ABB has extended its motion control offering with a range of three-phase AC motor drives providing remarkable system building flexibility for high-power and continuous machinery and motion control applications. The integrated features of the new MotiFlex e180 range means that the drive platform can be used – without additional hardware – in almost any type of application: with a host of different control systems architectures and communications and motor feedback schemes. At the heart of this universal system integration capability is flexible real-time Ethernet compatibility and feedback interfacing, built-in functional safety, and the ability to be used in many different types of control system architectures – from centralised control to intelligent stand-alone motion solutions. The drives may even be configured using a range of different continuous/peak power output modes to optimise them for applications with different precision, dynamic performance and duty cycle requirements. Thanks to this flexibility, ABB expects the new MotiFlex drives to appeal to OEMs and automation engineers designing for an exceptionally broad range of continuous and heavy-duty application sectors including printing, papermaking, converting, textiles, plastics and steel production. MotiFlex e180 is an all-new design, but one which builds on the success of ABB’s earlier three-phase Ethernet Powerlink-compatible e100 drive range, and offers a flexible upgrade path. In total, nine new drives offer a choice of continuous power outputs up to 90A, and peak outputs up to a maximum of 120A. Four different continuous/peak output level and time combinations can be selected for each of the nine power levels, providing great scope for matching drive performance to specific applications – including extended lifecycle operation in 24/7 environments. At the heart of the drive’s flexibility is a universal Ethernet communications capability. MotiFlex e180 drives may be software-configured for EtherCAT, Modbus TCP, Ethernet/IP or Powerlink based systems – with further options in development. The drives also support many different forms of feedback including incremental and digital absolute encoders with different output formats, resolvers and the new generation of Hiperface DSL encoders which combine motor power and feedback in a single cable and offer significant cost savings on cabling and installation time for companies building large multi-axis systems. Integrated safety is another core feature of the design, and MotiFlex e180 drives feature dual-channel support for Safe Torque Off (STO) functional safety, conforming to PL e SIL3. Each drive also comes with a substantial range of built-in I/O including six digital inputs, two fast latch inputs, four digital outputs, two analog inputs and an analog output, a high power relay output, and a PTC sensor for motor thermal protection. MotiFlex e180’s extensive built-in functionality allows drives to be employed in many different control system architectures. The software-selectable Ethernet communications capability makes it easy to build systems using PLCs from any vendor. Alternatively, the drives’ intelligence can be used in more decentralised architectures, performing profiling locally on the drive and reducing the load on the central controller. Unusually for this kind of architecture, ABB’s generic drive interface can be customised easily, making it easy for machinery OEMs to create application-specific functionality. In addition to working with centralised PLC or PC controllers, ABB offers its own embedded machinery controllers including the NextMove e100 – which is ideal for Powerlink-networked systems – and a brand new high-performance addition to ABB’s well-known AC500 PLC range for EtherCAT-networked systems.