UK motion specialist Trio Motion Technology has launched a new motion controller for up to 64 axes with high speed EtherCAT control. Trio’s new Flex-X Nano Motion Coordinator is designed to increase machine productivity while optimising motion precision. Powered by a 1.2GHz, 64-bit Dual Core ARM Cortex A55 Processor, Flex-X Nano runs EtherCAT cycle times down to 125μs. Just 147mm high and 17mm wide, the new pocket-sized Flex-X Nano Motion Coordinator fits within an extremely compact footprint.
The new motion controller has been designed for applications that demand multi-axis servo control performance, including packaging, manufacturing automation, material handling, pick-and-place, CNC cutting machines, and gantries.
The Flex-X Nano Motion Coordinator advances on Trio’s existing Flex-6 Nano controller to further enhance machine productivity and quality. Adding a 64-bit chip, the new Flex-X Nano increases processor speed by 20%, raises Ethernet TCP communications speed by 10%, and boosts programme execution speed by 25%. The new controller also features 1.2GHz clock frequency, IEEE 457 Double maths precision, and a motion command execution benchmark of 125lines/ms. These advances achieve faster multi-axis motion coordination, from 2 to 64 axes, with EtherCAT cycle times down to 125μs.
The Flex-X Nano can simultaneously control machines, robots, and motion axes. The advantages of integrating a single controller, instead of using a PLC plus an additional robot controller or motion controller, include faster set up, reduced space, and increased reliability for the end user.
Complex programmes can run from Flex-X Nano’s 1GBit DDR3 memory and 1GBit fast serial flash memory, and a Micro SD card slot further extends this capability. OEMs can also add functionality including I/O and device integration via Trio Flexslice modules that communicate over EtherCAT. These slices ‘plug’ straight into Flex-X Nano, and up to 16 I/O slices can be connected to enable complete machine control. Further I/O slices can also be directly connected with a Trio EtherCAT I/O coupler.
The controller can be programmed via Trio’s easy to use, Windows-based Motion Perfect software with either IEC 61131-3 languages, PLCopen, or Trio’s core programming option. Trio’s programming option uses native English language commands that help to speed up development. Flex-X Nano is based on Trio’s Motion-iX motion engine that includes an extensive command set developed over 30 years of field experience by Trio’s engineers. These range from single axis moves, through to multi- axis coordination in multiple dimensions, as well as numerous kinematic models.
Along with the Flex-X Nano controller, Trio offers a complete automation solution, including servo drives and motors. The brand also provides SCARA robots, and ease of control can be enhanced with its range of HMI.
Trio devices, including Flex-X Nano, are also compatible with communication protocols including Profinet and Ethernet/IP, giving OEMs the ability to integrate high performance motion control with PLC-based systems.