Cost-Effective, State-of the-Art Replacement for Dedicated Motion Controller

Cost-Effective, State-of the-Art Replacement for Dedicated Motion Controller

ACS Motion Control develops PC-based EtherCAT control for motion-centric applications

ACS Motion Control has developed a PC-based machine and motion-control product — SPiiPlusSC (Soft Controller) — with dedicated motion-control software that brings together the processing power of PCs and the connectivity of a real-time open industrial Ethernet network. According to the developer, software makes it possible for a standard PC to run the machine host application, the Graphical User Interface (GUI), the real-time motion controller, and PLC, without adding any hardware.

Minnesota-based ACS manufactures advanced multi-axis motion controllers, machine controllers, and integrated control modules, and supplies standard and custom products that combine power and precision for flexible, economical, and user-friendly motion and machine control products.

The SPiiPlusSC control software includes its own real-time operating system, runs on one of the multi-core PC processors, and provides high-speed, host-to-controller communication over shared RAM and virtual TCP/IP. The program manages all motor drives and I/O processes using one of the PC’s standard Ethernet ports as the EtherCAT master communication channel. The SPiiPlusSC simplifies the connectivity of the entire system by eliminating the dedicated controller hardware.

The SPiiPlusSC motion controller is complemented by a line of EtherCAT motor drives and I/O modules that can provide thousands of I/O points. The SPiiPlusSC control software includes its own real-time operating system, runs on one of the multi-core PC processors, and provides high-speed, host-to-controller communication over shared RAM and virtual TCP/IP. The program manages all motor drives and I/O processes using one of the PC’s standard Ethernet ports as the EtherCAT master communication channel.

SPiiPlusSC is available in two versions: the SPiiPlusSC-HP for complex and performance demanding applications with up to 64 axes; and the SPiiPlusSC-LT, an economical version for one to eight axes. Both versions provide the same servo and motion performance and are more cost effective when compared to other solutions that require a dedicated controller unit.

"The SPiiPlusSC motion controller enables the highest motion control performance possible at the lowest price," stated Jason Goerges, sales and support manager at ACS Motion Control. "Previously, motion control solutions for demanding applications, such as SMT assembly systems with high-volume data-transfer needs, were based on a costly dedicated motion controller card that plugs into the PC and communicates to it over PCI or a similar bus. The SPiiPlusSC is a cost-effective, state-of the-art replacement for dedicated motion controllers. Because of its direct, shared memory access with the host application and inter-processor interrupt capabilities, the SPiiPlusSC provides the fastest possible controller to host communication."

The controller is complemented by a full line of EtherCAT motor drives and I/O modules that can provide thousands I/O points. In addition, the open architecture can support ACS and other vendors qualified EtherCAT components. Programming in both PLCOpen IEC61131-3 languages and the ACSPL+ powerful multi-tasking motion language is fully supported. Full API libraries are also included for Windows based host programming. A full controller simulator allows the user to develop the motion application and front end without any hardware.

The SPiiPlusSC is ideal for demanding applications including SMT assembly systems, semiconductor manufacturing and inspection equipment, FPD manufacturing and inspection, solar panel manufacturing, packaging machines, medical body scanners, robotics, wide format printing and high precision, motion centric machinery.

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