ACS Motion Control (www.acsmotioncontrol.com) has unveiled its one of a kind real-time networking technology based on the EtherCAT protocol which connects several MC4U units to increase the machine control axis counts from eight to 32. Dubbed as the MC4Unt, the network is an integrated system that controls up to 32 synchronized axes of motion, which include a wide array of amplifiers and corresponding power supplies (100–10,000 W; 24–560 V DC) with the capability to add hundreds of I/Os. The axes, which are controlled by the MC4Unt system, are well synchronized to a single 20 kHz sampling and servo update rate with a maximum synchronization dither of 100ns.
The MC4Unt system’s capabilities can be expanded by using the SPiiPlus PDMnt four axis network Pulse/Direction Interface Module, the SPiiPlus IOMnt Input Output Module and the ACS SPiiPlus UDMnt single/dual axis network Universal Drive Module for adding nodes of additional axes and I/Os.
Compared with other EtherCAT network control approaches, the new MC4Unt allows the machine operator to integrate several axes (up to eight) into single network nodes to reduce cost and improve performance. Inside the MC4Unt networked system, a single MC4U unit can act as a master and controls all the axes such as those of the slave MC4Us, EtherCAT nodes and other network drives. The server only communicates with the master unit, while the master MC4U internal SPiiPlus motion controller creates the motion profile for all of the axes. The SPiiPlus MMI, along with its setup capabilities, programming and monitoring, is used to support all the axes within the network.
“Our new real-time MC4Unt networked motion control system is optimized for complex machine control and supports high density of axes with superior performance by coordinating up to 32 axes of motion with one master controller,” said Jason Goerges, ACS Motion Control’s sales and support manger. “Compare this to a typical network based control solution that requires costly intelligence at the controller for motion programs, profile generation and user interfacing as well as at each drive node for servo loops, commutation, additional user interfacing. In addition, drive nodes on other networks do not generally have real-time access to servo information of one another, severely limiting multi-axis performance in the most demanding applications.”