New from Omron is the Sysmac NX-series modular I/O system, developed to meet machine builders’ requirements for a modular I/O system that can be used with Omron controllers and a wide range of open networks.

Complementing the company’s NJ-series machine automation controllers, which provide fast accurate control in even the most challenging of machine control applications, the new system uses the distributed clock function of the EtherCAT machine network to achieve deterministic control behaviour. This ensures accuracy
and repeatability of timing in the control loop. Individual I/O units compensate for signal delays depending on their position in the system, which means that inputs can be latched and outputs set anywhere in the control system with sub-microsecond accuracy. As a result, machines can achieve higher production quality and increased throughput.

For the required performance level, Omron has developed a new I/O interconnection bus, with exceptional data throughput. This also propagates the EtherCAT distributed clock to individual I/O units, which allows the I/O units to synchronise with the Sysmac machine controller’s primary task cycle. In addition, as each I/O station only counts as a single network node, the cycle times of the EtherCAT network remain low. The bus system will also support the development of special inputs with a time-stamp function, which can be used to accurately determine sequence of events.

The I/O units in the Sysmac NX-series are offered in a wide range of variants. Digital I/O units provide from four to 16 input or output points in just 12mm width. As well as standard models, versions are available with high-speed response and safety inputs and outputs. A full range of analogue I/O is available, with two to eight signals per unit, for current, voltage, thermocouple or RTD signals. High-performance models offer 10µs conversion time per channel and 1:30000 resolution. To support the motion control functions of the Sysmac series controllers, I/O units for encoder inputs and pulse outputs are included in the range. These can be assigned to motion axes in the controller configuration.

Machine safety functions are fully integrated in the Sysmac NX-series I/O. The programmable safety control unit and its safe input and output units can be inserted anywhere in the I/O system.