Digital drive duo debuts


The trend continues toward more capable, compact digital drives for the distributed control of different electric motor types. Over the past couple months, Performance Motion Devices (PMD)—a leading motion control technology company—announced the first two members of its new ION family of high-performance, network-connected motion-control drives. First came ION Brushless DC Drive (late Nov. 2005), now followed by ION DC Brush Drive. Enclosed in a tiny, rugged package, these drive modules offer network connectivity, power amplification, and advanced motion control for brushless dc, brush dc, as well as microstepping motors.

Motors, Drives, Motion Control

Motors, Drives, Motion Control

PMD’s ION drives—brushless dc (top) and brush dc (bottom)—are designed for medical, scientific, semiconductor, industrial, robotic, and general-automation applications.

ION Brushless DC Drive provides CANbus and serial communications, accepting commands over the network to control trajectory generation, position loop, current loop, and other advanced motion-control features. It operates at up to 20 kHz with an output capability of 0.5 kW to control a 3-phase brushless motor using field-oriented control (FOC) or sinusoidal commutation. ION Brushless includes user-selectable profiling modes, such as S-curve, trapezoidal, velocity contouring, and electronic gearing.
The second ION drive family member, ION DC Brush Drive , is similarly enclosed and is said to provide high-performance, low-cost distributed control in an asynchronous serial network (RS-485) version or a CANbus network version. Up to 127 ION modules can be connected to one network. ION provides an output capability of up to 15 Amps peak, and 500 W at 56 V. Rounding out the drive’s features are hardware performance trace, on-the-fly profile changes, and PLC-style inputs and outputs.
Both ION drives are based on PMD’s high-performance Magellan Motion Processor chip. ION drives are reportedly easily set up and programmed using PMD’s Pro-Motion—a Microsoft Windows-based motion-control software. C-Motion and VB-Motion software libraries also are available for users to develop their applications via C/C++ or Visual Basic.
PMD president and CEO, Chuck Lewin, says, “The move toward distributed motion controllers has been driven by cost. A multi-axis motion card with separate amplifiers is substantially more expensive than multiple single-axis intelligent modules.”
ION Brushless DC Drive and ION DC Brush Drive are CE marked and RoHS compliant. Prices start at $223 in OEM quantities.

Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering

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