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Siemens unveils a new generation of drives

01 March, 2003

Siemens will unveil the first members in a new generation of drives at next month`s Hanover Fair. The new family, called Sinamics, will cover a wide spectrum of applications, from simple pump drives to complex multi-axis motion controls. All versions, from 300W to several megawatts, will share the same interface and programming techniques, and will match the company`s Simatic automation and Simotion motion control families.

At a preview of the new products in Germany recently, Helmut Gierse (above), president of Siemens` Automation and Drives (A&D) group, hailed the new drives as "a milestone" which demonstrated Siemens` technological leadership in the field of drive engineering. "Different variants of the new drive system will cover the full range in terms of power, performance, and voltage class," Gierse said.

Sinamics will provide a common platform for all future A&D drives. It will allow Siemens to supply standardised drives for all process and production industries, and will be "future-proof", Gierse said.

He pointed out that despite the growing numbers of drive variants, customers want a single drive. "If we want to boost customers` productivity," Gierse said, "we need a single drive family with a unified look and feel".

Last year, Siemens` A&D operation shrank for the first time in its history. But the 3% contraction is only half that of the market, so Gierse concludes that "we have clearly gained market share". He claims that during 2002, A&D became the world leader in the motion control and drives market, with 10% of the €31bn business.

Rather than cutting its investment in R&D, the A&D division boosted its expenditure to €511m last year, up from €498m the previous year. "Only though innovation can an automation company succeed in generating customer benefit," says Gierse.

He predicts a slight growth in the automation sector this year, but warns that it will be another difficult year and says "we can`t expect any dramatic increases".

The first two members of the Sinamics family making their debuts at Hanover are

• Sinamics G110 (above), a basic voltage-frequency drive, spanning ratings from 0.12-3kW for use on single-phase networks from 200-240V. The drives, aimed at applications such as conveyors, pumps and fans, will be available with either an analogue input or an RS-485 port, and will have three digital inputs. To make installation easy, the terminals are arranged in a similar way to those of a contactor.

• Sinamics S120 (above), a modular building block system suitable for single- and multi-axis machines, and for vector or servo applications. The control and power components are physically separate, allowing drives to be assembled with ratings from 1.6-1,100kW. The closed-loop controller can establish links between axes, allowing multi-axis installations to be configured at the click of a mouse button. All components, including motors and encoders, will connect to each other using a standard cable and connector system that will cut the number of spares. For non-Siemens motors or retrofit applications, modules will be available to convert transmitter signals to the new format.

Another S120 innovation will be the provision of "digital nameplates" holding unique identification numbers, manufacturers` codes and order numbers, which can be called up electronically either on site, or remotely via a network.

Other Siemens products making their debuts at Hanover include:

•· a new family of powerful CPUs for its Simatic S7 300 controllers;

•· three new CPUs for its ET 200 range of distributed I/O modules;

• an AS-i diagnostic analyser, designed to cut the start-up time for AS-i networks; and

• a real-time version of Ethernet which, it says, will allow more than 100 drive axes to be synchronised in less than 1΅s.

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