Beckhoff is taking the next step in mechatronics flexibility with No Cable Technology (NCT), a major extension of its proven eXtended Transport System (XTS). NCT provides contactless power supply and synchronous real-time data communication directly to XTS movers. This solution enables individual movers to serve as mobile handling and processing stations, essentially turning the intelligent transport system into a powerful, highly flexible multi-robot system.
The modular XTS solution has been expanded with NCT to include a special motor module as well as electronics that mount on the movers. The hardware required for the transmission technology is fully integrated into the motor module, so the system does not sacrifice any existing functionality or expand equipment footprint. No additional connections or supply lines are needed. The control of the hardware on the mover is fully implemented in standard TwinCAT software. All known TwinCAT functionalities are available for simple project implementation.
For the first time, NCT makes it possible to process and check the quality of products on the XTS mover while the process is running. Sufficient power and fast communication with the TwinCAT control system enable easy connection of sensors and actuators. The data communication is real-time capable and can synchronize system-wide events with μs accuracy in conjunction with the EtherCAT industrial Ethernet protocol.
The impressive capabilities of XTS with NCT empower engineers to design new breakthrough solutions, especially for dynamic product handling, machining and measuring in parallel with product transport. Its strengths also assist with adapting production machines for rapidly changing production lots:
- Various motion sequences can be implemented on the mover itself, for example, to align a product.
- The mover becomes a mobile handling system with electromotive grippers, lifting magnets or vacuum suction cups that can pick up, transfer and deposit products.
- Heating or cooling of products during transport is just as possible as performing inline measurement.
- The integrated data communication enables, for example, unique mover, toolbox and product identification as well as state and process monitoring on individual movers.