Control System For A Window Spacer Bending Machine

A custom machine builder needed to upgrade its existing control system for a machine that manufactures the metal spacers that separate the panes of glass in a window. Mercator Robotec designed and manufactured the system of electrical and software elements that allowed the metalworking machine to:

  • Bend a straight piece of aluminum extrusion into the shape of a rectangle;
  • Saw the material to the correct length;
  • Drill a series of holes automatically.

We were successful delivering a control system upgrade that could meet these requirements to a tolerance of 1/32″.

Mercator Robotec’s PC-based HMI for this project included a SQL database (for storing batch jobs, material parameters, machine parameters, and alarm history) and several custom screens built with Visual Basic for machine setup and monitoring. We developed motion control and machine sequencing software for a 3-Axis Baldor servo controller. We also redesigned and rebuilt the control panel, and rewired all sensors and solenoid valves on the machine. Extensive testing ensured that our work would continue to meet the rigorous standards for accuracy held in the tool-and-die industry.

To learn more about this project, or our other products and services, please contact Mercator Robotec.

Control System Upgrade of Window Spacer Bender Machines – Project Details

Product Description Mercator Robotec Inc. designed and manufactured a control system upgrade for a window spacer bending machine. The scope of work included programming a PC based HMI, writing motion control and machine sequencing software, redesigning and rebuilding the control panel and rewiring all the sensors and solenoid valves on the machine.
Capabilities Applied/Processes Machine Control

  • Baldor 3-Axis NextMove PCI Motion Controller
  • 3 Servo Controlled Drives on the machine
    • Feed Rollers
    • Bend Arm
    • Die Clamp
  • Digital I/O for Pneumatic solenoid valves and various sensor inputs
  • Custom program written for Baldor motion control card for servo motion control and machine sequencing logic


  • PC with 17″ touch screen monitor
  • Software written in Visual Basic using Visual Studio 2005
  • SQL database for storing batch jobs, material parameters, machine parameters and alarm history.
  • ActiveX control used for communication between the HMI and the machine controller
  • Screens:
    • Batch Processing
    • Manual Production/Single Cycle
    • Jog/Setup
    • Machine Parameter Setup
    • Alarm History
    • Online Help

Control Panel

  • 240 VAC, 10A
  • 15 Digital Inputs, 20 Digital Inputs
  • 3 Yaskawa Sigma2 Servo Amplifiers
  • Baldor NextMove PCI I/O Breakout boards
System Features & Specifications This machine automatically builds the metal spacers that are placed between the panes of glass in a window. The machine takes straight pieces of extruded aluminum stock and bends them into a rectangle. The material is automatically cut to length with a saw and a series of holes are drilled. The overall dimensions of the rectangle have a tolerance of 1/32″.
In process testing performed Rigorous functional testing of the HMI and machine control software was performed in our facility prior to delivery of the upgraded machine. Extensive testing of machine accuracy was also completed.
Industry for Use Custom Machinery
Delivery Time 6 to 8 weeks
Standards Met Customer supplied specifications
Product Name Control System Upgrade of Window Spacer Bending Machines