Machine control platform Motion control and positioning: One platform for all applications

Editor: Alexander Stark

UK — Since February, a new release has been available for users of the Automation 1 control platform from Aerotech. Version 1.2 features numerous functional enhancements and is now automatically included when ordering the standard version.

Control platform in Release 1.2: The Automation1 hardware has a built-in digital and analogue I/O, allowing an easy integration of complex motion and the associated control of process tools.
Control platform in Release 1.2: The Automation1 hardware has a built-in digital and analogue I/O, allowing an easy integration of complex motion and the associated control of process tools.
(Source: Aerotech)

As a global builder of automation systems, Aerotech develops motion control and positioning systems and associated software solutions. These are used wherever high throughput with absolute precision is required. The “Automation 1 Precision Machine and Motion Control Platform” was launched more than two years ago. With Release 1.2, the further development of the innovative control platform is now available.

Automation 1 operates as a complete machine control system with all components. The platform has its own software-based motion controller, which makes it easy to control different positioning systems as well as connected components. Areas of application include automation systems, precision laser processes, and test and inspection processes.

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Automation 1 now has a new portal control scheme, commonly referred to as “R-Theta” or “Portalgier” control. This is to serve as the basis for all further portal control schemes in the future. The solution also now supports the Enhanced Throughput Module (ETM). By directly measuring the unwanted movement of the machine base and feeding it back to the controller, the positioning performance of highly dynamic motion systems is improved. The seamless interaction of the Dynamic Controls Toolbox with the Aerotech controllers allows the servo system to perfectly execute the desired motion path. ETM modules can be precisely aligned via the “Configure” workspace in Automation 1 Studio. By measuring and accounting for unwanted machine base motions, the ETM automatically improves positioning performance in collaboration with Automation 1.

A new interface for programming Windows desktop applications in C or C++ has been added to the controller itself with C-API (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface). Also, Automation 1 Studio's Machine Setup Configuration Wizard now supports new XC6e, SI4 and XL4s drive hardware.

The high-end servo motor hardware is an essential part of the Aerotech motion control platform. Not only do the drives meet all the requirements for best-in-class motion control performance, they also provide tools to manage and control precision motion control applications, the company states. The drives include ample memory for process control and data acquisition, extensive I/O points for sensor integration and operator stations, and interfaces to standard industrial laser tools. In addition to functions such as Position Synchronised Output and Infinite Field of View, Release 1.2 now also includes autofocus, which is to enable machines to be controlled even more precisely in the future.

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