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Second-generation PCI-bus motion controller provides fast, cost-effective control for up to 12 axes

* 120MHz DSP-based design runs multitasking Mint or embedded C

* accommodates open/closed loop control, high speed interpolation and master encoder synchronisation

NextMove PCI-2August 8, 2005 --- Baldor has launched a high performance PCI-bus motion controller featuring very fast communications and response capabilities. Known as NextMove PCI-2, it offers extensive digital and analog I/O and provides a highly flexible all-in-one control solution for PC-hosted automation applications. The new controller accommodates position feedback data at rates as high as 10MHz, and features a servo loop update time of just 100 microseconds – twice as fast as its predecessor. It is especially suitable for multi-axis motion control applications with high data transfer or processing overheads, such as vision systems and tasks involving thousands of co-ordinated moves.

NextMove PCI-2 is a second-generation product, based on a redesigned version of Baldor’s popular single-board PCI-1 controller. Incorporating the latest high speed digital technology – including a 120MHz 32-bit floating point DSP core – it uses an FPGA (field programmable gate array) for all drive control and I/O functions. This helps minimise manufacturing costs and facilitates product customisation. The new controller is pin compatible with the NextMove PCI-1, enabling OEMs to upgrade the performance of existing machines without changing connectors or cabling.

Available in 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 axis versions, NextMove PCI-2 controllers are packaged as single, short (7 inch) PCI cards. Each model can handle closed loop control of servo or vector drives and open loop control of stepper drives; the 8 axis version provides four closed loop and four open loop control channels. An optional 4 axis PCI expansion card is available, and the controller supports up to two cards, subject to a maximum of 12 control channels of either type.

For controlling servo or vector drives, NextMove PCI-2 generates industry-standard ±10V analog output signals – with up to 16-bit resolution – and accepts position feedback from an incremental encoder at rates up to 10MHz (or 7.5MHz via an expansion card). The servo loop employs a special high speed PID (proportional integral derivative) term that includes velocity and acceleration feedforward parameters for precision tuning, backed by a 100 microsecond update rate for up to four axes. Open loop axes are controlled via differential step and direction outputs capable of handling frequencies up to 3MHz; these can either be used with standard stepper type drives, or with open loop servo drives configured for step and direction inputs.

NextMove PCI-2 controllers are supplied complete with the latest version of Baldor’s Mint multitasking machine control programming language, together with libraries for embedded C programs and ActiveX control. The controller can either run autonomously from its own locally-stored Mint or embedded C program, or semi-autonomously under PC control. The application’s high level control software and user interfaces can be written in any ActiveX compliant language, such as Visual Basic or C++, and communicate with the controller’s Mint command library or locally-stored program via an application program interface (API).

Mint is especially easy to use; it provides a structured, inherently self-documenting approach to program development, and incorporates a large number of motion control, I/O handling, communications, networking and operator interface functions. The language is standardised across all of Baldor’s controllers and programmable drives to help users maximise productivity. Using Baldor’s Windows-based Mint Workbench application development tool, engineers can quickly create very lean and efficient motion control programs.

NextMove PCI-2 controllers feature extensive on-board memory. There is 2Mb of zero-wait-state SRAM for program and data storage, 32kb of non-volatile RAM, and 16kb of memory-mapped dual-port RAM – with interrupt capabilities – for high speed communication with a host PC via the 33MHz PCI bus. Reserved locations within the DPRAM are used for diagnostic information such as axis position and error codes, and are instantly accessible for fast realtime control purposes.

Every NextMove PCI-2 controller offers a high complement of I/O interfaces to satisfy virtually all machine control requirements and obviate the need for a separate I/O controller such as a PLC. There are four analog and 20 digital inputs – four of which offer 1 microsecond data capture for high speed position feedback purposes – together with a dedicated RS422 master encoder channel for synchronisation and follower type applications, which can handle up to 10MHz. The controller’s output capabilities are equally comprehensive; in addition to analog drive demand signals, it provides 12 digital outputs. A drive enable relay output is also provided – this is automatically de-energised under error conditions, and can be used for implementing fail-safe operation.

NextMove PCI-2 controllers also feature a 500 kBaud isolated CANbus port. This can be configured for CANopen DS301 – with support for DS401 I/O devices – or for Baldor’s proprietary CAN protocol. Using CANopen, the controller can assume the role of master when communicating with other nodes running Mint software, for applications involving distributed machine intelligence. Alternatively, the port can be used to further expand the controller’s I/O capabilities, by communicating with Baldor CAN-compatible digital I/O expansion units. Up to 63 nodes can be installed on the network.

Full details of Baldor’s new PCI-2 controller are contained in the company’s NextMove Multi-axis Motion Controllers catalogue, reference BR1202-C, which is available free of charge in electronic or printed form. PDFs can be downloaded from Baldor’s support site at, and printed versions can be requested by calling +44 (0) 1454 850000.

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