EC: Ndrive QLe

Motion Control - Drives, servo drives: Ndrive QLe is a digital, panel-mount, nanopositioning piezo drive that enables coordinated motion between piezo stages and servo axes at much higher rates than other controller/drive products. This is a Control Engineering 2016 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
October 15, 2015

Ndrive QLe, Aerotech Inc.The Ndrive QLe is a digital, panel-mount, nanopositioning piezo drive that enables coordinated motion between piezo stages and servo axes at much higher rates than other controller/drive products by using the FireWire high-speed serial communication protocol. Featuring a dual-core 456 MHz, double-precision, floating-point DSP, QLe drives provide extreme processing power in a wide variety of applications including point-to-point motion, linear and circular interpolation, multi-axis error correction, and autofocusing. High-speed interrupts and data logging capabilities provide a real-time link to external systems. The QLe offers high-speed position latching capability and multi-axis position synchronized output (PSO) for generation of pulses based on actual position feedback for applications ranging from laser firing to data acquisition system triggering.

The QLe enables sub-nanometer positioning resolution at high bandwidths. The QLe employs a proprietary capacitive sensor feedback circuit resulting in exceptional thermal and long-term holding stability. Linearity of better than 0.01% over the full travel range is achieved in closed-loop mode.

In addition to the four optically-isolated digital inputs, two high-speed digital inputs, and four optically-isolated digital outputs, the Ndrive QLe is equipped with two analog inputs and two analog outputs. For ultra-precise applications, the QLe offers an 18-bit analog input that can be programmatically configured to accept an external feedback sensor or position command. This analog input also allows the high-voltage power amplifier to be controlled directly by an external low-level analog input. Also, the QLe has one 20-bit analog output that can be programmatically configured for position or voltage monitoring at very high resolutions.

Aerotech stages include a "FlashConfig" feature that stores the parametric information required to operate the stage. The stage is automatically identified and all operational parameters including axis calibration data are uploaded into the Ndrive QLe for "plug-and-play" operation.

Aerotech Inc., www.aerotech.com