A new chip level solution provides a complete system for motion control. With positioning done in hardware, the M3000 motion controller handles time-critical motion tasks in silicon to control and position multi-phase step motors.
But the solution also utilizes a highly integrated, mixed signal system-on-a-chip architecture. By combining major motion building blocks, while also working as a high-speed, general purpose microcontroller, the M3000 works to incorporate extensive communication, analog and system functions for general machine control as well.
“What we did in the M3000 is create a chip where you could utilize it for system functions and, at the same time, generate time-critical motion tasks,” says Dave Coutu, president of System Semiconductor Inc. (http://rbi.ims.ca/4938-523), a spin-off of Intelligent Motion Systems.
“We created a block of hardware that does two things. It controls the motor itself, current and windings, and also handles all of the positioning functions such as acceleration, deceleration, positioning and encoder feedback.”
Coutu says the goal is to allow the user to create an entire system by using the chip. If the application is a small machine control and a motor controls a pump, hardware is used for the time-critical motion control tasks, so the microcontroller can be used for machine control.
“It becomes a system rather than just a motion controller,” says Coutu. “What sets us apart is this unique approach where in other cases you would need to buy an IC and a microcontroller to do machine control. Our approach is to “outsource” all of the motion functions, and then allow the chip to do both tasks without actually having to embed two microcontrollers.”
Coutu says that integration of the M3000’s patented phase current control circuits enables motor performance to reach new limits of increased speed and smoothness while lowering audible noise and vibration. And with advanced acceleration, velocity and position control circuits virtually eliminating corresponding time-critical tasks, the CPU is freed to perform other system control functions allowing system throughput rivaling high-end DSPs costing more.
He says incorporation of extensive communication and general analog functions provides the user the capability to control a large variety of systems without additional circuits. By integrating all major system’s functions into one system-on-a-chip, performance and reliability are enhanced, while cost and time to market are reduced. A large temperature range makes the M3000 ideal for commercial and industrial applications. The M3000 is offered in 160-pin quad package, 128-pin quad package, and 128-ball grid array. Price of the chips is $13.50 each in 1,000 piece quantity.
For more on chip level solutions, join our Motion Control Forum at http://rbi.ims.ca/4938-524.