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64-axis controller boasts 125μs EtherCat cycle times

13 June, 2023

The UK motion specialist Trio Motion Technology has launched an EtherCat-based motion controller for up to 64 axes which achieves EtherCat cycle times down to 125μs. The Flex-X Nano Motion Coordinator is designed to increase machine productivity while optimising motion precision.

Compared to Trio’s earlier Flex-6 Nano controller – with which it is directly interchangeable – the new “pocket-sized” device increases processor speeds by 20%, raises Ethernet TCP communications speeds by 10%, and boosts programme execution speeds by 25%.

The new controller has been designed for applications that demand powerful multi-axis servo control performance, such as packaging, manufacturing, material-handling, pick-and-place, CNC cutting machines and gantries.

The Flex-X Nano can simultaneously control machines, robots and motion axes. The ability to use one controller, instead of a PLC plus an additional robot controller or motion controller, is said to result in faster set-ups, reduced space requirements, and increased reliability.

The 147mm-high and 17mm-wide controller is powered by a 64-bit dual-core Arm Cortex A55 processor, running at a clock frequency of 1.2GHz. It offers IEEE 457 double maths precision, and a motion command execution benchmark of 125lines/ms.

“With a pocket-sized footprint and motion control for up to 64 axes, the original Flex-6 Nano Motion Coordinator has successfully provided OEMs with the speed, accuracy, and precision they need to develop high-performance machines,” says Trio’s president, Tom Alexander. “Launching the new Flex-X Nano, we’ve retained this format and have enhanced motion coordination performance, giving an interchangeable upgrade benefit to existing users of the Flex-6 Nano Motion Coordinator. For OEMs new to Trio, Flex-X Nano provides an easy integration pathway to increase the productivity and reliability of their machines.”

Complex programmes can run from the Flex-X Nano’s 1GBit DDR3 memory and 1GBit fast serial flash memory. A Micro SD card slot can extend this capacity. OEMs can add functions including I/O and device integration via Trio’s Flexslice modules that communicate over EtherCat. Up to 16 of these slices can be plugged into a Flex-X Nano to support complete machine control. Further I/O slices can also be connected directly with a Trio EtherCat I/O coupler.

Trio’s Flex-X Nano Motion Coordinator is designed to increase machine productivity while optimising motion precision.

The controller can be programmed using Trio’s Windows-based Motion Perfect software which supports IEC 61131-3 languages and PLCopen, as well as Trio’s core programming option which uses native English language commands to speed up development.

Trio Motion Technology, founded in 1987, was acquired by China’s Estun Group in 2017. Since the acquisition, Trio has grown by more than 15% every year. A significant proportion of Trio’s business is now in China where its motion control capabilities have enabled Estun to become a major player in the Chinese automation market.

Estun comprises six business groups focusing on automation and robotics, with activities around the world.

Trio Motion Technology:  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

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