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6/10/2004
Sacmi chooses Profibus

The fieldbus system allows decentralisation of electronic machine control

After testing several types of system, Sacmi has opted for Profibus – the fieldbus system for electronic machine control. Fieldbus cabling, unlike its traditional counterpart, allows decentralisation of cabling.
In traditional cabling I/O control is centralised. There is a control system or a PLC equipped with input/output boards from which wiring radiates out to the various machine units. If it is necessary to excite, for example, a solenoid valve, the control, which originates from the CPU containing the program, is sent to the board which controls the digital outputs and from here a wire carries the signal to the solenoid valve. Fieldbus cabling is, instead, decentralised. The logic still resides in the PC or PLC and from here a lead reaches the various machine parts (or “islands). From the islands other wires pilot the objects (sensors, actuators, etc.) on the machine. The network lead connects the controller (PC or PLC) to the machine control keypad, the junction boxes on the press and filler box etc. Each “island” also contains the input/output boards that control the sensors (photocells, microswitches etc.) and actuators (solenoid valves, motor controls etc.) connected to the island.
If the software decides that it is necessary to excite a solenoid valve which controls the start of the filler box the control is sent to the (bus control) board on the PC or PLC. From here the network branches out and the data travels on the bus and “stops” at the right island.
Each island has an address and intercepts and manages information concerning the island itself (filler box solenoid valve in our example). From island control – which receives the request to excite the solenoid valve – the command goes to the output control module from where the wire leads to the solenoid valve.
The fieldbus solution offers two key advantages:
1) a reduction in the cabling that connects the board to the machine because every work unit is connected to the nearest island. Consequently fewer wires, terminals and connector poles are needed to link the electrical board to the machine. In any case the number of wires that connects the island to the sensors and actuators remains the same.
2) the system is expandable and offers an improved capacity to manage later additions / modifications to the machine (e.g. addition of an optional). In a traditional system it is necessary to modify the controller by adding boards, modifying the connection from cabin to optional etc. With the fieldbus system the modification is made on the island to which the optional is connected (even on the island there is a limit to expandability, often dependent on the physical size of the box, but bear in mind that new islands can be added to manage new units, expansions and modifications).
Sacmi has chosen Profibus to provide the following: bus speed, ease and simplicity of system expansion, reliability and availability of spare parts.
Profibus is the perfect compromise between technical necessity, ease of installation and interchangeability among components from different suppliers.

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