The term machine automation refers to techniques and equipment used to automate the operation of a piece of machinery, production line, or manufacturing process. Examples include CNC machine tools, automated production lines, and robotic controls. Benefits include lower unit and labor costs, increased production volumes, greater flexibility and repeatability, and improved machine utilization. A common example is CNC lathes that automatically machine complex parts to precise tolerances.
There are many levels of automation. These include:
Simple programmable logic controller (PLC) for machine control
Complex integrated systems managed by multiple controllers
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for managing entire production processes
Common features of machine automation include hardware, such as PLCs, servo controllers, and machine inputs and outputs controlled by a program written in a PLC programming language. Advanced Controls and Distribution is a Siemens distributor supplying the full range of Siemens automation systems.
Automation hardware includes PLCs, human-machine interfaces (HMI), motion controllers, and data communication systems.
The PLC represents the brains of any automation solution. It is programmed using special PLC software to perform certain actions. The Siemens PLC family includes different models including:
Simple LOGO controllers
Basic S7-1200 controllers
Advanced S7-300, 400, and 1500 controllers
PC-based industrial computers
The HMI allows operators to control PLC systems. They have touch-sensitive display screens that you can configure flexibly to suit the process. Screen programmable options include soft switches, process flow charts, and graphical data. Other options include SIMATIC flat panel displays and SENTRON instrumentation displays.
Most Siemens PLCs don't incorporate a power supply and use an external power supply to supply regulated 24-volt DC power to the PLC. Depending on the model, PLC power supply outputs include 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-amps DC. Siemens power supplies incorporate short circuit protection to protect PLC equipment from damage and power surges.
Siemens motion controllers incorporate accurate speed and positioning control suitable for precise motor positioning and speed control and robotic controls. SIMOTION controllers are compatible with analog and digital inputs and outputs.
Siemens' SINUMERIK and SINAMICS CNC controllers are specifically engineered for computer numerical control applications required for precision machining centers and lathes. Components include programmable controllers, expansion units, keyboards, operator panels, and remote handheld controllers. Wireless and Data Interface Connections We carry a full selection of third-party data collection and interface ports suitable for USB, wireless, and Ethernet connections between distributed PLCs and controllers.
Components include a full range of terminal blocks, feed-through terminals, and terminal bridges. Other components include DIN rail accessories, circuit breakers, fuse blocks, heavy-duty connectors, and enclosures.
We carry a comprehensive selection of Siemens machine automation software. These include:
SIMATIC Step7 Basic
SIMATIC S7-1200 starter kit
SIMATIC Step 7 Professional
SIMATIC S7 software for windows
SIMATIC WinCC server software for SCADA systems