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nov 17, 2017

Decentralization of the Highest Order

Greater flexibility and modularity are major trends in machine and plant engineering. It is increasingly common for base machines and optional functional units to be manufactured as separate mechanical and electronic units that are joined together only shortly before commissioning the full system. The installation hardware must live up to the modularity of the machine. The Murrelektronik Cube67 field bus system is exactly the right solution. With the combination of a Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway and the straightforward integration of IO-Link, Cube67 paves the way toward decentralization and digitalization in the cloud using OPC UA.

A system line (green) carries communication data and supply voltages

With the Cube67 field bus system, no slot goes unused

The network topology and any faults that arise are clearly visualized in a user-friendly, multilingual web interface

Sensors and actuators can be connected with the shortest possible wires

The Murrelektronik Cube67 system follows the trend toward modularization and is designed for modularity down to the finest details. Already used in well over 100,000 machines and plants in diverse industries and applications, the system can boast an impressively large number of different modular variants.

Many of these are equipped with multi-functional slots that can be configured as inputs or outputs, enabling flexible installation concepts that are custom designed for the specifically required number of IOs at the sensor/actuator level in order to meet the customer’s precise needs. This cost-efficient solution leaves practically no slot unused to achieve the purest form of decentralization.

One major advantage of the Cube system is the “single-cable strategy”: Both communication and power are carried over just one system cable. This leaves cable ducts and energy chains quite empty, meaning that they can be designed smaller from the start or even eliminated entirely. The six-pole M12 connector also rules out the possibility of incorrect connections.

Up to 32 modules can be connected to the four lines of each bus node within an installation radius of 60 m, making the Cube system excellently suited for even extensive installations. The lines are protected by integrated electronic fuses (MICO), the proven Murrelektronik current monitoring system. This saves space in the rack cabinet by removing the need for circuit breakers.

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

Machine option management – One concept for all variants

To prevent difficulties in getting 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 standardized full configuration. The components actually present in the real machine are activated automatically, making configuration for all the different variants of the machine a breeze. This simplification streamlines everything for the user. Optional add-ons can be configured easily with the press of a button. No need for time-consuming software modifications.

Direct integration of safety signals

The idea of streamlined machine installation poses a particular challenge when it comes to integrating safety aspects. The Cube system offers an extremely interesting solution to this problem: Combining Cube67 K3 modules with the MVK Metal Safety block module is an affordable way to replicate 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 sockets suitable for double connections. This multiplication of the safety outputs is a simple but effective way to reduce both costs and labor. Safety sensors are integrated directly into the installation concept with this approach, and eliminating the need for a safety relay significantly reduces the wiring workload while saving considerable space in the rack cabinet.

Highly detailed diagnosis of the entire installation

One of the core advantages of the Cube system is its impressive range of informative diagnostic capabilities, which extend from the bus node across the entire installation down to the individual modules and channels. The extensive information saves time during commissioning but is of particular advantage during troubleshooting in consideration of the immense costs that can result from even short downtimes.

Cube offers an easily identifiable diagnosis with red LEDs that show the employee at a glance which slot is affected by a fault. This diagnostic functionality can be used in detail via programming on the relevant control system.

The Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway nevertheless offers a more efficient, time-saving, and highly integrated method of diagnosis as it allows for troubleshooting without any programming at all. The module is unique in the market and is suitable for both new and existing installations.

The Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway precisely evaluates all signals and diagnostic messages from the entire installation, independently of the control system. The network topology and any faults that arise are clearly visualized 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 independent of the control system, making it an integral aspect of the installation that need not be changed along with a change of control system.

52 smart IO-Link devices in a single node

Thanks to specially designed modules, Cube67 is also excellently suited for the integration of smart IO-Link sensors. Up to 52 IO-Link devices can be connected to a single node – an impressive number compared with the competition! Murrelektronik makes installation even easier with a broad selection of accessories for IO-Link integration, including analog/IO-Link converters, inductive couplers, and hubs.

Anyone looking to realize flexible and modular installation concepts and increase the modularity of existing machines and systems will find the Cube67 to be a versatile and powerful solution. The system opens the door to Industry 4.0, but not only for new installations. The Cube67 Diagnostics Gateway also makes it possible to optimally upgrade existing solutions to new standards.