For the first time in machine and system engineering, the MX-System enables completely control cabinet-free automation solutions. By consistently combining, applying and further developing Beckhoff’s expertise, a holistic, modular pluggable system has been created. The combination of MX-System baseplate and MX-System function modules resulting from the modular construction kit combines all tasks and features of a control cabinet: energy supply, fuse protection and distribution, generation and monitoring of auxiliary voltages, sequence control with the inputs and outputs, control of motors and actuators as well as the connection level for the field devices. The full system integration of all machine functionalities is achieved via freely selectable IPC, coupler, I/O, drive, relay and system modules, which can be configured and combined suitable for the specific application.
The certification of all components to international standards enables the standardization of control systems around the globe. The consistent systemic approach of the holistically coordinated modules reduces the effort required for planning, assembly, machine installation and maintenance enormously. Since considerably fewer components are required than in traditional control cabinet construction to implement the same requirements, the entire MX-System is significantly more compact than previous solutions. The system footprint is reduced, and system availability and flexibility are also increased. In each life cycle phase of a control system, the MX-System offers significant advantages over the classic control cabinet.
MBxxxx | Baseplates
Scalable baseplates as the basis for automation without control cabinets.
MCxxxx | IPC modules
Robust industrial PCs to control all automation applications.
MKxxxx | Coupler modules
Integration of the MX system into EtherCAT, PROFINET or EtherNet/IP networks.
MOxxxx | I/O modules
Comprehensive selection of I/O modules for all signals of the automation world.
MDxxxx | Drive modules
Compact multi-axis systems for drives of all types and power levels.
MRxxxx | Relay modules
Versatile relay modules for safe switching of large powers.
MSxxxx | System modules
Feeding and forwarding of data and voltages, power supplies and switches.
The MX-System: Control cabinet-free automation
The MX-System offers a custom-fit solution for every application, meeting all requirements and thus qualifying for use directly on the machine or system, even in demanding environments. The materials and workmanship of all MX-System components are designed for maximum durability. The robust, chrome-plated or painted metal housings are resistant to oil and cleaning agents, and protect against external influences. The electronics are protected against EMC interference. The tightness of the system is achieved by mounting the MX-System function modules on the MX-System baseplate. A double sealing principle in the interface between the MX-System baseplate and the MX-System function modules provides increased security against the ingress of moisture and dust.
The robustness of the MX-System simplifies handling along the entire value chain: machine builders can offer an IP67-certified control solution at no extra cost, and users do not need to protect the system separately either during operation or cleaning. The passive cooling throughout also simplifies project planning and handling: the system can be operated at ambient temperatures between 0 °C and 50 °C without additional air conditioning. The dissipation performance of the system group is maximized by the internal encapsulated ventilation, and hot spots are effectively prevented. An additional internal heater enables safe operation despite the risk of condensation. The temperature range can be extended by active cooling of the MX-System baseplate
At the core of each MX-System baseplate are the backplanes, which provide the power voltages via the power backplane, as well as control voltages, communication and diagnostic functionalities (housekeeping) via the data backplane. The EtherCAT ASICs integrated on the data backplane for each data slot connect each slot to the EtherCAT bus, enable hot-swap functionality of the MX-System function modules and guarantee the real-time capability of the system. Low voltages of 24 V DC or 48 V DC and a maximum current of 30 A are also routed to all data connectors via the data backplane. A module can be supplied with a current of max. 20 A via a data connector.
The power backplane distributes high voltages of 400…480 V AC and 600 V DC at a maximum current of 63 A among all power connectors, and one power connector can supply up to 35 A to an MX-System function module.
Each function module of the MX-System uses a data slot, making it an EtherCAT device and allowing it to be fully parameterized and diagnosed via that slot. Power modules additionally use a power slot.
These standardized interfaces completely replace the internal wiring previously required in the control cabinet. The data and power connectors developed for the MX-System are designed to provide IP20 contact protection even when no modules and no covers have been mounted on the slots. This also applies to the connectors of the modules. Housekeeping acquires data such as temperature, shock, vibration, barometric pressure and humidity, and enables dew point monitoring, among other features, enabling controlled operation even in more critical ambient conditions. Housekeeping data as well as module-specific and application-specific diagnostic data and parameters can be made available to the machine user directly on a smartphone via Bluetooth.
Plug it in, screw it down, and you’re done: The compact MX-System also sets new standards in handling and drastically reduces assembly times. The function modules are simply plugged onto the standardized connectors of the MX-System baseplate and then screwed in place using captive screws located in the modules. The timeconsuming reading of a circuit diagram is no longer necessary; module interwiring is performed by the connector system. The MX-System can be set up by non-electricians.
Wiring errors are excluded by the modular principle – this automatically leads to an increase in quality. The smaller number of components reduces the number of assembly steps and the required assembly area. Storage and production areas as well as logistics processes can be significantly streamlined.
The possible uses of the MX-System are flexible and can be precisely adapted to the requirements of any application at any time. On the one hand, the MX-System can be used as a stand-alone solution for automating a machine. On the other hand, it opens up numerous combination options: for example, it can be linked with other MX-Systems to create a decentralized, application-optimized automation solution. In combination with a control cabinet, an MX-System can be used as an energy distributor. Also possible: the combination with EtherCAT P products such as the EtherCAT P Box or the integrated AMP8xxx servo drive. With the help of the corresponding MSxxxx modules, cascaded system structures in different topologies can easily be created. If production requirements change, owner-operators and machine builders can immediately react flexibly with the MX-System and subsequently integrate additional MX-System function modules or even entire stations.
Advantages throughout the entire machine life cycle with the MX-System
The MX-System integrates benefits over the full machine life cycle – from the initial planning of the machine through to series production: all efforts are reduced significantly. As the usually required circuit diagram of approx. 300 pages is reduced by 90% to now approx. 30 pages, the MX-System can be installed within one hour – a task that would normally take about 24 hours for a normal control cabinet. The number of personnel required for installation is also significantly reduced: instead of approx. 5 people, one non-specialist is sufficient here, and cable lengths and production space are also reduced. During operation, the availability of the machine is increased: the simple and fast diagnosis shortens any troubleshooting, and individual modules can be replaced quickly and easily. The component count of the MX-System is cut by a factor of 10, thus reducing stock-keeping to a minimum.
Features of the MX-System
In addition to ultra-fast EtherCAT communication and IP67 protection, each module features passive cooling and chrome-plated and passivated surfaces with resistance to oil and cleaning agents. Housekeeping acquires data such as temperature, shock, vibration, barometric pressure and humidity, and enables dew point monitoring, among other features, enabling controlled operation even in more critical ambient conditions. Housekeeping data as well as module-specific and application-specific diagnostic data and parameters can be made available to the machine user directly on a smartphone via Bluetooth.