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Tell me more about igus® dryves

Q & A with Angelos Bitivelias: igus® dryves expert

Question:

Tell me about igus® dryves

Answer:

igus® dryves are the igus® controllers that we have developed to help customers reach a complete solution. Mainly, they consist of the igus® D1 dryve, this is the stepper motor controller we have, which can also control brushed and brushless DC motors. Then, we have the igus® D3 dryve which is a simple brushed DC motor controller for simple applications. This basically represents two sectors: the D1 dryve as an industrial controller for cartesian robots, delta robots and articulated robot arms, including those produced by igus®. These are ready for integration with master controllers, PLCs, like those by Siemens or Beckhoff, or PC-based systems like Python or LabVIEW. These D1 dryves are powerful and in this way optimise the drive of our motors. The main benefits from D1, as for all of our drives, is the short commissioning time, which I believe we are going to speak about a little later.

Question:

What’s special about the D1?

Answer:

Again, it’s the fast commissioning. So, basically, the D1 consists of the hardware and, in terms of software, we have an integrated web interface so anyone can easily connect to the D1 by connecting an ethernet cable from their PC [or laptop] to the D1 and loading the web interface – with no need to download and install any software to the device. Also, it’s a powerful controller which was made to drive both stepper motors and brushless DC motors. In addition, the power output that it has is a nominal of 7A and a max pick current output of 21A.

Question:

What’s special about the D3?

Answer:

For the D3, it’s the simplicity of the controller. Therefore, in cases where the application requires an adjustment or an A to B motion with a simple brushed DC motor, with the D3 controller you can connect your motor, power supply, external direction buttons and limit switches, to the casing of the D3 controller and directly drive your motor without the need of any master controller or PLC. So, traditionally this would require a PLC to take care of all of those features, but the D3 can cover all of these mentioned. This is all available at a very low-cost price point and without the need for previous programming knowledge.

Question:

How easy is it to commission a D1 dryve?

Answer:

OK, so let’s say we want to commission a single-axis belt drive module. After we have followed the wiring diagram of the D1 and all wiring is complete, it only takes half an hour to commission the system. What you have to do is connect the ethernet cable from your PC [or laptop] to the D1, login to the web interface and select the motor from the drop-down list – especially if you are using an igus® motor, you don’t have to optimise any settings as they are all predefined – then you can move directly to the drive profile tab in the web browser interface and start moving your motor to realise your application. Also, for our customers that do not yet have the D1, we have an online simulator which they can easily load at www.igus.co.uk/dryve and from there experience the D1 web interface and simulate their A to B motion of a single-axis motorised drive application.

Question:

Which motors can you use with these dryves?

Answer:

With regard to motors, we at igus® do offer stepper, brushless DC and brushed DC motors. They range in sizes from NEMA 11 all the way up to NEMA 34, which correspond to the majority of the applications that we work in. The stepper motors and the brushless DC motor can be supplied with encoders – the encoders that our motors use are incremental quadrature encoders, which is the industry standard. With the combination of a stepper motor with an encoder and the igus® limit switches, you can have a safe system where you cannot lose your position at any point.

The stepper motors are mostly for very high-load applications and very precise applications, so we can either have these as individual stepper motors or we can equip them with gearboxes. In terms of gearboxes, we have 3:1, 5:1, 10:1 and 15:1 versions that are compatible with the stepper motors and brushless DC motors. Steppers are mostly suitable for low speed and high load applications. When we go to the brushless DC motors, they are the exact opposite, so we are talking about low loads and high-speed applications: up to 3 – 4 metres per second speeds, depending on the load, of course. The maximum torque that a NEMA 34 brushless DC motor we provide can produce is a nominal of 1Nm and peak of 4Nm, and all of them have a max speed of 3000RPM.

Question:

What sorts of applications are currently using igus® dryves?

Answer:

Every application that uses any of our range of pick and place robots and single axis, for example, our igus®delta robot, cartesian robot and articulated robot arm are equipped with igus® motors and igus® control system.

We have seen these in laser-engraving applications, in marking applications, and for the pick and place of pharmaceutical and food products.
In addition, we have featured in material testing applications, for example, where a test rig made from one of our special XYZ cartesian robots,  is used to simulate an impact on a special composite material. Whereas, in photography, which is an interesting one, we have provided motorised rails for the photography of time-lapse capture in unique projects.

We’ve even worked with our dryves in high-volume applications such as with a mushroom-picking gantry system. This was an X-Y line gantry that was used to pick and place mushrooms with the use of our cartesian robots with our igus® rails, stepper motors, D1 controller. The D1 was specifically chosen because of its compatibility with the motors themselves and the ease of use. In terms of the commissioning of this system, the initial commissioning was completed in half an hour – as I explained before – and the configuration file, containing all of the settings of the controller, was saved and uploaded in a matter of seconds to the other controllers as well. Having the benefits of our D1 Dryve controller as well as the convenience of one-supplier for the complete system, it was a no-brainer for the customer to select us and in turn our controller.

Visit the website to find out more about igus® dryves.

Alternatively, contact our dryves expert Angelos Bitivelias: abitivelias@igus.co.uk

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