Drives and Controls Magazine
Linear axes are set up via a Web browser ‘in less than a minute’
Published:  03 November, 2016

The German motion plastics specialist igus has developed an easy-to-use, Web-based system for programming the movement of linear axes, that avoids the need for special software or apps.

The parameters that define the movements of igus’ maintenance-free DryLin E-linear axes are entered via a Web browser running on a PC or mobile device – such as a smartphone or tablet – which can linked wirelessly to a controller called Dryve. The system can be used to set up traversing modes, positions, accelerations, speeds and pause times.

Parameters can be entered or modified “live”. The data and program steps are stored in the controller, with the option of backing them up externally.

The 48V controller supports DC, EC (electronically commutated) and stepper motors, in open- or closed-loop configurations. It provides nominal currents of up to 7A and peak currents of up to 20A, allowing powerful and dynamic movements.

The controller, which has ten digital inputs and five outputs, can be networked to PCs or PLCs. The use of standard communication protocols, such as CANopen and Modbus TCP, simplifies connections to other equipment, including low-cost, open-source modules such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

igus' Dryve controller for linear axes can be programmed wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet

Rene Erdmann, head of DryLin e-drive technology at igus, claims that the lubrication-free, motor-driven axes can be programmed in less than a minute. If required, extra steps can be added later via a Web browser.

“The particular advantage of Dryve is the fast start-up, ease-of-use, low price and the networking capability of the controller,” says Erdmann. “The controller can be mounted easily in cabinets on a DIN rail. It can be connected via a wireless router, and controlled wirelessly. The embedded Web server needs no additional software on HMI devices.”

The Dryve control system can be used for new installations, or retrofitted to existing DryLin axes. One controller is needed for each driven axis, and they can be networked with others via a master controller. This can be used to achieve complex area or volume movements, such as circular motions.