So, what do you do when you need something that doesn't exist? The answer is clear, namely to look for a partner that offers the right portfolio and know-how to develop such technology. "For us, it became clear that B&R would be the ideal partner," sums up Schuman, explaining why: "Not only do they offer everything from drives to HMI, they are also one of the few manufacturers able to achieve the cycle times we needed."
To see why cycle times are so important for increasing the productivity of the B6, all it takes is a bit of math. To deliver 25% higher output its predecessors, the die-cutter would have to achieve 500 strokes per minute instead of the previous 400. That means each stroke must be completed not in 150 but 120 milliseconds.
Now, 30 milliseconds may not seem to be much of a game changer. At least, not until you consider that Berhalter also intended to integrate real-time stroke correction as an additional innovation. Earlier Berhalter machines performed stroke correction using tendency control – making adjustments based on measurements performed over many strokes. The Swiss Die-Cutter B6, on the other hand, reads the stroke rate in real time and corrects it during the die-cutting process. The key to this impressive technological leap are the intelligent servo axes.
But what is it that makes a servo axis intelligent? In the case of the B6, the secret is B&R's reACTION Technology. Using FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays), intelligence is outsourced from the control cabinet directly into the field, opening up enormous flexibility for the user. "reACTION Technology can be installed anywhere on a machine and allows response times of less than one microsecond without any load on the PLC," explains Paolo Salvagno, Managing Director of B&R Switzerland.