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Four-axis controller promises high performance

04 February, 2022

Trio Motion Technology has launched a high-performance controller for stepper or pulse and direction servodrives with motion control of four axes. The panel-mounting MC404-Z is primarily aimed at OEMs that need fast and accurate motion performance as well as cost-optimised machine builds. The controller enables I/O extension through CANbus and can also integrate directly with common PLC and HMI protocols via a built-in Ethernet port.

Potential applications include cutting machines, as well as glue-laying and gantry control.

The controller provides linear, circular, helical and spherical interpolation and can achieve flexible CAM shapes and linked motion. It can also control robotic motion using integrated kinematics. A Micro SD card slot can be used to add program parameters and applications.

“The MC404-Z is designed for machine-builders that need to keep costs low by using stepper motors, or pulse and direction servomotors, but who also need high-performance motion control,” says Trio’s president, Tom Alexander. “For smaller, lower-power machines, the MC404-Z can be used as a standalone machine controller, saving significant cost compared to integrating an additional third-party PLC into the machine’s design.”

High speed and accurate control of pulse and direction axes uses advanced acceleration profiles with jerk limitation up to ninth-order polynomials for fast, smooth motion. The axes have a maximum stepper output frequency of 2MHz and a choice of servo periods from 4,000µs down to 125µs. The motion control performance is achieved with precise 64-bit motion calculations on an Arm Cortex-M7 processor.

A master encoder on the fourth axis port can be set up as incremental, Biss, EnDat or SSI absolute. The master encoder axis can be used for applications such as lineshaft-following on flow wrapper machines with a form, fill and seal process, or as an axis control handwheels on CNC machines.

The MC404-Z can operate as a standalone all-in-one controller thanks to its onboard I/O. Providing performance motion control and machine automation, the MC404-Z is claimed to offer significant cost savings compared to PLCs or IPCs. There are 16 digital inputs and eight digital outputs, as well as two registration inputs with a speed of 1µs, plus an analogue input. If additional I/O is required, Trio’s CAN I/O that runs on the CANbus protocol, extends digital, analogue and relay integration, with input, output and bi-directional modules. Third-party CanOpen I/O can also be integrated.

Trio’s MC404-Z controller offers high-performance control of stepper motors

Communications integration with the primary Ethernet-based fieldbuses is also supported. MC404-Z’s Ethernet port enables connection to an HMI or PC running a bespoke customer application, such as a CNC program, as well as connection to third-party PLCs.

Programming the MC404-Z is said to be fast and straightforward thanks to the option of using IEC 61131-3 languages, PLCopen or Trio’s Motion-iX language, which uses English-language commands. This makes dedicated motion programming fast and intuitive to learn, saving time compared to logic-based languages.

The MC404-Z is fast to set-up, with a single cable and connector per axis. Trouble-free commissioning takes place via Trio’s Windows-based MotionPerfect PC commissioning tool.

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