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  • Writer's pictureMatt Prellwitz

3 Built-in Features of Beckhoff Servo Drives You Should Know About

Onboard gantry brake, cogging compensation and collision detection help machines step up their motion control capabilities

Beckhoff servo drives and servomotors

One major benefit of using a single automation platform is how simple it is to provide standard features for a wide range of products and applications. Beckhoff drive technology is no exception. Beckhoff makes sizing and commissioning easy with Motion Designer, and when it comes to performance, we offer some excellent functionality by default. The three highlighted features below, which are easy to configure in our Drive Manager, offer significant performance and uptime benefits when deployed on our AX5000, AX8000, AMP8000, ELM72xx and other servo drive solutions.

1. Gantry brake in Beckhoff servo drives

With mechanically linked hard gantry systems, even a brief drive fault on just one side can skew the system, creating a big headache. At best, your maintenance team will need to recalibrate the gantry to make sure both sides are aligned. At worst, the system could suffer damage in the mechanics, leading to excess repair costs and prolonged downtime. This issue regularly pops up in CNC cutting machines, as well as assembly, packaging and material handling – nearly any application where two axes are working together to move something heavy.

The built-in gantry brake functionality in Beckhoff servo drives eliminates this issue. By configuring gantry brake in the Drive Manager, each drive always knows the state of the other. If one faults, the other signals the motor to stop within 62.5 microseconds. This exponentially reduces the risk of damage and the need to recalibrate the system. In most cases, an operator can simply restart the machine so it can finish from where it stopped.

2. Cogging compensation for next-level servo performance

Applications that require ultra-smooth motion, such as continuous winding or printing machines, often face limitations from servomotor cogging. These fluctuations in torque commonly occur in synchronous servomotors with permanent magnets, especially at lower speeds. To eliminate these fluctuations, Beckhoff drive technology offers integrated cogging compensation. This feature significantly improves the motion characteristics of the servomotor, particularly at speeds of 500 rpm or less. Tests of cogging compensation with AM8000 servomotors have shown that customers can reduce velocity ripple errors by a factor of 10.

All Beckhoff servo drive product families offer this anti-cogging functionality, as do many servomotors (when indicated in the device’s electronic nameplate). As an onboard feature, cogging compensation is enabled by default in the TwinCAT Drive Manager. A quick configuration leads to next-level motion optimization.

3. Collision detection reduces potential damage

Onboard collision detection in Beckhoff servo drives minimizes the potential for harm to tooling or products. Not to be confused with the collision avoidance functionality for our XTS and XPlanar products, collision detection functionality quickly stops the servomotors when needed. This feature in the servo drive monitors torque and stops the motor if it experiences an excitation spike beyond set parameters.

In real-world applications, this can increase the working life of machine tools, such as routers and cutting heads, by stopping motion before parts or tooling they become too hot and breaks. For a Delta robot or gantry, it could reduce harm to an object in the way of the robot’s movement – as well as damage to the robot or gantry itself. This powerful and precise built-in feature, combined with cogging compensation and gantry brake, offers exciting new possibilities to step up the motion control in your machines.

Want to enhance the drive technology in your industrial automation applications? Contact your local Beckhoff sales engineer today!


Matt Prellwitz is the Drive Technology Product Manager for Beckhoff Automation LLC.


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