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Motion system does not degrade as axes are added

15 October, 2008

GE Fanuc has announced a modular, multi-processor motion control system aimed at complex applications. Each PACMotion module can control up to four axes plus a master axis, and up to 10 of the modules can be placed in a PACSystems RX3i rack to control of up to 40 axes simultaneously.

The PACMotion system uses a multi-processor architecture, bridged by virtual dual-port memory and a high-speed PCI backplane. This is claimed to deliver consistent performance and tight synchronisation of all of the axes in a rack.

“Motion path planning is an incredibly intensive computational process,” says Michael Harsh, chief technology officer for GE Enterprise Solutions. “Our hybrid distributed architecture makes it possible to add axes but not increase the load on the central processor, thereby keeping the performance exactly the same regardless of the number of axes in a system. For complex motion applications, this is critical.”

In single-processor systems, says GE, loop update times can get longer as more axes are added, introducing errors and variability which can, in turn, affect the quality and yield in high-speed production lines.

The new controllers are said to simplify programming by sharing a common database with machine logic operations, thus eliminating the need for complex data exchange between different programs. They also avoid the need to learn two different programming languages.

“PACMotion provides a striking leap in performance,” asserts Karl Pickan, OEM product manager for GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms Europe. It “delivers the ultimate in scalable motion control, combining a distributed CPU architecture integrated across a high-speed backplane”.

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