Process and control today | Heason Technology Adds Novanta IMS Integrated Stepper Drives to Product Portfolio

Heason Technology has added two new lines of integrated stepper motors from Novanta IMS (formerly Schneider Electric Motion) to its product portfolio – expanding its motion system integration capability to lower cost projects where performance requirements are not justify a motion system based on a highly specified servomotor. Liberty MDrive and MDrive Plus all-in-one motion solutions comprehensively cover NEMA 14 to 34 frame stepper motors with integrated microstepping drives, motion controls, I/O as well as Ethernet and CANopen protocols packed in IP20 to IP65 protected boxes. With optional encoder feedback, the choice of open or closed loop operation further maximizes application flexibility. Competitively priced and easy to integrate into automated positioning systems, these compact, decentralized drives simplify machine design – benefiting from reduced wiring and reduced EMC while eliminating the need to adapt the drive electronics in the control panels.

The Liberty MDrive and MDrive Plus series drives are programmable with Mcode software from Novanta IMS via an RS-422/485 interface. Mcode includes logic, derivation, trigger, and math functions for complete machine control. Both series of drives also feature CANopen to CiA DS301 and DSP402 with pre-programmed sequences called up on multi-axis configurations. They can also be configured for simple position control using step/direction pulses from an external control source or operate in velocity control mode. Eight additional I/Os are configurable for standard or high-speed performance, such as for fast registration on label makers or on-the-fly position synchronization. Both series of drives feature IP20 rated pluggable and color coded connectors, or optional industry standard M12 circular connectors rated for IP65 protection levels. Specifically, the MDrive Plus is intended for open-loop motion tasks and, with a slightly smaller package, is suitable for applications where machine space is limited. The application flexibility of the MDrive Plus includes an input power requirement ranging from +12 to +75 VDC as well as direct line power from 120 to 240 VAC.

The more sophisticated control capability of the Liberty MDrive provides exceptional performance and smoothness and is primarily intended for Ethernet controlled system setups with a choice of EtherNet/IP, Profinet, ModbusTCP protocols. Automation libraries including networking add-on instructions are available for Rockwell RSLogix 5000, Siemens S7 and Novanta IMS (SoMachine and SoMachine Motion series PLC and PAC systems). With a choice of open-loop or closed-loop operation – with optional incremental or multi-turn absolute encoders – the drive offers great application flexibility Closed-loop versions can also be fitted with the advanced hMT hardware control system from Novanta IMS which dramatically increases torque and motor positioning capability to full servo performance, and also offers an advanced current control feature which includes programmable motor operating and holding current With a power supply input built-in auxiliary logic and a required power range of +12 to +70 VDC, the drive can be applied to battery-powered applications with an hMT configured to maximize efficiency with variable current controls available to save energy and reduce heating.

Heason Technology has already incorporated these discs into various custom-designed positioning systems. This includes Pharmweigh’s Draft Master automatic livestock drafting machine which includes four MDrive Plus integrated drives programmed and configured with Heason-supplied gearboxes to operate belt-driven gates during animal weighing and sorting.

Image: Pharmweigh Draft Master Auto Drafter – weighing, identifying and sorting sheep. Display of MDrive Plus drives on the top of the machine.

This machine is used in the harsh outdoor conditions found in agriculture and has proven itself in extensive trials and is now in use on UK and European farms. The new competitively priced drives will also be able, for example, to integrate with the Heason range of electric actuators from its distribution partner Thomson Electric. The set would provide a complete yet simple positioning solution where a separate control panel is not required, and low voltage 24/48 VDC operation opens up the market for portable machinery and equipment.

Image: The MDrive Plus mounted on a Thomson Electric actuator

Heason’s system integration capability includes software programming and network interfacing with customer preferred machine control systems. The company has a full complement of experienced application engineers, design engineers, programmers and assembly teams. Heason supplies and supports a wide range of motion and automation components through distribution partnerships with leading motion equipment vendors and offers stepper motors and servo motors, intelligent drives, motion controls motion and mechanical positioning components to multi-axis motion systems that include custom mechanics complete with electronic drive, automations, industrial bus interfaces and software.

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