FAQ

General

In what markets/industries is SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ typically used?

The SuperTrak platform has been employed in major industries including, Life Sciences (Medical devices & diagnostics), Automotive, Computer/Electronics, Consumer Products, Energy and Packaging.

What is the maximum system size?

The standard configuration supports up to 64m in circumference. Contact the SuperTrak team if your system may require a larger circumference.

What size track modules are available?

The available SuperTrak GEN3™ motor sections include:

  • 1000mm Straight Section
  • 180deg Section – 500mm Diameter
  • 180deg Section – 800mm Diameter
  • 90deg Section (release in 2020)
Why is the system quieter than other conveyance systems?

The main reasons that the SuperTrak GEN3™ system is quiet are:

  • The SuperTrak GEN3™ system has very few moving parts. Each shuttle has 4 plastic rollers/wheels that provide low friction and a dampened rolling sound as they ride on the steel rail system.
  • The built-in collision avoidance ensures no shuttle to shuttle contact or banging noise.
  • There are no mechanical stop mechanisms required to precisely stop and locate a shuttle at a process station
What features enable smaller system footprints?

There are many built-in mechanical and software features enabling smaller system sizes. Software feature examples include:

  • Asynchronous shuttle motion allows for variable station process times and unique shuttle indexing distances which results in significant flexibility and the ability to maximize station utilization.
  • For example, due to the size of the product being manufactured, it may be desirable to have 2 parts on a shuttle. In this case, due to differing process times, it may be beneficial to work on both parts at one time at one process, and at another station, work on 1 part, index the shuttle, and then work on the second part. This reduces the need to double up the tooling at the second process.
  • In some cases, the high-speed shuttle transfer and automatic shuttle queuing have allowed a reduction in the number of parallel stations, resulting in less space consumed.
  • Flexible shuttle positioning and routing can facilitate running multiple part types on the same system while maximizing station re-use as opposed to a station or full machine duplication.

Mechanical feature examples include:

  • The inside portion of the conveyor loop is accessible and usable for the mounting of process stations. This means that some equipment may be mounted within the footprint of the conveyor itself rather than surrounding the conveyor. To facilitate mounting inside the conveyor loop, the motor section stands come complete with mounting features for tooling plates and the motor section structure includes integrated standard t-slots.
  • Curved sections are fully usable for process stations. On many transport systems, the area where shuttles change direction is unusable, but on the SuperTrak platform, this area provides smooth and precise motion, reducing the need to extend the straight portion of the track.
My product is fragile or poorly contained at various points in the manufacturing process. How does the system ensure gentle product handling?

The SuperTrak platform includes precisely controlled servo positioning that eliminates the need for hard stops, and the built-in collision avoidance ensures no shuttle to shuttle contact; which means that there are no large g-forces applied to the product. In addition, as each shuttle’s motion is fully configurable, it is possible to have reduced accelerations and/or velocities at processes that require even lower jerk.

How can the SuperTrak GEN3™ system help improve OEE?

OEE is the resulting product of Machine Availability X Machine Performance X Machine Yield. There are many ways that the SuperTrak platform may help. For example:

  • Machine Availability
  • Low preventative maintenance requirements
  • Low MTTR and high MTBF
  • Machine Performance
  • Low shuttle exchange times ensuring that process stations are sitting idle for the least amount of time possible between parts.
  • High velocity and acceleration to reduce time to travel longer distances.
  • Machine Yield
  • Smooth and precise movement and positioning ensure that the transport system does not contribute to bad part creation.
What are the basic System dimensions?

Figure 1- 180 deg section – 800mm

Figure 2- 180 deg section – 500mm

Figure 3- 1000mm section

What controls the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform?

The SuperTrak GEN3™ platform includes fully embedded controls and power electronics that provide all servo control and shuttle trajectories. The system is configured using the Windows™ based TrakMaster™ software and is then ready to communicate and receive commands from a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller).

What PLCs are able to communicate with the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform?

The SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform supports the below common PLC interface protocols. Any PLC that supports one of these protocols may be used with the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform.

  • Ethernet/IP
  • PROFINET
  • EtherCAT
  • PowerLink
Is it possible to have more than 1 PLC interface with the SuperTrak GEN3™ system?

It is possible to have up-to 4 PLC interfaces on a single SuperTrak GEN3™ system.

Shuttles

How easily can shuttles be added or removed from the system?

The shuttles are very easily added or removed, in seconds, using the provided shuttle removal tool. As well, there are no programming changes required to run with more or fewer shuttles. This facilitates shuttle maintenance without significantly affecting machine OEE.

Is it possible for an individual shuttle to have multiple acceleration and velocity values during a one complete cycle around a SuperTrak GEN3™ conveyor system?

Yes. The shuttle acceleration and velocity are fully programmable and can be set as the shuttle is released from any stop location.

Are various shuttle widths available?

The Standard shuttle shelf length is 152mm and allows custom part fixturing (shelf) to be mounted that ranges from 152mm up to 500mm in length.

How does the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform avoid interference/collision issues with large or extra wide tooling plates?

The tooling plate (or shelf) length is configurable through the TrakMaster™ software and is used by the built-in collision avoidance software to ensure that the tooling plates do not come into contact with one another. The user can modify the shuttle shelf length, within the TrakMaster™ configuration software or at run-time through the standard PLC interface. This latter method is useful in cases where the part grows and extends past the tooling plate edge as the part is assembled.

In addition, when the designed machine and product fixturing requires it, there are simple configurable tools that facilitate monitoring clear areas on the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform, adding station pre-stops, and enforcing velocity limits within regions on the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform.

Is there a minimum distance between adjacent stop locations where shuttles must be worked on simultaneously?

The distance between shuttles is determined by two parameters entered into the TrakMaster™ configuration software.

  • The shuttle Length-> This is the length of the shuttle shelf (minimum 152mm and maximum 500mm)
  • The shuttle Gap -> This is the minimum distance/gap that will be allowed between 2 adjacent shuttles on the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform.

The distance that the SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ platform will always maintain between shuttles is the shuttle Length + the shuttle Gap. Therefore, the closest distance that 2 parallel or concurrently working locations can be to one another must be equal or greater than the shuttle Length + the shuttle Gap.

SuperTrak CONVEYANCE™ Controls

Can I interface with the SuperTrak GEN3™ system using only Discrete I/O?

Having a simple I/O interface to the process stations around the SuperTrak GEN3™ system is possible for simple operations. Advanced motion options are still available through pre-configured motion configurations that can be triggered via I/O.

What Operating system does the TrakMaster™ software run on?

The TrakMaster™ software is a Windows®™ based application that communicates via a standard Ethernet connection to the SuperTrak™ controller.

What are the requirements for the electrical design to integrate the SuperTrak GEN3™ system?

A standard electrical control panel is available to provide ease of integration and design. The standard control panel provides the following basic features:

  • SuperTrak GEN3™ controller
  • Logic power supply with UPS
  • Input voltages of 400Y230VAC or 208Y120VAC 50Hz or 60Hz
  • Safety circuit contactors
  • Support for up to 12 motor power supplies
  • PLC slave interface
  • The control panel is connected to the system at one of the 180deg section through a standard interconnect wiring assembly.

Integration with the standard electrical control panel, requires the following basic connections to the parent machine:

  • Input machine power source
  • Connection to the machine safety circuit
  • Ethernet based connection to machine PLC

Mechanical

Are 3D models available for customer designers to use? What format are these files in?

A standard mechanical design package is provided that includes models that are in SolidWorks™ format as well as STEP file format.

Do the shuttles provide for a repeatable and precision tooling mount for the unique product fixturing?

Yes, the SuperTrak GEN3™ shuttle carrier provides a precision/standard dowel as well as a keyed slot for mounting tooling to the shuttle.

Is the area inside the SuperTrak GEN3™ system available for mounting process tooling?

Yes, the center portion of the GEN3™ platform’s loop is available for mounting tooling as this area is not required for access or maintenance. In addition, the SuperTrak GEN3™ section stands come pre-engineered with a convenient mount location for a tooling plate.

Electrical

What is the typical power consumption of the SuperTrak GEN3™ system required to move the shuttles through the system?

Nearly all electrical Motor Power consumption occurs during acceleration and deceleration of the shuttles and very little power is required to maintain velocity and standstill. Therefore, the average machine power draw may be very low. 300-400Watts for example. Of course, the power supply requirements must account for the peak power requirements. For this reason, it is recommended to perform a system simulation to identify peak power requirements.

What is the power consumption of the SuperTrak GEN3™ system controls?

Each motor section requires ~300 mA from the control power supply to provide communication, position feedback and electromagnetic coil control.

What voltage does the SuperTrak GEN3™ system run on?

The electromagnetic linear motors utilize 28VDC to provide shuttle propulsion. The electronics providing communication and position feedback require 24VDC.

The SuperTrak GEN3™ standard control panels have two variants with input voltages of 400Y230VAC or 208Y120VAC 50Hz or 60Hz.

Environment

Has the SuperTrak GEN3™ system been used in cleanroom applications?

The SuperTrak GEN3™ system complies with the requirements of cleanrooms Class 1,000 (ISO-6).

Do you recommend shielding the track to prevent contamination and foreign objects falling on the tracks/magnets?

Generally, this is not required as the permanent magnets on the shuttle are fully covered and the electromagnetic coils provide no magnetic field when not in use. As well, the face of the motor and wheel riding surfaces are vertical, which prevents debris from settling on these critical areas. However, the track does also provide a convenient t-slot that can be used for mounting a shroud/cover (or other devices) in cases where it is felt necessary.

What are the environments that the SuperTrak GEN3™ conveyance platform is best suited for?

SuperTrak GEN3™ systems are suitable for various environments including, but not limited to:

  • Cleanroom(up to 1000)
  • Uncontrolled environments
  • Coolant in the air
  • Oil in the air
  • Dusty environments
  • Open-air non-conditioned
  • Wet environments (not submersed)

Performance

How long has the system been in the industry?

Development started in 1995, with the first proof of concept shown at a trade show in 1998. Systems have been running in house since 1998.The first production system was installed in 2002.

What is the preventative maintenance schedule for the SuperTrak GEN3™ system?

There is minimal recommended preventative maintenance:

  • Monthly inspection, cleaning and lubrication of shuttles
  • Weekly cleaning of rails
  • Monthly inspection of power supplies