16 April 2007

Aerotech's EnsembleTM includes high-speed serial Ethernet networking for multi axis synchronisation

With deterministic high-speed serial networking for up to ten axes, Aerotech's new Ensemble CP/MP/CL intelligent drives seamlessly combine linear and PWM amplifier technology for brushed and brushless servos, and stepper motors to provide tightly synchronised precision motion control for the widest range of positioning and automation applications.

The Ensemble features the new AeroNet serial communications bus with two ports on each drive for daisy chaining up to 10 drives per network using standard CAT 6 cabling. Each drive also includes a standard 10/100 Base-T Ethernet port to communicate to a PC or other Ethernet device. To monitor and administer all aspects of the network, a Windows® based Integrated Development Environment software package is supplied which is also used for autotune and system setup. The Ensemble may be programmed using Microsoft® .NET tools for C#, VB.NET and managed C++, with LabVIEW┬« VI's or with AeroBASIC™.

Unlike other motion control systems using panel mounted, single-axis, networked drives for tightly coordinated motion, there is no requirement for an integrated hub; any Ensemble may be programmed to assume a master or slave role in the AeroNet network with slaves configured in remote command execution mode taking instructions via ASCII strings - deterministic coordinate motion for up to 5 independent multitasking programs across all axes plus local I/O synchronisation is executed.

Command execution process time estimates are 1000 lines of code in less than a millisecond - fast enough for multi-axis synchronisation, electronic gearing and velocity profiling when taking all amplifier and feedback transfer functions into account. The 10/100 Base-T Ethernet interface may also used for multi axis system setup, embedded commands and Modbus over TCP. Non Windows programming (including Linux) is also supported.

For larger automation systems, 10/100 Base-T Ethernet control can be linked via a router to include HMI, Remote I/O, PLC's and other Ensemble machine networks. Each Ensemble also includes USB and serial ports which may also be used for system setup, application networking or a Windows® control interface.

The Ensemble CP/MP/CL range covers two versions with 20 kHz PWM amplifier stages which can be configured for brushed, brushless and stepper motors; the CP version is direct-on-line powered and has three models with 10A, 20 A and 30 A peak current whilst the MP version requires a separate DC power supply with up to 10A peak current. A third version, the CL, includes a 10 A ultra low noise linear amplifier stage, essential for the highest precision performance. It is possible to mix and match all motor technologies within the same machine, considerably reducing potential costs and as each drive stage may be freely reconfigured, easing spares inventory expenditure. The range is planned to expand to 150 A peak current ratings in the near future.

The CP and CL models are equipped with a small complement of digital and analogue I/O and optional expanded I/O versions are available for all models. All Ensemble drives feature main position encoder inputs with 32 kHz data rates and x1024 multiplication options are available for ultra-high resolution systems. Second auxiliary feedback encoder inputs are available as options on selected models.

The Ensemble family also includes the multi axis stand-alone Epaq, a motion control and integrated drive system in a choice of desktop or 19 inch rack mounted formats. The range is available in 3, 4, 5 or 6 axis versions with a complement of I/O and integral 10 A peak linear and PWM amplifiers, capable of driving and controlling linear and rotary brushless, brushed and micro-stepping motors. With 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, the Epaq may also be expanded to control a further three external drives from the Ensemble panel mount range to provide 9 axes of completely co-ordinated motion and machine control from a single competitively priced unit.

Contact: Cliff Jolliffe

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