This section gives a brief description and an overview of the use case for each SoftMotion Virtual Axis type. For more information, see the SoftMotion help accessible from LabVIEW.
Generic User-Defined Variable
User-defined variable axes use UDVs to transfer motion control data between the RT controller and FPGA. This allows for FPGA customization of control loops, feedback mechanisms, I/O routing, etc. NI 950x Drive Modules use UDV axes for communication with SoftMotion, while the SISU-1004 stepper drive interface module uses generic UDV axes as an example of custom drive interface logic.
NI 951x Drive Interface Module
NI 951x Drive Interface Modules use the NI RIO Scan Engine to interface between SoftMotion and motor drives. Control loops, encoder settings, and drive signals are configured in the LabVIEW project, and FPGA programming is not required.
NI 950x Drive Module
NI 950x Drive Modules are complete motor drives for the C Series platform. Utilizing UDV axes, SoftMotion sends motion control data to the FPGA, where the entire drive firmware is available for customization based on LabVIEW Sample Projects.
EtherCAT Kollmorgen AKD
SoftMotion has native compatibility with Kollmorgen's AKD Brushless Servo Drive. Using NI's Industrial Communication for EtherCAT driver on a real-time target, EtherCAT provides a deterministic Ethernet-based communication bus which SoftMotion uses to send and receive data from the drive.
EtherCAT SoftMotion Drive Interface
Similar to the Kollmorgen AKD, SoftMotion now supports many third-party EtherCAT drives based on the DS402 motion control state standard. Using SoftMotion Drive Interface (SDI) Plug-ins, users can add SoftMotion compatibility to a wide variety of servo and stepper motor drives.
NI 9144/9145 EtherCAT Expansion Chassis
The NI 9144 and 9145 EtherCAT Expansion Chassis give EtherCAT-compatible real-time controllers expanded I/O capabilities synchronized by the Scan Engine. These chassis support the NI 951x Drive Interface Modules, allowing the host controller to interface with stepper and servo motors.
NI 9146/7/8/9 Ethernet Expansion Chassis
The NI 9146, 9147, 9148, and 9149 Ethernet Expansion Chassis give all NI controllers and Windows PCs access to the C Series platform. These chassis support NI 951x Drive Interface Modules, NI 950x Drive Modules, and User-Defined Variable axis types. Although communication to the host controller or PC is non-deterministic, SoftMotion axes on the same 9146/7/8/9 chassis are synchronized to the Scan Engine.
Ethernet Stepper Drive or ISM
NI's line of Ethernet Stepper Drives and Integrated Stepper Motors (ISMs) are compatible with all controllers. Using non-deterministic Ethernet communication allows users to add simple, non-synchronized stepper motor control to a variety of applications.