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MR-J3 series servo drives from Mitsubishi Electric have been selected by Superior Systems on a test rig developed to evaluate car door hinges for a tier one automotive components supplier.

The essential requirements for the automation products were reliability, simplicity of operation and provision for straightforward transfer of test results to a mainframe computer system.

The test rig comprises an arm that is attached to the hinge-under-test and which engages with a platen that runs around a curved track of 1m radius.

Weights can be added to the arm as required to simulate the load that the car door will impose on the hinge.

This arrangement allows the arm to be moved through any required angle, up to the maximum dictated by the design of the test rig, and for the speed of the movement to be accurately controlled between 1m/min and 1m/sec.

A second similarly-equipped platen is provided to increase the versatility of the test rig.

To control the servomotors used on the platens, Superior Systems chose MR-J3 series servo drives from the Mitsubishi Electric range.

In addition to their compact construction, these units offer enhanced auto-tuning to ensure maximum precision and to simplify setup, combined with ultra-short positioning times and versatile networking options.

The T-range variants used in this application also have a built-in positioning function.

Overall control of the hinge test rig is provided by a Mitsubishi Electric Qn series programmable controller (PLC), which was selected for its versatility, value and ease of programming.

Its support for Ethernet connectivity and ability to run Mitsubishi’s MX Sheet software package were two key factors behind the decision.

MX Sheet is an Excel communications support tool that allows Superior Systems to collect the data produced by the test rig and format it for use by the end-user’s mainframe systems.

The Ethernet connectivity provided the company with the means to transfer the data to those systems.

To satisfy the end-user’s requirement that the test rig should be straightforward to set up and operate, Superior Systems equipped it with a type E1070 colour screen human-machine interface (HMI) terminal, which has an integrated keypad.

A typical test sequence for a hinge that is being evaluated involves pre-exercising it for a number of cycles at a comparatively high speed, then operating through a single cycle at a lower speed while detailed measurement are made of its performance.

With the aid of the HMI terminal, all that the machine operators need to do to set up a test is to enter the speed and angle of travel for the exercise cycles and the number of cycles required, together with the speed and angle of travel for the measurement cycle.

The test is then initiated at the touch of a button, with the results automatically collected by the PLC and transferred to the site mainframe systems via the MX Sheet software.

The keypad associated with the HMI terminal is also used to access ancillary functions provided by the test rig including, for example, facilities for manual jogging as an aid to mechanical set up.

Additionally, while tests are in progress, the HMI screen displays a graphical representation of the results in real time.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Systems

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