A quick video tour of the Sysmac Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the Sysmac NJ Machine Automation Controller (MAC). This tour goes through: the Configuration & Project Tree, Editor window, Toolbox, Auto-Hide capabilities, and Menus.
There was an interesting review on the Amazon website recently from someone who had just bought a new PC. Almost everything about this computer was fantastic: the memory was awesome, the graphics system coped easily everything from movies to the latest games, the hard drive would hold the entire contents of the Library of Congress – you get the picture.
And yet the reviewer only gave this wondrous product three stars. A bit mean, perhaps? Well maybe: but what irked the buyer was something that most of us have confronted with equipment like computers. The machine had all sorts of input and outputs – USB ports, an HDMI slot, Ethernet connections and the rest – but they were split between the front, back and sides of the PC’s tower unit. Why, oh why, asked the buyer, couldn’t all of the connections be in the same place, so that the device (which was apparently very streamlined and well designed) wasn’t festooned with cables?
There’s maybe a good reason why the computer was designed in this way, although one might be churlish and think that with a bit more design effort the problem could have been overcome. Certainly one issue with PC design is that the components which go into making a computer don’t always make it easy to create user-friendly connectivity.
The need to make installation easy is one of the core considerations in a lot of the design work that Omron puts into their products. There’s a wide and exceptionally versatile range of Omron safety light curtains, for example, but they are all connected, programmed and fitted using exactly the same processes. How easy does that make life for the designer and installation engineer?
And the same fundamentals have been applied to the S8VK Series of power supplies that’s being rolled out this year. Omron has been making power supplies since 1978, but with the S8VK Series, the product development team went back to first principles, talking to users, designers and engineers about exactly what they wanted from this kind of equipment. And one of results of this research is that the S8VK Series is exceptionally user friendly, both for designers and installation engineers.
To begin with, all of the units in the Series are very compact, so that more products can be installed on the same DIN-rail; there are also only two heights – 90mm and 125mm – across the entire range. There’s a choice of inputs because although most industrial installations call for 100-240VAC, there’s still a requirement for DC input and 2-phase on some applications. On the output side, double-pole terminals are used across the range, and there’s an extra negative pole to enable Protective Extra Low Voltage (PELV) for compliance with the EU’s Machinery Directive, EN60204-1.
The front panel is equally neat and user-friendly: for example, the terminals have an angled location guide to enable cables to be inserted more easily. Little things, like the clear marking of input/output and negative/positive, also make connections quicker and more straightforward.
For installation engineers, component mounting can be a real issue, but the S8VK Series comes with a standard range of brackets to enable standard or side DIN-rail or direct mounting. Again, it makes life easier, especially as every model in the range uses the same system.
Of course, there is more to all of this than simply making life easy. There are clear and definable benefits, not least in time- and cost-saving: design time is reduced because wiring and machinery layouts are simplified; and assembly time is reduced because components slot together simply and efficiently. It’s also the case that control panels and machines can be reduced in size, and in many applications, space is at a premium. Apart from anything else, more compact machines are usually quicker and easier to install.
To some extent, power supplies are the workhorses of an electrical installation, but their role is vitally important. It’s also worth making the point that this simplicity and user-friendliness is not achieved by sacrificing either quality or performance. The S8VK Series is designed to be reliable, even in harsh environments, and to deliver peak performance over a long and productive working life. Did anyone mention five stars?