Drives & Controls Magazine November/December 2022

n TECHNOLOGY November/December 2022 18 EPLAN HAS ANNOUNCED a software package that guides technicians step-by-step through the installation of components into cabinets, showing them where each component should be installed. Supported by 3D visualisation, the Eplan Smart Mounting software can even show inexperienced technicians where to place components. The software, unveiled at the SPS show, provides a complete list of all the work steps needed. It starts with the mounting of DIN rails and cable ducts, for example, and ends with components such as auxiliary switches and timing relays. The Web-based application doesn’t need to be installed and can run on a tablet computer. The relevant engineering information – such as dimensions, positioning, drill holes and the type of fastening needed for each component – is drawn from a digital twin in Eplan’s Pro Panel software. Technicians can enter comments about components and send them back to the engineering department so that the documentation is always up-to-date, and improving communications between departments. Changes to a project can be implemented rapidly. If, for instance, a customer alters the specifications to add a motor circuit breaker or contactor, the production order can be updated. The software shows components that need to be removed or added. Tedious manual comparisons of documents are avoided, saving time and ensuring correct results. Eplan says that the software also gives production managers also a better overview and more flexibility – they can see the status of production orders at a glance. The assembly progress for each component is colour-coded: green means completed; red means yet to be processed. If there are resource bottlenecks or downtime, an order that has already been started can be passed on easily to another employee. In addition, personnel resources can be used more flexibly for different production steps. Similar interfaces for Eplan Smart Mounting and Eplan Smart Wiring, and the digital twin from Eplan Pro Panel, ensure end-to-end data consistency. Data from Eplan Pro Panel can be used for cabling. The software is also compatible with automatic wire assembly machines such as Rittal’s Wire Terminal WT. Prefabricated wires can be used. The aim, says Eplan, is to achieve the highest degree of automation from initial engineering to manufacturing, while maintaining quality. eplan-smart-mounting p At the recent SPS show in Germany, the embedded computing specialist Kontron introduced a PLC based on the Raspberry Pi 4 low-cost computing platform. The PiXtend Pi 4 single-board computer has a quad-core Arm Cortex A72 CPU running at 1.5GHz. It includes a Gigabit Ethernet interface and two micro-HDMI ports for transferring audio and video data. There are two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. The PLC can be programmed in C or Python, and can be used with Codesys’ SoftPLC. An I/O system is available for digital and analogue sensors and actuators, connected via Modbus. p Analog Devices has introduced a multiprotocol industrial Ethernet switch platform for industrial and process automation, motion control, transportation, and energy applications. The ADIN2299 platform can operate in star, line or ring topologies. It contains a communications controller, a two- port 10/100Mbps Ethernet switch, memory, physical layer and protocol stacks. Coupled with its software and pre-certified industrial protocols, the platform is said to cut system integration times, while providing fast time-to- market. p Beckhoff says that its TwinCat 3 Plastic Framework software can help plastics processing machines and systems to work more sustainably. The software allows hydraulic and electric drives to be integrated, providing a modular control system for plastics machinery that minimises development work while offering an open architecture. Sample code is included for applications including injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion. p By integrating OPC UA Reverse Connect into its dataFeed OPC Suite Extended V5.22, Softing says it is enabling secure communications between OPC UA components in OT and IT environments that are separated by firewalls or DMZs. The all-in-one OPC communication and cloud connectivity system provides access to controllers and IoT devices from manufacturers such as Siemens, Rockwell, B&R and Mitsubishi. It acts as a gateway between the two OPC standards so that existing OPC Classic components and applications can also be integrated into modern OPC UA systems for Industry 4.0 applications. p TTPi , a power electronics spinout from the University of Nottingham’s Power Electronics, Machines and Control Group , has launched a GaN-based, bidirectional, isolated DC/DC converter, designed to work either by itself or in multi-modular systems. Weighing around 200g and measuring 100 x 80 x 26mm, the UltraMod4000 has a 4kW power throughput and is ideal for applications where weight, size, efficiency and power density are critical. Examples include industrial drives, EVs and renewable energy applications. The modular converters are said to cut design times and overheads TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS Eplan’s software guides technicians through the entire control cabinet assembly process. Software uses 3D visuals to guide technicians through cabinet assembly