How to optimize industrial motor communications, Part 1, data types
- Review motor communication types with Ethernet experts.
- View archived webcast about optimizing motor drive communications prior to Aug. 4, 2023.
Motor communication insights
- Review motor communication types with Ethernet experts, Michael Bowne, executive director from PI North America; Bob Trask, the North American representative of EtherCAT Technology Group; and Paul Brooks, ODVA distributed motion and time synchronization, SIG Member.
- View archived webcast about optimizing motor drive communications from Control Engineering prior to Aug. 4, 2023. A RCEP professional development hour is available.
Elements of motor-drive communications from EtherCAT Technology Group, ODVA and PI North America are similar and others differ, as explained in this part 1 of a four-part webcast transcript about motor-drive communication. This covers types of information exchanged for motor-drive communications using three industrial Ethernet protocol communication protocols: EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP and Profinet.
Michael Bowne, executive director from PI North America; Bob Trask, the North American representative of EtherCAT Technology Group; and Paul Brooks, ODVA distributed motion and time synchronization, SIG Member, explain how engineers can optimize industrial motor communications and how engineers can improve their operations while also being safe. This has been edited for clarity.
Control Engineering content manager, Mark Hoske, moderated the to the webcast, How to Optimize Industrial Motor Communications,. The Aug. 4, 2022, course, archived as a webcast for a year, aims to answer the following questions about optimizing industrial motor communications. What communications protocols are being used with industrial motors and drives and what needs to be communicated? What information are motors and drives reporting and receiving? Are motor and drive communications getting easier or more difficult with smart manufacturing industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things initiatives in light of cybersecurity risks?
The learning objectives for the course are to learn types of information communicated to and from motors and drives and why, identify communication protocols used with industrial motors and drives and why, examine how motor drive communications contribute to smart manufacturing, review cybersecurity best practices for motors and drives, and see examples of motor drive communications.
Experts in industrial motor communications
Speakers for the course are Michael Bowne, Bob Trask and Paul Brooks.
Bowne is the executive director of PI North America, a possession he’s held since 2015. He also serves as deputy chairman for the Profibus and Profinet International on a global scale. Michael joined PI North America as the technical marketing director in 2011. Prior to this position, he was a product manager at Fraba Inc., a manufacturer of rotary and position sensors. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Pennsylvania State University.
Bob Trask, PE, is the director and North American representative for EtherCAT Technology Group. Trask worked at Beckhoff as an engineer, a software product manager and systems architect for 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and has 30 years of experience with automation, motion control and communication systems. Trask is a registered professional engineer.
Paul Brooks is a member of the ODVA, Distributed Motion and Time Synchronization special interest group, a former chair of ODVA Europe. He has multiple leadership roles in ODVA’s marketing and technical communities since 2001. Together with leadership roles in the OPC Foundation, Advanced Physical Layer Consortium and the US Technical Advisory Committee for IEC SC65C. A long term Rockwell Automation employee. He has been based in Brussels, Belgium, for more than 20 years and leads a technology strategy group within the CTO organization. He’s a chartered engineer at the UK Institute of Engineering and Technology and holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electrical engineering from the University of Leads.
I’m Mark Hoske with Control Engineering and have been covering the automation controls and instrumentation since 1994. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. I’ve been writing and editing since 1982. The websites for the organizations are linked above. I encourage you to look around at each for available resources for motor-drive communications and other industrial networking.
What do industrial motors and drives communicate?
The first section of information covers what information is communicated to and from motors and drives and why.
Bob Trask: A friend of mine is a mechanical engineer from Iowa State, and she said, “Bob, I have a problem.”
I was in a meeting, she said, and we’re planning a next-generation system. It has a fair number of motors, robots synchronized motion, and other motion applications. And when the subject of communications came up, somebody blurted out, “I just used Ethernet.” And that was where everything settled. And I knew that wasn’t enough of an answer, but I couldn’t explain why that left out so much. I explained that she was exactly right to say “just use Ethernet” is not nearly enough because Ethernet really describes the physical way of transmitting things. There are all kinds of things that sit on top of Ethernet communications. A large part of today’s discussion is the mechanisms that sit on top of Ethernet.
Motor selection criteria, distributed or centralized, cyclic synchronous velocity
First and foremost, I have to be able to set up the drives. I need to select motor type, encoder, and what kind of load, current, power, max speed, reference speed and other relationships. The next level up is what mode to use. Am I using a position mode? Am I controlling by position? Am I doing something that’s speed-based, or am I doing a torque-based motion or current-based? Decisions needs to be made.
Am I heading towards centralized or distributed motion control? By that I mean, distributed is more. I’m going to feed you a profile, and I’m going to leave it to your motor drive to handle this profile. Centralized motion control assumes that you have good enough communications to bring everything back to a central controller. A lot of complexities about motion disappear, in my opinion, with centralized motion control. I’m seeing greater use of a concept called cyclic synchronous velocity, which actually is a CANopen term.
The CiA DS402 device profile for drives and motion control is a protocol that EtherCAT uses. CiA DS402 provides smoother positioning through every cycle. You can choose other values to monitor cyclically.
Motor-drive safety is huge and of increased interest. Integrated safety is the largest consumer of data, and it’s now being more widely integrated with drives. Communications of predictive maintenance information is increasing, where you try to anticipate an issue before it is an issue.
Motor and drive communications: Analytics, plant optimization, vendor information
Paul Brooks: The cornerstone of motion control is the real time exchange of process data between controller and drive, including information about velocity mode, position mode, command position, command velocity, command-torque, feedback position, velocity-torque, and status.
Safety is absolutely critical. The motor-drive combination is what actually physically moves things. We must ensure that the safety of the workforce is paramount. That’s not just about stopping motors, but it’s also about operating motors and motion systems in a safe way, at a safe speed, safe torque, etc. Configurations and diagnostics are key. We also are seeing an increasing demand for analytic information from the drive and motor.
This isn’t information that’s necessarily directly about the drive and motor, but more about the effect that they’re having on the load. Operators can use this analyzed information, often through artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to improve, short-term real-time control and the long-term process optimization of the system.
That includes identifying deteriorating conditions in the drive-motor pair and deteriorating conditions in the mechanical load that is attached to them. So, analytics is, I think, the greatest increase in flow of data.
Time synchronization is one of the key network services that allows for coordinated motion control to ensure that the drive and motor have a common understanding of time and what the time is.
Another very important set of data for the drive and the motor is vendor-specific or protocol-specific information.
The reason to choose one vendor’s drive technology over another isn’t the things that they do exactly the same. The reason to select drives in a competitive world is the things that they do differently. We shouldn’t underplay the importance and the value of the vendor-specific information that’s going through that link, because that’s what has been driven by innovation; that’s what ultimately gives any manufacturer of the ability to gain competitive advantage over another one.
I/O data block helps ODVA communication interoperability
ODVA motion has two separate modes of operation. We have a very simple I/O data block, standardized to provide interoperability among vendors, and a simplified interface in which, typically, the velocity command is being transmitted from the drive.
A much higher capability motion interface is available between controller and drive called CIP Motion. This application profile provides for the ability to have, if you like, a cooperative view of what we consider to be the best of the distributed model with the best of the centralized model.
In all of these communications exchanges, security is becoming absolutely critical. Everything that is made is driven by motors. The world’s economy is driven by motors. We are seeing an increasing importance in securing the interaction between drives and controllers.
Part 2: How to optimize industrial motor communications, strategies
Part 3: How to optimize industrial motor communications, smart manufacturing
Part 4: How to optimize industrial motor communications, cybersecurity
Edited by Chris Vavra, web editor, CFE Media and Technology, [email protected], and Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, [email protected].
Motor-drive communications, EtherCAT, Profinet, EtherNet/IP
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