Many manufacturers of automated inspection equipment use x-y positioning devices that move the parts to be inspected through a camera's field of view. Other robotic-system manufacturers provide camera subsystems on an x-y positioning gantry that can move and image stationary parts.
Many manufacturers of automated inspection equipment use x-y positioning devices that move the parts to be inspected through a camera's field of view. Other robotic-system manufacturers provide camera subsystems on an x-y positioning gantry that can move and image stationary parts. Designers of such systems must integrate these positioning systems with PC-based motion-control systems so that the system can be directed by PC-based software. This month's column takes a look at some available PCI-based motion-control boards.
Vigilant Technologies (Davie, FL) designs, manufactures, and markets board-level products for data-acquisition motion control and instrumentation. In addition to I/O boards, IndustryPack modules, and motion-control interface boards, the company also offers a PCI-based product, the PCI-Encdac, that provides systems developers with four quadrature decoder/encoder inputs, four 14-bit DACs, and eight digital I/O channels.
Steppers and servos
Both PCI and CompactPCI motion-control products are detailed on the National Instruments (Austin, TX) Web site. One of the most informative sites available, it also includes application stories, product descriptions, an on-line store, newsletters, application notes, and an on-line product catalog.
As recently described on its Web site, servo-Halbeck (Offenhausen, Germany), which develops PC-based motion controllers, stand-alone controllers with an RS232/422/485 interface, and systems for the VME- and PC104-buses, has produced motion controllers that support USB, CompactPCI, and Ethernet connectivity.
Motion-control products on the Oregon Micro Systems (Beaverton, OR) Web site are based on the ISA, VME, and PC/104 buses, and soon the PCI bus. Typical of these product offerings is the CIX, which is a 3U, 32-bit, 33-MHz, 5-Vdc CompactPCI card capable of operating up to four servo and/or stepper motors.
Galil Motion Control (Rocklin, CA), a manufacturer of single- and multi-axis motion controllers for motion-control applications, offers a number of products such as ISA, PCI, VME, and PC/104 cards and box-level controllers with RS232, USB, and Ethernet connectivity. The company's Web site provides descriptions of these products, well-written customer features, news, and training and customer-support information.
The Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) Web site groups the company's products into motion-control and positioning-systems divisions. You can request the company's 200-page catalog, review product information, and check out systems integrators that have used Aerotech's products.