Customer application 25 September 2020
Flexible I/O System for All Fieldbus Protocols

Automation at an automotive supplier: Brose uses the modular WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM because it supports all conventional fieldbus protocols and ETHERNET standards.

In its production lines, the automotive supplier Brose depends on decentralized automation using robust and reliable components, designed according to IP20. Low installation space demands, simple and fast expandability, and the ability to integrate different bus systems are the more important requirements here. The WAGO 750 Series I/O System and WAGO’s EPSITRON® Electronic Circuit Breakers (ECBs) are used.

Your Benefits with the WAGO-I/O-System:

  • In fact, select I/O modules can accommodate up to 16 channels in a narrow 12 mm (1/2”) housing.

  • DeviceNet, CAN or PROFIBUS: The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM supports all conventional fieldbus protocols and ETHERNET standards.

  • Modular design

Very Compact Automation

Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. supplies around 80 car manufacturers and more than 30 vendors with systems for vehicle doors, luggage compartment doors, and seating structures, as well as electrical drives. To connect the automation components in the production systems, Brose relies on the modular WAGO 750 Series I/O System. “We have to integrate systems from multiple manufacturers using various bus systems and protect the components from the often harsh environmental conditions. There is only a little space left over for the hardware. Therefore, it must be very compact but still extremely flexible,” states Alexander Gran, manager for software development and electrical engineering in drive technologies at Brose, as he explains the requirements for the automation components.

The modular WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM is used at Brose because it supports all conventional fieldbus protocols and ETHERNET standards. In addition, its very compact size and large variety of modules were also important.

» Alexander Gran from Brose: “The control cabinets in the production lines leave very little space for the components. Therefore, they have to be very compact and yet remain extremely flexible.” «

Different Fieldbus Protocols Are Integrated

The ability to integrate different fieldbus protocols from the system manufacturers was an important topic. Industrial robots are typically equipped with DeviceNet, a fieldbus based on CAN. In contrast, other systems can only be controlled using PROFIBUS. WAGO’s modular I/O system is used at Brose because it supports all conventional fieldbus protocols and ETHERNET standards. In addition, its very compact size and large variety of modules were also important. “The automation components for our welding systems are implemented with the IP20 protection type. These have to be installed in a completely enclosed control cabinet, which offers very little space for devices and connections. WAGO offers enormously high-density wiring, with up to 16 channels on a terminal block width of only 12 mm. This allows us to combine digital and analog inputs in a very small space. This would not be possible using a conventional IP67 system,” reports the electrical engineering expert at Brose.

With up to 16 channels at a module width of 12 mm, the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM is highly suited for use in confined spaces.

High Variability among the Function Modules

Brose uses a wide range of automation components with a great variety of sensors and actuators. This requires similarly high variability among the function modules. Digital and analog signals are processed using 4, 8, and 16 channels, counter and measurement modules, as well as low-side switching input modules. High product innovation cycles and continuous changes to the systems additionally demand a very high degree of flexibility with regard to the connection of the automation components. “The modular I/O system from WAGO can be expanded quickly and easily. We only have to plug in an additional function module to run a new sensor. This has proven to be a great advantage in practice,” according to Alexander Gran.

Electronic Circuit Breakers for Changing Demands

Brose had relied on electronic circuit breakers for a long time. WAGO got their chance when a device from the previous supplier failed. “We had to act fast. WAGO created a replacement part for us overnight, which I could take to the construction site in the morning. The replacement worked immediately, and the device also proved to be more powerful than the previous one,” states the Brose technician, recalling the background history. In the time before WAGO, different modules were required for different current ranges. Now, one device suffices. The nominal current for the EPSITRON® ECBs can be set individually from 2 A up to 10 A by using a selection switch. “During expansions of partial variants in our systems, we always had the problem that the warning range was no longer correct. This meant we had to replace the module. The selectivity is now better, and we only have to readjust the warning range for the same device,” reports Gran. As additional advantages of the technology, he cites the higher-density wiring and the ease of cabling using CAGE CLAMP® connection technology. WAGO offers ECBs whose triggering is superior to protective devices that use a thermomagnetic characteristic curve. The EPSITRON® 787 Series ECBs protects devices from excess currents arising on the output side, and they react reliably within a precisely specified time with low tolerances. In addition, they are especially well suited for cases in which the load is connected via a longer cable. Due to the constant monitoring of the loop impedance, the device can distinguish between a short circuit and capacitive loading, even at long cable lengths and small cross-sections.

WAGO’s EPSITRON® 787 Series Electronic Circuit Breaker (ECB) provides overcurrent protection on the output side. The nominal current of 2 A to 10 A can be adjusted for each channel using a selector switch.

Good Experiences with Modular Technology

“The modular technology from WAGO convinced us. It is very robust and functions without problems. In addition, the sales and technical support have been exemplary,” says Alexander Gran, emphasizing his positive experiences. As an example, he describes initial difficulties with DeviceNet applications. It was very clear in this case that the problem was not with the WAGO technology. In spite of this, Gran emphasizes that WAGO worked intensively to find the error, and they were able to find a solution together.

Text: Frank Sünkel, WAGO

Photo: Brose

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