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Integrated system for safety and control of high-performance automated machines

Development of new integrated safety solutions for automated machines

Nowadays there is a trend in the woodworking industry towards customisation. More than 70% of furniture production in Europe is carried out by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For SMEs as well as for large manufacturers, satisfying customer needs by producing just-in-time (JIT) customised furniture at low cost is crucial to staying in business. One of the features that make machine tools highly flexible is the ability to vary cutting conditions over an extremely wide range in order to best adapt them to the physical/geometric characteristics of the tool and piece. For this reason, machines have evolved to include: - Spindles/Electro-spindles capable of providing torque at an extremely high range of speeds (from several hundreds to several tens of thousands of rpm - rotation per minute); - Electronic control/power devices able to continuously vary power conditions (voltage, frequency, phase, etc.) optimising all electrical machine operating parameters (torque, yield, etc.) in any conditions (both operating and transitory regimes); - Automatic tool locking devices on the spindle; - Automatic tool change and storage devices. All this clearly generated both an increase in flexibility and productivity as well as the possible risk factors. Incorrect rotation speed settings, erroneous tool positioning in the storage unit, the ever-possible control electronic faults, and accidental loss of saved data can all generate - also given the extreme reactivity of systems - 'catastrophic' reactions, which are extremely hazardous for the user. This is why the evolution of safety regulations tends to enforce more careful management of these elements. From this standpoint, the inspection of axis and electro-spindle operating conditions has played - and will continue to play - an extremely important role; an inspection that can be summed up in the following sentence: 'it must be ensured that operating conditions are always as close as possible to those set by the user and never beyond the physical limits of all devices used (tool included)'. To reach this described goal, various measures can be taken, each featuring precise residual risks. The proposed ISS project aims to study, develop and produce a safety and control system to be integrated first in new woodworking machinery and later on the generic high-performance automated machines. The main tasks of the project will mainly interest: - sensoristic parts (electronic components aimed at acquiring specific information from a generic machine). - electronic parts (components, related functional software and electronic cards designed to locally collect, manage and transmit process/machine data (acquired by sensoristic parts and by other components already embedded in the machine). - software and network applications (operating systems, safety SW - Software, specific tools and HMI (Human Machine Interface) to be implemented in the remote data centre). Keywords: safety, reliability, machinery.
Acronym: 
ISS
Project ID: 
3 891
Start date: 
01-11-2006
Project Duration: 
25months
Project costs: 
1 660 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Machining (turning, drilling, moulding, milling, planing, cutting)
Market Area: 
Machine tools, other metal working equipment (excluding numeric control)

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.