A request from one customer led to experiments for a new device that is now available on the open market.
In the current economic climate, where gigantic multinationals have taken control over increasingly vast segments of production, it still happens that a small company demonstrates its true size by implementing an apparently small and simple strategy: listening.
That’s exactly what happened at Mini Motor: the company listened to what one of its customers needed and realised it was an opportunity for improvement which soon became an experimental project, then a prototype, and finally a device made in series.
The device is a USB dongle – very often called a “flash drive” – but here it is not a memory stick but has an incorporated wireless module so it can connect up to devices running on Android, iOs, PC and MAC OS and be configured using the majority of standard devices.
It can be used with any of the Mini Motor DBS Series gear motors with a USB port and carry out specific manual movements, control their general status, and set the parameters of the motors themselves.
As a result, the areas that can derive most benefit from the innovation offered by this new device are initial commissioning, diagnostics, and routine and extraordinary maintenance. It will no longer be necessary to fit control panels onto machines in order to check how they are running; depending on the specific demands of the application confirmed by the customer, the settings of the USB dongle can be adjusted to simplify many different jobs.
Jobs such as replacing a drive belt that usually need the motor to remain stationary in a specific position, can now be done without the need to connect the machine up to a PLC in order to control its movement.
Simply attach the “dongle” to the motor, enter the password to access wireless management of movement and stopping using a mobile device.
Similarly, monitoring and diagnosis can be handled with ease because once the device has been inserted in the USB port, all the operating parameters of the motor can be displayed in real time, such as the absorbed current, velocity, torque, position, etc.
As mentioned above, the idea for the device came about because the company listened to one of its customers who specifically needed to facilitate the job of entering the settings of his motors (JOG, Fieldbus Parameters, Homing) during the commissioning of the machine.
The technical team at Mini Motor took these requirements on board and developed an initial prototype of this basically one-of-a-kind product in around six months.
It is now available to all customers as an optional accessory for application to any of the DBS series gear motors and it will soon be possible to use it with the DR series.
Its operating features make it a particularly good choice for companies fitting systems with several motors, such as the packaging field, logistics, palletisers, positioners, and shape changing systems.
Alessandro Ciccolella, Mechanical Engineer and part of the Technical Team at Mini Motor, described the steps involved in the design of this device: “Research and Development is unquestionably one of the most highly developed and strategic company departments at Mini Motor, nevertheless it is fascinating to see how at times the most significant ideas in this area can come from people using our products on a daily basis in real life applications outside the company. When this happens, it is our job to respond to the stimuli, ideas and requests we receive with solutions that match our standards of excellence. And that is just what we did.”