Meeting the demand for modularity


Greater flexibility and modularity are significant trends in machine and plant engineering. Murrelektronic explained to MEPCA how its Cube67 system could help.

It is increasingly common for standard machines and optional additional units to be manufactured as separate mechanical and electronic units that are joined together shortly before commissioning the full system. In this situation, the installation hardware must live up to the modularity of the machine. The Murrelektronik Cube67 Fieldbus system offers a viable solution. With the combination of a diagnostics gateway and the straightforward integration of IO-Link.

Many of the machines and plant already utilising the Cube system are equipped with multifunctional ports that can be configured as inputs or outputs, enabling flexible installation concepts that are customised for the number of IOs at the sensor/actuator level, to meet customers’ precise needs.

One advantage of the Cube system is a one cable strategy where both communication and power are carried over just one system cable. This leaves cable channels and energy chains available, meaning that systems can be designed to be smaller from the start or even eliminated.

Up to 32 modules can be connected to each bus node, using four lines within an installation radius of 60m. The lines are protected by integrated electronic fuses (MICO), saving space in the control cabinet by removing the need for circuit breakers.

A complete portfolio of modules ranging from protection level IP20 to IP67, and even IP69K, is available for installations. Meanwhile, the communication only ever runs through a single bus node, which can also be swapped out depending on the protocol in use. As a result, it is possible to change the protocol without changing the system. In other words, an identical installation concept can be designed for different protocols (Profibus, ProfiNet, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT) by just choosing the appropriate bus node.

Machine option management – one concept for all versions

To prevent difficulties when getting different machine modules to work together, the Cube system offers machine option management (MOM). The related hardware and software planning is carried out virtually, based on a standardised full configuration. The components which are present in the real machine are activated automatically, simplifying configuration for all parts of the setup. Optional add-ons can also be configured easily with the press of a button with no need for time-consuming software modifications.

Direct integration of safety signals

The idea of streamlined machine installations poses a particular challenge when it comes to integrating safety aspects. The Cube system offers a solution to this problem by combining  K3 modules with an MVK Metal Safety block module.

The safety outputs of the MVK Metal Safety module will securely switch off up to 12 standard outputs – controlled by a ProfiNet/PROFIsafe control system. They are divided between two safety circuits, each with three ports suitable for double connections. This multiplication of the safety outputs is a simple but effective way to reduce both costs and labour. Safety sensors are integrated directly into the installation with this approach, and eliminating the need for a safety relay significantly reduces the wiring workload while saving considerable space in the rack cabinet.

Detailed diagnosis

One of the core advantages of the Cube system is its range of informative diagnostic capabilities, which extend from the bus node across the whole setup, all the way down to the individual modules and channels. The extensive information available saves time during commissioning and is of particular advantage during troubleshooting when taking into consideration the costs that can result from even short downtimes.

The data is also available over a standard OPC UA interface for further analysis in any cloud system. This all takes place entirely independently of the control system, making it an integral aspect of the installation which does not need to be changed even if the control system is changed.


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