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Honing machines connected to any industrial network with Anybus X-gateways

HMS Industrial Networks (Sweden) : 29 July, 2013  (Application Story)
Nagel Precision's honing machines must be compatible with the different industrial networks used many global locations. Developing connectivity can be a time-consuming and resource-demanding task. An easier solution is to use Anybus X-gateways from HMS Industrial Networking Systems.
Honing machines connected to any industrial network with Anybus X-gateways

Nagel Precision is the US subsidiary of German Nagel Maschinen- u. Werkzeugfabrik GmbH. The company creates machines for honing, superfinishing, and deep hole drilling, which are used to manufacture engine blocks, transmissions, pinion gears, valves and other metal artefacts which require a very smooth surface. The machines are installed in manufacturing plants around the world by companies, including GM, Chrysler, KIA, Hyundai and Ford.

Nagel Precision´s machinery is built on an EtherNet/IP-based control system with an Allen Bradley PLC, often with the Rockwell Kinetix 6000 Multi-Axis Servo Drives as the pivotal core. However, since the honing machines are exported to factories all over the world, Nagel was faced with the problem of how to communicate with other networks - especially Profinet, which is frequently used in car manufacturing plants.

"We first started out with third party network cards," says Jim Saule, Information Technology Director at Nagel Precision Inc. "However, these were a bit cumbersome since they required a lot of configuration and were also quite expensive. It was also sometimes hard to find the correct card. That´s when I started investigating into the Anybus X-gateway from HMS. I liked the fact that you could support several different networks with the same configuration - something which would save us a lot of work."

About two years ago, the first Anybus X-gateways were installed in Nagel Precision's systems. The solution was delivered by McNaughton McKay, HMS´ distributor in Michigan. The gateways are half the price of the third-party cards previously used. "We don´t want to understand every type of controller out there," says Saule. "We´d rather focus on perfecting our honing machines. Anybus X-gateways has allowed us to do just that. Furthermore, the third party network cards cost us about $1200-1500 each, now we´re down to around half that cost for a gateway."

If the honing machine is to be installed in a factory that runs EtherNet/IP, it can be connected directly and communicate on the network. But if the factory runs another network (for example Profinet), an Anybus X-gateway is needed. The gateway works as a translator between EtherNet/IP and the factory system and translates parameters such as positioning data, status of the drives, start/stop commands etc. The communication stream is transparent on both sides of the gateway making the honing machine a separate node on the factory floor, fully able to communicate with the plant-wide network.


The Anybus X-gateway allows Nagel´s Allen Bradley PLC to communicate with any other industrial network. The above example uses a Slave-Adapter X-gateway between the EtherNet/IP-based equipment on the top rack and the Profinet-based equipment on the bottom rack.

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