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Mechatronic Design Portfolio Offers Machine Builders Improved Optimization and Collaboration for Complex Machine Designs

Combination of software and hardware solutions provide improved machine functionality and ease of use

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 5, 2009 — For builders of sophisticated machines that require excellent flexibility and throughput, Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) has introduced a new mechatronic solutions portfolio consisting of software tools, motion control products and support. The portfolio helps engineers to better collaborate, and reduce machine costs and development time by providing a common forum where design input from the mechanical, controls, software and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered and evaluated.

Mechatronics is a collaborative venture between mechanical, electrical and control design engineers to optimize machine design. However, due to high costs and lack of easy-to-use tools associated with virtual prototyping, mechatronics has traditionally proven challenging for machine builders to integrate into their design process. “Engineers from each group typically design their machine component separately and combine everything for the first time in a physical prototype,” explained John Pritchard, global product marketing manager, Kinetix Motion Control, Rockwell Automation. “This approach can be costly and time consuming, and any changes to the design require creation of a modified physical prototype. Our mechatronic solutions portfolio can help reduce design time and prototype costs by allowing machine builders to create any number of virtual prototypes, leveraging analysis tools to identify potential design improvements much earlier in the process. Machine builders can then select only the most promising designs – perhaps two or three instead of the twenty original concepts – for physical prototyping.” 

The new mechatronic solutions portfolio from Rockwell Automation features:

 “This portfolio leverages many tools engineers already have on hand and are comfortable using – it was developed to help machine builders do more with less: less time, less energy, less raw material and less cost,” said Pritchard. “The Motion Analyzer software tool helps reduce design time, improve machine efficiency and reduce the need for physical prototypes. The hardware solutions offer tighter coupling between the control and machine function, and help eliminate many of the undesirable traits associated with powertrain components, such as backlash, compliance, noise and energy losses.”

One Rockwell Automation customer recently used the Rockwell Automation mechatronic solutions portfolio to identify stability and throughput improvement opportunities on the rotary saw used in their packaging machine. By replacing the motor, gearbox and timing belt used to drive the saw with direct drive technology, the machine was more stable, met their parts per minute needs, and saved eight hours of assembly time.

“For machine builders designing sophisticated equipment with high flexibility, efficiency and throughput requirements – such as packaging, converting, printing and web or automation applications – mechatronics is an excellent starting point,” said Pritchard. “We are committed to continued investment in our mechatronic solutions portfolio and will continue to add new technology to help engineers build more innovative machines.”

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. 

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs about 20,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

Allen-Bradley, Kinetix, LDC-Series, LDL-Series, Listen.Think.Solve, MP-Series, RDD-Series, Rockwell Software, RSLogix and TL‑Series are trademarks of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Trademarks not belonging to Rockwell Automation are property of their respective companies.

Media Contacts:
Julie Gonzo
Rockwell Automation

Sarah Riley
Padilla Speer Beardsley Inc.