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Fieldbus system: Designed for modularity

13 September 2018

Flexibility and modularity are key trends in machine and plant engineering. It is increasingly common for standard machines and additional units to be made as separate mechanical and electronic units that are joined only shortly before commissioning the full system. Installation hardware must live up to the modularity of the machine. Murrelektronik explains how its Cube67 field bus system offers a solution

With the combination of a Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway and the straightforward integration of IO-Link, Cube67 is said to pave the way towards decentralisation and digitalisation in the cloud using OPC UA.

The Murrelektronik Cube67 system is designed for modularity – including even the finest details. Already used in 100,000+ machines and plants in diverse industries and applications worldwide, the system has large number of different products.

Many of these are equipped with multifunctional ports that can be configured as inputs or outputs, enabling flexible installation concepts that can be customised for the number of IOs at the sensor/actuator level in order to meet the customer’s precise needs. This cost-efficient solution leaves practically no port unused.

Both communication and power are carried over just one system cable. This leaves cable channels and energy chains available, so they can be designed smaller from the start, or even eliminated. The six-pole M12 connector also eliminates the possibility of wiring errors.

Up to 32 modules can be connected to each bus node, using four lines within an installation radius of 60m, making the Cube system suitable even for extensive installations. The lines are protected by integrated electronic fuses (MICO), Murrelektronik's current monitoring system. This saves space in the control cabinet by removing the need for circuit breakers.

A complete portfolio of modules ranging from protection level IP20 to IP67 and even IP69K is available for installations. Meanwhile, the communication only ever runs through a single bus node, which can also be swapped out depending on the protocol in use. As a result, it is also possible to change the protocol without changing the system. In other words, an identical installation concept (Profibus, ProfiNet, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT) can be designed for different protocols by simply choosing the appropriate bus node.

Machine option management

To prevent difficulties when getting different machine modules to work together, the Cube system offers machine option management (MOM). The related hardware and software planning is carried out virtually based on a standardised full configuration. The components actually present in the real machine are activated automatically, simplifying configuration for all the different parts of the machine. Optional add-ons can be configured easily at the press of a button. There is no need for time-consuming software modifications.

Direct integration of safety signals

Combining Cube67 K3 modules with the MVK Metal Safety block module is an affordable way to duplicate safety outputs.

The safety outputs of the MVK Metal Safety module will securely switch off up to 12 standard outputs, controlled by a ProfiNet/PROFIsafe control system (K3 functionality). They are divided between two safety circuits, each with three ports suitable for double connections. This multiplication of the safety outputs is a simple but effective way to reduce both costs and labour. Safety sensors are integrated directly into the installation concept with this approach, and eliminating the need for a safety relay reduces the wiring workload while saving space in the rack cabinet.

Detailed diagnosis

The Cube system's range of informative diagnostic capabilities extends from the bus node across the entire installation down to the individual modules and channels. The extensive information saves time during commissioning and is useful when troubleshooting, taking into consideration the costs that can result from even short downtimes.

Cube offers easily identifiable diagnostics with red LEDs that show which port is affected by an error. This diagnostic functionality can be used in detail via programming on the relevant control system.

The Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway offers an efficient, time-saving, and highly integrated method of diagnosis as it allows troubleshooting without any programming at all. The module is suitable for both new and existing installations.

The Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway precisely evaluates all signals and diagnostic messages from the entire installation, independently of the control system. The network topology and any errors that arise are clearly visualised in a user-friendly, multilingual web interface.

The data is also available over a standard OPC UA interface for further analysis in any cloud system. This all takes place entirely independently of the control system, making it an integral aspect of the installation that need not be changed even if the control system is changed.

52 smart IO-Link devices in a single node

Thanks to specially designed modules, Cube67 is also well suited to the integration of smart IO-Link sensors. Up to 52 IO-Link devices can be connected to a single node. Murrelektronik simplifies installation with a wide selection of accessories for IO-Link integration, including analog/IO-Link converters, inductive couplers, and hubs.