Trio Motion Technology (Tewkesbury, UK) has added to its MC464 Motion Coordinator machine controller range with the launch of its new EtherCAT Master drive interface module. The new module provides tightly synchronized control for up to 64 slave axes on the MC464 — up to seven modules may be added, each providing eight 100 nanosecond registration inputs which can be mapped to any axis. Trio’s MC464 Motion Coordinator is based on the 64-bit 400MHz MIPS processor with 64-bit position registers and double floating point maths for exceptional servo precision. With multitasking TrioBASIC programming, the central control unit includes analogue and digital I/O, status display, SD card memory expansion, axis synchronization and programming ports with a wide choice of half-and full-height expansion modules for drive technology, I/O expansion, factory and fieldbus communication.

Users can choose a 4- or 8-axis module for stepper, analogue servo or piezo motor control with several choices of absolute or incremental feedback, and can freely mix modules that support third party drive technologies including SERCOS II, Panasonic RTEX, SLM and now EtherCAT. The new EtherCAT drive interface module is plug-and-play compatible with the MC464 using Trio’s Motion Perfect 2 programming environment. As a 100 base-T EtherCAT master, the module has a single RJ45 connector which connects to the IN of the first EtherCAT drive. On power-up the MC464 identifies the EtherCAT module, its connected drives and input/output modules with automatic configuration from a comprehensive look-up list.

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This article first appeared in the April, 2011 issue of Embedded Technology Magazine.

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