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Tuning for pneumatic drives

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THIRTY per cent faster cycle times? What was impossible in the past is completely feasible now. Festo has introduced the Smart Soft Stop with a new end-position controller SPC-11 and expanded functionality.

This means that the advantages of the Smart Soft Stop system can now be exploited with standard and swivel cylinders just as with cylinders with an intermediate position.

The Smart Soft Stop system with SPC 11 (almost) makes the impossible possible. A reduction of up to 30% in the travel times of pneumatic drives and a dramatic lowering of vibration levels increase productivity and enhance the service life of overall installations.

It may sound paradoxical, but this increase in speed is achieved by optimising retardation characteristics. Festo's innovative Smart Soft Stop system provides controlled counter-pressurisation before the end of a stroke.

The advantages in concrete figures: A regular DGPL rodless linear drive with shock absorbers achieves, for example, 13 double strokes in 20 seconds.

Without shock absorbers or sensors, but coupled to an electronic end-position controller and a linear potentiometer, the same drive achieves 21 double strokes in the same time.

This requires a displacement encoder, an MPYE 5/3-way proportional valve and a small electronic end-position controller (SPC 11).

This continuously compares the setpoint and actual positions of the drive and uses the proportional directional control valve to optimise the cylinder motion.

Advantages of the system are:

* The Smart Soft Stop system with SPC11 offers the option of travel to two additional freely-selectable intermediate positions without the need for fixed stops.

* The position feedback signals for the two intermediate positions can also be used to pre-activate subsequent functions.

* The swivel drive DSMI and the rodless drive DGPI/L are two further standard drives with integrated displacement encoders which can be used with Smart Soft Stop.

Smart Soft Stop enables intermediate or end positions to be reached quicker and with less vibration and noise.

These intermediate positions open up further possible areas of applications for pneumatics, such as ejector or waiting positions, which can be produced by conventional means only at high cost.

The Smart Soft Stop system can be integrated into control sequences using only two digital inputs and two digital outputs. Direct retrofitting of existing installations is possible in certain cases.

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