A flexible and modular solution for machinery

For those looking to realise flexible and modular installation concepts and increase the modularity of existing machines and systems, Murrelektronik’s Cube67 is a

versatile and powerful solution. Here the company explains why


t is becoming increasingly common for standard machines and their

optional additional units to be manufactured as separate mechanical and electronic units and then joined together just before the full system is commissioned. This, however, means that the installation hardware must live up to the modularity of the machine. A solution to this can be found with the Cube67 fieldbus system from Murrelektronik. With the combination of a Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway and the straightforward integration of IO-Link, Cube67 paves the way toward decentralisation and digitalisation in the cloud using OPC UA.

SYSTEM ADVANTAGES Advancing the trend towards flexibility and offering the modularity required for today’s applications, the Cube67 system (which can boast an impressively large number of different products) is already in use in over 100,000 machines and plants in diverse industries and applications worldwide. Many of these are equipped with

multifunctional ports that can be configured as inputs or outputs, enabling flexible installation concepts that are customised for IOs at the sensor/actuator level in order to meet the customer’s needs. This cost-efficient solution leaves practically no port unused to achieve decentralisation at its finest. One major advantages of the system

is the ‘one cable strategy’, where both communication and power are carried


over just one system cable. This leaves cable channels and energy chains available, meaning that they can either be designed smaller from the start or eliminated. The six-pole M12 connector also removes the possibility of wiring errors. Up to 32 modules can be connected to each bus node, using four lines within an installation radius of 60m, making the Cube system suited to extensive installations. The lines are protected by integrated electronic fuses (MICO), the proven Murrelektronik current monitoring system. This saves space in the control cabinet as there is no need for circuit breakers. There is a complete portfolio of

modules – ranging from protection level IP20 to IP67 and even IP69K – available. Meanwhile, the communication only ever runs through a single bus node, which can also be swapped out depending on the protocol in use. As a result, it is also possible to change the protocol without changing the system. In other words, an identical installation concept (Profibus, ProfiNet, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT) can be designed for different protocols by simply choosing the appropriate bus node. The streamlining potential of this concept is unbelievable.

MOM AND DIAGNOSTICS To prevent difficulties when getting different machine modules to work together, the Cube system offers machine option management (MOM). The related hardware and software planning is carried out virtually based on a standardised full configuration. The components actually present in the real machine are activated automatically, making configuration for all the different parts of the machine a breeze. This simplification streamlines

Left: The one cable system (green cordset) carries communication data and supply voltages

everything for the user. Optional add-ons can be configured easily with the press of a button. There is no need for time- consuming software modifications. Of further benefit, combining Cube67

K3 modules with the MVK Metal Safety block module is an affordable way to duplicate safety outputs. The safety outputs of the MVK Metal Safety module will securely switch off up to 12 standard outputs, controlled by a ProfiNet/PROFIsafe control system (K3 functionality). They are divided between two safety circuits, each with three ports suitable for double connections. Safety sensors are integrated directly into the installation concept with this approach. The Cube system also has an impressive

range of informative diagnostic capabilities, which extend from the bus node across the entire installation down to the individual modules and channels. This saves time during commissioning and is a benefit during troubleshooting. Cube offers easily identifiable diagnostics with red LEDs that show maintenance, at a glance, which port is affected by an error. The Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway

allows troubleshooting without any programming at all. This precisely evaluates all signals and diagnostic messages from the entire installation, independently of the control system. The network topology and any errors that arise are clearly visualised in a user-friendly, multilingual, web interface. The data is also available over a

standard OPC UA interface for further analysis in any cloud system. This all takes place entirely independently of the control system, making it an integral aspect of the installation that need not be changed even if the control system is changed.

With the Cube67 fieldbus system, no port goes unused

SMART SENSORS Thanks to specially designed modules, Cube67 is also suited to the integration of smart IO-Link sensors. Up to 52 IO-Link devices can be connected to a single node; and Murrelektronik makes installation even easier with a wide selection of accessories for IO-Link integration, including analogue/IO-Link converters, inductive couplers, and hubs.


Sensors and actuators can be connected with the

shortest possible cables 

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