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Reduce system costs with IDEC's SmartAxis Touch

14 May 2014

Want to reduce system costs and improve your machine aesthetics at the same time? then there's no better way than to use IDEC's new SmartAxis Touch.

The standard features of this product provide the control and HMI needs for small machines, feed and dosing systems and many other applications. To learn more about this product Stephen Schiller, IDEC UK’s MD, delves deeper into the product and explores the various reasons for this product's instant success in the market.

Firstly, for the cost concerned user, it is important to recognise the cost saving that can be made when using the SmartAxis combination PLC/HMI. As the unit has both the control I/O and display in the panel mount HMI body there is no need for space inside the control panel to mount the traditional PLC (cost saving No. 1).

Then accepting that the 4 relay outputs on the controller are rated at 10A per point allows the direct connection of solenoids and small motors removing the need for additional interposing relays (cost saving No. 2), again further space saving (cost saving No. 3). Without the need for these additional relays means a further saving on wire and wiring time (cost saving No.4). 

So you have reduced your manufacturing / assembly cost, but the story does not end there – The product offers many technical advantages due to the high specification and features. The screen size is 3.8in (100 x 300 pixels) and is a resistive touch format allowing freedom with your screen design and button locations.

A choice of either colour or mono is available - the colour version has 65K colours and a super bright, high-resolution LCD TFT screen while the mono version provide an impressive 740 cd/m2 LCD STN display and backlit by either a white, red or pick LED light to draw the attention of the operator when alarms are present or actions are needed.

If your application has the need for high speed inputs from an encoder or similar pulse train apparatus or the need to 'catch' the input from a sensor detecting a fast moving target then the built in high speed inputs (single pulse 10kHz, 4 points or two phase 5kHz, 1 point) can easily accommodate this need. While we look at the controller inputs it is important to point out the 2 built in analogue inputs (0-10V) for the connection of flow meters, distance sensors or other analogue devices.

Having covered the screen and the basic I/O, Stephen continued to explain the impressive communication options featured on the unit – with built in RS232, RS485 & Ethernet ports each working independently allows the easy connection of a bar code reader (RS232), a process instrument such as a temperature controller (RS485) and up-stream data or information devices (Ethernet).

The Modbus protocol is used in either Modbus RTU or Modbus TCP/IP formats. The Ethernet port can also support “remote maintenance” where the user can upload to / download from the SmartAxis from their remote location (cost saving No. 5).

Functions such as data-logging & program transfer can be achieved through the integrated USB port while programming is done via a mini-USB maintenance port. The screen can be utilised to display the status of I/O, easily check/adjust data variables and even view the ladder program – all of which can be password protected with the security function. Additionally there is a built-in real time clock with daylight saving function ideal for many building and environmental control applications.

Finally, to wrap up the discussion, let’s look at some of the applications that are already benefiting from this product – air drying and water purifying systems, pressing and stamping machines, pump and generator sets, green house environmental control and, interestingly, theme park attractions. 

SmartAxis Touch specifications at-a-glance:
Power – 24Vdc (allowable 20.4 to 28.8Vdc)
Inputs – 8 (two of which can be 0-10Vdc analogue)
Outputs – 4 (Relay - 10A per point)
Communication – 1 x RS232, 1 x RS485 plus Ethernet
Clock function - Real Time Clock with daylight saving
High Speed Input - Single pulse 10kHz, 4 points or two phase 5kHz, 1 point
Screen size – 3.8in TFT colour or 3.7in STN mono
External Data Storage - USB
Operating Temperature – 0 to +50oC
Degree of Protection – IP66F
Start-up time – 3 seconds

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