An announcement arrived from Technosoft, a company in Bevaix, Switzerland, about its TMC-3D multi-axis motion controller that can execute G-code commands. If you create mechatronics systems, this capability can enhance motorized equipment that coordinates operations in three dimensions. You can find the original “TMC-3D Executes G-code” press release at: www.technosoftmotion.com/products/News_PressRelease_33.htm. For information on G code, visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-code.
Technosoft’s TMC-3D controller.
When you create a design in, say, AutoCAD, you can export a DXF file (drawing exchange format) and use software to convert the design into a 2-D or 3-D G-code program. Converter programs are available for purchase and also as freeware or shareware. So, the capability of a motor controller or motor drive (drive refers to electronic hardware, not drive train) to accept G-code commands provides a good way to get equipment designed faster.
It turns out that Technosoft uses an intermediate step that translates the G-code statements to its own Technosoft Motion Language (TML), a set of high-level instructions that “…configure and parameterize MotionChip-based drives, and execute advanced motion operations in stand-alone and on-line modes.” That process occurs in the company’s EasyMotion Studio software. After the conversion process, TMC-3D controller sends the motion sequences to the drives or motors controllers that execute the movements.
Iuliana Zanfir at Technosoft sent me a copy of the “MotionChip II TML Programming User Manual,” which provides many details about the language and how to use it. (The Technosoft Web site requires registration to access technical information, but it seems worth the effort to obtain more information.)
Iuliana’s email message also listed some capabilities of the TML’s program and motion-execution sequences:
- Set various motion modes (profiles, contouring, electronic gearing or camming, etc.)
- Change motion modes and parameters on-the-fly
- Execute homing sequences
- Control the program flow through:
- Conditional jumps and calls of TML functions
- Interrupts based on pre-defined or programmable conditions (protections triggered, transitions on limit switch, capture inputs, etc.)
- Waiting for programmed events to occur
- Handle digital I/O and analog -input signals
- Execute arithmetic and logic operations
- Perform data transfers between axes
- Send commands to a group of axes (multicast). This includes the possibility to start simultaneously motion sequences on all the axes from the group
The TML is proprietary to Technosoft, but the company also offers TML motion-control libraries for developers who program with C/C++, C#, Delphi, LabVIEW, or VisualBasic for the Windows operating system or in C/C++ for Linux. Find more information at: www.technosoftmotion.com/products/OEM_PROD_TML_LIB.htm.
While on the Technosoft Web site I looked at several application notes. The company had done an outstanding job of offering engineers 90 detailed app notes for motor-drive products under 11 general headings. I wish more companies offered this type of information in as much detail.Well done, Technosoft.
My machining experiences have involved Southbend-type lathes and Bridgeport-type milling machines, but no CNC equipment. I welcome comments about CNC tutorial information, open-source CNC software links, and sources for high-level motion controllers. Feel free to leave a comment here. No commercial pitches, please. –Jon Titus