Reference design simplifies industrial robotic motor control - Embedded.com

Reference design simplifies industrial robotic motor control

A new reference design speeds development of end-of-arm tooling for industrial robotics using single-axis servo controller/driver module with integrated motion control.

Trinamic, now part of Maxim Integrated, demonstrated a range of power control solutions in the forefront of APEC, including its latest solutions that simplify the development of end-of-arm tooling (EoAT) for industrial robotics and the single-axis servo controller/driver with integrated motion control. In an interview with Power Electronics, Jeff DeAngelis, Vice President Industrial Communications at Maxim Integrated, as well as Jonas Proeger, Director of Business Management, and Stephan Kubisch, Director Product Definition, both at Trinamic, highlighted these latest solutions that speed development time in various industrial automation applications.

The TMCM-1617-GRIP-REF open-source reference design integrates a hardware field-oriented controller (FOC) and three communication ports. It includes Maxim Integrated’s MAX22000 industrial-grade IC, MAX22515 IO-Link transceiver, a software-configurable high-precision analog I/O, and the MAX14906, a four-channel digital I/O used to configure the operating mode of the single-axis servo drive.

The new TMCM-1321 servo controller/driver module is intended to optimize the performance of two-phase bipolar stepper motors by optimizing axis speed and synchronization and reducing power losses. Maxim Integrated pointed out that the device integrates a magnetic encoder and digital inputs for optical encoders to simplify servo control with advanced feedback and diagnostics.

Open-Source Platform

“The benefit of the TMCM-1617-GRIP-REF reference design is its ability to integrate multiple circuits onto one board that would typically be distributed across multiple boards or components at the end of a robotic arm.  This compact footprint combines a simplified communication bus interface that reduces wire harnessing burdens and provides a streamlined way to move both data and power over a single or dual pair of wires, as well as the ability to commission the tool correctly. This compact size and simplified communication and configuration bus interface is coupled with our TMCL-IDE software development environment making it a very versatile reference design for end-of-arm tooling,” said DeAngelis. He added, “in addition to its compact size, another important factor achieved is the very light 24 grams of weight for this module.”

As Proeger described, the block diagram of figure 1 shows a load cell to detect the force that comes from the arm or from the gripper, or proximity sensor. TMCM-1617-GRIP-REF supports the industrial communication protocols EtherCAT, IO-Link and RS-485, and provides an analogue signal and software programmable digital inputs/outputs and can be configured using the Trinamic Motion Control Language Integrated Development Environment (TMCL-IDE). “We provide the option of RS-485 communication with 100 megabits per second which is still popular. The advantage is that it’s still a traditional high-speed cabling to meet the demands of this application. It’s a very flexible product from a communication perspective as a more traditional approach to controlling the motor,” said Proeger.


Figure 1: Block diagram of TMCM-1617-GRIP-REF (Source: Maxim Integrated)


Figure 2: TMCM-1617 – Smallest Servo Controller (Source: Maxim Integrated)

“We provide all required supply rails to support external peripherals and sensors without requiring an additional power source,” said Kubisch. He added, “perfect current control has the biggest impact on overall system efficiency.”

With state-of-the-art bus architectures, combined with integrated control and diagnostics in a single solution, Maxim Integrated believes the reference design can increase productivity on the factory floor and bring artificial intelligence to the edge. For example, the MAX22515 onboard features such as extensive integrated protection to ensure robust communication in harsh industrial environments. All IO-Link line interface pins (V24, C/Q, DI, and GND) are reverse voltage protected, short-circuit protected, hot-plug protected, and feature integrated ±1.2kV/ 500Ω surge protection.

For the future of motor and motion control, the increasing complexity in connection with the demand for ultimate dependability will lead to more smartness of the system – and this needs to be at the edge, decentralized. Decisions need to be made in real-time, data needs to be collected at the source and shared in the cloud.

Servo controller/driver TMCM-1321

The TMCM-1321 is a single-axis controller/driver for 2-phase bipolar stepper motors with an integrated magnetic encoder and digital inputs, all offering closed-loop control logic to optimize motor control.

Maxim Integrated pointed out that the form factor is intended to be significantly smaller than other solutions, and the board supports 256x microstepping with the noise-free operation. The integrated magnetic encoder can be used when a suitable magnet is attached to the motor axis, enabling closed-loop operation. Alternatively, an optical encoder can be connected via the ABN digital inputs. Different ramp shapes can be selected. In addition to linear ramping, and Trinamic SixPoint™ ramping, the TMCM-1321 module implements an S-shaped ramp that can speed up the actual transfer time.


Figure 3: Block diagram of TMCM-1321 (Source: Maxim Integrated)


Figure 4: TMCM-1321 Board (Source: Maxim Integrated)

The TMCM-1321 has been designed for coil currents up to 0.7A RMS and 24V DC supply voltage. Three digital inputs can be used as end switch and home switch inputs or as general purpose inputs.

Motor control and drives are fundamental in many applications, as they allow to obtain a high degree of accuracy, which in turn translates into lower costs and greater efficiency. The vital function performed by a motor control circuit is to ensure that the rotor takes, during different operating and load conditions, a precise position concerning the windings, to determine its location with a sufficient degree of accuracy.

>> This article was originally published on our sister site, Power Electronics News.


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