Coordinated motion control is good motion control, right? It’s essential that all the parts of your industrial motion control set up be coordinated in service of your motion control goal. We recently read a strong recommendation to specify your industrial motion control set up with parts from a single manufacturer.
One of the reasons given was that this would keep the drive company from saying it was all the servo company’s fault and vice versa, and we get that. Troubleshooting becomes more complex when every company is too busy pointing fingers to address the problems.
But the other reason given was that each element of the motion control system needed to be able to communicate with every other element.
The writer pointed out that mechanical systems — clockwork, for example — have to have physical connections in the form of gears that must mesh perfectly to keep the clockwork going. Servos with computerized controls don’t require this, and can function with slight errors in positioning or velocity. If controls, drives, and servo motors don’t communicate perfectly, though, there is potential for cumulative small errors, each too small for its system to react with corrections, to mount up into big errors.
The example was a water drill cutting a circle. Without communication among the various axes that move the workpiece under the drill head, an imperfect circle could be the result.
Rexroth’s push for open core and open source Industry 4.0 software is the long-range solution. Once machine builders agree on consistent standards for IIoT inter-machine communication, even very narrowly focused custom niche machines will be able to to fit in perfectly with other motion control.
We could say that sticking with Rexroth industrial motion control exclusively is the best approach in the short term. However, we know that there are good reasons to combine machines from different companies and different time depths. These reasons can focus on the physical space, the required workflow, and the need for specialized machines, as well as budgetary concerns. Integrating machinery is essential, but it’s possible to do this without relying on a pre-made package.