX DRIVE requires up to 50 percent less space in the control cabinet. The MS2N and MS2E motors save space in the machine too. We have made them 30 percent more powerful in relation to their size. In many cases, a smaller size will suffice. In addition, the innovative cabling technology saves further space and halves the cabling outlay.

If a machine module is to be controlled in a decentralized manner, this requires not a single millimeter more space as the ctrlX CORE control system is inserted into the main drive system as a plug-in card and coordinates the connected axes. From an individual axis control system to complex motion control, ctrlX CORE covers all applications.

When the first smartphones were introduced, many “market experts” shook their heads and predicted that no one would need so much power and so many functions in such a small device. For us, the smartphone is the model for modern automation and the factory of the future.

If you have any questions or require further information regarding ctrlX AUTOMATION, please contact us:

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Portrait view of Frank Kaufmann, Game Changer ctrlX DRIVE

Frank Kaufmann

Game Changer



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New freedom in engineering

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