Enabling EtherNet/IP Connectivity
The new release features significant enhancements enabled by improved QuickStick HT capabilities, starting with the network architecture and communication protocol. The initial offering was hardwired and based on node controllers using RS-422 serial communication. The updated product features Ethernet-compatible node controllers – and takes advantage of the network’s higher bandwidth.
“Hardwired RS-422 communication has its limits, and it is not typically used in our industry,” Laurence said. “Our latest KS PULSE system, built on EtherNet/IP™, has more capacity – and uses a protocol that is familiar to system integrators.”
Integrated Safety Reduces Component Count
In addition, while the original QuickStick HT relied on a niche drive, the product now includes Allen-Bradley® Kinetix® 5700 servo drive technology.
“Using a recognized, standard servo drive makes our product more accessible to integrators across the industry,” Laurence said. “It really helps lower that learning curve.”
The Kinetix 5700 servo also features integrated advanced safety, including Safe Torque-Off functionality. With the Safe Torque-Off function, power that can cause motion is removed from the linear motor – without powering down the entire system. As a result, equipment can be brought to a stop more safely – and restarted more quickly.
“To achieve functional safety in our previous solution, we had to add a wide range of components including safety-rated relays and contactors – plus all associated wiring,” said Laurence. “Thanks to integrated safety, we have reduced overall system complexity and potential points of failure.”