1 October 2006

Aerotech's motion and machine control systems offer advantages for automated packaging and processing machine applications.

Aerotech's A3200 Automation Platform is a software only, 32–axis distributed motion control system that runs on standard Windows® based PC's and combines tightly synchronised motion with a selection of "soft" machine control modules for HMI, Vision and PLC. Using the non-proprietary IEEE-1394 Firewire® protocol, the controller provides a fully deterministic, high-speed, distributed control architecture in combination with Aerotech's Ndrive servo amplifiers which independently process position and velocity motion updates at 20 KHz servo loop closure rates, with power ratings up to 100 A peak current. Multi-axis packaging machine operations such as fast registration or "virtual line-shaft" based synchronisation are easily undertaken with all motion commands accessed in C, C++, Visual Basic® or in AeroBASIC - a rapid prototyping development language based on RS-274 G-code. Alternatively, the optional Ncontrol® SDK software development kit may be used to program the unit with Windows based ActiveX components, C++, VB and .NET class libraries that help to reduce programming time and effort.

Machine control modules are available for HMI (Nview®) and PLC (Nlogic®) with the industry standard IEC61131 language. A vision control module (Nvision® VCM) supporting standard and non-standard cameras greatly simplifies quality control or part identification requirements. As well as the integrated 10 base T Ethernet port on Aerotech's Ndrives, a DeviceNet™ compatible module is available for interfacing third party analogue and digital I/O or other machine control components. The A3200 allows simplified system wiring with its Firewire based distributed network and provides a very high speed deterministic architecture that is future proof and able to deal with the most complex motion and machine control requirements

A wide range of Ndrives are available to suit precision servo applications from 10 A peak current at 80 VDC to 100 A peak at 320 VDC in a choice of stand-alone and rack mounted configurations. Digital PWM based drives may also be configured for use with stepper motors and a range of linear power stage amplifiers is available for low noise, low distortion requirements sometimes required for sensitive medical and electronic packaging applications

Aerotech can also upgrade existing "legacy" systems with its Nservo and Nstep multi-axis interfacing system, allowing A3200 performance on original servo and stepper based drive systems, extending useful life with overall capital equipment cost savings

An alternative motion system approach is available with Aerotech's multitasking Soloist™ intelligent drive - a single axis digital servo drive and motion controller with 10/100 Base T Ethernet and USB connectivity. Suitable for single axis motion and machine control applications or as a multi-axis networked solution for up to 1024 units, the Soloist combines advanced (.NET) software architecture with an integral power supply, a digital drive amplifier with up to 30 A peak rating and advanced motion and machine controls.

The Soloist is aimed at demanding packaging machinery applications where high precision operations such as flying shear, electronic cam and electronic gearbox may be performed individually with networked synchronisation of the total machine process.

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