Pick & Place, Conveyor Control, Tank Contents, Labelling and Bottling are some of the industries we are involved in.
As our controllers are completely flexible and programmable we have the ability to automate most machines. With full PLC capabilities and completely programmable, conveyor, product sorting, weighing, mixing and analysing are just some of the processes the SMC can be used for. This system is also available via our partner company PCI Instruments. PCI have a wealth of knowledge in the instrumentation business area and can advise the best way to imlement the system with matching sensors.
Using weighing as an example the process could be as follows:
- The controller prompts the user to enter a number of quantities for a "recipe"
- Valve A is turned on by Output 1 of the controller.
- The controller could then calculate how much water had passed by using a flowmeter attached to an input and once the desired quantity is reached turn off the output.
- A mix of other liquid and powder ingredients could then be measured out in a similar way by, flow, volume, weight etc. and pumped, blown, tipped, or conveyed into the mixing tank.
- Once all ingredients have been processed a weigh check on the tank may be done to enable the process to continue or to alarm, alerting the operator to missing ingredients caused by burst pipes or blockages.
- Mixing of the ingredients can now be started where times, speeds and variations can all be programmed. For example, an initial slow mix may be initiated for 5 minutes followed by a gradual increase in speed until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- The mixing cycle is then stopped and a dispensing cycle started which may be the filling of containers on a conveyor with a sensor input to tell the controller when the container is in position.
- A valve is then opened for a period of time or a pre-programmed weight is achieved.
- The valve would then be turned off and the conveyor indexed.
This is a basic example of a process and there can be many variations to this, one of which could be that the mixture is heated and cooled which would add further IO requirements to the controller program all of which can be controlled via MAP. Many of the stages of a process could be broken down into separate MAP programs and stored in files so that they can be called by the main program as needed. This also make new program creation much easier as many sub programs may have been written already saving time in setting up and testing.
Another simple application may be for rejection of parts. On a conveyor line with many items passing per minute each item could be scanned or weighed and if not in specification an output would turn on the eject the part from the line. Counters can be setup to record how many have been rejected based on total, time, average per hour or day; or any other configuration the operator wishes to see.
As the controller is so versatile it can be supplied with just our propriety operating system called Blackthorn, the user is then free to write their own bespoke program to suit their application. This would be written so that all the IO was configured as needed and with menu interfaces to suit the parameters to be entered for a particular process. Images can also be used and swapped to illustrate a machines workings making it simpler to operate.
Please also see our case studies section for examples of machines using this controller.
An example using the MAP program on the SMC
In the image below a simple program is shown that will control two axis and move to two locations to carry out a basic repetitive operation.
- Initially on line 0 the speed of each axis is set to 50% of the maximum allowed speed
- Secondly a move command is given and each axis will move to its corresponding position, in this case X=22.5mm and Y=49.8mm
- The system then waits for an input to switch before any further commands are processed.
- Once the input is in the correct state a move command is issued to send both axis to X=1266 and Y=490
- When in position an output is immediately turned on and the next line is processed
- This then waits for an input to change to 0
- Once the condition is met the next line changes the output to an off state
- The system then waits for 10 seconds before automatically starting again
This simple program can be expanded by selecting further commands which could be calculation based, time based, control other IO, results based on data received over serial comms and many many other options.
|Axis:|| ||None Volatile Ram:|| |
|Programming:|| ||High Speed RAM:|| |
|Jog Wheel Encoder Inputs:|| ||Sample Period:|| |
|I/O:|| ||Ports:|| |
|Encoder Inputs:|| ||Microprocessor:|| |
|Encoder Registers:|| ||Processing Speed:|| |
|Step Controllers:|| ||Flash Memory:|| |
|Motion control:|| ||Options:|| |
Specifications in Detail
Controller Power Supply:
The controller is supplied from a single 24VDC source in most applications. It can run from 12V to 32V however higher voltages will be clamped as the controller has internal protection.
There are two +/-10V motion control outputs available for connections to AC or DC drives. These provide the command signals to position each axis accurately. Each axis can be setup as servo or stepper so that a mixture can be used where precision needs to be delivered at a price.
It is also possible to control three Stepper motors instead of servo or AC motors via the Step and Direction signals provided for each axis. This type of motor whilst more cost effective has it's limitations and if precise movements are required Servo motors should be used. (also see TTL Outputs).
If the stepper signals are not used, they can be configured as eight general purpose TTL (0-5V) outputs. Capable of driving LED's, the output power is limited but can be buffered and used to drive much greater loads.
Internal Jog Encoders:
The SMC controller has provision for up to two low resolution encoder connections. These can be used as control dials for setting speed, adjusting position manually or altering values on screen by using our MAP software functions. Depending on the controller style chosen and order requirements, all, some or none of these may be fitted.
Sixteen opto-isolated inputs are available for connection to switchgear, Sensors, PLC's etc. Polarity is user selectable for PNP/NPN use in banks of 4 so it is possible to use a mixture of signalling methods.
We provide two encoder channels for use with servo motors. The signals available for each channel are A, B, /A, /B and Z. Settings available in MAP allow for the number of pulses to be programmed and if it is a rotary or linear type.
There are eight outputs that have current limiting built in to ensure no damage can be caused. Four outputs are rated at 6 amps (2 pins) and four at 3 amps. Each bank of four outputs has a status signal that is fed back to the control software to enable an alarm should an error occur.
The output voltage can be selected by the installer as the VCC pin is available for external connection. Most installations have this linked to the supply pin however it allows other supplies to be used at a different voltage if required. Typically this is 24V however up to 36V can be used as a maximum with the lowest being 6V. The controller itself should be run from 12-24V as a standard.
A clamping diode is provided on each output to prevent energy spikes from inductive loads damaging the output device. These are only 1 amp devices with a 30 amp non-repetitive peak current which are suitable for most small relays etc. Contactors and larger inductive loads should always be suppressed at source with an appropriate device to prevent any noise transmission back to the controller.
RS232 is fitted as standard along with RS485. CAN is currently an option though we plan to move our products onto this standard as a preference. Controllers can be connected to Computers, Printers and to other controllers as required to enable data to be uploaded or downloaded.
RS485 is a multidrop format and nodes need to be configured with a logical number. We provide for 256 address' which is usually more than enough as Custom modules can be manufactured if needed to provide for specific IO.
The PMC controllers have the facility to expand the internal memory if required with the use of SD cards. Designed to be installed at production, controllers should be ordered with this option if required.
Depending on the case design and software, controllers can come with many different keypad layouts. Products designed for specific basic tasks may only have a few keys for navigation and data entry.
Where files are to be stored a compact alpha numeric keypad may be used but where data entry and modification is to be used regularly every hour of each day we have different layouts of full QWERTY keypads designed for fast data entry.
Controllers can come with many different display options depending on the size of machine, location and information to be displayed. Typically we have 5.7” and 10.4” displays as standard although custom designs have used 1” and 3.5” and other sizes are available. While monochrome used to be the standard, virtually all controllers now use colour displays. This is not only due to the low cost but also as colour messages can instruct or warn an operator more effectively.
Enclosures and Mounting:
Custom enclosures are available depending on quantity and can be designed in conjunction with the customer to fit the machine. Standard enclosures are available and are suitable for many machines without modification.
Panel, POD and Boom Arm are all different types of mounting that are available to suit a wide variety of machines, if you don't see an option suitable please contact us with the required details.
Most controllers are fitted with three D type connectors. A 37 way for Power, Digital Inputs and Power Outputs. A 44 way for Stepper signals, command signals, encoders and Analogue. And a 15 way for Serial communications.
A USB type A connection is also provided for Pen drive use.
Eight inputs are provided with a +10 range that can be easily converted externally to different ranges e.g. 4-20ma or 0-2V. Internal capacitors are fitted at 47pf however these can be modified by special order to suit the application.
A typical application for the inputs is monitoring load cells. Values can be read in to the controller and either averaged or the Max and Min found to enable calculations to be performed and outputs be controlled as needed.
The transistor output of an opto-coupler is provided for connection to a drive enable circuit. When motion commands are used and the system is told to run, the Drive enable signal is activated to allow movement of the axis.
Real Time Clock:
Although in most applications the use of time and date is not required, there are some where data needs to be recorded or maintenance schedules met. A battery backed RTC is provided for this requirement. Laser trimmed, these devices are highly accurate and facilities are provided to allow the system manager to change the date and time according to their time zone and time of year.
All our controllers use a 6mm hard coated window to resist scratches and provide strength to prevent damage to the LCD display that would otherwise be easily damaged. This is bonded in place to also provide a seal to prevent dirt and liquids entering the controller.
A polyester overlay is bonded to an Aluminium front plate of between 2mm and 3mm thick depending on the controller. This gives great strength and noise immunity whilst being readily changed to suit customers needs. An over can be customised with a company Logo, company colours or a complete re-design changing the key lettering too.
As our controllers run from TRM's own operating system, the customer can choose to create their own Bespoke software which will run on the controllers to allow control of a process or machine to suit the customers requirements. If something more "off the shelf" is required our powerful programming language MAP may be used:
This is a programming language that we have developed over many years that is now extremely powerful and flexible; there are not many machines that cannot be controlled.
All IO can be handled using this software along with completing basic and complex calculations. Values can be stored in any of the 256 registers that alone can be configured as Integer, Floating Point (values with a remainder or fraction), Signed Integer (32 bit), Unsigned Integer (32 bit).
Position of each axis can be controlled and set from direct values, calculated values, operator entered values or from values entered using the Jog dial input.