Custom High Speed 3 Axis Servo Motion Control System with 40MHz Tracking Target and Trigger

This project was able to use off-the-shelf components priced at OEM integration cost with a development time of approximately 6 months. This approach allowed both 40MHz FPGA Servo control with integrated tracking within a target area that then hardware triggers a ultra-high speed dispensing valve. One might think closing the control loop at 40MHz is over kill for a motion control system, but when you are moving complex 2 dimensional path at 2 meters/sec simultaneously and tracking position and targeting to 1 micrometer resolution it turns out this flexibility makes success possible without extremely expensive and long schedule custom hardware and firmware development which is typically required to attempt designing and building a system with this performance and complexity.  One final benefit of this approach is the entire system is also a real-time measurement data acquisition platform that allows collection of position, velocity, acceleration, and command signals while active motion and control with tracking targeting and triggering is operating.

Off-The-Shelf Components:




  • NI - LabVIEW Development Platform - Windows - Real-Time - Embedded FPGA

  • Beckoff - TwinCAT - Windows - Soft PLC - Motion Library

  • Beckoff - EtherCAT Industrial PC - Acts as a Motion Sequencer

  • NI - 9144 EtherCAT Slave Expansion - Integrates C Series I/O Modules with FPGA




Media Documenting Development:




This research project used a Texas Instrument's ARM evaluation board which has become the scaleable foundation of the embedded control and measurement system for a ALGAE BIOMASS REACTOR.  This system can control lighting, temperature, pH chemistry, and fluid circulation rates, while also measuring parameters of interest like like growth rates,  fluid translucency, and fluid viscosity.  The FIRMWARE was developed using mostly LabVIEW Embedded ARM Tools, with some optimized C programming to perform things like inline FIRMWARE upgrade reprogramming.  This approach is amazingly flexible, and expandable by just adding more ARM Microcontroller Boards that can be linked and synchronized through a the CAN bus or the Ethernet bus.


Because this ARM and other Microcontrollers are Systems-On-Chips with Ethernet and other Serial busses they are well suited for embedding the HTML5 standard WebSockets Communication Protocol, and that is what we are currently perfecting at Inventeering.  By using the build in Ethernet or adding a WiFi to Serial Module, we are able to leverage the power of building the Human Machine Interface for these Microcontrollers on Platforms like iPod or iPad or a growing number of Android based Tablets or even a PC half way around the world.  


Automatic EEPROM Characterization System  

Here is a sample of a test solution that automatically sequences waffer position and test programs while acquiring data in a Excel Spread format.  This software interfaces and controls the following hardware:

  • ALGILENT 4155B Semiconductor Parameter Analyzers (GPIB)

  • KARL SUSS PA200 - Semi-Automatic Probe System (Ethernet)

OLED touch display interfaced to LabVIEW Demonstration  
Here is a sample of our preliminary work on a product development project for a medical device.  We are also developing a OLED for LabVIEW Toolkit that will make it easy for other to integrate these low cost OLED touch displays into their embedded systems also.  

Robotic Automation  
Here is a sample of our work from a product development project where we developed all the software in LabVIEW and took about 6 months to complete.  The control system consisted of a embedded mini-ITX PC running a minimized version of Windows XP and controlled through a 7" front LCD touch display.  We used a USB Camera for alignment, registration and inspection and 2D Barcodes.  This robotic X-Y motion has a resolution of 1 micro-meter and repeatability and accuracy well under 10 micro-meter.


Sample GUI's from other projects




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