Aerotech Inc., a global leader in precision motion control and automation, continues to develop new products and features for the Automation1 precision machine and motion control platform. Recent upgrades affect all parts of the Automation1 technology stack - from servo motor drive improvements to core motion control technology enhancements, new application features and programming API support.
“Automation1 is the most exciting product to be released in commercial precision motion control in decades,” said Patrick Wheeler, Aerotech’s controls product manager. “Very rarely is the highest-performing product in any market segment also the easiest to use, and that’s exactly what Automation1 has accomplished. With the flexibility of deploying both PC and drive-based controller architectures and with API and industrial Ethernet support, there really is no better choice for development teams.”
Recent developments in the Automation1 motion control platform include:
- Additional Hardware Product Support – More systems can use Automation1 as their core motion controller due to a growing number of compatible hardware products. New servo motor drives include the XC6e higher-powered PWM servo motor drive, the XL5e and XL2e linear amplifier servo drive drives, the XI4 servo controller and the GI4 galvo laser scan head controller, which features XY2-100 and XY3-100 support. In addition, the Automation1-iSMC motion controller is flexible enough to be run on an industrial PC (such as the Automation1-iPC) or Automation1 drives, including the iXR3, iXC4e, iXC4, iXC2e, iXC2, iXL5e and iXI4.
- Ability to Build Custom Human-Machine Interfaces – The new MachineApps tool lets users quickly build and deploy new graphical user interfaces for their machines and motion systems. Canned layouts and ultrafast drag-and-drop functionality enable users to quickly add and configure machine interface modules such as programming interfaces, jog pads, data visualizers and customizable push buttons. Users can customize icons and color schemes to match their organization’s brand style.
- Additional API Tools – The Automation1-iSMC controller connects with broader factory and lab automation systems using the new Python API and LabVIEW VIs, which build upon existing .NET and C APIs as well as EPICS drivers.
- Industrial Ethernet Connection Options – The Automation1 controller extends automation solutions by connecting to PLCs and other automation devices using popular industrial Ethernet protocols. PC-based Automation1 controllers now support MODBUS/TCP, and drive-based Automation1 controllers support EtherCAT.
- Improved User Experience – Users can develop solutions faster and easier than ever. The Studio development software includes several new tools that streamline the development process, including configuration checklists, homing and motor phasing helper modules, and parameter comparison/copying tools. Upgraded servo tuning and data visualization tools also come standard.
- Additional Controller Features – Aerotech’s Dynamic Controls Toolbox (DCT) is now available for the Automation1 controller. The DCT’s features include harmonic cancellation, command shaping and cross-axis feedforward. Recent Automation1 releases include improvements to gantry control, current command coupling for high torque/force systems, unique output waveforms and data capture features.