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Application Note: Custom Rack-Mounted Motion Control Cabinet

From start to finish, Cross creates a custom rack-mounted motion control cabinet

Cross Company’s Automation Group created a custom control cabinet solution that highlights how an existing set up can easily be optimized to fit customer needs. The customer had been using a standard floor cabinet, modified with wheels, to control an elaborate gantry system that was meant to be broken down and rebuilt through its operation.

The customer needed a custom mobile cabinet solution that could replace their gantry controls cabinet, which contained a multi-axis motion controller, servo and stepper drives, as well as auxiliary safety and general purpose I/O. Looking to make upgrades, they also wanted space for a rack mounted PC to be installed in the same cabinet.

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Old Controls Cabinet

The goal for this project was for a system that would allow them to use their pre-existing hardware and cabling, add in the functionality of a rack mounting system, give them the flexibility to upgrade to any future hardware decisions, and ease the pain and frustration associated with startup, field installation, and troubleshooting on their current system.

With some research, careful layout, and cable management foresight, the 6900 series modular industrial workstation from Rittal was chosen. With the case selected and the hardware requirements laid out, Cross worked with a local cabinet shop  to install and test all of the components to provide our customer a turnkey solution. 

The next big hurdle with this design was the cable management. The amount of hardware to manage the specified motion required two equipment shelves. An IGUS solution was selected for the cabling from both shelves and a track to the back wall for the pass-through connectors. Take a look at some preliminary layout photos and ideas for how to run the cables.

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The customer also needed to accommodate potential expansion for additional hardware. Once those alterations were made, final assembly began at the local cabinet shop. Once complete, the Cross engineers walked through the functionality of the cabinet. They also received the final drawings for accurate record keeping. At right are some of the final images. Note how the e-stop circuit and wired e-stop button are installed on the pull out drawer and front panel respectively. A fan cooler was also installed to keep the power supplies at an appropriate temperature.

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This was a great solution, showing that this form factor is possible.  Cross Company can adapt this concept to suit your particular solution.  This system is incredibly modular and easy to work on with the installed pull-out drawer option and rack rail system. It offers greater customization as our customer’s project continued with easy access detachable walls and extra room for more equipment.  If you are somebody looking for an electromechanical solution to a problem or application you are working on, give the team at Cross Company a call to talk you through a solution that fits your needs.

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