Ewellix, the leading global innovator and manufacturer of advanced linear motion technologies, has launched an intelligent digital platform, which will underpin a new and advanced generation of linear motion solutions.
Called SmartX, the new digital platform has been designed to help engineers develop motion, robotic and automation systems that offer far greater levels of intelligence, connectivity and adaptability than are achievable from existing equipment. As a result, it will be possible to improve productivity, reliability, safety and functionality, providing a future-proof option that is compliant with i4.0, smart factories and the Internet of things (IoT).
The new generation of SmartX linear motion products will have intelligent digital control, sensor and communication technologies integrated within the standard product envelope. By comparison, traditional linear motion devices generally require controllers and sensors, such as force and position sensors, to be mounted externally; these devices are often sourced from different suppliers, which can lead to issues with compatibility, functionality and maintenance.
A SmartX linear motion device will typically feature a dedicated, twin-CPU controller, with onboard software, electronics and internal and external bus connections. This makes programming, setup and subsequent adjustments to operating parameters quick and simple, while the twin-CPU configuration provides 100% redundancy. It also enables safety, measurement and control functions to be embedded to improve overall performance still further.
Similarly, the SmartX platform allows a range of sensors to be easily integrated. For example, Ewellix will be offering its first SmartX products with internal digital absolute position sensors. By comparison with traditional methods, these eliminate the need for recalibration, providing extremely precise and consistent positioning control. They also simplify installation and enable software functions such as synchronisation, virtual end positions, tolerance elimination and force over position control.
Other sensor and software options will also help to improve safety, eliminate warranty claims, determine how the unit has been used over time, and provide extremely accurate feedback in a wide range of motion and automation systems.
The SmartX platform and products are ideal for a wide range of applications. The product range will be based on Ewellix’ proven linear motion technologies, which are widely recognised for their robust construction and precision manufacture. The company has already introduced three SmartX solutions: the new CAHB-2xS linear actuator, plus updated versions of the Liftkit and Slidekit, which are designed to extend the capabilities of robotics and automation systems.
Stefano Gai, Global Product Line and Marketing Manager at Ewellix, explains, “Our new SmartX platform helps to facilitate the next leap forward in machine development, enabling customers to simplify machine construction, improve performance and functionality, and reduce the total cost of ownership. Our many years of experience in the design and manufacture of world-class linear motion devices, together with our expertise in electronics, sensor and digital technologies, puts us in an ideal position to offer customers a unique combination of products, application knowledge and technical resources.”
Application story: Regis chooses SmartX solution to overcome tipper challenge
Italian electric car manufacturer, Regis Motors, wanted to develop an innovative system for its commercial electric quadricycle, the EpicO, which differed from conventional electro-hydraulic actuation systems usually used on similar vehicles.
“One of the main challenges we faced was to create a highly efficient vehicle that would extend battery life between each recharging interval,” explained Fabrizio Regis, CTO of Regis Motors. “To help support this, we needed to find a solution to equip our quadricycles with a fully electrical automatic tipper. Existing quadricycles on the market were equipped with electro-hydraulic actuation systems that require additional maintenance, while suffering from reduced flexibility and efficiency.”
Any solution had to meet the company’s requirements for ease of installation, reduction in weight and costs, improved efficiency and minimal maintenance.
Regis Motors chose Ewellix’s the latest CAHB-2XS actuator from its new SmartX platform, offering master and slave configurations with synchronisation features and a load capacity of 13000 N with a maximum speed of 40 mm/s. The compact actuator was ideal for the limited space for integration.
Being fully electric and controlled by wireless remote control, unlike classic cable systems, the actuators don’t restrict the operator and enable increased vehicle usage. The system can also be managed using a dedicated CANbus line connected to Regis’ VMU (Vehicle Management Unit) to manage and monitor currents during operation and check for faults.
In terms of weight saving and efficiency, the Ewellix system has enabled 10% more vehicle battery usable time before recharging and an overall 60 kg weight saving.
“All our vehicles leave the production line ready for retrofitting the electric tipping system. Therefore, the ease and speed of installing the accessory kit must be within everyone’s capability,” said Fabrizio. “The cost of this system compared to the usual electro-hydraulic ones is so competitive that since we put them into production, our customers have been asking us for more vehicles with this type of tipping system rather than the fixed body.”
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