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Software that connects - PNOZmulti Configurator for PNOZmulti Mini & Co.

Supplier: Pilz Safe Automation
10 September, 2009

Man is a creature of habit. Once he's grown accustomed to something, he will generally not be parted from it willingly. Particularly if it provides a benefit and has stood the test of time, be it a favourite local restaurant or some trusted software. So it's important to combine the new with the established.

With these thoughts in mind Pilz has expanded its range of hardware, but at the same time made sure that every automation function - from the simple to the complex - can be configured universally and uniformly with just one software package.

While the favourite local restaurant offers a variety of individual dishes, there are software tools in the automation sector which are only available in combination with specific hardware. New hardware may be introduced, for example, because a standalone machine has been integrated into an interlinked plant and needs a completely different safety solution. This often means having to get to grips with some new configuration software. The result: greater complexity and higher costs.

This is where the Pilz solution comes in: The range of hardware has been expanded and can be used universally and uniformly with the proven configuration tool for the control system PNOZmulti. As a result, every automation function can be covered - from the simple to the complex. A new addition to the controller range is the configurable safety relay PNOZmulti Mini, which completes the business activities at the smaller end of the range.

The smallest PNOZmulti in the world

The PNOZmulti Mini is the latest addition to the hugely successful PNOZmulti range; with a width of just 45 mm it is considerably smaller than the 134 mm wide PNOZmulti. And it is 100 per cent compatible, which means that it can also be configured using the proven software tool, the PNOZmulti Configurator.

The PNOZmulti Mini was developed mainly for use in stand-alone machines in all areas of engineering. In addition to monitoring safety functions such as emergency stop, safety gates or light beam devices, it can also perform machine control tasks thanks to its logic functions. The PNOZmulti Mini is an attractive economic solution as soon as there are more than two functions to monitor.

The display on the front panel shows information on all signal states as well as error stack entries. Clear, easily understandable diagnostic messages reduce troubleshooting and increase availability. What's more, the user program's CRC check sum and creation date can be read simply by pressing the rotary knob. That way you can quickly detect any changes made in the interim. This increases security against manipulation, which is difficult to achieve via the wiring on classic solutions.

As with the PNOZmulti, the user program is stored on a chip card, so it can easily be transferred from one unit to another. This is of particular interest when servicing, as no software tool is required when exchanging units.

From simple to complex - universal hardware for every automation requirement

In 2002 Pilz launched the first freely configurable safety relay on the market with the PNOZmulti: compact, modular and with configuration software that was child's play to operate. Over the past seven years it has been developed into a configurable control system, thanks to numerous suggestions from users. Now the PNOZmulti series alone offers four different base units: the starter version PNOZmulti Mini, an expandable and networkable version plus two industry-specific types. The latter are designed with appropriate software blocks, specifically for use on presses and burner controls. There's also a wide range of special modules, to detect and monitor speeds, for example. PNOZmulti has proved itself in many areas of automation technology - there are now more than 100,000 base units in use.

And the Swabian family business is continuing the success story of the PNOZmulti with its new automation system PSS4000.

PSS4000 can be used to implement all machine control and safety technology functions, including motion control, diagnostics and visualisation. What's special about it: you can use all the benefits of a decentralised control structure without increasing the complexity, which has been the problem until now. For this is where the software platform PAS4000 comes into play. With this system, users can not only maintain an overview of a decentralised automation system with distributed control functions, but can also create applications quickly and easily.

The range of hardware includes control systems in various performance ratings, for both safety-related and standard control functions. In future one of these will be the PSSuniversal multi, a networked control system for standard and safety, which will provide local safety functions and can be configured via the graphics editor PASmulti. That's why we continued to develop the PNOZmulti Configurator and integrated it into the Pilz Automation Suite (PAS) 4000.

Different hardware, same software

Whether users opt for the PNOZmulti Mini, the PNOZmulti or in future for the PSSuniversal multi, the configuration software and its simple handling will still be the same - irrespective of the hardware. This is a benefit which not only provides a more efficient operation, but also creates flexibility. After all, right at the start of an automation project, who can really name all the functions that will ultimately be needed? If changes are requested - and this mostly occurs in the project phase - it can be difficult to respond with the required flexibility.

These days it is less a matter of the hardware properties and more the functionality and handling, which users can exploit as an opportunity for standardisation and optimisation.

So the simplicity of the PNOZmulti Configurator has made a considerable contribution to the success of the configurable control system. Thanks to its intuitive operation and simplicity, the software tool removes the user's inhibitions in getting to grips with the software.

All the configuration and function elements are available on the full graphics user interface, either as icons or in selection menus. Configuration of the elements is based on the required machine functions and the category that needs to be achieved. All inputs and outputs are free to select and can be linked using logic elements via a simple drag and drop function. Pre-defined, approved function blocks and menus make it as easy as possible for the user.

As safety functions require in-depth specialist knowledge, particularly in their design and implementation, certified safety blocks for hardware and software can make it so much easier to get machinery approved. As the PNOZmulti Configurator requires no programming skills, there is no training requirement and therefore no demand on either time or costs.

From a stand-alone machine to an interlinked plant - once again Pilz provides a universal control solution for safety and automation functions of any magnitude. Whichever hardware the user chooses - the new PNOZmulti Mini, the proven PNOZmulti or in future the control system PSSuniversal multi - the principle and therefore the operation remains the same, and equally simple.

For the sake of standardisation and habit.

Easy to get started

It has a small, compact design and yet the PNOZmulti Mini provides the same digital inputs and outputs as its big brother: 20 safe inputs, 4 safe semiconductor outputs (in accordance with SIL 3, PL e) and 4 test pulse outputs.

Two starter kits can help you get going with the Mini; each contains the safety relay, a USB cable, a chip card with an 8 kB memory capacity plus the licence for the PNOZmulti Configurator. The only difference is the choice between screw terminals or spring-loaded terminals.