Industry 4.0, Technology

Here’s what you need to know about Beckhoff’s MX-System

“The eighth Industrie 4.0 Innovation Award recognises products that provide support and boost productivity and profit in the industrial automation sector. MX took out the top award this year. This demonstrates just how imaginative and revolutionary MX is, and what a boon it is to whoever uses it,” says Harry Mulder, the Principal Automation Engineer at Beckhoff Automation Australia.

With over 35 years of experience under his belt, Harry is an expert in industrial automation, with three of those years residing at Beckhoff Automation Australia.

“My routine is as dynamic as the field of industrial automation itself. Juggling support calls, customer interactions, problem-solving, and training sessions,” says Harry. “I thoroughly enjoy the fast-paced nature of the role.”

The MX-System is Beckhoff’s new concept for delivering a complete automation system, without a control cabinet.

“Fresh from winning the Industrie 4.0 Innovation award, MX is made from die cast zinc, meaning its surface is both oil and detergent resistant and comply to the IP67 (dust and waterproof) standard,” explains Harry. “It’s made to mount directly onto a wall, without any physical barrier or protection.”

Beckhoff’s MX-systems for industrial applications are completely modular, meaning they are both easy to expand and install.

“It also occupies a much smaller footprint than the conventional control cabinet it replaces. MX is also “plug and Play”, both in the way terminals are mounted onto its baseplates, as well as the way external wiring clips into its terminals, via twist caps,” says Harry.

Additionally, Harry explains that when customers integrate MX-systems into their industrial processes, reliability and security take top priority.

“MX features an innovative design with no internal wiring, and all external connections are managed through specialized connectors. This design minimises wiring errors and connection mistakes,” he says. “Internally using EtherCAT for interconnecting terminals provides comprehensive diagnostic capabilities, simplifying fault-finding.”

Each module is uniquely identified with a serial number and QR code, and users can access relevant webpages directly on their smartphones. The hot-swappable terminals also allow for efficient replacements without stopping machine operations.

Moreover, Harry highlights the versatility of MX-systems, stating that they are particularly beneficial for machine builders seeking to minimise control system space and provide cost-effective solutions.

“Additionally, MX complies with international standards, facilitating easy export to any country without requiring separate testing. Compared to traditional control panels, MX significantly reduces documentation requirements, saving up to three-fourths of the usual documentation volume.”

In terms of scalability, Harry mentions that MX is easily expandable through the addition of a baseplate with single, double, or triple rows of connectors.

“The I/O terminals are highly universal, accommodating various functionalities and signal types, reducing inventory and stock requirements. With an IP67 rating, MX is completely dust and waterproof, allowing convenient mounting close to machines and shorter cable runs.”

Addressing support, Harry assures customers that Beckhoff is readily available to provide assistance and guidance during MX-system integration.

“Beckhoff Automation stands behind the MX product, offering sales, support, and training with all necessary documentation accessible on their website.”

To learn more about the Industrie 4.0 Innovation Award for the Beckhoff MX-System, click here.

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