Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control eNews for January 2003

By Frank Bartos January 23, 2003



Galil, the leader in motion control with over 300,000 controllers sold, has introduced its DMC-21×3 series which is half-the-price and size of comparable Ethernet controllers. The four axis model is just $795 in 100 qty and measures only 4.25′ x 7′. Click here to get specs .

See Galil’s free online video, ‘Demonstration of Motion Control’ where Dr. Jacob Tal, a leading expert in motion control, demonstrates servo tuning and motion programming. Click here to view .
Galil offers a complete line of motion controllers with PCI, ISA, VME, PC/104, USB, Ethernet or RS232 interfaces. Click here to request a free catalog . Galil is known for supplying high performance controllers that are easy-to-use, cost-effective and backed by a superior support team.

Firm decisions and a good measure of confidence should be in our toolboxes,
along with the latest technology, as we enter this crucial New Year.

– Frank Bartos, Executive Editor, Control Engineering

  • Motion chips add multiple breakpoint capability
  • SERCOS update: New Edition 2.0; Chinese standard approved
  • More choices for NEMA Premium motors
  • From the archives: Brushless dc motors 40 years ago
  • Board-level controller briefs
  • Companies in motion
  • January Control Engineering in print
  • Education, courses
  • Control Engineering resources

Motion chips add multiple breakpoint capability

MC2300 Series motion chips from PMD enable more complex profiles.

Motion chipset from Performance Motion Devices Inc. (PMD, Lincoln, MA) now feature multiple breakpoints that allow an internal or external signal to cause a profile change, whereby users can create complex, higher performance motion profiles. Just released MC2300 Series motion processors (part of PMD’s Navigator family) provide breakpoint programming for 1, 2, and 4 axes of control for brushless motors.

Made up of two-IC chipsets, MC2300 processors permit instantaneous profile changes due to an external condition and cut-on-the-fly. Breakpoints can be programmed using various inputs, including external positions, external trigger signals, velocity, time, and other factors. This flexibility comes in handy when there is a need to synchronize the motion profile to external events or to assure equipment safety. Target applications include semiconductor production and medical test/laboratory equipment. Programming the chips is said to be easy and pricing starts at $60 in OEM quantities.

For more information, visit PMD’s web site .

SERCOS update: New Edition 2.0; Chinese standard approved

SERCOS (SErial Real-time COmmunication System) continues to make news, including recent approval as a National Standard of China. Here are some current developments about this standard communication interface for controllers, digital drives, and I/O modules.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC, Geneva, Switzerland) recently published an updated edition 2.0 of the SERCOS interface standard IEC 61491 (2002-10) under the category of ”Information Technology.” Changes in the new edition harmonize the IEC standard with the similarly numbered European standard EN 61491.

For more information, go to and enter 61491 into the Database Search.

SERCOS interface also has been approved as a National Standard of China. Standard GB/T 18473-2001, ”Electrical equipment of industrial machines-Serial data link for real-time communication between controls and drives,” is managed by the Chinese Electrotechnical Commission. Chinese industry has indicated high interest in applying the SERCOS interface, according to Interests Group SERCOS (IGS, Stuttgart, Germany).

In related news, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), has set up a task force to define a generic drive interface for integrating drive functions in control systems. The interface will enable motion control independent of a specific fieldbus or drive profile. Key goal of the task force is to define drive functions, not to create a new drive profile. These drive functions will allow use of specific drive classes (supplied by respective manufacturers) in the device’s control system through device-specific driver software.

”Mapping of these functions to modern drive interfaces like SERCOS, ProfiDrive, Drivecom, or CANopen should be feasible. The task force’s findings will be added to the international drive standard, under the title: Profile for information exchange of Power Drive Systems (IEC 61800-7),” according to IGS.

The North American promotional alliance for the interface is SERCOS N.A. (Bloomingdale, IL).

For more information, visit or .

More choices for NEMA Premium motors

Siemens’ Medallion Premium Efficiency motor

Here’s good news for energy-conscious users of electric motors; you now have more choices of higher efficiency ac induction motors.

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. (Alpharetta, GA) has introduced a full line of industrial motors that meets the NEMA Premium program for energy efficiency, promoted by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA, Rosslyn, VA). Designated ”Medallion Premium Efficiency,” (part of the company’s Medallion brand name), the Jan. 13, 2003, introduction features totally enclosed, fan-cooled (TEFC) motors, which Siemens E&A reports ”can be applied to virtually any application.”

NEMA’s Premium efficiency motor program aims to reduce energy consumption for lower operating costs and environmental impact. The program applies to single-speed (two-, four, and six-pole), polyphase squirrel-cage induction machines of NEMA design A or B and continuous rating in the 1-500 horsepower range. To meet program requirements, motor operating efficiencies must be in the 77 to 97% range, depending on power rating and type.

Participating manufacturers meet the required efficiencies through design and material changes that differentiate these motors from standard models. At least 12 manufacturers presently offer NEMA Premium motors. Click here for a listing .

Siemens’ Medallion Premium Efficiency line incorporates a high-grade steel motor core; more copper in the windings; and optimized design parameters (e.g., core dimensions, conductor cross-section, size of rotor bars and end rings, and core lamination thickness). Of course, premium efficiency comes at a premium price, but lower operating costs of these motors ”offsets their initial cost within a year,” says Siemens E&A.

For more information on NEMA Premium efficiency motor program, visit the NEMA web site .

For information on Medallion Premium Efficiency motors, visit Siemens .

From the archives: Brushless dc motors 40 years ago

The January 1963 issue of Control Engineering (p.147) described a line of brushless motors available with ratings of 0.05-1 hp, offering such advantages as higher starting torque, speeds up to 20,000 rpm, and miniature-sized speed controls compared to other motor designs. Electronic commutation for these brushless motors was provided by transistors or SCRs (silicon-controlled rectifiers). The main rotor winding was used as the oscillator coil to drive the semiconductors, thereby reducing the size of the unit.

Given recent turbulent economic times, equally amazing is that the manufacturer is still in business, under the same name, in the same location-Lamb Electric Div. of Ametek Inc. (Kent, OH).

It’s not a bad illustration of, ”The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

For more about this company, visit Ametek Lamb Electric .

Board-level controller briefs

PCI-7342 two-axis motion control board from NI targets automated test and machine control applications.

Board-level controllers offer motion-system designers wide product choice to suit many applications.

One reportedly low-cost option for servo motor control comes from National Instruments (Austin, TX), in the form of its PCI-7342 two-axis motion-control board. In addition, the board works with data acquisition and vision systems, and NI’s LabView graphical development environment for programming. With PCI-7342, motion system developers can quickly configure two motion axes using servo (or stepper) motors, while applying linear interpolation, 32 bits of digital I/O for high-speed capture, and RTSI bus for real-time integration. The board also is compatible with NI Motion Assistant software that streamlines prototype development and generates LabView code.

For more information, visit National Instruments .

Is your application space-sensitive and cost-sensitive? If so, Galil Motion Control’s (Rocklin, CA) DMC-21×2 and DMC-21×3 motion controllers for the Ethernet could be your solution.

DMC-21×2/x3 Series boards come in one through eight-axis versions; they can be configured to control servo or step motors on any combination of axes. Encoder frequencies up to 12 MHz are accepted for servos (3 MHz for steppers). Boards for one through four axes measure just 4.25 x 7 in., while models for five through eight axes are sized 4.25 x 10.75 in. Ethernet connectivity with 10Base-T and an RS-232 port up to 19.2 kB are featured.

A variety of motions can be programmed into the board, including linear and circular interpolation, contouring, electronic gearing, and ”Ecam.” Other controller features include advanced PID compensation with velocity and acceleration feedforward, integration limits, notch filter and low-pass filter, and sampling times down to 62.5 microseconds per axis. A ”ceramic motor” option allows control of special ultrasonic motors.

For more information, visit Galil .

Companies in motion

Market research and consultancy firm Motion Tech Trends (MTT, Inglewood, CA) has launched a new Web site, . Among other features, the site makes available MTT reports in electronic format that you can download on the spot and pay for by credit card. Segments of some reports (one or more chapters) are also available ”at very affordable prices.” You can view two recent sample reports by direct link below.

  • Electric Motors and Drives in North America: A Subscription Service

  • Direct Drive Linear Motors and Drives in NA, 1997, 2002, 2007

Animatics Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) announced just before year’s end that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, on Dec. 18, 2002, ruled in the company’s patent lawsuit against QuickSilver Controls Inc. (QCI, Covina, CA) that QuickSilver infringes Animatics’ U.S. Patent No. 5, 912, 541. According to Animatics, the Court also struck down all of QCI’s defenses that the patent was invalid.

The patent applies to ”Integrated DC Servo Motor and Controller” developed and manufactured by Animatics. The product takes the form of a servo-positioning system that integrates a controller, amplifier, and encoder into a brushless dc motor, which Animatics has branded as SmartMotor. The court also issued an injunction prohibiting QuickSilver from making, using, offering to sell, or selling products (QCI-17, QCI-17H, QCI-23, QCI-23H, QCI-34N, QCI-34H, and QCI-34HC) and ”infringing variations thereon” within the U.S. or importing such products.

QuickSilver Controls’ position is that its infringement is limited to only two claims (one independent and one dependent claim). In the meantime, the company has implemented a redesign-compatible with the old design-that does not infringe on these claims, according to QCI. QuickSilver also states that it will appeal the Court’s verdict. Further developments are likely.

For more information, see the respective companies’ Web sites: Go to Animatics and click on the box near the top right of the homepage; and go to QuickSilver Controls and click on the ”Legal” button.

Saftronics Inc. (Ft. Myers, FL) announced Dec. 27, 2002, the acquisition of Fincor Electronics (York, PA) ”to further its continuing efforts to provide a complete range of world class ac and dc industrial drive products and custom engineering services … throughout North and South America.” Fincor’s addition to Saftronics provides strategic localized service to customers in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. Currently, Saftronics has a network of engineering centers in Florida, North Carolina, Utah, Oregon, California, and Alberta, Canada.

Fincor manufactures solid-state drives and drive systems ranging to over 1,000 hp, with concentration in printing, refrigeration, and ski-lift applications. In business over 30 years, Saftronics develops, manufactures, and markets solid-state motor controls for machines through 5,000 hp to industries from HVAC, mining, and material handling to food processing, plastics, petroleum, and wastewater operations.

For more information, visit Saftronics .

January Control Engineering in print

The Web’s hot, but don’t miss items in your specialty in each in-print issue of CE .

You can review 35 award-winning products of 2002 in a special January 2003 supplement. This supplement of the 16th annual Editors’ Choice Awards includes five products in the ”motors, drives, and motion control” category.

Click here for more on the Editors’ Choice Awards .

A background summary on the awards appears in News , in the main issue.

The News section also includes statistics about the world market for material handling equipment and systems (2001-2006). Also in News are results of the growing European Electric Automation show: SPS/IPC/Drives 2002 , held annually in the fall in Nuremberg, Germany.

In January’s Products & Software section, Emerson Control Techniques’ (Eden Prairie, MN) Unidrive SP latest generation ”universal” ac drive is featured. Control modes are V/Hz, open- and closed-loop vector, brushless servo, and regeneration.

MAX3000 distributed motion platform from Agile Systems (Waterloo, ON Canada) includes third-order interpolation to enhance 1-4 axes of servo motion control.

Etel Inc.’s (Schaumburg, IL) TMA Series direct-drive ring torque motors simplify machine design and reduce costs.

Education, courses

Continuing education is vital to all technology professionals, as well as a valuable personal asset. Here’s a sampling of available courses.

EPIC Educational Program Innovations Center (Dearborn, MI) offers the following practical electric courses in the near future:

  • Application of Generator and Excitation System for Industrial Plants, February 6-7, 2003 (Houston, TX), February 10-11 (Orlando, FL)

  • Testing, Commissioning and Start-Up of Electrical Systems, February 20-21 (Raleigh, NC), February 27-28 (Atlanta, GA)

  • Grounding and Bonding of Electrical Systems, March 13-14 (Detroit, MI), March 17-18 (Chicago, IL)

  • Ensuring Power Quality in the Deregulated Environment, March 27-28 (Houston, TX), March 31-April 1 (Orlando, FL)

  • Modern Power System Protective Relaying March 31- April 1, 2003 Chicago, IL

For more information, contact EPIC at Tel: 1-888/374-2338 or e-mail

The Education Foundation of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED, St. Louis, MO) has announced a ”trade-up offer,” allowing current students in NAED’s Electrical Products Education Course (EPEC) to upgrade any unused modules to the latest EPEC version. ”Now through April 30, 2003, distributors can exchange their EPEC materials for only $49,” says the NAED Education Foundation.

EPEC is a three-level, 15-module comprehensive electrical products training course that outlines the application of each product sold, showing how products are interrelated within electrical systems. The 2002 version of EPEC features the 2002 NEC (National Electric Code); new photographs; and a revised, more user-friendly format.

NAED, the trade association for electrical distribution, includes the most important electrical distributors throughout the U.S., representing approximately 4,000 locations. The association provides a variety of programs, services and conferences, including these training resources and seminars through the NAED Education Foundation.

For more information, visit the Education section of the NAED web site.

Control Engineering resources

Get information you can use, when you need it at Control Engineering Online : Sign up for free e-mail newsletter subscriptions on 10 technology-specific topics (including this one), browse products, bookstore, archives, and more.

More than one-third of what our industry-expert editors deliver is only available online.

About us/editorial calendar/contacts
Buyer’s Guide (site registration required)
Control Engineering Europe
Automation Integrator Guide (site registration required)
Site search