Motion software update


Software for motion control and its related sectors continues to expand. A recent crop of software offerings includes Performance Motion Devices’ Pro-Motion 3.5, intended to speed up motion system analysis and development; Motor-CAD V3 from Magsoft for enhanced simulation of thermal behavior in electric motors and generators; and Applied Motion Products’ Si Programmer software for stepper and servo drives. More details on these products follow along with links to their suppliers’ Web sites.

Motors, drives, motion control

PMD’s Pro-Motion 3.5 supports the company’s ION Digital Drives family and its Magellan family of motion chips and boards.

Performance Motion Devices Inc. (PMD) has just released its Pro-Motion 3.5, a Microsoft Windows-based application designed to accelerate motion system development and analysis. Project streamlining is said to come from software capabilities shareable by a development team of software, electrical, and mechanical engineers. An axis wizard feature allows quick, easy tuning of position loop, current loop, and field-oriented control parameters, says PMD.

Engineers specify desired control-loop response to initiate Pro-Motion 3.5’s servo-loop auto-tuning capability. The software then analyzes the test motion profile and automatically calculates PID parameters, providing a more accurate and faster tuning method than trial-and-error of traditional methods. “Auto tuning is an important step in the progression toward easier to use, more robust motion control systems. Servo control techniques are not familiar to many engineers, and so reducing this complexity will increase acceptance of dc servo and brushless dc motor-based systems,” says Chuck Lewin, president of PMD.

Pro-Motion 3.5’s other advanced features include status and event monitoring, a programmable motion shuttle, and a motion oscilloscope . Pro-Motion supports PCI bus, serial, multiple CAN interfaces, and dual encoders.

Magsoft Corp. announced, in May 2006, availability of Motor-CAD Version 3 for enhanced simulation of thermal behavior in electric machines. The new release—co-developed with Motor Design Ltd. of Shropshire, U.K.—reportedly offers improvements in interface, simulation, and post-processing technologies. Motor-CAD V3 now applies to these machine types:

Motors, drives, motion control

Solutions produced by Magsoft’s latest version of Motor-CAD can be cleanly incorporated into reports or archives.


  • Brushless permanent magnet (PM) motors;

  • Brushless PM motors with an outside rotor;

  • Brush PM magnet motors;

  • Single- and three-phase induction motors;

  • Switched-reluctance motors;

  • Synchronous generators, and

  • Claw-pole generators.

Motor-CAD interface templates have been enhanced and include:

  • A materials database for solids simulation and ability to directly assign materials to machine components;

  • A water jacket capability in both the slot and rotor regions;

  • Strategic fixed temperature injection points;

  • Multiple layout options for enclosure cooling fins; and

  • Dynamic memory allocation for complex duty-cycle analysis.

As a result, users can now customize the format of their transient solution data, according to Magsoft. Users can save desired graph settings, which become available for reuse on alternative solutions. Other enhanced Motor-CAD features include a differential solution mode for comparing alternative solutions and export technology for transforming either steady-state data or transient data into a standard file format.

Says Philippe Wendling, vice president of Magsoft, “Motor-CAD allows users to add analysis of thermal behavior to their existing analysis of electromechanical behavior. Potential cooling configurations can be explored to identify the most promising alternatives, and they can balance performance of the machine with consideration for both responses.”

Applied Motion Products ’ Si Programmer is a Microsoft Windows-based software tool that incorporates an icon-based environment and intuitive instructions to ease programming of stepper and servo drives. Now available in version 2.5.14, Si Programmer supports seven of the company’s Si (Simple Indexer)-compatible stepper drives—including new STAC6 drive—plus three Si-compatible servo drives.

Motors, drives, motion control

Si Programmer from Applied Motion Products also provides capability to control digital inputs/outputs, useful for interfacing with PLCs, sensors, and end-of-travel switches.

Si Programmer is said to be ready to go “out-of-the-box” with integrated tuning for intuitive programming and a point-and-click graphical interface that combines motion, I/O point, and operator interface functionality for simple machine sequencing. “Si Programmer generates the actual motion control program based on user-selected parameters, eliminating syntax errors,” says the company. Programs are easily downloaded, uploaded, saved, and printed; and they’re executable stand alone at power-up or from an external trigger.

An optional operator interface (HMI) provides a low-cost way to input machine operating instructions (such as move length, move speed, and cycle count); it helps with selecting program branches and decision-making within a program, as well.

Si Programmer software can be downloaded for free by clicking here .

A .

Frank J. Bartos , executive editor

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