SICK encoder with integrated web server for easier commissioning, retrofitting and monitoring

The future of the industry is characterised by a marked individualisation
of products in the context of highly flexible large-volume production. This
trend is being spurred on by intelligent monitoring and decision-making
processes that companies and entire value-added chain networks can control and
optimise virtually in real time. Encoders with Ethernet-based fieldbus
interfaces are already easy to configure and come complete with a range of
diagnostic functions.

SICK is now going a step further, integrating a web server into the
AFS/AFM60 EtherNet/IP absolute encoder. In order to be able to give machine builders
and manufacturers new options and more freedom for encoder integration, service,
and maintenance, SICK is taking encoders online with an integrated web server.
With the embedded new programming tool, the AFS/AFM60 EtherNet/IP absolute
encoder is ready for operation immediately without the need for additional
software, enabling it to be used either with a browser-enabled device combined
with a controller or even without a controller.

More than speed and
position

As well as opening the door to sensor data (i.e., precise angle, speed,
and position detection), visualised communication via web server provides insights
into the application by virtually mirroring plant conditions and requirements.
With a whole range of integrated diagnostic functions (minimum and maximum values
for position, speed, temperature, operating hours counter, motion counter, display
of flags, alarm, and warning messages), downtime can be reduced and material
costs cut. Optimised service and maintenance intervals increase machine
performance. Even without a web server, the AFS/AFM60 EtherNet/IP absolute
encoder has already enjoyed market success, delivering significant added value
with new functions. These functions can now be visualised via the web server,
making the EtherNet/IP encoders easy to integrate and operate.

Everything at a
glance

Visualising all encoder features and diagnostic functions at a glance on
one screen enables the user to modify parameters quickly and easily, to output
data values to the controller, and to display diagnostic data in graphic format.
Operators are thus able to configure and/or analyse encoder data via Wi-Fi switch
with LAN or WLAN access regardless of location, and optimise service intervals
where applicable. Such action can be taken directly on site in the application,
in a lab, in a warehouse, or in an office – even without a controller.

Easy and intuitive
operation

Users are not required to have specific interface knowledge, as the
websites are displayed in clear text with decimal values and diagnostic data is
displayed in graphs. The user-friendly interface maximises flexibility for
operating personnel. Web server settings are sent to the controller
automatically. Specific data exchange with the controller takes place in the
background. With the encoder as the output device, operators can change values
quickly and safely. This is a significant factor in increasing efficiency.
Operators can compare their ‘actual settings’ with the ‘default settings’ on the
configuration overview on the screen. All settings are listed clearly side by side
and missing or incorrect settings are immediately apparent. This helps significantly
to avoid incorrect entries. The addition of an integrated FTP server to the AFS/AFM60
EtherNet/IP by SICK means that the encoder can be updated with the latest
firmware at any time – directly in the system, without having to replace the
sensor.

Integrated web
server as standard

The AFS/AFM60 EtherNet/IP encoder is now
automatically being delivered with an integrated web server. Customers can
choose one of three ways to use the encoder. It can be operated in the conventional
way via the controller, with the web server being used exclusively as and when
required for monitoring and diagnostic purposes. Alternatively, the web server
or the integrated programming tool can be used solely to configure the encoder
in advance, prior to its implementation in the plant. The third and final
option is to use the controller and the web server at the same time. The most
recent setting made takes priority, regardless of whether it was made on the
controller or on the web server. The AFS/AFM60 EtherNet/IP with web server
enables a machine operator to upgrade the machine without having to come to grips
with a complex programming routine.

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