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Fieldbus-compatible motion controller

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article image Baldor’s NextMove BX motion controller.

BALDOR has launched a Fieldbus-compatible motion controller. Designated NextMove BX II, it provides a ready-to-use solution, for up to four servo/vector motor axes, that is able to run stand alone or under the control of a host such as a PC.

Supporting the latest multitasking version of the Mint motion language, MintMT, with its high-level commands for tasks such as positioning, it may be configured in minutes for many commonly required automation movements.

NextMove BX II's multi-tasking capability addresses the general pressure to reduce time to market and manage escalating equipment complexity in the form of demand for more features such as graphical user interfaces, safety mechanisms, and field and factory networking.

The multi-tasking kernel embedded in MintMT allows developers to split control software into modules, reducing complexity and allowing several programmers to work on the system simultaneously if required.

It also offers a means to reduce equipment costs in some applications by allowing one Mint controller to manage multiple stations for example.

The CE-marked product is a major evolution of Baldor's NextMove BX product, which has been subject to an extensive design-for-manufacture review - substantially reducing component count and increasing reliability.

In the process, the exercise has trimmed costs by up to 10 per cent - providing a boost for one of the most popular general-purpose categories of motion controller - employed by end users in all industrial sectors for low volume automation projects, as well as by machine builder OEMs.

The new product comes packaged in a rugged wall or panel-mounting book-style metal case of a new design. This simplifies installation and complements Baldor's Flex and Flex+ ranges of ac brushless servo motor drives.

The controller integrates its own 24V dc power supply for easy setup and installation.

Based on a fast 32-bit floating point DSP, NextMove BX II may be populated with two, three or four servomotor axis control channels, each capable of performing closed-loop control with a 250μs update capability.

Up to 256kB of Flash EPROM is available for firmware, with up to 256kB of onboard RAM to speed software execution.

Also included are RS232 and RS485 ports, and two CAN Fieldbus channels for linking with remote drives and/or I/O - simplifying system building and expansion - with support for the popular CANopen protocol.

The motion controller includes enough onboard I/O to satisfy many common machine or automation tasks.

There are 16 user-configurable opto-isolated digital inputs, eight opto-isolated outputs capable of providing up to 350mA, eight 12-bit analog inputs which may be used single-ended or configured as four differential channels, and four fast interrupt inputs for position registration - one of which can latch in 25μs.

Further I/O may be added and distributed around the machine or process using CAN - an approach which can cut cabling costs dramatically.

A new seven-segment LED display and axis LEDs, combined with MintMT, provides much more detailed status information than the previous design. Users are also able to program their own symbols using MintMT commands.

Compatibility with MintMT simplifies application programming by providing ready-to-use commands for many sophisticated motion control tasks such as flying shears, software cams, x-y tables and splines.

This provides an extremely quick means of developing application software, with the ability to check operation easily using NextMove BX II's built-in MintMT virtual machine.

Advanced software principles have been employed in MintMT to give OEMs further advantages. A key introduction is the rewriting of the language in the form of a virtual machine environment.

This has particular relevance for larger OEMs as it strongly supports a 'program once' approach for the highly specialist motion control systems industry - allowing companies to choose the most cost effective Mint motion controller for any project or machine, and reuse standard software modules.

The virtual machine approach also brings a major speed advantage because it executes some two or more times faster than previous interpreted Mint code - even with the additional overhead of multi-tasking - providing a means to achieve higher throughput in many applications.

Alternatively, for optimum performance, system builders can take advantage of a library of Mint-compatible C language routines, which allow compact, fast-executing programs to be embedded directly in the motion controller. Australian Baldor 02 9674 5455.

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