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Stimulus for growth in the wood industry


"Making more out of wood" is the motto of this year's LIGNA trade fair being held May 6-11 in Hanover, Germany. When it comes to the automation of wood processing machines, B&R does this motto justice by providing state-of-the-art solutions to help manufacturers become more efficient and competitive.

Visitors in Hanover will find all kinds of exciting new innovations at Booth B34 in Hall 25, where they can get a look at the latest in automation technology from B&R. The solutions presented by B&R integrate every aspect of machine automation, providing perfect coordination of control, HMI, drive technology, safety and decentralized I/O communication.

In addition to this high level of integration, B&R solutions also offer users convenient and flexible scalability. With a single development environment, Automation Studio, users are able to design, program, commission and service every component throughout an entire automation system. Automation Studio's modular software approach provides optimal support for efficient and sustainable project development, with functions and code that can be reused with minimal effort. This allows software developed for an entry-level machine, for example, to easily serve as the basis for a related line of mid-range or high-end machines. Machine manufacturers benefit from lower development costs, simplified project management, increased efficiency and optimized production processes.

Costs down, efficiency up

Ultimately, all of these factors come together to reduce costs and increase profit margins for machine manufacturers. This financial advantage can be passed on to the end customer to make their machines more competitive as well. In addition, end customers can boost the productivity of their systems using machines equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including today's most powerful processors. Open communication interfaces provided by B&R make it easy to integrate machines into production lines, which can then also be linked to modern ERP systems. B&R solutions also simplify remote maintenance to allow faster response times and minimize machine downtime.

The best part is that all of these advanced features come standard with every B&R solution. B&R will also be highlighting new trends in the industry that will shape the future for manufacturers of wood processing machines. The three pillars underlying B&R's appearance at the LIGNA exhibition include integrated safety technology, increased energy efficiency and modular solutions for mobile automation.

B&R brings you the future of safety, today

When it come to equipment safety, B&R continues to demonstrate its dominance over other solutions on the market with an integrated safety concept that has proven itself for years. The particular advantage of this approach is the successful unification of gray and yellow modules into a single system – with regard to both hardware and software. Information can flow freely and wiring reduced to an absolute minimum, making the system as a whole much more flexible.

B&R is now expanding this successful concept in two directions: on the one hand with SafeLOGIC-X, a virtual safety solution that does not require a safety controller, and on the other with the integration of CNC and robotics for high-end solutions. This allows users to monitor individual drives with functions such as STO (Safe Torque Off), SLS (Safely Limited Speed) and SLT (Safety Limited Torque). They can also control the TCP (tool center point) of a CNC system or robot using SLS. Of course, the software is also equipped to monitor the entire kinematic chain.

All in all, the B&R solution achieves response times that are five to ten times faster than conventional solutions on the market, with the extreme level of integration presenting additional advantages for machine manufacturers and their customers. These advantage include reduced wiring, which sinks costs, and the boost in productivity brought about by higher maximum speeds. Yet the most impressive advantage of all of this integration is that it provides elegant solutions for new machine concepts that would be difficult or unwieldy to implement with traditional safety technology.

Improved energy efficiency with minimal effort

For individuals and companies alike, increased energy efficiency has become both a personal and a strategic goal. In the absence of a solution to efficiently manage energy data, however, this goal is doomed to fail – with previous attempts proving prohibitively complex and expensive. B&R now holds the answer with APROL EnMon, a combined hardware/software solution for monitoring and analyzing energy consumption in production systems.

A clear and comprehensive overview of all consumption is an essential first step in planning and implementing effective measures to conserve energy. APROL EnMon can be implemented in two phases. The first phase provides energy monitoring with a minimal investment, while the second phase allows the solution to be expanded at any time to add energy management features.

Mobile automation: Solutions for forestry

B&R will also be presenting a new line of mobile automation products for the very first time at the LIGNA exhibition. Forestry equipment and vehicles operate in especially harsh environments, where they are exposed to extreme temperatures and moisture in addition the mechanical stress brought on by shock and vibration. B&R mobile automation components meet the most stringent requirements for durability and reliability while also providing all of the advantages of traditional B&R systems: integration, scalability and quality for maximum efficiency during development and throughout the machine's entire lifecycle.

Profiting from experience in the plastics industry

As a supplier for machine manufacturers in all types of industries, B&R has made a name for itself as a skilled and reliable partner with an eye on the future and a knack for thinking outside the box. These characteristics are especially important when manufacturers are looking to pursue developing trends and promote new technologies. Recently, the wood industry has seen a clear trend toward new materials such as WPCs (wood-plastic composites). The wider range of forming options and improved technical characteristics compared to traditional wood materials have contributed to double-digit growth in the WPC market over the past few years.

The production of WPCs involves processes that are unconventional for the wood industry. These processes, like injection molding and extrusion, are more typical of the plastics industry. With B&R's leading position in the plastics industry, manufacturers of wood processing machines can benefit from well-established processing solutions that can be applied to the production of WPCs.

Pizzato Michele

"In Hanover, B&R will be highlighting industry trends that will shape the future for manufacturers of wood processing machines. The three pillars underlying B&R's appearance at the LIGNA exhibition include integrated safety technology, increased energy efficiency and modular solutions for mobile automation." Michele Pizzato, International Sales Manager for Spain and wood industry specialist

SafeLOGIC-X is a virtual safety solution that does not require a hardware safety controller. Safety signals are handled by standard controllers, safe I/O modules and HMI units.
Energy efficiency is a hot topic in nearly every industry. With APROL EnMon, B&R offers a combined hardware/software solution for monitoring and analyzing all energy consumption throughout an entire production system.
Wikipedia Creative Commons_VarunRajendran
The wood industry is seeing increased use of new materials such as wood plastic composites. The production of these materials involves processes from the plastics industry, where B&R has been well-established for years. Manufacturers of wood processing machines can benefit from this experience. (Source: VarunRajendran)

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