Counting on Cube67 when every machine is different
02 December 2019
Hager relies on Murrelektronik's modular, decentralised and compact Cube67 system when building their own testing machines.
Anyone installing or renewing electrical systems in a house or apartment is almost certain to come across Hager products and solutions. The company specialises in building automation and electrical installations. Not only is Hager represented worldwide, but they have production plants on every continent. They maintain the highest quality standards at these plants. No component leaves the plant without undergoing a meticulous function test, checking every single detail. To carry this out successfully, it’s a must to have first-class testing facilities. And in this case, as the saying goes: if you have high standards and want the job done well, then it's best to do it yourself. So, Hager manufactures its own machinery and systems to test its products. The team responsible has remarkable expertise and is based in Obernai, a town in Eastern France.
When it comes to choosing the optimum installation concept for the automation of testing facilities, the challenge facing the Hager team is that no two test machines are the same. New aspects must be continually considered. Different products need to be tested for a wide, and ever-changing, range of quality characteristics and functions. Specifications where the test facilities are used from the factories around the globe must be considered. Only a few installation areas can be repeated designs. The task is not made any easier by the fact that while I/O density is always very high, space is extremely limited. Bringing the machines quickly into circulation is also important because demand is high for efficient and reliable testing facilities within Hager Group and deadlines for rolling out new products are tightly scheduled and binding. In terms of the installation concept, it means that it must be particularly flexible – and therefore the team in charge at Hager opted for Murrelektronik's modular, decentralised and compact Cube67 system.
Top advantage: Flexibility
Hager’s top benefit from the Cube67 system is the flexibility: they can implement any number of different I/O modules with the system. Depending on requirements, a component with four or eight ports can be integrated into the installation. In some machines, modules with M12 cordsets are used; frequently however, Hager selects the compact modules with M8 ports. This saves spaces and allows several I/Os to be grouped in a tiny area. The modules are mounted right next to the sensors and actuators – at the heart of the process – for example on pneumatic devices or grippers. This enables the design engineers to connect sensors and actuators with short cables to reduce wiring effort and save costs. The second flexibility advantage for Hager is the multifunctional ports. Engineers can decide whether they want to use each port as an input or output – this turns standard modules into customised modules, making it possible to group both sensors and actuators close to a module. Thanks to this multifunctionality, the number of module versions and the total number of modules required can be reduced, which makes this solution cost, space, and installation-friendly. The Hager engineers can also easily control valves on site with the Cube67 valve cluster connections.
One cable technology
Another main benefit for Hager is that the Murrelektronik Cube67 system modules are connected to the bus nodes using one cable technology. The single cordset transmits both data and energy and runs from one module to the next. It’s easy to design the system as needed since it is based on a star-line topology. The one cable technology transmits both data and power to supply the sensors and actuators – so there is no need to run two separate cordsets to the modules. This simplifies installation and maintenance for the engineers. They only need half the amount of cabling and are twice as fast – not to mention that significantly less space is needed for cabling in the first place. This represents a substantial advantage, especially in drag chains where space is often limited. The Cube67 cable is pre-wired and supplied to Hager in the exact lengths required. This means that there is no need to wire connectors to the cables, which offers two benefits: Hager saves time and the company can rest assured that a whole bunch of potential error sources are excluded because pre-wired cordsets from Murrelektronik are 100 percent tested during the production process.
High machine run-time with Cube67 diagnostics
Since the cost effectiveness of Hager machines also hinges on high availability, detecting and eliminating errors quickly is essential. Hager engineers use the Cube67 system's extensive diagnostics options for this purpose. They make it easy for maintenance personnel on site to find the problem, analyse it and take appropriate action to eliminate it. The technicians at the Hager plants are trained by their colleagues in Obernai. And, in the unlikely event that a tougher problem does arise, the team in Obernai can lend a virtual helping hand via remote access over the Internet.
The experts at Hager already successfully switched from PROFIBUS to PROFINET some years ago. They have since been satisfied with the installation concept. Thanks to the Cube, existing systems can adopt new protocols simply by changing the bus module instead of the system. Cube67 makes it possible to simply replace the bus modules, changing the protocol with it and equipping machines for the higher level PROFINET system. The structure after the bus module can remain unchanged – cables and all! No longer does the team have to spend time on documentation and reprogramming, nor for new purchasing process or stock checks. Hager benefits from the Murrelektronik concept. While 80 percent of the machines and installations are designed for integration in PROFINET systems, 20 percent of them are designed for Ethernet/IP environments. The same concept applies here, simply replace the bus modules to implement a different protocol – and leave existing cabling in place.
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