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All-in-one motion controller handles eight axes

14 December, 2007

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Baldor has announced a rugged eight-axis stepper and servo motor controller, with PLC, fieldbus and I/O functions, which can provide complete control of applications such as pick-and-place machines, packaging lines, machine tools, and high-speed printers.

The NextMove-ESB2 supports 100µs loop closure times on its four main servo axes, and provides six-term, closed-loop control for accurate positioning. A free encoder axis can be used as a master axis, with the servo axes programmed to follow it at synchronised intervals. The module’s four stepper axes, which provide pulse and direction outputs at up to 500kHz, can also be used to control servo axes, potentially giving a total of eight precision axes.

Baldor NextMove ESB

The panel-mounting controller’s I/O tally includes 20 digital inputs, 12 digital outputs, two 12-bit differential analogue inputs, a CANopen fieldbus port, and two serial ports, including a 12Mb/s USB port.

The controller can be programmed using either Baldor’s Basic-like Mint motion language, or C. Mint includes keywords for many common motion tasks from simple profiles to complex software cams and flying shears. The controller comes with a multitasking version of Mint that allows complex machine control routines to be split into smaller tasks such as motion, human-machine interfacing and I/O handling.

For applications where execution speed is critical, the controller can be programmed using a C compiler and Baldor’s free library of C-compatible functions for motion, I/O, communications, operator interfaces, and so on. The firmware can be embedded in the controller or called when needed from a host PC.

Baldor is also offering a lower-cost version of the controller which is limited to controlling three servo axes.

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