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)
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.
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.
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.
Very interesting that TI is expanding its software development tools for motor control. That probably bodes well for advanced motor control in a wide range of volume applications. They are among a small group of semiconductor companies in the unique position to provide motion solutions, especially with growth in sensorless, variable load and three-phase motor systems.
True, Al, I think this type of software is going to become more important to designers of components and industrial systems, and market leaders like TI should be taking this kind of initiative to make motion-control development easier.
I'm just amazed at how far some of these tools have come. I was talking to one of our interns the other day and he is finishing up his degree in MECHANICAL engineering. He actuallly had to take a class in motion control and develop software for it. I couldn't understand how that would have been part of his curriculum, but apparently most of the software he was using was plugging blocks together. A bit different from what I had....
Jack, I've recently been running into more engineering programs that offer an electromechanical engineering degree. I think it's a good idea. It busts the walls down and makes engineers on both sides -- electrical and mechanical -- aware that they can't "throw designs over the wall."
It kind of reminds me of when companies like Microsoft and Adobe started putting out tools for software developers that helped writers of code and designers of interfaces and graphics--the two sides of the software equation--understand each other better, Chuck. I think these types of tools will help different kinds of engineers also collaborate more intuitively and effectively.
It seems like a complex task, to be sure! I guess it doesn't help when engineers have different sets of priorities and different ways of approaching the problem, which is how it was back in the app-dev days I mentioned. Hopefully software like this can help.
Motion control is definitely becoming more integral to different aspects of engineering, Jack, it's true, and it will be important to have these skills in the future. This is why tools like what TI is offering are so important; I expect we will see more of the same from other top vendors in the future as well.
One of the biggest walls in embedded software development is the integration of low-level drivers with higher-level middleware and application code, but silicon vendors are stepping up to bring it down.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.