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Sick adds PROFINET and EtherCAT capability to its AFS60/AFM60 Programmable Absolute Encoders

SICK has extended the communications capability of its programmable Ethernet AFS60 single-turn and AFM60 multi-turn encoders with the addition of PROFINET and EtherCAT protocol compatibility.

The Sick AFS60/AFM60 absolute encoders deliver production control and plant availability essential to the fine control of automated and rotating axis machinery. With unprecedented levels of reliability and accuracy, as well as enhanced monitoring and diagnostics, the range now delivers compatibility with the most-widely used Distributed Control System industrial net-based communication protocols.

The AFS60/AFM60 absolute encoders are designed for both precision applications and harsh industrial conditions, supported by enclosure ratings of IP65 or IP67 and a wide temperature range from -30°C to +85°C.

SICK’s AFS60 and AFM60 with EtherNet/IP were the first industrial encoders to integrate DLR (Device Level Ring) technology for continuous monitoring of network integrity. They enabled seamless network communications even with cable breaks and swift remedial action, helping prevent downtime.

"The addition of PROFINET and EtherCAT variants of the AFS60 and AFM60 increase the power and flexibility of this product family," according to Darren Pratt, SICK UK Encoder Product Manager.

"More and more, machine builders are starting to design Industrial Ethernet networks into their new machine designs. One of the main drivers is the accessibility of advanced diagnostic data provided by advanced intelligent field devices such as the Ethernet/IP, PROFINET and EtherCAT AFS60 and AFM60 absolute encoders. SICK encoders deliver class-leading diagnostic capabilities to meet these requirements."

The innovative round loop capability of the SICK AFM60 PROFINET, EtherCAT and EtherNet/IP multi-turn encoders cuts programming and hardware costs for machine builders. Their rotary axis function enables the number of encoded rotations to be defined as a fraction, an important function for rotary applications such as turntables or power presses which often have gearing between the encoder and rotating axis. This saves complicated PLC calculations and control programming, and so cuts costs during installation, maintenance and service.

The encoders’ comprehensive new integrated diagnostic capabilities simplify commissioning. Security against failure is significantly increased, so reducing risks of downtime and increasing plant availability.

Temperature limits within the encoder are user-programmable. When a Sick EtherNet/IP or EtherCAT encoder reaches the defined maximum or minimum value, the encoder generates a message to the controller warning of a potentially critical state.

All SICK Ethernet encoders feature two operating hour counters; one starts when power is switched on, the other monitors actual shaft rotations. This information can be utilised to create preventative maintenance alerts relating to the mechanical components connected to the encoder.

To help speed up commissioning and network diagnostics each encoder has five dual colour LEDs that continuously show the current operating state of encoder functions and data transfer.

In addition to position information, each encoder provides speed and acceleration feedback. By monitoring these values, speed and acceleration sensitive components in the drive chain can be protected.

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