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19-inch plug-in cassette with CANopen

At the Motek 2013 Systec (Germany) introduced Xemo Step, the first Xemo stepper motor controller in the form of a 19-inch plug-in cassette and the first market-ready model of the Xemo controller series with an ARM processor.

THE COMPANY HAS A LONG TRADITION AS A MANUFACTURER of stepper motor controllers designed as 19-inch plug-in cassettes. This model, which was presented at the 33rd Motek in Stuttgart, Germany, retains characteristics of the MCM series and offers many product features of Xemo Motion Control, which had not been available as yet for MCM, as well as other technological options.

The Xemo Step is compatible with all stepper motor power stages that could already be used with MCM Step. “Many of our customers”, explained Systec’s CEO Tilman Wolter, “already use MCM Step with external power stages in our MPM rack, a 19-inch housing with power supply.” The new stepper motor controller can now be inserted into the MPM housing instead of the MCM control module and control up to three stepper motor power stages. Just a few adaptations of the control programming are necessary.

Diversity of interfaces is a feature of the controller. One Ethernet, USB and RS232 interface respectively are generally possible. In addition, there are two CANopen connections, which are situated on the ARM4 extension. The physical interfaces are on the mainboard. In this series a galvanical isolation was dispensed with. The CAN interface is accessed via contacts of the DIN 41612 connector on the module's connector strip. Both CAN interfaces accept CANopen profiles, communication is possible via Service Data Objects and Process Data Objects. The CAN interfaces in this series are better suited to connecting with Systec components like OT control panels. Dedicated hardware, e.g. multiple encoder interfaces or fast analog comparators, can be connected too.

Furthermore eight digital inputs and outputs, as well as 16 combined signal interfaces, which can be assigned to be either input or output, are available. Four pulse/direction motor outputs consisting of one analog input and one analog output as well as a release input and a standby output complement the selectable communication interfaces. Both digital and analog inputs and outputs and four pulse/direction outputs for controlling the stepper motor power stages are electrically isolated from the micro-controller core and the communication interfaces.

Xemo Step is the first Xemo controller to use a 32-bit ARM4 processor with two Cortex cores each with 204 MHz. Up to now, the company offered stepper motor controllers as compact models with integrated power stages. This controller is operated with external stepper motor power stages. The company offers, for example, the models iPM206 for two-phase stepper motors or iPM 306 for three-phase stepper motors. The latter offers the same functions as the Berger Lahr model D900, which is no longer manufactured.

The motor controller is for users who already rely on the 19-inch stepper motor technology by the company and who now wish to use the performance features of the recently launched controller generation. The controller is also suitable for automation projects in connection with the stepper motor power stages iPM 206 and iPM 306. Because the controller works with many kinds of stepper motor power stages, this control module is a solution for upgrading in terms of performance or when replacing existing stepper motor systems.

The device is programmed with the standardized programming language Motion Basic. The diagnostic software Xemo!GO is useful during start-up. By means of Windows-DLL included in the delivery, Xemo controllers can also be programmed in further languages such as C# or VBA. The graphic programming environment Labview can be used as well. Virtual instruments for this purpose have been made available.

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