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Modular shaft production
New production plant for flexible shafts uses Siemens technology throughout

Brugg/Switzerland. For Suhner Automation AG, increasing efficiency is at the central core of its development of industrial production plants.This also applies to the latest production machine for flexible shafts, which Suhner Automation AG implemented for its sister company Suhner Transmission AG. Its modular design and the consistent use of Siemens control and automation components ensure not only efficient operation but also improved operator convenience and a high standard of production quality.
Suhner Transmission AG has been producing flexible shafts used for applications such as sliding roof drive systems or to transmit torque in trains and aircraft for over 100 years. When the time came for a new production plant, its sister company Suhner Automation AG developed a consistently modular solution to fit the bill. It devised a freely configurable production line made up of self-contained individual modules which can be separately tested. Only two lines – the bus system and the modular busbar trunking system Sivaconwhich provides the power supply – link the modules together. In terms of both software and hardware, the new machine is equipped with drive and automation components from Siemens. 

Consistently modular
The modular approach is particularly evident in the control system, which was programmed using the TIA Portal V14. The failsafe SimaticS7-1518 F links the modules in the main program and controls everything from the lighting through the servo axes to the meter counter over the industrial communication network Profinet.The facility for saving the settings enables reproducible production, so maximizing end-product quality. The issue of safety plays an equally important role. Through the integration of wide-ranging safety functions, the control system is capable of monitoring all kinds of events and independently detecting faults. This facility allows the plant to go on producing even during coffee breaks or after normal working hours, which in turn boosts production continuity.

Optimum interaction of components
Suhner also opted to rely on Siemens for the hardware components. Operation takes place using a new-generation Simatic TP 1200 Comfort Panel, which as well as being highly efficient also comes with a generously dimensioned display area and a high resolution. This makes operation of the production plant considerably more convenient. Because time is also a decisive factor when producing flexible shafts, high signal transmission speeds are ensured by the distributed ET200 SP modules. The capability for rapid transmission of measured values to the control system enables a measurement interval of just around 62 milliseconds to be achieved. This speed is vital for monitoring the tensile stress of each individual wire.

Efficiency in practice
New servomotors with torque regulation ensure the efficient implementation of the machine’s energy, making it around a third more economical than its predecessor, and also cutting down on noise emissions. It is also possible to calculate the ideal drive using the free Sizer engineering software, which takes torque, speeds, mass and moment of inertia into consideration. With this contributing further towards the plant’s outstanding energy efficiency, the new solution fully underpins Suhner Automation AG’s outstanding reputation as the “Efficiency Expert”.


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