Drives and Controls Magazine

`Record` installation synchronises 728 servodrive axes

29 November, 2011

The Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group (EPSG) claims that Powerlink has set a new world record for the number of synchronised axes in one installation with an commissioning of a foil-stretching machine that links 728 servodrives.

The installation provides a gearless drive system for a sequential foil-stretching machine (above) built by the German foil-production machinery specialist, Brückner Maschinenbau. The machine, which requires rigid synchronisation, incorporates 384 servodrive modules, each containing two drives. Powerlink is used to synchronise the 728 drives with a cycle time of 400µs and a jitter of less than 1µs.

Powerlink is an Ethernet-based industrial field network system originally developed by the Austrian automation supplier, B&R. The open-source field network uses standards-compliant Ethernet frames to handle synchronous real-time systems.

Since its launch in 2001, 500,000 Powerlink systems have been installed. EPSG claims it is the only real-time industrial Ethernet system available.