The PC-based MotionPAC is a single development environment machine controller that combines an industry standard PLC engine with IEC61131-3 programming capabilities such as sequential function block and structured text programming for I/O event handling and Aerotech’s sophisticated multi-axis motion engine to provide best possible control of moving axes. The system is very flexible and highly customisable and includes programming options such as adding custom function blocks using Microsoft’s .NET Framework, or running AeroBASIC programs directly on the controller and interfacing with other interface software such as LabVIEW. Other useful features include the ability to position axes whilst acquiring high speed digital and analogue data from the controllers inputs, recorded against encoder feedback and ultra-precise output triggering based on encoder position.
For example, MotionPAC will allow users to tightly control multi-axis motion trajectories to within microns using Aerotech's direct-drive positioning mechanics, and with real-time/real position data acquisition from its nanometre level encoder technologies, output position synchronised pulses to control external events such as the firing pattern of a laser or precisely timed 'electronic gearbox' functions. All of this is possible using a combination of IEC61131-3 and .NET Framework based programming.
The new controller is equipped with a number of sophisticated control algorithms and hardware options that Aerotech has developed across its range of advanced motion controls that substantially boost machine speeds and accelerations, deliver much improved performance and increase production throughput. These include simple-to-use tools that reduce unwanted harmonic and periodic disturbances, minimise dynamic following errors, increase dynamic accuracy and significantly improve in-position stability. For the first time, these advanced functions have been combined with IEC61131-3 programming to deliver the reliability of a PLC and the flexibility of the PC in one single control solution.
The single development environment also allows machine builders and OEMs the benefit of considerably reduced machine integration and build timescales with the machine tags defined only once and available across all applications regardless of the programming language selected. And, with its PC-based architecture, the MotionPAC power will increase in-line with processor development to enable advanced motion and machine control solutions for tomorrows applications.