25 Jul 2024


Motion controller marries Windows with multi-axis engine

Trio’s PC-MCAT-2 controller can run Windows alongside its own Motion-iX core

The UK controls developer Trio Motion Technology used the recent SPS show to launch a new motion controller based on Intel multi-core processors, which can run Microsoft Windows alongside Trio’s own Motion-iX core, allowing-machine builders to integrate Windows applications with advanced motion functions.

The PC-MCAT-2 controller offers high-speed EtherCat coordination of up to 64 servo and robot axes. It runs Microsoft Windows 10 and provides a choice of Intel processors from Celeron to Core i7, as well as up to 256GB of solid-state drive memory. It can integrate with, and control, almost any peripheral device, including vision systems or sensors. Ports include HDMI, USB, serial and general-purpose digital I/O.

Three Ethernet ports allow the controller to deliver high-speed links from host machines to wider factory networks. To enhance network segmentation and bandwidth, each port has its own IP address.

A supplied API library can be used in Windows applications, communicating with Trio’s Motion-iX motion control functions via a shared memory interface. This provides a high-speed link to the motion engine and a flexible choice of programming languages, allowing third-party SDKs to be integrated to deliver advanced machine control from a single application.

The controller can co-ordinate up to 64 servo or robot axes with 64-bit maths precision, EtherCat cycle times down to 125μs, and motion command execution at speeds of up to 500 lines/ms.

Combining Windows-based machine control and motion coordination on the same device removes the lag created by Ethernet connections to a separate PC.

Trio says the PC-MCAT-2 can reduce machine footprints and hardware costs. OEMs can cut development times by removing the integration and debugging needed when using separate hardware.

Applications can be written in Trio’s TrioBasic programming language, or in IEC 61131 languages with PLCopen. These languages execute on the Motion-iX core, independently of Windows.

The single controller can enhance reliability for end-users as well, avoiding communications challenges that may develop after commissioning. The controller is protected by a rugged metal case that improves heat dissipation, while a fanless design reduces noise and maintenance requirements.

“The PC-MCAT-2 motion controller is an advantage for machine-builders who need to deploy Windows-based machine control applications and establish IoT connectivity, alongside high-performance servo or robotic motion control,” says Trio Motion Technology’s president, Tom Alexander. “Combining PC-MCAT-2 with our portfolio of controllers, servodrives and motors, I/O, HMI, and Scara robots, we present machine-builders with an automation solution that offers the highest performance motion control, with support from a single vendor.”

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