What Is Motion Control?

Publish Date: May 29, 2012 | 3 Ratings | 4.67 out of 5 |  PDF

Overview

Table of Contents

NI motion control software and hardware - simplify the development of all your motion control applications and deliver easy integration with NI data acquisition and vision products. From automating test equipment and research labs to controlling biomedical, packaging, and manufacturing machines, engineers and scientists use NI motion to solve a diverse set of application challenges, faster and at a lower cost.

Watch an introductory webcast to learn more about NI Motion Control

Jump to:  Fundamentals | Controllers | Motors | Drives | Software

Fundamentals

The most common motors in the industrial and embedded space are stepper, brushed, and brushless DC motors, but there are other motor options. Each motor requires individual input signals to spin the motor and transform electrical energy into mechanical energy. In the broadest sense, motion control helps you use the motor that best meets your application requirements without dealing with all the low-level signaling needed to spin a motor.In addition, motion control provides high-level functions so you can efficiently implement custom applications based on building blocks to create solutions for common tasks like precise positioning, synchronization of multiple axes, and movement with defined velocity, acceleration, and deceleration. Because most of the motors are operated during transient circumstances, motion control tools need to adapt to different loads and dynamic conditions, which requires complex control algorithm processing and feedback information from the mechanical system. Last but not least, motion tasks are usually mission-critical and often operate machines that could harm humans around them. Therefore, security features such as limit switches and I/O channels are required to collect status information and execute shutdown routines. 

Motion Control System Components

The following diagram illustrates the essential components of a motion control system.

Figure 1. The motion controller is the heart of the motion control system.

The part that is specific to your application is the application software you develop. It determines how the motion profile looks and how certain events trigger and influence it. The application software consists of several optional layers. Usually there is a user interface application that offers the possibility of operator interaction. A lot of motion applications include application layers for alarm handling and database connectivity to link to a SCADA system. They also contain motion control instructions executed by the motion controller. The motion controller manufacturer provides the development environment you use to create the application software.With the aforementioned instructions, the motion controller creates motion profiles. Based on these profiles, the controller sends signals (usually ±10 V or step and direction signals) through an amplifier, or motor drive, to the motor. The amplifier’s job is to take the signals from the controller and change them into signals that cause the motor to move. As the motor turns, the feedback device – usually a position sensor – delivers position information back to the controller to close the control loop. From this position sensor, the motion controller knows the position of the motor and can derive the velocity at which it is moving. Some applications require multiple feedback devices to ensure that the mechanical system the motors are driving performs the movement the way it should. Although feedback devices offer position feedback, sometimes special feedback information, such as the data from a pressure or vibration sensor, needs to be sent back to the controller.

Jump to:  Fundamentals | Controllers | Motors | Drives | Software

 

Controllers

National Instruments offers a variety of motion controllers ranging from DSP-based high-performance plug-in devices for PCI or PXI systems to embedded motion control systems based on NI real-time platforms, such as NI CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO, or the NI industrial controller, using the LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module. With NI SoftMotion technology, you can implement a custom motion controller on real-time and FPGA-based hardware platforms. It provides the supervisory control and powerful trajectory generator implementation you need to achieve custom motion applications using graphical programming.

Real-Time Motion Controller Using LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Distributed Motion Controller Using LabVIEW NI SoftMotion and EtherCAT Plug-In Motion Controller for PCI and PXI

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Real-Time Motion Controller Using LabVIEW NI SoftMotion

  • Design custom motion control applications using graphical development tools
  • Deploy to NI real-time platforms such as NI Single-Board RIO, CompactRIO, PXI, or industrial controller hardware
  • Directly connect to drives and motors with NI C Series motion modules for CompactRIO
  • Benefit from functions for trajectory generation, spline interpolation, position, and velocity control
  • Define custom axes that include standard I/O, custom control algorithms, or communication interfaces

 

With the LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module, you can implement a custom motion controller on NI real-time targets such as NI Single-Board RIO, CompactRIO, PXI real-time, or industrial controller hardware. NI SoftMotion technology provides the supervisory control and a powerful trajectory generator implementation, which are automatically deployed to the real-time controller. You can use the LabVIEW project to configure the motion axis settings, test your configuration, tune your motors, quickly develop a custom motion application with graphical programming, and deploy the application to a rugged and reliable NI real-time or FPGA-based hardware platform.

For application development, LabVIEW NI SoftMotion offers a high-level function block API for simplified development and a property and invoke node API for open access to the low-level motion functions. You can execute your custom motion application on the real-time system or even locally on a Windows-based PC communicating with a real-time controller running the supervisory control and the trajectory generator.

Real-Time Controller Options

Distributed Motion Controller Using LabVIEW NI SoftMotion and EtherCAT Technology

  • Design custom motion control applications using graphical development tools
  • Connect to distributed drives through EtherCAT communication
  • Deploy your applications to any NI EtherCAT master
  • Benefit from functions for trajectory generation, spline interpolation, position, or velocity control
  • Take advantage of cutting-edge drive technology in a small form factor

You can use the LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module to implement distributed or networked motion control systems. With an NI real-time system (NI cRIO-902x, NI 9074, NI industrial controller, PXI, and NI Embedded Vision Systems) that is capable of running NI EtherCAT master software, you can implement motion systems that use EtherCAT communication to directly connect to EtherCAT drives. You also can take advantage of NI 9144 EtherCAT expansion chassis and C Series drive interface modules. With LabVIEW NI SoftMotion, you can use the LabVIEW project to configure your motion axis settings, configure your distributed drive, tune your motors, and validate all your settings with the interactive test panel. Because they are based on the same technology, local and distributed motion axes can be combined within the same controller.

For application development, LabVIEW NI SoftMotion provides a high-level function block API for simplified development and a property and invoke node API for open access to the low-level motion functions.

Distributed Motion Controller Options

 

Plug-In Motion Controller

  • High-performance and low-cost controllers available
  • Support for Windows and real-time PCI and PXI systems
  • Free NI-Motion driver software included with all plug-in motion controllers
  • Compatibility with NI LabVIEW and Measurement Studio software
  • Support for NI Motion Assistant interactive, configurable motion software

National Instruments offers a variety of motion controllers ranging from high-performance controllers with full-feature capability for the most sophisticated requirements to lower-cost motion controllers for point-to-point motion applications with solid performance. The highest-performance NI controller family is the NI 7350 Series, which provides up to eight axes of stepper or servo motion control. The mid-range NI controller family is the NI 7340 Series, which features up to four axes of stepper or servo motion control. The low-cost NI controller option is the NI 7330 Series, which offers four axes of stepper motion control. Each of these controllers integrates with NI data acquisition devices for high-performance automated test systems.

Plug-In Controller Options

Jump to:  Fundamentals | Controllers | Motors | Drives | Software

 

Motors

National Instruments offers stepper and servo motors for a wide range of applications. With different frame sizes and power classifications, the two NI series of permanent magnet motors deliver superior performance. The AKM brushless DC servo motors, which provide up to 37.5 N-m peak torque, up to 8000 rpm speed, and integrated smart feedback devices, are perfectly matched with NI AKD servo drives. The NI stepper motors feature up to 12.1 N-m holding torque and offer precise movement in 1.8 deg increments (200/revolution). Because of their two-phase design, these motors do not necessarily require expensive feedback and are, therefore, easy to control.

Servo Motors Stepper Motors

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Servo Motors

  • High-performance brushless servo motors
  • 6 frame sizes 
  • Up to 37.5 N-m (5310.4 oz-in.) peak torque
  • Up to 8000 rpm 
  • Smart feedback devices (encoders) for simplified setup and configuration

NI AKM brushless DC servo motors are designed to operate over a broad range of speeds and offer up to 37.5 N-m of peak torque. Available in six different standardized frame sizes, these motors provide integrated feedback with smart feedback device (SFD) technology for simplified setup and configuration. Because of their brushless design and low-inertia rotors, the AKM brushless servo motors require limited maintenance, offer high dynamic performance, and exhibit low cogging.

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Stepper Motors

  • NEMA size 17, 23, and 34 motors
  • Up to 12.1 N-m (1710 oz-in.) holding torque
  • 1.8 deg resolution
  •  Match with NI stepper drives and motion controllers for best performance

NI stepper motors provide precise, high-torque performance and easy connectivity to NI stepper motor drives. Because of their brushless design, rugged bearings, and innovative cooling technology, these motors offer long durability. The two-phase design ensures small and precise movement in 1.8 deg increments (200/revolution), is simple to control, and does not necessarily require complicated, expensive feedback devices. You can quickly develop your precision stepper motion control system by combining the NI stepper motors with matched stepper drives and the motion controller that fits your application requirements the best.

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Drives

National Instruments stepper and servo motor power drives provide reliable, easy-to-connect drive solutions for all NI motion controllers. The drives are available for different power ranges and form factors, from C Series modules that directly connect to NI CompactRIO control system, to lower-power motors, to external single-axis drives that are perfectly matched with NI stepper and servo motors, to multiaxis drives that are optimized for use with NI plug-in motion controllers.

Servo Motor Drives Stepper Motor Drives

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Servo Motor Drives

  • 1-, 2-, or 4-axis drives 
  • Different form factors
  • Compact enclosure size with panel or rack mounting 
  • Analog control or EtherCAT communication available with AKD servo drives
  • Plug-and-play configuration with NI AKM brushless DC servo motors

National Instruments servo motor power drives offer reliable, easy-to-connect drive solutions for all NI motion controllers. The AKD brushless servo drives feature cutting-edge technology for a single motion axis. They provide plug-and-play configuration with NI AKM brushless DC servo motors and connect to motion controllers either through an analog control signal or via deterministic EtherCAT communication. The NI 9505 is a single-axis full H-bridge servo motor drive that directly connects CompactRIO hardware to brushed DC servo motors, relays, lamps, solenoids, and valves. NI MID-765x DC brushed motor drives are perfectly matched with NI PCI and PXI plug-in servo motor controllers. The NI MID-7654 and MID-7652 are four- and two-axis servo motor drive units, respectively. They incorporate an efficient servo amplifier architecture that converts analog control signals into winding currents for DC brushed motors.

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Stepper Motor Drives

  • 1-, 2-, or 4-axis drives 
  • Different form factors
  • Compact enclosure size with panel or rack mounting 
  • Precision motion with encoderless stall detection, antiresonance filtering, and dynamic smoothing 
  • Match with NI stepper motors and motion controllers for best performance

NI stepper motor power drives provide reliable, easy-to-connect drive solutions for all NI motion controllers. NI offers one-, two-, or four-axis power drives with high-torque output and microstepping. The P70360 one-axis AC input power drive offers 320 V bus and 3.5 A peak current output, the P70530 one-axis DC input power drive offers 20 to 75 V bus and 7.1 A peak current output, and the NI MID-7602/4 two- or four-axis AC power drives offer 1.4 A peak current output. In addition, the one-axis drives provide dynamic smoothing and antiresonance filters for smooth motion and encoderless stall detection for reliable control. National Instruments also offers the NI 9501, a single-axis C Series stepper drive, which you can use to directly connect your stepper motors to a CompactRIO embedded motion control system.

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Software

With NI LabVIEW and motion-specific software add-on tools, you can create powerful, custom motion control applications using graphical programming. You can combine configuration-based tools and high-level APIs to quickly develop custom applications and deploy them to NI motion control hardware.

LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Modules

  • Design custom motion control applications
  • Benefit from functions for trajectory generation, spline interpolation, and position or velocity control
  • Use the high-level function block API for simplified motion profile development
  • Define custom axes that include standard I/O, custom control algorithms, or communication interfaces
  • Create virtual prototypes using the NI SoftMotion for SolidWorks

NI LabVIEW software and the LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module deliver graphical development for custom motion control applications. With LabVIEW NI SoftMotion, you can use the LabVIEW project to configure all of your motion axis settings, test your configuration, tune your motors, and quickly develop a custom motion application. You can deploy those applications to NI real-time controllers or run them on a local Windows host connected to a real-time controller executing the NI SoftMotion engine. 

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The NI Motion Assistant

    • Interactive environment with 3D visualization
    • Ready-to-run LabVIEW or C code creation
    • Easy trapezoidal or S-curve velocity profile implementation
    • Single-axis or multiaxis application use
    • Compatibility with NI plug-in motion controllers

The NI Motion Assistant is a configuration-based interactive development environment for rapidly prototyping and deploying your motion applications using NI plug-in motion controllers. With it, you can develop custom applications and convert them into ready-to-run LabVIEW VIs or C code using the NI-Motion API.

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