Motion control may be one of those things that can easily be taken for granted in industrial automation and robotic systems, but it's traditionally complex to program. That's why Texas Instruments has released new motion-control software the company says drastically simplifies the engineering process of developing motion control applications "every step of the way."
The company's new InstaSPIN-MOTION motor control software is aimed at taking the pain out of motion-control development by optimizing complex motion sequences, reducing tuning to a single parameter, and accurately tracking desired trajectories across operating ranges. "TI has never offered anything like this before," Chris Clearman, a manager in motor control solutions at Texas Instruments, told Design News. "This is the most complete MOTION package from a semiconductor vendor we are aware of."
Texas Instruments' new InstaSPIN-MOTION software, shown here in a screenshot, aims to make motion-control development more efficient and less painstaking for developers, the company said. The software builds on TI’s InstaSPIN-FOC offering and adds four new modules with advanced features. (Source: Texas Instruments)
Specifically, InstaSPIN-Motion builds on top of TI's InstaSPIN-FOC, which includes motor parameter identification, a self-tuning software sensor called FAST, and automatic tuning of the current control loop. The FAST software sensor provides rotor flux measurement and motor identification, as well as automatic current control tuning and sensorless feedback in a field-oriented control (FOC) torque controller. The sensor also speeds the deployment of sensorless, variable load, three-phase motor solutions, Clearman told us.
InstaSPIN-Motion also includes four new components to address each aspect of designing motion control, with the ultimate goal of making it simpler and more efficient than older design techniques. Those components are:
Identify, which enacts a short test on the motor to identify the inertia and friction of the system. This is used in the velocity compensation of motion-control development;
Control, which replaces standard PI based velocity controllers -- "which are hard to tune and must be tuned at different speeds/loads across operation," Clearman said, with a single variable tuning knob that typically works across the entire operation;
Move, which calculates the inputs to the Controller to move from A to B based on one of three curve types and user-supplied constraints of acceleration and jerk;
Plan, which enables rapid state-based development of software that connects movements (A-B, B-C, C-D, etc.) based on system criteria.
Additionally, engineers also can use as a complement to InstaSPIN-Motion the motor control software infrastructure MotorWare, which offers modules, drivers, system examples, and documentation for current C object-oriented and API-based coding techniques.
InstaSPIN-Motion is now available on TI's 90 MHz, 32-bit floating point Piccolo F2806xM microcontrollers starting at $10.22 USD per 10 Ku. TI also is offering an InstaSPIN-Motion-supported low-voltage, low-current motor control kits for $299, a low-voltage, high-current motor control kit for $299, or a high-voltage motor control kit for $699. For designers who have previously purchased a TI motor control development kit, they can order the modular InstaSPIN-Motion-enabled Piccolo controlCARD for $99.
Good point, Naperlou. TI has come out with a product that follows the trend of making complex industrial control tools less complex for the user. This not only speeds set up, it brings complex within reach for manufacturers who don't wish to hire an army of programmers.
Yes, Lou, I see what you mean and that's a good idea. I am sure there already is something out there, but I just haven't reported on it or know about it. I can't imagine TI or another microcontroller provider doesn't have something for general for this type of programming.
Elizabeth, nice article on a product that clearly will be very useful. One aspect this brings to mind, though, is the specificity of the solution. Many vendors have microcontrollers that can be used for motor control, among other uses. I wonder what it would take to design a software package that could be more general.
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