Industrial robots, service robots, industrial machines, autonomous vehicles and smart logistic systems all require combinations of motor control, motion control, data acquisition and communications to work safely and efficiently.
The xCORE architecture provides a unique solution to all these requirements in a single device:
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- Motor control - High performance and determinism delivers very fine granularity over the speed and position of a motor.
- Motion control - Implemented using kinematics and inverse kinematics to define the trajectory and synchronisation of elements in machine systems. The maths calculations can be offloaded from the main processing unit to the xCORE devices removing the requirement for separate processing devices.
- Data acquisition - Systems need to acquire real-time data from position sensors so that the control loop can be closed. The real-time performance and low latency of xCORE devices is ideal for this task and allow the designer to select how often they want to sample the precision points.
- Real-time communications - Machines need to communicate in real-time with central systems so that each one can be safely configured as part of the factory network. As well as using standard interface protocols such as EtherCAT, PROFINET and CAN, systems built on xCORE devices can use the xCONNECT Link fabric which provides high quality bandwidth without the need for additional cabling.
Students in Japan created a stair-climbing robot that uses xCORE for all its sensing, motor and motion control tasks.
Designers can now develop their applications using multicore microcontrollers programmed in C, and are no longer restricted to using more expensive FPGAs or multiple devices that lead to more complicated designs. Applications can be distributed and provide more efficient and safer systems, compared to centralized systems which often have a single point of failure.
Andrija Feher, Synapticon, explains the benefits of distributed motion control systems over centralised systems.