Switching your automation or motion control platform requires careful consideration. Ultimately, the decision may come down to risk management—whether the benefits of a PAC controller with integrated, high-performance motion control outweigh any potential risks. Some questions to assess the potential benefits of an integrated control system include:
- Are you getting the machine throughput desired with your current motion controls? What is the bottleneck in your current machine?
- Do you have the flexibility to automate more axes without degrading machine performance?
- Is the throughput of your machine limited by slow servo update rates, the ability to respond to motion events quickly enough or long program scan time resulting from sharing a single processor for motion and logic control?
- Would eliminating position phase errors between axes by updating all position loops simultaneously improve machine accuracy that would improve production yield?
- Are you able to instantly reconfigure your machine or line to handle different products? Can you programmatically change master/slave axis assignments and scaling, electronic gear ratios or engineering units (e.g. English to metric) on the fly?
- Could your solution benefit from the reduced wiring and improved noise immunity and reliability provided by distributing servo amplifiers and motion centric machine I/O via a fiber optic cable?
- Would your engineering resources benefit from an integrated environment? Does your solution include multiple programming software packages and/or different programs for machine sequence, logic, motion, and operator interface control that must be synchronized? Would an integrated programming environment reduce development risk or improve engineering efficiency?
As companies increasingly adopt and invest in the latest technologies to meet their manufacturing challenges, selecting an integrated motion control solution with the performance, flexibility, and reliability to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for productivity and more flexible asset use becomes a critical success factor. Companies in high-performance industries that require multi-axis motion control for mid- to high-end applications may especially benefit from integrated control systems.