The two different motion architectures offered by NI (see Architectures section) are programmed with different software. Applications using NI plug-in motion controllers are programmed with the NI-Motion driver and the Motion Assistant, whereas applications using NI real-time controllers and FPGA targets are programmed with the LabVIEW SoftMotion Module.
LabVIEW SoftMotion Module
SoftMotion is an implementation of software-defined motion control, where the various motion control components, such as supervisory control, trajectory generation, and the control loops, are modularized. Each component is then targeted to the most appropriate part of the motion system (development machine, real-time processor, or FPGA) as suits a particular application. You can use SoftMotion to develop advanced applications out of the box, or customize it at the application code, real-time SoftMotion Engine, or FPGA IP level. With SoftMotion, use the LabVIEW project to quickly configure motion axis settings, simulate axes, bind axes to hardware, and test and tune a motion setup before developing an application. After an application is developed, you can run it on the development machine connected to a real-time controller executing the SoftMotion Engine, or deploy it to an NI real-time controller to run stand-alone or through communication to a human machine interface.
SoftMotion Drive Interface
Easily integrate third-party EtherCAT motor drives into your SoftMotion application with the SoftMotion Drive Interface (SDI). Download existing SDI plug-ins from the LabVIEW Tools Network or create your own using the LabVIEW project template provided by SoftMotion. With the SDI, you have a standardized method for integrating any EtherCAT drive into your application.
Use the legacy NI-Motion driver to program PCI and PXI plug-in motion controllers (NI 7330, NI 7340, NI 7350, and NI 7390). This driver consists of LabVIEW VIs and examples to help you quickly create motion control applications using the plug-in controllers on either LabVIEW for Windows or LabVIEW Real-Time.