Choices: The recetnly introduced CANopen
master interface from Motion Engineering increases I/O connectivity
options for highly centralized PC-based controls.
High performance motion control has always required close, high speed interaction between the motion control and I/O subsystems in a machine. And now with continuing trends toward open technology and motion networking as a primary method for simplifying system design, eliminating wiring, and increasing software flexibility, suppliers are responding with a greater array of sophisticated I/O solutions.
These trends are driving motion and I/O vendors to increase the breadth and depth of their product offerings—and suppliers have recently introduced new support for open standard networking technologies including CANOpen and Ethernet.
"Our customers told us very clearly they wanted to reduce cost and complexity with a single controller to handle all motion control and input/output functions," says Phil Strong, CEO of Motion Engineering Inc. (MEI). "We are offering our OEM customers more choices in their motion architecture, and expanding our line to include machine I/O is a key part of that strategy."
MEI (http://rbi.ims.ca/3847-511) recently announced new networked I/O products for its XMP motion controllers equipped with the CANOpen master interface. The SLICE I/O products include over 60 different digital and analog I/O configurations, and provide a single controller solution for I/O and motion control.
MEI says that, with the move to digital networks for motion control, customers are looking to pull cost out of a machine while increasing performance and throughput. Ross McMillan of MEI claims that by consolidating the system I/O onto the SynqNet motion network users can eliminate the need for additional interface hardware and the application programming interface (API) that goes along with it. He notes this can provide low latency I/O on a shared network with motion control. Networked I/O opens up performance solutions such as latching multiple I/O bits anywhere on the network, and then using time-based techniques to modify motion based on those latched values.
SLICE I/O works with any XMP motion platform equipped with CANOpen master interface DS401 version 2.0 node support or better. Each node can handle up to 64 digital inputs and 64 digital outputs, as well as 8 analog inputs and 8 outputs. Programming is under a single API.
Expanded support for Ethernet
Opto22 (http://rbi.ims.ca/3847-513) has also expanded its support of Ethernet I/O with a compact, standalone package that can network with multiple I/O units over standard Ethernet networks.
The SNAP-LCE unit provides a built-in 10/100-Mbps Fast Ethernet port for attaching the controller to Ethernet networks, to computers on the network running industrial automation software, and to Ethernet–based I/O systems without requiring additional interface cards.
Communication with the controller can also be via a modem connection using Point-to-Point protocol over one of the two serial ports—ideal for remote locations where an Ethernet network is not available or practical.