The requirements of construction engineers and machine manufacturers are subject to rapid transformation. Driven by ever-faster development cycles, they are looking for solutions that flexibly adapt to new production processes. With smart mechatronic solutions and intelligent products, Rexroth linear technology fulfills these requirements precisely.
At Rexroth, we have laid the foundation for the systematic further development of Linear Motion Technology at an early stage. Today already, we are offering a whole host of digital engineering tools and configurators which can be used to simplify design processes and make them smart in the true sense of the word. But that is only the beginning. We see digital transformation as a process that requires continuous development – and that helps us to raise linear motion technology to a new level.
On the basis of our proven product portfolio, we are making linear motion technology more intelligent – from the vertical integration with additional features such as software and electronics to the targeted use of sensors in our linear motion technology components. We have already introduced a first solution with that exact purpose to the market last year. The for pressing and joining applications is a modular mechatronic solution that offers customers mechanics, electrics and software as a subsystem. One of the system’s stand-out features is the intuitive commissioning and process configuration, as no programming knowledge is required for either. Even during subsequent operations, the software is intuitive and can be used without any prior knowledge right from the outset. Our new platform for smart mechatronic solutions is the next logical step in this approach: We are placing a clear focus on the needs of our customers by offering a suitable solution for every process step.
This already begins with product selection and sizing: Rexroth customers don’t have to cumbersomely familiarize themselves with Linear Motion Technology, but instead realize their ideas intuitively with our tools in just a few steps leading up to the finished product.
For commissioning, we are placing our focus on plug & produce, a principle that has been known for years in the consumer area as plug & play. For linear axes, this means in practice: Unpack, connect, and carry out the function test within a few minutes.
In operation itself, there has been a trend towards adaptable – and thus transformable – products and systems. Though software already offers a certain degree of flexibility today, we soon reach the limits of what is currently possible. In times of ever-shorter production times, we need systems that can be adapted in a blink. One example is a quick-change system for linear axes: They can be exchanged with just two clicks, are then able to commission themselves and are immediately ready for new tasks.
Ultimately, this quick component exchange also effects maintenance: If a linear axis needs servicing, a technician today can immediately insert a replacement and the machine can continue working without any downtime. In addition, sensors offer the opportunity to actively use predictive maintenance and condition monitoring to increase system efficiency.
The further development of Linear Motion Technology is rounded off by completely new product approaches that sustainably enhance system efficiency. One example would be a retrofittable compensating element which offers unparalleled improvement of positioning accuracy for robots and Cartesian systems.
Author: Dr. Ulf Lehmann
Job title: Head of the Linear Motion Technology Business Unit