Turning Real-Time Ethernet into Physical Motion

Hilscher announces new motion control capabilities for its netX 90 multiprotocol network chip.

netMOTION is a firmware-configured communications solution with built-in motor control for applications in networked factory and process control systems, assembly, packaging, robotics and more. With netMOTION, developers get Real-Time Ethernet connectivity and general-purpose motor and motion control in a single-chip solution, which simplifies designs and reduces material costs.


Motion Control and Real-Time Communication in One Chip

With netMOTION, Hilscher's long-standing strategy of supporting multiple real-time network protocols with firmware-configured solutions is extended into the motion control domain. Whereas typical chip solutions for motion and motor control systems often lack Real-Time Ethernet connectivity, the netX 90 uniquely combines industrial communication and multi-purpose motion control in a single-chip solution. This opens up new ways to adapt and suit a wide variety of applications and markets while reducing design efforts and material costs.

For network-enabled field device applications, embedded system designers often face the question of which communications strategy to invest in: one with just a single network protocol capability, or one with multi-protocol capabilities that can serve different market sectors and geographies.

netMOTION is a comprehensive response to these challenges. The dual Cortex®-M4 based SoC architecture is composed of a communication processor subsystem and application processor host-system with built-in motor control features to create a single chip solution for motion and drive applications with network connectivity optimized for design and space.

As a result, the netX 90 is a highly integrated, power-efficient design and a fitting choice for more stringent applications in harsh industrial environments with extended temperatures. It offers a deterministic, low-latency, network-synchronized solution for FOC-based motor control system designs with either halls, encoder or resolver position feedback for 3-phase PMSM and BLDC motors. Both types of motors are widely used in the industry for various kinds of use cases. PMSM solutions are common in industrial applications with precise movements such as servo drives, hydraulics, pneumatics, and more.


Development Kit for netMOTION Prototyping

In Q1 2021, Hilscher will launch a Development Kit for its new netMOTION solution. The development kit, with hardware, software, and tool components, enables the design of a speed controlled closed-loop motor control application profile synchronized over a Real-Time Ethernet industrial communication protocol. netMOTION comes with a generic control application to help developers with first designs.

The available NXHX 90-MC software development board works out-of-the-box with Hilscher's netX Studio CDT, a free Eclipse-based IDE that includes everything needed to configure, develop, and debug embedded applications. It is intended to be used for rapid prototyping and evaluation purposes. On top, Hilscher offers a range of plug-in modules as add-on accessories for the development board.