Synapticon: Embedded in a robot arm
Nikolai Ensslen, what are the special technical features of the new Somanet drive controller?
Ensslen: Somanet Drive 1000 Ethercat supports decentral drives of up to 1000 W, and offers its own motion control intelligence. Coming with two Ethercat interfaces, and a powerful Somanet system-on-chip, the controller is projected ahead. Robot producers who implement the new Somanet node can reckon with less cabling, and need no control cabinets for all their electronics. The servodrive creates precise sensor-supported control with high power/weight ratio. Plus cost-savings by reducing system components and simplifying mechanical design.
What do you see as unique selling points?
Ensslen: In Drive 1000 we‘ve succeeded, by our model-predictive, field-oriented control technology, in substantially reducing heat dissipation – a very relevant factor for decentral servo technology. Prerequisites were also created for the Somanet safety module announced for 2018, which is of great importance for topics like collaboration and safety of driverless vehicles. At Synapticon our basic principle is to substantially reduce manufacturing costs of robotic electromechanics by controlling physical factors that influence performance and quality by means of software. Here computed models of the elements of a drive are combined with high-resolution and high-speed sampling of physical variables, such as phase voltages and currents of the motor, or play of the gearing. On this basis our control technology can improve performance and quality of motors and gears, from the elimination of disturbing torque effects of low-cost motors through to matching the play of cycloid gears. With a power range density of 10 cm²/1 kW our servodrives are the most compact worldwide, meaning they can be integrated in a robot arm or mobile base right next to the motors. Given integrated safety functions and I/Os, the number of wires in an industrial robot cable drops from hundreds to just six, collected in a DC lead and a communication lead.
Synapticon‘s presentation at the show will supposedly outline a new direction. So where are you heading?
Ensslen: Since its first public appearances in 2012, Synapticon has been a regular exhibitor at the SPS IPC Drives show. Things have been happening since last year. After increasing capital with existing and new investors, we‘ve set up new sites, taken on extra staff, and developed new products. Our strategy has also taken a new shape: In future we‘ll concentrate on two things: collaborative robotics, especially robot arms, and mobile systems. The focus will be on embedded systems for drive technology, motion control, and autonomous motion planning in robotics to offer the growing number of producers a complete platform of look-ahead technology. It all comes together in our new slogan ‘Intelligent Robotic Motion‘.