EtherCAT Servo Drive Revitalizes High Performance Automation

May 22, 2007
Copley Controls announces two state-of-the-art open standard EtherCAT-compatible Accelnet servo drives. The drives, which deliver 18A and 36A peak, respectively, combine Accelnet versatility and Ethernet speed for centralized control of multi-axis automation. The drives enhance the performance of distributed motion control systems too. High perfomance multi-axis robotic arms often require real time servo-loop adjustments in response to loads being lifted and arms extended. Motion on one axis can also affect loading on other axes. Optimal control of multi-axis robotic arms is best achieved with a centralized controller that handles path planning and manages all position and velocity control loops. The controller commands high bandwidth current loops within each arm-positioning drive. Such centralized control places a heavy burden on the communication network between controller and drives. EtherCAT’s ultra fast data transmission enables 100 drives to be updated in less than 100 usec. The new drives, parts AEP-90-18 and AEP-90-36, drive brushless and brush motors and run on 20 - 90V DC power. Adding EtherCAT compatibility to Copley’s Accelnet drives provides a potent combination of speed and operating modes, including torque, velocity, trajectory tracking, point-to-point and homing. Multiple choices for encoder feedback include Endat 2.2, Hiperface, incremental, and analog encoders. Copley supports the new drives with comprehensive software tools that capitalize on the CANopen DSP-402 device profile of EtherCAT. All network management is taken care of automatically by a few simple commands. Copley supports two levels of development environments. Copley Motion Libraries (CML) link into a C++ application program. Copley Motion Objects (CMO) are COM compatible objects for Visual Basic, NET and LabVIEW. Copley also speeds the system designer’s task with highly intuitive downloadable software tools. A Java-based drive configuration environment provides auto tuning and makes system setup and commissioning fast and simple. The software also includes powerful oscilloscope, function generator, and diagnostic tools. The new drive’s dimensions are 7.7" x 3.9" x 1.2" • 196 x 3.9 x 1.2 mm. Interfaces include two 100BASE-TX ports, analog ±10V inputs, as well as multiple digital inputs and outputs. Applications EtherCAT-compatible AEP-90-18 and AEP-90-3 Accelnet drives enable robotics designers to upgrade system throughput. EtherCAT’s superior speed enables central controllers to maintain path planning for high speed systems, close velocity and position loops of tightly coupled multi-axis robotics automation.