Features

LINAK’s flexible I/O interface for agile minds

LINAK’s new I/O interface has a wealth of configurable monitoring and diagnostics functions built in to optimise the performance of your equipment.

LINAK’s new I/O interface has a wealth of configurable control functions built in which can enable you to optimise the performance of your equipment.

In the following paragraphs and associated videos, you can learn more about the functions related to parallel control, position feedback and protection.

Parallel

Parallel gives you the opportunity to run multiple actuators in parallel, all moving together with their positions synchronised. With this parallel control functionality included with the integrated controller, parallel movement of up to 8 actuators is simple to implement. Additional control circuits or cabling are not necessary. The actuators communicate directly with each other via their own internal bus system.

Regardless of variations in load, the actuators stay precisely aligned when moving – and the master will always ensure that the followers are operating correctly in the system and send feedback on current position and status.

You can change the number of actuators in the parallel system as required for your application. This safety setting ensures the master checks that all actuators are in the parallel system and operational before any movement. Up to 8 actuators can be linked to each other, enabling a smooth synchronised parallel movement. The parallel actuator solution is designed to run symmetrically, and all actuators in the system communicate with each other, which means that if one actuator hits an obstacle, all others will stop.

It is important that all actuators in the parallel system have the same configuration for all functions to ensure that the system works as intended. To make this process easier, you can copy the configuration from one actuator and simply apply it to the others by using Actuator Connect. This means that you do not have to go through all parameters of each actuator one by one.

Position Feedback

Position feedback from the actuator will give you a precise overview of its position. This feedback is essential for achieving optimal performance in many applications. With the IO interface there are a number of configurable analogue and digital outputs to feedback the position to your control system.

The I/O interface can supply your control system with either current (mA) or voltage (V) feedback proportional to the position. The default ranges are 4-20 mA or 0-10 V but these can be customised to make it easier to integrate with your control system.

You can choose to scale the feedback signal when configuring a virtual limit to ensure that the position feedback is adjusted according to the new end stop.

The actuator also offers several digital position output options, which can be configured exactly to your needs.

Single hall and dual hall outputs are offered as alternatives to the analogue position feedback if these are preferred. These are accurate relative position feedback signals that can be more immune to electrical noise from other components in the machinery.

As either a supplement to the analogue position feedback or a stand-alone feature, you can choose end stop signals that give a signal when the actuator is fully retracted or extended. It is also possible to receive digital signals when the actuator is running – something that can be used for instance to turn on an indicator light or warning alarm to indicate that something is moving in the application.

Protection

Protection helps you prevent damage and breakdowns by protecting your application and actuator from incorrect use. By configuring a current limit, you can ensure that the actuator automatically stops if it hits an obstacle or meets other resistance in the application, and help protect both the application and the actuator. Different current limits can be set in both directions.

For more specific needs, you can define up to 10 variable current limits in both directions. This is done by dividing the stroke length into intervals of 10 per cent and for each interval you can set a unique current limit. This can be useful if you want to ensure that the actuator does not draw the same amount of current throughout the movement. This gives you full control of the actuator and a more advanced way of managing current limits.

The I/O interface offers soft start and soft stop of the actuator as an alternative to instant stop. With soft start and soft stop, the actuator slowly accelerates when starting or slowly decelerates when stopping. You can choose to go with LINAK default settings or set your own ramp time settings. This provides a smoother movement, thereby reducing strain on the application and significantly extending the service life of the actuator.

Traditionally, actuators have only used soft stop after the run signal has been removed, to ramp down according to the programmed ramp time. For smoother performance of your application you can now also choose soft stop towards an end stop, which ensures that the actuator automatically decelerates according to the soft stop ramp as it approaches either the physical or virtual end stop.

In some cases, there may be external conditions that need to be in place before the actuator can run. You can configure one of the digital inputs as an external precondition to allow movement. The actuator monitors this input to verify that the external conditions are met before it runs. This can help to reduce complexity of your PLC and in simple applications could save you the cost of extra components in your control system.

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