What’s Modular Design?

One of the special things about Rexroth’s motion control is its modular design. This allows you to pull a faulty component off the machine, replace it quickly with an identical unit, and get your facility back up and running fast.

With the legacy components made by Indramat, Rexroth’s precursor in electric industrial motion control, this modular design is all about the programming module, or Personality Module . With all the parameters for the motor preprogrammed into the module, a drive could be configured very quickly.

Changing to a new drive is a snap — pop out the Personality Module and put it into the new drive. Change the motor or move the drive to a new location with a different motor? Just use a new Personality Module.

Modular design relies on thinking of a complex system as a set of discrete parts that can be worked on separately, and then designing the separate parts of a system so that they can be mixed and matched. The Indramat DKS drive, for example, though it’s an integrated drive with the power and control in one box, works with a range of motors.

Modular design isn’t always the best option. A violin with interchangeable necks probably wouldn’t give the ideal sound. But for machinery, it’s usually a more elegant solution and easier to maintain.

First, the speed with which changes and updates can be accomplished can make a huge difference when your operation relies on the machinery. Stopping everything and reworking it end to end is a much bigger — read “incredibly more expensive” — deal than replacing or upgrading one module.

Improvements also can be made in one module. The entire system can then benefit from those improvements, assuming the new module has been designed with compatibility in mind. An entirely new module can be developed, again assuming that the designers continue to work for compatibility across the board, and problems can be approached within a specific module rather than  requiring complete rethinking.

The interface for a modular system can also be simple. When repair can be a matter of changing out a module, users don’t have to be able to comprehend and troubleshoot every single aspect of a system.

Modular design is often also less costly, more efficient, and more flexible. It gives Rexroth’s motion control systems an advantage when it comes to fitting into the new world of Industry 4.0.

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