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Motion control collaboration opens up robotics, automation

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:XMOS? Synapticon? motion control? robotics?

XMOS and Synapticon GmbH revealed a partnership directed at stimulating the uptake of motion control technologies in the areas of robotics, smart factories, and autonomous vehicles.

The partnership includes joint development, support and marketing initiatives that will help designers combine multiple computational elements, sensors and actuators using XMOS' silicon and Synapticon's boards and software.

xCORE is the pre-eminent programmable platform for designers working on demanding real-time embedded design, said Synapticon CEO Nikolai Ensslen. "Synapticon's hardware and software are already delivering solutions to some of the most challenging design problems in the embedded market. Strengthening our ties with XMOS will not only allow us to forge ahead with new technology developments, it will also increase the reach and uptake of Synapticon products in the market."

As part of the agreement, Bristol-based XMOS will market a range of development platforms based on Synapticons SOMANET hardware and software modules. These allow embedded developers to realise a broad range of intelligent control tasks, ranging from simple and efficient BLDC motor control to sophisticated distributed real-time computing and control systems. Ultimately the companies plan to jointly provide single-chip silicon solutions and system-level intellectual property that will support the next generation of intelligent embedded devices.

Initiatives such as Industry 4.0 and the move to embedded intelligence represent both an unprecedented opportunity, and a major challenge for the embedded design community, said Nigel Toon, President and CEO, XMOS.

The first product in the family includes a SOMANET control sub-system, an EtherCAT communications module, 120W motor driver and an example brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The compact kit measures just 40mmx50mmx15mm when assembled, making it ideal for use by designers seeking to add intelligence close to the node in their automation projects. Options are provided for Hall Sensor and Quadrature Encoder sensing, with support for CiA402, the CANopen device profile for drives and motion control.

Configured and programmed in a high-level C-based environment via the XMOS xTIMEcomposer integrated development suite, the hardware package is augmented with robust, proven motor control IP modules from Synapticon that implement position, speed and torque/current control loops. The powerful xCORE multi-core microcontroller sub-system is equipped with up to 32 processing cores, providing up to 2000MIPS of raw performance.

The SOMANET technology allows the construction of a range of robotic and cyber-physical systems, from simple motor controllers to complex motion control solutions where the intelligence is distributed and runs alongside the sensors and actuators. This allows the systems to react much faster, improving precision and quality as well as enabling new advanced applications. SOMANET technology delivers high levels of energy efficiency, functional safety and standards compliance. The new development kit allows users to take the first steps on the road to creating these intelligent embedded systems, with fast and easy creation of both single- and multiple-axis control systems.

The new motor and motion control kit is available via the XMOS global network of representatives and distributors, priced at $909 for the Hall sensor-only version and $999 for the version equipped with Quadrature Encoder sensing.

- Nick Flaherty
??EE Times Europe

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