Sick pursues the objective of making innovative technologies controllable by shifting intelligence into the sensors and controllers.
In this context, the slogan “10 minutes to green” describes a crucial secondary condition for the success of safe control technology: In relation to the respective application, it is imperative that safety solutions can be migrated and that they are, at the same time, designable and configurable so easily as to allow setting up, testing, and integrating the basic functions into the respective world of automation within ten minutes, rendering them usable in operations. Along these lines, the sens: Control platform was extended further.
Today, it is possible to operate or, respectively, implement complex machines and applications in safe ways only if the safety solutions are capable of being integrated into the respective world of automation regarding communication and data technology. With respect to the area of network solutions, nowadays connections to standard buses such as Profibus-DP, CANOpen, or DeviceNet as well as to safe fieldbuses, e.g. ASI-Safety, DeviceNet Safety, or PROFIsafe are standard. The network solutions from SICK not only meet this technical requirement but owing to the FDT/DTM technology of the software tools, they also allow fast and continuous integration into higher-ranking engineering tools. Using the new bi-directional gateways for Ethernet TCP/IP, Profinet IO, Modbus TCP, and Profibus-DP now also ensures continuous and complete integration of the Flexi Soft safety controller into the respective world of automation. Via Ethernet TCP/IP, data-related direct access from the superimposed control level all the way down to Flexi Soft and the connected sensor technology, e.g. an S3000 safety laser scanner, is possible – among other things for downloading parameters, for diagnostic purposes, and for remote repair of errors.
Apart from its capacity for integration, an additional strength of Flexi Soft is the possibility of convenient wiring and intuitive parameterisation of the individual modules to yield an application-related, safe control solution. This is made possible by the Flexi Soft Designer used to plan any safety application. One can select the modules and sensors via mouse click, positioning them freely, designating them by name (tag names), and wiring them per drag & drop. In doing so, the user receives additional support by the display of the wiring logic and connection diagrams. Parallel to configuration, Flexi Soft Designer draws up the connection diagram and generates machine documentation usable in several languages. The simulation mode permits testing and diagnosis at the desk but also in online mode directly on the facility. During commissioning, it is even possible to activate inputs and outputs even without a connected sensor, thus simulating the switching behaviour. In this way, no precious time is wasted by waiting for components.