Q: I'm using your AZ series absolute stepper motor & drive with built-in motion controller for a medical dispensing robot application. What I want to do is command the motion controller to perform a move with a given number of steps, and have it output a signal to my PLC every X steps (with a trigger length in the order of 20 micro seconds). Is this possible, and can you explain how I can program the motion controller to do so?
A: There are several ways you can do this. It depends on if you can break up the long move into smaller moves and allow a quick stop in between moves, or how often you need the output signal.
IF YOU CAN BREAK UP THE LONG MOVE INTO SMALLER MOVES, AND ALLOW A QUICK STOP IN BETWEEN THE SMALLER MOVES, it would be really easy to set this up. The AZ driver offers a standard/default output that would turn on when the positioning operation is complete. This output is called IN-POS, which is pre-assigned at the factory to OUT1 or pin 19 of the output connector terminal of the driver. All you have to do is wire this output to your PLC, and the output will turn on every time the motor stops.
IF YOU NEED TO OUTPUT THE SIGNALS WHILE IT'S CONTINUOUSLY MOVING, BUT ONLY NEED TO OUTPUT THE SIGNAL 8X OR LESS, you can use our AREA outputs. The AZ driver has up to 8 AREAx outputs which can turn on at different step intervals. The user can set exactly the # of steps at which these AREA outputs turn on. When the motor passes these preset areas, these AREA outputs will turn on. When the motor leaves the preset area, the output will turn off. The limitation with using these outputs is that there are only 6 direct outputs you can assign functions to. If you can use less than 6 output signals, then we can reassign 6 direct outputs to the 6 AREA outputs (out of 8 total). However, that also means you don't have any outputs assigned to other functions you might need. If you need these output functions, or need to have 8 AREA outputs, you can set up a master/slave field bus network with your PLC and the driver via Modbus RTU communication protocol through the driver's RS-485 port. This way, you'll have access to the driver's outputs without being limited to 6 direct outputs.
To make the setup/assignment of output functions easier, you can use our GUI software, MEXE02, which can be downloaded from our website for free. You will only need a USB 2.0 mini-B cable (commercially available) to connect the driver to your PC. Besides offering an easy way to program the stored data parameters in a GUI interface, the software also offers some extremely useful real-time monitoring functions for preventative maintenance or troubleshooting.
IF YOU NEED TO OUTPUT THE SIGNALS WHILE IT'S CONTINUOUSLY MOVING, AND NEED MORE THAN 8 OUTPUT SIGNALS, then it gets a little more complicated. We can use a combination of the AZ driver's Continuous Form Connection link method, Loop function, Area offset setting and its MAREA output to achieve this.
Below is a PROGRAMMING EXAMPLE for the setting of required parameters. You can set these stored data parameters with either our MEXE02 software or from a Modbus RTU master in a master/slave RS-485 network.
IF YOU ARE USING OUR MEXE02 SOFTWARE TO EDIT THE STORED DATA, you will need to set the parameters up as follows:
-the example is for 128 MAREA output signals while continuously running in one direction.
The above parameters are found in the OPERATION DATA table in the MEXE02 software. Please see below.
IF YOU ARE USING A MODBUS RTU MASTER TO EDIT THE STORED DATA, you will need to be aware of the parameter values and the register addresses:
The above register address information is from PAGE 378 of the AZ Functions manual (for area offset, area width, and loop count):
http://www.orientalmotor.com/products/p ... 60262E.pdf
-other register addresses that you'll need to use are also listed in the manual.
-PAGE 375 describes the "base" addresses.
Once you have set up the data correctly and run the motor, it should run like this:
The top portion shows the continuous motion of the motor in one direction while using "Continuous Form Connection" link method. Y axis is speed while X axis is positioning distance from home (in steps). The bottom portion shows the MAREA output signal waveform. You can see that the MAREA output turns on at 5000 steps, and this output will turn on at each 10000 steps. This is because your position (step) parameter is set to 10000 and your area offset is set to -5000. 5000 (where the MAREA output turns on) is -5000 from 10000. Because the LOOP is set to "loop128", it will loop 128x. Area width determines the range (# of steps) at which the MAREA output would turn on. For more details, please refer to the AZ Functions manual.
If you have any questions, please contact our knowledgeable technical support team or post to this topic.
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