Autonomous vehicles and automation in manufacturing is no longer a futuristic idea. It is a fact that automated manufacturing facilities benefit from higher productivity, increased flexibility and efficiency and improved safety.
Automation systems today commonly integrate the many different control and monitoring components used on a manufacturing line into a fieldbus communications network, to improve productivity, flexibility, efficiency and safety even further.
LINAK has added the option of CANopen control to almost all of its electric actuators for industrial applications to enable simple integration into an automation system’s CANopen network.
Thereby the Danish manufacturer adds more control options for its extensive line of actuators, already covering a wide range of adjustable and mobile equipment, such as off-highway vehicles, industrial machinery, as well as for autonomous vehicles and industrial automation equipment.
LINAK specialises in the design and manufacture of electric linear actuators. It works closely with its customers to develop new products that will help solve their problems. LINAK’s TECHLINE range of actuators have been designed for industrial equipment, which is why their robust design includes a heavy duty aluminium housing and a high IP66 rating, even when operating. During product development each actuator goes through an extensive testing programme including salt spray, chemical resistance, climatic and vibration tests to ensure they can handle harsh environments.
Andrew Cooper, Industry Business Unit Manager for LINAK Australia, says one trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the integration of electric actuators into the fieldbus communications network of automation systems.
“LINAK actuators can now be easily integrated into a site’s automation system’s CANopen network, enabling simple control and monitoring of the actuator and providing access to a wealth of valuable data points that can provide actionable insights for operators,” he says.
“The more insight plant operators have on the operating status and condition of equipment installed on their plant, the better. Access to this data allows plants to implement things like predictive and pre-emptive maintenance and to keep the plant operating as efficiently as possible.”
Integration into the CANopen network enables the actuators to work seamlessly with other equipment in the plant and the control and monitoring capabilities of the actuator becomes much more sophisticated. In many cases, all that is required of the actuator is to reliably provide the force, speed and movement to extend or retract.
However, to improve productivity and flexibility of production equipment there can be requirements to easily change the speed or stroke of the actuator or gather information on operating data such as current, temperature and the number of strokes. When a LINAK actuator is integrated into a CANopen network, all this is possible.
Already tested with several applications
Prior to the release, Soren Buck, Business Development Manager at LINAK in Denmark, and a group of LINAK software specialists tested CANopen with a number of existing applications.
“We tried setups in real-life settings with customers, testing it in off-highway vehicles, AGVs and even in automated farming environments,” says Soren Buck.
“This helped us tune in and even eliminate a few bugs. But, I think what will impress people the most is, how easy our CANopen actuators are to integrate and configure. It really is easy as plug and play.”
LINAK is a market leader in the production and application of electric linear actuators with some 40 years of experience and more than 30 subsidiaries worldwide.