Arcus Technology makes light work of solar simulation motion system

Arcus Labview UKArcus Technology, the stepper motor innovator represented nationally by LG Motion, has recently supplied a low-cost multi-axis upgrade solution for a solar simulation rig that includes a National Instruments LabVIEW VI programmed PC control panel.

Arcus’ customer required the retrofit for a laboratory solar device test rig that was originally built using LabVIEW measurement tools but had a disparate motion system with limited features that restricted the overall rig’s performance capabilities.

The upgrade required improved control of apertures that adjust the intensity of individual light sources to allow multiple beams to be paired and coordinated in various sequences to provide higher level analysis.

Design Brief

The design brief called for a motion solution that included LabVIEW VIs and USB communications as key requirements of an economic control system that would maintain the existing drive and stepper motor components.

Whilst other motion system manufacturers supply NI LabVIEW VIs, many were considered far too costly and sophisticated or were servomotor based – which would have necessitated the expensive and unnecessary replacement of motors and drives for the 9-axis system.

A combination of Arcus’ USB networked PMX-4CX-SA, 4-axis stepper motor controllers and the free of charge LabVIEW VI library was chosen for low cost, ease of installation and simplicity.

The Arcus PMX-4CX-SA, is a basic 4 Axis stepper motor motion controller with USB 2.0 and RS-485 communication which supports multi-task A-SCRIPT programming. It features a 400 kHz maximum pulse rate output to suit microstepping motors at moderately high speeds with trapezoidal acceleration and deceleration profiles for smooth ramping and start/stop performance. As well as open collector pulse and direction and enable outputs, the DMX-4CX has a complement of opto-isolated limit and home switches with 4 inputs and 4 outputs. From the same product series, the PMX-4EX-SA adds encoder feedback inputs to allow the controller to automatically monitor and maintain stepper motor position through A-SCRIPT software commands. The controller may also be used to control digital servo drives.

Arcus’ competitively priced product range also includes the DMX series integrated stepper motor + drive + motion controllers with a built-in microstepping drive and optional incremental encoder interface that provides closed-loop feedback for automatic position correction. The DMX series is available in NEMA 17 and 23 frame sizes as well as a unique NEMA size 11 version with a square section of only 25 mm x 25 mm. These products illustrate Arcus’ strong product design and very competitive pricing, and are available with a wide choice of communications interfaces including USB 2.0, RS 485, Ethernet and Modbus and CANopen.

Complete System Innovation

This innovative and cost-effective technology from Arcus is available throughout the UK and LG Motion and working with customers in a diverse range of industries, sharing expertise  in design, manufacture and programming to ensure end solutions that fit the exacting requirements necessary with minimum fuss.