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motion control, software, ACS Motion Control

Smart Motion Control Reduces Burdensome Programming

We’re seeing an ongoing trend where automation and motion control systems require far less original programming. Users can now configure the control system rather than writing tons of original code.

If there is one thing in common with nearly every aspect of smart manufacturing, it’s that the systems and equipment deliver greater complexity while requiring less expertise from users. This new principle is showing up in robotics, automation systems. motion control, and most areas of integration.

As an example of intelligence that is embedded in the system, ACS Motion Control has released a software suite that significantly reduces or eliminates the need for user interface development and maintenance. ACS’s SPiiPlusSPC (smart processing commander or SPC) software system was designed for high precision laser processing equipment, providing complete machine control. The software was created to integrate, manage, and coordinate the motion control system, laser, and other machine peripherals (vision, galvo, etc.), while offering dynamic control for more complex applications developed by system integrators and OEMs.

According to ACS, the SPC software features an easy-to-use, comprehensive interface environment for manual and automated machine operation. This makes it suitable for a wide range of laser processing applications. The application-ready SPC system allows users to create motion/process recipes from one or multiple imported CAD files (DXF, DWG, Gerber, NC Drill, STL, etc.). Or, the user can use the system’s built-in geometric functions.

Ease-of-Use Is the Guiding Principle

Goerges noted that the SPC was designed to be a fully functional for complete machine control out-of-the-box. “The software significantly reduces or eliminates the need for user interface development and maintenance, saving significant programming time and cost,” Jason Goerges, general manager at ACS Motion Control, told Design News. “The sophisticated laser control options are synchronized with single and multi-axis motion via our LCMV2 laser control module and drives.”

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In the past, exact machining functions required significant – and expensive – integration and programming effort. “With this software, you load your drawing into the software and it creates all the machine code necessary to create the action,” said Goerges. “Say you want to round a sharp glass corner on a phone. It may look like just a rectangle with rounded corners, but the operation to make sure the corners are cut correctly requires hundreds of lines of code.”

The SPC system simplifies the process and eliminate the need for elaborate coding. “With SPC, you click ‘go’ and it streams down commands to our motion controller. Within a day of playing with our software, you’re able to do very sophisticated machining. And it’s very intuitive, so there are fewer steps,” said Goerges.

Time-to-Market Concerns

While the simplicity of running the SPC system is a considerable advantage, the advances were prompted by the need to collapse the time needed to create a new motion control function.  “We receive demands from our customers to shorten their time to market. That’s also true of their customers who are operating the machines in their facilities. They want the equipment to require less training and less proprietary knowledge,” said Goerges. “Having an interface with point-and-click functionality means no computer programming. Someone with just a basic understanding of graphical computer operations can understand the machine.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

(Image courtesy of ACS Motion Control)

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