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Aerotech releases multi-axis robotic controller


Aerotech has released its HEX RC, a 6-axis motion controller which it says is ideal for controlling robotic systems like hexapods.

The HEX RC is 4U rack-mountable and compatible with the Automation 3200 (A3200) motion platform. 

Its features include:

  • 4U high, rack-mount, six-axis controller for brush, brushless, and stepper motors
  • designed for for controlling six-axis robotic systems like hexapods
  • real-time A3200 distributed control architecture allows synchronized motion on up to 32 axes
  • FireWire or ASCII command interface via TCP/IP
  • programmable in native RS-274 G-code, AeroBasic command set, C, C++/CLI, .NET, MatLab, or LabView for flexibility

Aerotech says the “high-performance processor provides the intense computing power” needed to run up to 32 axes, perform complex, synchronized motion trajectories, manipulate I/O, and collect data at high speeds.

The HEX RC also features 6-axes of drives “capable of controlling any combination of brush, brushless, or stepper motors”, claims Aerotech.

It digitally performs both current loop and servo loop closures to ensure the highest level of positioning accuracy and performance.

The HEX RC connects and controls up to 26 additional axes of servo, stepper, or piezo-driven stages using the A3200 distributed control architecture.

The HEX RC is designed with an ASCII command interface over TCP/IP for control in applications such as beamlines.

Alternatively, it can act as a master controller to control other A3200 external drives via the FireWire interface.

The HEX RC accepts amplified-sine or digital encoders. Optional integrated encoder multipliers, up to X4096, ensure high-resolution positioning.

An optional 6-axis jog pendant permits easy, manual control of the positioning system. In safety critical applications, an emergency stop option with redundant safety relays can be added.

Aerotech’s says that with the A3200 it focused on ease of use for the programmer, shortens development time compared with other tools, and provides the flexibility to use the tools or controller most familiar to programmers.

The company says it provides a complete integrated development environment and a comprehensive .NET motion library provide classes for motion, I/O, status, and diagnostic information.

You can program in Visual Studio and use the .NET library, or use the Motion Composer (IDE) to develop code with AeroBasic commands or G code.

A LabView VI library is available for National Instruments users, while a complete C library is available for those using Visual Basic, C++, or C.