Motion control with Automation1from Aerotech

Share this on social media:

Credit: Aerotech


If you want to move something, you also have to be able to control the movement. Positioning movements in the nanometre range require high-precision control. Aerotech has specialised in motion control and positioning systems for over 50 years. The in-house software developers in Pittsburgh bring concentrated know-how in programming software solutions for motion control: The latest result is the Automation1 control platform, which comes with several new features in the current release 2.2. 

Whether in mechanical applications, automation solutions or additive manufacturing processes, drive technology and motion are everywhere. Day in, day out, many design engineers think about how certain components, tools, workpieces and much more can be moved in their applications in a targeted and precise manner. The positioning solutions that have established themselves on the market are as broad as the areas of application. They range from simple single-axis systems to complex multi-axis systems. Such complex systems are, for example, hexapods that want to move relatively freely in six degrees of freedom. High-precision positioning in the nanometre range is often required, especially in microscopy, metrology or even in the electronics industry and medical technology.

The software developers at Aerotech have developed Automation1, a motion control platform that can also integrate the entire periphery. It is intended to replace the previous Aerotech control platforms A3200, Ensemble and Soloist.

While the new release builds on previous versions, it impresses with unique features. For example, the previous CNC user interface is replaced by the new Machine Apps HMI development tool. With this fully customisable tool, Aerotech is setting new standards in user interfaces for drive systems. Seamless integration of PLC-based systems is also provided with EtherCAT compatibility. With this, Aerotech has extended the options for high-precision motion processes to PLC systems when they are embedded in a conventional system with lower precision.

Important features of the new Automation1 Release 2.2:

  • Machine Apps HMI development tool instead of previous CNC user interface
  • EtherCAT compatibility for connecting PLC-based systems
  • Improved interfaces with additional Labview VIs and a Python API
  • Enhancement of the Dynamic Controls Toolbox (a popular feature from the A3200 controls), which combines Aerotech's Harmonic Cancellation, Command Shaping and Cross-axis Feedforward functions.
  • Stepper motor control with closed-loop
  • Asset-wide backup and restore functionality using Aerotech's advanced API functionality