Multi-axis motion controllers, power supplies and interfaces

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Multi-axis motion controllers, power supplies and interfacesAerotech is launching the Ensemble Epaq MR series advanced multi-axis motion controllers featuring a choice of up to eight servo or micro-stepping drives housed in a 19-inch 3U rack, complete with power supplies and connectors for motor power, feedback and expandable machine I/O. Requiring only a 100-230V AC mains supply, the integrated unit includes hardware, software and interfacing options to suit the price and performance requirements of applications ranging from general-purpose positioning to advanced motion and machine control. There is also provision to add up to two further external drives using the built-in high-speed AeroNet serial interface for a total of 10 axes of co-ordinated motion.

The new Epaq MR provides multitasking programming for five independent tasks of synchronised multi-axis motion and I/O with linear and circular interpolation, contouring, velocity profiling and electronic gearbox functions. In addition, I/O-triggered 'on-the-fly' position registration and data capture functions are included, as well as a single-axis implementation of Aerotech's Position Synchronised Output (PSO), where axis position and laser power control or other external events are tightly co-ordinated.

Supported drive technologies include PWM and linear stage servo amplifiers for brushed and brushless motors, as well as micro-stepping drives. PWM servo drives are rated at 10A peak with a selectable range of output voltage to 80V DC and 20kHz switching frequency. All drive types may be freely mixed, allowing the motion system to comprise any combination of high-performance linear and rotary direct-drive motors, traditional brushed and brushless servo motors, micro-stepping motors in open-loop or with encoder position maintenance, and even voice coil motors.

Servo feedback includes primary and secondary encoders for each axis and a choice of 4096 or 65536 multiplication factors to provide micron- to nano-level positioning resolution in the connected mechanical system. Each drive includes a complement of I/O with an expansion card option available for additional digital and analogue I/O.

Programming software

The new Ensemble Epaq MR features Aerotech's Integrated Development Environment (IDE) software platform for Windows that combines simplicity with the ability to adapt to the most complex tasks through optional software modules. Available for use throughout Aerotech's range of advanced motion controllers, the IDE includes the Motion Composer GUI, which features a program editor with separate windows for compiler, task and variables status. Other tools include a digital 'scope to optimise tuning and performance, a configuration utility for parameter management, I/O and axis status utilities, and a firmware loader. The IDE also includes full help files and pre-coded programming examples that may be easily modified for use in customers' applications. Languages supported include AeroBASIC, LabVIEW with VIs, .NET tools for C#, VB.NET, managed C++, as well as a full C library.

An optional advanced controls toolbox enables users to modify and fine-tune control algorithms to reduce system harmonics, minimise settling time and perform many other functions that result in significant system performance benefits that help to increase production or research throughput, improve path accuracy, speed development timescales, reduce overall costs and much more.

Other important features for the Ensemble range of motion controllers include a remote ASCII interface for Windows or non-Windows programs (including Linux), allowing external command through the standard Ethernet port. An optional EtherNet/IP interface is available that enables compatible controls to integrate directly with Aerotech's motion engine. The Ensemble range is also fully compatible with the EPICS software tools and applications that are used in many synchrotron and general research laboratory facilities.

The Ensemble Epaq MR may be used with third-party mechanical positioning systems or can be supplied complete with Aerotech's wide range of high-precision positioning mechanics, with all cables and connectors, as a fully tested motion sub-system. Contact Aerotech for more information about the Ensemble Epaq MR.

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