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Motion control couldnt be simpler.

Solving Positioning Tasks easily and optimally using SIMATIC S7-200 and the SINAMICS G110 Frequency Inverter.
by Warren Scott#, Lance Benn* and Bruce Burton*

Abacus Automation, *Exigo Motion Control Laboratory

Many motion control tasks are often over-engineered and use complex equipment and software to perform tasks. After Siemens awarded local company, Abacus Automation, the prize for the most innovative project in 2006, Siemens Germany commissioned Abacus Automation together with their joint venture development partner Exigo, to develop the concept into a standard product for them. High-speed, high-accuracy, robust, low-cost and simple to use motion control using standard easily serviced Micro Programmable Logic Control (PLC) hardware, induction motors and standard Variable Speed Drives (VSDs). Sounds too good to be true? Read on!

Siemens has launched free motion control library blocks designed for use on their Micro Automation PLCs. These blocks empower the Micro PLC users to perform a wide scope of medium to high performance motion control tasks with a minimum of drive or motion control knowledge and the most basic of hardware components. The current library of blocks can do single axis motion closed-loop motion control tasks for linear (horizontal or vertical) or rotational axes as well as a variety of advanced functions to assist with implementing and commissioning the users application. These tasks not only include accurate point to point positioning, by also speed controlled jog functions with torque limiting functionality. Future blocks currently undergoing final development and testing at this stage include on-the-fly profiling for more complex positioning, traction control for slipping product and the ability to control two axes from one Micro PLC.

The process of development

The solution has at its core, optimum torque control algorithms which were developed over a number of years by Exigo Motion Control Laboratories. These algorithms were developed to run on high-end platforms such as Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) and intelligent Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) using complex induction motor models and real time data processing. Using this core technology as a springboard, purpose adapted algorithms capable of running on lower end platforms like PLCs were developed. This stage of development took place over a twoyear period. Finally, the algorithms were incorporated into a user-friendly library for Siemens Germany in a joint venture project between Siemens Micro Automation, Siemens Small Drives, Abacus Automation and Exigo. After five years in the making the solution was launched under the banner of Micro Automation Set 1 (MAS1), incorporating the library Micro Automation Positioning for Induction Motors (MAP_Ind) at the SPS/IPC DRIVES 2007 show which took place in Nrnburg during November.

Putting Micro Automation into motion

The Micro Automation solution allows for single axis applications like: Board, pipe - cut to length.

Press feeding - pick and place. Vertical/horizontal spray painting. Pipe bending. Vertical bagging machines. Vertical equipment lifting. Metal rack welding. Container filling with positive displacement pump. Replacement of high maintenance brake and clutch positioning systems.

Most stand-alone single axis positioning tasks can be undertaken with this solution. However, some features and limitations need to be considered: Induction motors of most sizes and pole pairs are supported, even very large motors and drives. Motor speeds of up to 2 600 rpm with a four-pole motor are possible. The transmission system should allow 40 axis length units per motor revolution to position it to better than a single unit. Typically, performance is much better than a single unit in most applications. Induction motors have a low power density and the application should have space for the motor frame size.

Manageable motion control for the user

This solution can replace conventional complex motion control equipment in many tasks as well as open up new applications for motion control. The functionality and advantages it offers to the user include: Motion control on small and large induction motor installations. Cost savings over conventional solutions. Simple to install. Easy to use PLC blocks to integrate into an existing program. Simple commission to produce high performance results in only minutes without requiring the intervention of a motion control expert. Serviceability is the biggest advantage an easy to follow solution using standard components and control signals, with simple to interpret fault signals. Robust solution, both in hardware and in performance delivery, even under varying motion requirements and machine conditions. Powerful motion recording and graphical display using the PLC engineering softwares status chart, show speed, torque and position, which allows even basic users to diagnose and fine-tune motions when high-end performance is required. Easy interfacing to Human Machine Interface (HMI) for control signals, fault diagnostics, status info and graphical display of variables like position, speed and torque.

Robust and optimal performance

The advanced nature of the algorithms which were developed for robustness and optimal performance is why the solution can be implemented with minimal motion control knowledge. In implementing a motion control task for optimal performance, the engineer will want to make best use of the available torque, speed and power in the motor and drive provided. Additionally, the performance should remain as optimal as possible, under changing conditions, which will influence the motion control. These conditions could include: Fluctuating drive supply voltage. Changing operating parameters (maximum speed and torque, acceleration time). Varying load inertia (moving mass). Different move sizes (short: triangle profile, long: tabletop profile). Insufficient torque to maintain acceleration/deceleration ramp. Mechanical noise (belt stretch, etc).

Noisy speed feedback (some drives exhibit this behavior). Gravity influence on vertical/inclined axes (differs with direction). Mechanical wear and tear (stiction, friction, play, etc). Motor temperature (motor performance changes with temp). Machine workload (cold: components, hot: bearings, grease, etc).

Achieving optimal motion control under these changing conditions would be a challenging task for even the most competent engineers specialising in the field of motion control. The library and the algorithms within the library were designed to be robust enough to withstand these changing conditions and deliver as optimal a performance as possible. The algorithms use complex model based nonlinear observers that continually adjust controller gains for changing conditions. By so doing, the flux in the airgap of the motor is controlled and hence the torque. This robust torque controller then forms the basis for the accurate and equally robust position control scheme seen in Figure 1 that is capable of performing the most challenging of tasks. The commissioning of the system requires the user to enter the motor data (found on the nameplate) as well as some basic mechanical data, such as the gear ratio and the moment of inertia of the system. These can be calculated using basic mechanical formulae as documented in the manual, or optimized in the basic commissioning procedure.

MAP_Ind Library Blocks

Position Setpoint s* + s
Self Tuning Position Controller

w* + w

Self Tuning Speed Controller


VSD Sinamics G110

Model Based Observer Algorithms and core torque controller

Motor Parameters

Inertia Encoder

Induction Motor 3~

Figure 1: MAP_Ind Block diagram. Optimal motion is term widely promised but rarely delivered; in order to achieve this full torque must be used for acceleration to full speed and again for deceleration from full speed to zero landing on the mark without overshoot regardless of the move size and robust to changing conditions. This ideal move would result in a triangular speed profile as seen in Figure 2A. In practice the move size could be too short to reach the maximum speed, resulting in a smaller speed triangle, or too large, resulting in a flattop in the speed profile as seen in Figure 2B. These figures help us to understand how the MAP_Ind library blocks position without the need of a control expert.

100 80 60 40 Magnitude 20 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 Time 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 Torque Speed Position

100 80 60 40 Magnitude 20 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 Time 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 Torque Speed Position

B Figure 2: Optimised positioning profiles with and without speed limit reached.

Simplified implementation and commissioning with easy building blocks

Easy to use PLC blocks for professional commissioning to achieve high performance results was previously mentioned as one of the advantages of using the Micro Automation solutions. We now look at how easy it is to apply a solution using MAP_Ind. The initial requirement comprises an induction motor fitted with a 1 024 pulse A/B phase incremental encoder, a standard drive (Sinamics G110 with analogue input, Micromaster, etc) and an S7-200 CPU 224XP PLC with programming software Micro/WIN V4.0 SP5. The manuals and library blocks are downloadable from the Siemens Automation and Drives website for Micro Automation Set 1 (MAS1) under the Startup Code link go to Commissioning is as simple as doing moves with the maximum load mass while adjusting one parameter, the inertia set-point [J] until the move is optimised. By visually observing the move at its end, it can be seen if further adjustment is needed due to overshoot or excessive creep. To further fine-tune or diagnose the move a data logging block is provided. This block allows the commissioning engineer to graphically view the speed, torque (see Figure 3) or position data of the move using the status trend function of Micro/WIN. The manual explains the correct interpretation of these graphs. This is an extremely powerful function which equips the user with high-speed storage scope functionality. This data can also be displayed on a touch panel or PC running WinCC Flexible.

Figure 3: Data capture and display tools assist with analysis of the move.

Materialising Micro Automation motion control in metal press application

A recent application example was successfully commissioned locally for Franke Kitchens, an international manufacturer of high quality kitchen products. The project scope required the electrical upgrade of a two axis robotic sheet metal handling system responsible for precise sheet metal placement in a pressing plant. The application was perfectly matched to the low-cost induction motor positioning solution MAP_Ind.

The original control system comprised obsolete servo drives, motion controller, and 4 Nm 6 000 rpm servo motors on gearboxes. A decision was made to use a four-pole induction motor for the main positioning axis. The motor can be operated at a maximum speed of about 2 800 rpm with the MAP_Ind solution. Due to the servo motor having a higher speed rating a gearbox with a lower ratio had to be fitted. For the correct specification and satisfactory performance of the system, an analysis of the axis dynamic motion was done. The important motion dynamics looked at included maximum axis speed and motor torque requirements. The motion of the old system was a tabletop speed profile which had a maximum speed of about 1,5 m/s. The new gearbox ratio was firstly determined, based on achieving a maximum axis speed of 1,8 m/s (headroom allowed), and an axis drive belt pulley diameter of 150 mm:

IndRPM MAX 60 ratio =

(2800 60)


= 12.2 : 1

1800 *150

The next lowest standard gearbox ratio available was 10:1 and was thus chosen. The MAP_Ind solution is capable of positioning to better than 1/40th of the distance traveled per motor revolution. This meant that the gearbox ratio would result in 35 mm travel per motor revolution. The positioning tolerance would thus be better than 0,875 mm which was well within the requested positioning tolerance of 1,5 mm. For the record, the actual achieved tolerance was much better than 0,875 mm and was typically better than 0,2 mm! The next design calculation was the required induction motor torque. This was calculated from the mechanical specs, load mass and required max acceleration. It was decided to match the available torque of the previous motor and then do a few calculations to reconfirm. Based on the original servo torque (4 Nm), old gearbox ratio (19.5:1) and new gearbox ratio (10:1) calculations were as follows:

Induction =
4 Nm * 19.5 10 = 7.8 Nm

Servo * Rold Rnew

By using this rated torque specification, a standard four-pole induction motor of 2,2 kW (15 Nm) was selected to deliver the same torque and meet the dynamic performance specifications of the old servo solution. The motor would have sufficient torque, even at a double-rated speed of 2 800 rpm, where the torque would typically be half.

An international joint venture, emanating from a local companys innovation, has lead to the development of a technology that enables manageable, affordable, robust and easy to use motion control tasks to be undertaken in a variety of single axis applications without compromising speed, accuracy and efficiency.

A simple building block approach, downloadable from the web, puts motion control back into the engineers hands without having to first acquire expert knowledge in the field. These blocks enables Micro PLC users to perform a wide variety of medium to high performance motion control tasks with building blocks that allows single axis basic positioning tasks for horizontal, vertical and rotational axis with easy implementation and commissioning.

HMI PLC VFD - Human Machine Interface - Programmable Logic Control - Variable Frequency Drive

Take note
An award winning concept rolls over into a solution for complex motion control tasks. Conventional complex motion control equipment can easily be replaced by the Micro Automation solution. The use of advanced algorithms enables robust and optimal performance with minimal motion control knowledge required. Graphical views and downloadable manuals allow for simplified implementation and commissioning.

About the Authors

Warren Scott is the business development manager of Abacus Automation. Warren has worked with Siemens PLCs for 15 years starting his career on the gold mines and progressing to establishing Abacus Automation 11 years ago. The company has developed into one of the top Siemens System Integrators in the country as well as being a Global Solution Partner for Siemens Germany. Award winning innovation has been the cornerstone of the companys success and reputation. Having ventured into the motion control market three years ago, the company has collected two awards for best drives project and this innovative motion control solution developed for Siemens Germany. Warren can be contacted on (031) 702 5767 or Lance Benn and Bruce Burton both gained post graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Natal in the field of motion control. After many years of research and lecturing in the field, they started Exigo, a motion control laboratory focused on the development and integration of advanced control techniques for industry. Other control project developments include synchronization of standby generators, sway control for gantry cranes and ultra high dynamic servo positioning and synchronization for cut to length. Contact them on or