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Seven-axis controller packs it all into one box

01 June, 2003

Seven-axis controller packs it all into one box

At the recent Drives & Controls Show in the UK, Baldor unveiled a single-box motion controller capable of controlling up to three servo and four stepper motor axes. The panel-mounting NextMove ESB, which has on-board I/O and fieldbus connections, can act as a standalone controller for many machine-building applications, or as a motion control sub-system linked to a supervisory PC via its USB port.

The controller (shown above) is said to be about 60 time faster than Baldor`s SmartMove controllers. It supports servo loop closure times of 100µs on three axes, with six-term closed-loop control for accurate positioning. The four stepper axes provide pulse and direction outputs at up to 500kHz.

The on-board I/O allows the NextMove ESB to be used for sequential as well as motion control, potentially eliminating the need for external PLCs. This I/O includes 20 digital inputs, 11 digital outputs, two 12-bit differential analogue inputs, a 12-bit output, two CANopen ports, two serial ports and a 12Mb/s USB interface.

The USB port will allow OEMs to panel-mount motion control sub-systems inside their machines, instead of needing PC expansion slots. The controller can be used to provide stand-alone XYZ-axis positioning control, and is suitable for applications such as high-speed packaging, labelling and machine tools.

The controller is programmed using the Mint motion language or C. The NextMove ESB is supplied with the multi-tasking MintMT version of the language, which allows complex machine control duties to be divided into smaller tasks, such as motion, HMI and I/O handling functions.

• On its stand at the Drives & Controls Show, Baldor was previewing a linear motor which, it says,will compete on price with traditional linear motion technologies such as ballscrews and leadscrews. The HyCore motor is a three-phase stepper motor with magnets built into the forcer, rather than the track, thus keeping costs down. The motor, designed for closed-loop operation, is said to deliver 70-80% of the performance of a traditional cog-free linear motor. Full details will be revealed when the motor is formally launched in a few months` time.




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