Conveyors have long been the workhorse of the material-handling industry. Transporting packages, improving workflows and interfacing with other automated solutions to drive real efficiency in warehouses and manufacturing environments. Today, the requirements placed on zero-pressure-accumulation conveyor systems are becoming more demanding in terms of their technical performance. They need three things: more data, higher precision, and improved power efficiency. With the DC Platform, Interroll has developed a powerful technology platform that fulfills these requirements.
The DC Platform is capable of collecting 100+ parameters of data from the conveyor system which will drive improved performance and maintenance. This level of visibility provides quick system optimization and flexibility. The DC Platform also allows for the precision positioning of totes and goods. This is critical for robotic applications and other situations where millimeter-accurate placement is required. Lastly, the DC Platform includes options for 24 or 48V power. With 48V, our customers can see a significant reduction in equipment needed to power their system — resulting in savings for both maintenance and components.
This new platform will be used to create a unique range of conveying solutions, from conveyors that can be commissioned without a programmable logic controller (PLC) using plug-and-play, all the way to tailor-made, high-performance systems that can be consistently and transparently integrated into the data universe of Internet of Things 4.0 applications.
Experience the benefits of 48 V technology
The new modular platform makes it possible for system integrators and plant constructors to design conveying systems according to customers’ requests in both 24 V and 48 V versions. With this step, Interroll is driving the technical evolution of protective low-voltage solutions that have been adopted by automotive manufacturers. Forty-eight-volt systems enable the use of up to 50% fewer power supply elements than in 24 V systems. Interroll’s new modular Power Supply also enables the use of smaller wire cross-sections and longer wire lengths, and reduces the number of error sources, for instance as a result of voltage drops on the wires. This significantly reduces the investment required in the entire system and the risk of errors during commissioning.
Three power levels to choose from with the new RollerDrive
However, customers don’t just have more options when it comes to the voltage type of the new DC Platform. The new RollerDrive EC5000 also offers more flexibility in terms of its mechanical output power. The new motor rollers are available in 20 W, 35 W and 50 W versions that can take on any transport tasks for light or heavy goods. To support the implementation of conveyor solutions for heavy goods, Interroll offers the 50 W power option as well as a RollerDrive version with tubes measuring 60 mm in diameter instead of 50 mm. What’s more, the well-known IP66 and Deep Freeze design options are available; these enable RollerDrive solutions to be implemented even in areas that are cleaned using powerful water jets that reach temperatures as low as -30°C.
Bus interface opens the door to Industry 4.0
Alongside the analog interface, the EC5000 can be supplied with a bus interface based on the CANOpen standard, upon request. This means that modern conveying systems can offer data transparency for the first time. In combination with an Interroll control system with multi-protocol capability (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP and EtherCat), this means that users can consistently visualize a range of information and functions on the screen using the PLC or a web interface. One example is the display of general information about the current operating state and the operating load of the individual drives over time. In parallel, the control systems enable a range of detailed information such as precise error statuses, torque or temperature, for instance, to be read out for each individual drive.
At the same time, the new RollerDrive’s bus interface enables users to carry out completely new control functions that are required in an automated environment. As a result, users can control the acceleration, speed, and deceleration of the conveyed goods in the system more precisely. This solution also allows them to position the relevant goods on the conveyor to the nearest millimeter — a key requirement to guarantee seamless conveying interplay between the conveyor solution and robots or automated gripper arms.