You can have it both ways. Motion control development software can offer both easy to use tools and powerful application-specific software solutions. But you'll need to carefully evaluate both the development environment and motion-specific features of any software development tools to make sure they meet your needs.
Capable Software Development Tools
First, take a look at software development tools provided for setup, adjustment and programming of motion control applications.
Check to see if the software offers advanced development tools. More capable microprocessors allow auto- tuning software to setup the current, velocity and also position loops, and verify feedback wiring accuracy. Software notch filters can eliminate specific resonances or oscillation conditions in the machine.
Since the launch of Microsoft Windows®, software has replaced the oscilloscope for motor setup and tuning. Parameters can be changed and results monitored within an easy to use, familiar environment.
Windows based tools offer more than just motor tuning. I/O and other parameters can be monitored. Data can be viewed and even plotted on the oscilloscope, and multiple data values can be easily displayed.
Powerful Motion Programming Languages
A second area to evaluate seriously is the actual motion control commands, functions and tools used to create your application software. Visual Basic and its derivative languages (Visual Basic for Applications and VBScript) have become increasingly popular to the point of becoming the de-facto programming standard.
BASIC's success has been its simplicity, even though some think it is too simple and fails to offer features provided by programming languages such as 'C' and Pascal. Visual Basic has changed that view with its modern approach to programming.
Many motion programming languages are based around "old school" BASIC. Baldor's Mint® motion language is a motion programming language that has kept pace with software developments, in particular Visual Basic.
The latest version of Mint® offers programming features expected in a modern programming language today. These include:
Functions and Procedures with local variable and parameter passing.
Multitasking features which allow the machine process to be broken down into more manageable sections, with different tasks for handling different parts of the machine.
Events that can be invoked when a particular event, such as an input becomes active.
Data types including named variables and constants.
Loop and conditional statements.
The ability to give meaningful names given to keywords for motion and I/O functions.
The power, flexibility and richness of modern software development tools will make an immediate impact in your applications.
Test your knowledge against Baldor's motor experts at http://rbi.ims.ca/4928-701