devices (such as vision sensors and RFID controllers) supporting SLMP, monitoring and collecting data can be performed from virtually anywhere on the network. From a platform point of view, specific network protocol choice is less of an issue these days, as most vendors will support multiple protocols. Mitsubishi Electric’s protocol of choice is CC-Link – a high-speed, high reliability protocol with options at field level - with the original CC-Link fieldbus as well as the CC Link IE Field industrial Ethernet variant and control level through CC-Link IE Control. Mitsubishi Electric also offers a best in class servo system control network (SSCNET III/H) offering flexible, long-distance wiring capabilities based on optical fibre cable topology. However, the advantages of an automation platform go beyond just control. A further key benefit of a true automation platform is an integrated engineering environment, delivering further reductions in total cost of ownership. This single engineering environment provides tools for system design, programming, debugging and maintenance, ensuring consistency of the complete lifecycle of the system. As an example, Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ-

Works software suite provides tools to address the challenge in engineering to

develop and efficiently maintain advanced production lines over the whole product lifecycle. Rather than having to rely on separate software tools for different products, engineers using iQ Works benefit from a complete integrated engineering software suite for Mitsubishi Electric’s PLCs, servo systems, motion controllers, variable speed drives, HMIs, PC-based controllers, robots and CNC systems.

THE JOURNEY TO INDUSTRY 4.0 We can see, then, that the PLC-based automation platform has much to offer manufacturers of all scales and at all points on the journey to an Industry 4.0 environment. The integrated control components within the iQ Platform offer

the system designer the option to implement an optimised control system that integrates different control processes onto one common platform. The high-speed system bus enables fast data communication between these processes and ensures that the high accuracy requirements of the application are satisfied. When processes require control systems to be separated, the seamless network architecture of the iQ Platform offers a best-in-class multiple hierarchy, with seamless communication between the various network layers at fast communication speeds. Finally, the engineering environment complements the hardware integration by enabling various project management features to be shared across the individual programming and design software tools. For a significant proportion of

manufacturers – those looking to take a holistic view of their operations and push efficiency, productivity, speed of development and reliability of their production processes to new levels – the automation platform provides the very best foundation to work from to achieve smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

Mitsubishi Electric


Easy and fast set up of guarding, workstations and assembly platforms thanks to modular design

New photoelectric sensors from ifm electronic survive exposure to oils and coolants


he superior performance of the O6 range of miniature photoelectric sensors from market leader ifm has led to their widespread use in a short space of time. While standard photocells struggle when soaked in oils and coolants, the new O6 400 Series is designed and tested specifically to withstand such aggressive media. The O6 400 Series, in a housing with standard 1” mounting centres, is available in

four sensing configurations with PNP and NPN versions released. The through-beam and retro-reflective versions provide long range sensing with 10m and 5m respectively, while the diffuse sensor will detect objects at 600mm. Probably the best-performing background suppressed sensor on the market, the O6H, will sense reliably at 200mm without any influence of background materials, however reflective!

ifm u 020 8213 0000 u CONNECTINGINDUSTRY.COM/DESIGNSOLUTIONS mk Profile Systems Limited

a company of the mk Technology Group Unit 2·Wolds Farm Business Park

Kinoulton Lane·Kinoulton·Nottinghamshire, NG12 3EQ Phone +44 (0)1949 823751·Fax +44 (0)1949 81270·


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