Design, prototype, test motor applications more easily

Arrow Electronics, Altera Corp., and National Semiconductor Corp. announced availability of a jointly developed MotionFire motor-control development platform for North American customers. The FPGA-based MotionFire platform is said to help engineers quickly and cost-effectively design, prototype and test motor applications.

01/20/2009


MotionFire motor-control development platform

MotionFire motor-control development platform

Melville, NYArrow Electronics , Altera Corp ., National Semiconductor Corp . announced the availability of a jointly developed MotionFire motor-control development platform for North American customers. The FPGA-based MotionFire platform is said to help engineers quickly and cost-effectively design, prototype and test motor applications used in a variety of industrial, automotive, medical, instrumentation and consumer electronics equipment.
Launched in Europe in 2008, the MotionFire development platform is based on Altera’s Cyclone III FPGA technology, which the company says delivers a flexible and power-saving motor-control environment that supports and bridges multiple industrial networking protocols, and mitigates obsolescence risk. MotionFire comprises the FireFighter FPGA-based communication baseboard and the FireDriver motor driver power modules. The platform supports state-of-the-art motor-control algorithms and communications IP, and can be used to control various motor types, including stepper, servo, and ac and dc motors. The company says this system demonstrates the value FPGAs provide in multi-axis motor-control applications.
According to a joint press release MotionFire platform’s FireFighter baseboard connects up to six FireDriver plug-in power modules or 12 motors, offering motor control, user input/output and real-time Ethernet network communications capabilities. The Cyclone III FPGA featured in the FireFighter baseboard is said to drive a wide variety of communication options such as EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet, SERCOS III, CAN, USB, RS-485 and other current and next-generation protocols. The companies say the MotionFire platform also includes an Altera Nios II embedded processor and motor control IP that supports digital encoder or hall sensor-based motor-control interfaces (VHDL source included) and advanced algorithms for current, speed and position.
The FireFighter baseboard and FireDriver power modules are said to accept a wide input power supply range, and National Semiconductor’s PowerWise power management products are said to provide the various voltage requirements of the digital circuitry. The FireDriver power module performs the motor control, analog signal sensing and conditioning through the combination of Altera’s MAX II CPLD and National Semiconductor’s high-performance signal-path products including 12-bit analog-to-digital converters and high-precision amplifiers.
The MotionFire platform is available to North American customers through Arrow. The company provides the complete MotionFire development kit with all the hardware, software and documentation for creating motion-control systems.
Edited by C.G. Masi ,
Control Engineering News Desk
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