To meet the demands of the manufacturing automation market, Control Techniques has launched a family of seven drives which are said to offer the highest levels of performance, each offering an individual feature set to best suit the application and system connectivity demands. According to the company, the Unidrive M range, which was developed following a comprehensive programme of market research, offers the widest possible variety of functionality and solutions for motor control applications, with a range from 0.25kW to 1.2MW.

Products range from the Unidrive M100 AC drive, a value drive with quality and performance for general manufacturing automation applications, to the Unidrive M800 which is designed to enhance machine throughput by providing comprehensive control across machines.

Featuring a new breed of high performance MCi machine

controller within the drive, the M800 is configured using the CODESYS programming environment with standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages and standard Ethernet for communication across drives, I/O, HMIs, PLCs and other industrial devices. The company’s synchronised multi tasking structure and advanced motion control expertise complete the high performance offering, fully utilising open and industry standard technologies.

Additional features include onboard real time Ethernet (using IEEE 1588 V2) which provides improved machine control with fast and flexible communications, achieving synchronisation rates across the network of below 1µs, update rates as low as 250µs and a virtually unlimited node count. 

The company’s new Real Time Machine Control Protocol uses standard Ethernet TCP/IP and UDP to provide a highly efficient and compact message structure that frees up Ethernet network bandwidth and minimises network loading, allowing Unidrive M models to talk directly to each other instead of having to route all communications through the traditional machine controller. Each Ethernet-enabled drive incorporates a dual port Ethernet switch with standard RJ45 connectors, simplifying networking of machines.

Furthermore, certain applications, such as electronic line shafts, can be set up without having to write any programming code – the drives will start communicating with one another automatically, synchronising their control loops so that they can operate in coordination.  Standard Ethernet allows Control Techniques’ protocols to work alongside others, such as PROFINET RT, Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP/IP. 

Another area of innovation is the PC tools: Unidrive M Connect and Machine Control Studio. Unidrive M Connect is a new drive configuration and monitoring software which allows users to optimise drive tuning, back up the configuration set and troubleshoot more quickly. Machine Control Studio provides a full function automation development environment that uses open industry standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages and is powered by CODESYS.

Unidrive M Connect and Machine Control Studio both use the same communications components, allowing them to run simultaneously using numerous communication protocols.

According to the company, its motor control algorithms, combined with the latest microprocessor technology, ensure that the Unidrive M range offers the highest stability and performance, enabling users to maximise machine throughput in every application and with every motor, from standard AC induction motors to high dynamic linear motors, and from energy saving permanent magnet motors to high performance servo motors.

In the future, Control Techniques will be launching additional ranges of drives that will be targeted at each of its other main market sectors. 

Control Techniques