kubler articles

Ethernet Elegantly Transmitted

Kubler 11/1/2017

Ethernet Elegantly TransmittedSlip rings have in no way served their time in the "IIoT" era - on the contrary. In the digitally networked production too, slip rings supply rotating plant elements - such as e.g. rotary indexing machines - with electrical power and transmit control signals and data, often also in combination with liquids and gases. The important point here is a long and reliable service life, which can only be achieved with long maintenance cycles and the necessary slip ring robustness. Kubler's new slip ring generation, with the product families "SR120", "SR160" and "SR250" is Ethernet-capable and transmits, besides the electric power up to 120 A and control signals, also high volumes of data in real time.

One of the bases for high-performance, self-organizing and resource-saving production plants is the collection and transmission of operating data between plant elements, used also for plant control. Following the increasing digitization, the volume of data to be transmitted and the required transmission speed are ever increasing.

Often, in such highly-efficient facilities, the main process steps are carried out on rotary indexing tables in order to save space.

The electrical power supply of the active elements mounted on the carousels and data communication with other peripheral plant components take place via slip rings. Beverages filling is an example, which includes individual process steps (filling, closing and labeling) - Kubler is offering here suitable slip ring solutions.
 
Long maintenance cycles and interference-free transmission

The efficiency increase, highest availability and strongly increasing digital networking in modern production facilities lead to significantly increased demands on the slip rings used. Besides transmitting high electrical currents and signals, the slip rings must be integrable in the digital network and transmit reliably Ethernet-based data.

Demands relate to maximum facility availability - including long service life - and very long maintenance cycles. Discussions with facility operators showed in addition the desire to collect information about the operating condition of the slip ring, in order to take it into consideration within the framework of predictive maintenance. 
 
Reliable transmission of power and data 
 
Kubler's new slip ring generation offers the solution for applications in industrial automation. The slip rings of the "SR120", "SR160" and "SR250" product families are Ethernet-capable and transmit, besides electrical power and control signals, large data volumes in real-time. The development and the market launch of the "SR250" products range now allows transmitting currents up to 120 A without disturbing the transmission of the Ethernet data.

High-quality, very reliable contact systems are the basis of the long service life and maintenance cycles of these slip rings. Various actuators, sensors and drives are mounted on the rotary indexing tables, depending on the application or on the process step within a complete facility. Consequently, also the requirements for the slip rings are different. Thanks to their modular construction, Kubler slip rings can be individually adapted to the requirements.

Many applications require, besides the transmission of electricity, also the transmission of gaseous or liquid media. Kubler offers its customers a solution also for these applications: ready-to-mount assembled combinations of an electrical slip ring and a suitable media lead-through ensure its customers a significantly simplified and fast installation in the production plant.

Universal and reliable 
 
As standard, the transmission of Ethernet data in Kubler slip rings is based on a contacting transmission technology. A specially developed electrical shield concept, combined with a high-quality, reliable contact system, allows the slip rings to transmit very reliably, in addition to electrical currents up to 120 A and electrical signals, also Ethernet-based data. It allows achieving transmission rates up to 100 MB per second.

Data transmission is independent of the Ethernet protocol and can therefore be used universally For transmission rates beyond 100 MB/s, Kubler uses a non-contacting transmission technology, which allows achieving transmission rates up to 1 GB/s. 

Integrated sensors 
 
The collection of suitable operating data is the basic prerequisite for the control and optimization of the production processes and the efficient timing of the production orders. In modern facilities, this is achieved thanks to extensive installation of sensors in all plant elements, up to the product. Suitable sensors also allow generating information about the operating condition of the single components. Thanks to predictive maintenance, they contribute to prevent unscheduled facility downtime due to defect or wear of single components. This aspect is gaining importance not only in the area of industrial automation, but also in other branches and applications.

Within this context, the need for slip rings with integrated sensors to perform efficient condition monitoring is increasing. They collect information about the operating condition of the slip ring such as, for example, the remaining service life, but also data relating to operating parameters such as the temperature and the angular position. Kubler achieves this with suitable sensors integrated in the slip ring. Kubler also produces the sensors for measuring the angular position. This gives the "traditionally passive component" slip ring an increasing active role and it is to be expected that this trend will continue.