Machine Builders Industry

Industry Overview

Manufacturing laser cutting machine

The machine building industry encompasses the design, development, and production of customized machines, equipment, and systems across various market segments. It focuses on enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency, and automating complex tasks. From simple mechanisms to advanced automated systems, these machines are utilized in manufacturing, assembly, packaging, and material handling processes. The industry combines expertise in control systems, automation, mechanical, and electrical engineering, and the integration of advanced technologies to deliver innovative and reliable solutions for diverse industrial applications.

One of the most critical and challenging aspects of machine building is developing a robust control system that can process large amounts of data, perform complex calculations, and facilitate communication across the system all at extremely high speeds. As a leading software provider for Real-time and EtherCAT technology, acontis technologies plays an important role in enabling such functionality.

The manufacturing sub-sector involves the design and development of machines that produce and fabricate a vast array of goods and parts. These machines utilize diverse manufacturing techniques, including additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing and material extrusion), CNC milling, lathes and turning, pressing, and injection molding to efficiently create complex, uniform, and repeatable objects.

For such machines, advanced motion control is crucial, requiring precise synchronization of servo drives to achieve fast and coordinated movements. In this regard, acontis' EtherCAT Master stack, EC-Master, offers the option of a Class A master with Distributed Clocks (DC). This feature enables synchronization between the master and slave devices, enabling users to develop applications and equipment that meet stringent requirements for precise motion control.

Machine builders in the automotive industry face the challenge of developing advanced machinery capable of assembling intricate vehicle components. With the surging demand for new automotive technologies, including electric vehicles and autonomous driving, there is a need for fresh and innovative high-speed manufacturing processes with impeccable precision. These requirements call for effective management of high-speed processes, minimizing downtime, and compliance with strict quality and safety regulations.

In addition to addressing real-time motion control, data monitoring, and network diagnostics, acontis recognizes the significance of hardware availability and extensive lead times as a major concern within the automotive industry. To mitigate these challenges, we offer EC-Simulator, a groundbreaking software product that enables EtherCAT application development and testing without the need for physical hardware. This innovative approach provides enhanced control, flexibility, and efficiency, all of which contribute to overall production efficiency. As a result, automotive machine builders can meet the industry's demanding requirements while upholding the highest standards of quality and safety.

The printing and packaging sub-sector involves equipment that typically operates under demanding conditions with high-speed and continuous operations, often running 24/7. In such an environment, machinery must deliver consistent product quality, achieve precise motion control, minimize downtime, and limit waste—a formidable challenge given the speed and volume of production.

acontis' technologies offers a suite of EtherCAT and Real-time software tools and libraries specifically designed to address these challenges. Our EC-Master solution enables real-time communication within the network, supporting precise motion control and synchronization for high-speed operations. Furthermore, with the advanced monitoring and diagnostic capabilities found in EC-Engineer and EC-Monitor, manufacturers can proactively identify and address issues, reducing equipment downtime and ensuring product consistency. In addition to our EtherCAT solutions, acontis also offers Real-time Hypervisor solutions that enable hardware consolidation. This technology allows multiple real-time and non-real-time operating systems to run concurrently on a single hardware platform. As a result, various applications can coexist on the same controller, leading to significant cost and space savings. For instance, a real-time control application running on a Real-time Operating System (RTOS) can operate alongside a non-real-time user interface running on Windows, all within the same hardware environment. This consolidation eliminates the need for separate controllers or dedicated hardware for each application, reducing costs associated with additional hardware components and minimizing physical space requirements.

The material handling sub-sector encompasses machinery and equipment used for the movement, storage, and control of materials within a warehouse or factory. Such equipment includes conveyor systems, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), forklifts, robotic arms, and more. The main challenges include the need for machine flexibility to handle a variety of materials, ensuring operator safety, reducing equipment downtime, and improving system interoperability for efficient material management.

acontis' comprehensive suite of EtherCAT software and tools provides exceptional capabilities for machine control and configuration, empowering flexible, adaptable, and efficient operations. One notable feature is the advanced safety functionality, FailSafe over EtherCAT (FSoE), available in acontis' EtherCAT Master stack, EC-Master. With EC-Master, machine developers can design and implement safety measures that ensure both the safety of users and the efficiency of warehouse and factory operations.

Machine builders in the pharmaceutical industry are tasked with creating complex machinery capable of precise drug formulation, rigorous testing, and secure packaging. With the increasing demand for personalized medicine, high-volume vaccine production, and cutting-edge medical testing and diagnostics, the need for machinery that can handle varied production scenarios while ensuring accuracy and repeatability is essential. Challenges in this sector include meeting rigorous regulatory standards, ensuring process repeatability, and preserving product integrity in harsh environments.

acontis' EtherCAT and Real-time hypervisor solutions enable developers in the pharmaceutical industry to create cutting-edge machinery that excels in control, reliability, and safety. Our solutions offer superior control over complex drives and devices, ensuring precise and synchronized operations. Fast and reliable data transfer capabilities enable seamless communication and efficient data management. Furthermore, a safety-centric approach supports compliance with regulatory requirements and the safeguarding of personnel and products.

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