Machine Builders Create Custom Motion Controllers with NI SoftMotion

9/15/2004 - Machine builders and OEMs now can use the National Instruments LabVIEW graphical development environment to create customized motion controllers for any platform with NI SoftMotion technology. The new NI SoftMotion Development Module for LabVIEW deploys a variety of motion control functions and custom algorithms to any hardware platform based on machine builders’ specific application requirements and price and performance needs.

Using the NI SoftMotion Development Module, machine builders and OEMs can choose their motion control platforms, including NI reconfigurable I/O hardware, PCI/PXI multifunction data acquisition (DAQ) devices and Compact FieldPoint embedded control systems, to improve machine performance or lower their system costs. The software includes functions for trajectory generation, spline interpolation, position and velocity PID control and encoder implementation in the LabVIEW Real-Time Module and the LabVIEW FPGA Module. With the NI SoftMotion Development Module, machine builders and OEMs can create flexible motion control solutions that they can redesign to accommodate variations in motion control algorithms at run time.

With the company’s new CompactRIO embedded control system and LabVIEW FPGA Module, machine builders and OEMs can use the NI SoftMotion Development Module to achieve servo updates as fast as 5 µs or 200 kHz for high-precision semiconductor processes such as etching, metrology, dicing, bonding or lithography. Also, they can reduce system costs by deploying their NI SoftMotion Development Module functions to the new, next-generation NI M Series DAQ devices, which deliver breakthrough improvements in accuracy, faster sampling rates, more I/O channels and a lower cost per I/O channel. This cost-effective motion control solution is ideal for packaging and material handling applications.

Whether they are developing an assembly system with in-line vehicle sequencing for the automotive industry or designing a lithography machine for the semiconductor industry, machine builders and OEMs can use the NI SoftMotion Development Module to create customized and reliable machine controllers. The table below illustrates the combinations and possible applications for the module with different NI hardware platforms.

Machine builders and OEMs can use NI SoftMotion software with the LabVIEW 7.1 graphical development environment to create their custom motion control solutions.

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 41 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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