New from Micromech a 6-axis stepper controller and driver

New from Micromech a 6-axis stepper controller and driver

The Trinamic TMCM-610/SG is a six-axis 2-phase stepper motor controller and driver module providing a complete single board motion control solution at low cost. Furthermore using the integrated additional I/Os it even can do complete system control applications.

The motors and switches can be easily connected with screw terminals and the connection of the multi-purpose I/Os can be done via a dual-in-line pin connector. The board comes with the PC based software development environment TMCL-IDE and using predefined TMCL™ (Trinamic Motion Control Language) high level commands like ‘move to position’ or ‘constant rotation’ rapid and fast development of motion control applications is guaranteed.

The TMCM-610/SG can be controlled via the USB or RS-232 interface and communication traffic is kept very low since all time critical operations, e.g. ramp calculation are performed on board. A user TMCL™ programme can be stored in the on board EEPROM for stand-alone operation while the firmware of the module can be updated via the serial interface. With the important stallGuard™ feature it is possible to detect overload and stall of the motor.

The module is up to 1.1A coil current RMS (1.5A peak) and 7V to 34V supply voltage which supports two-phase bipolar motors with 0.3A to 1.1A coil current. The interface is RS232 or USB host interfaces, inputs for reference and stop switches, and has general-purpose analogue and digital I/O’s. Software can be stand-alone or remote controlled operation using Trinamic motion control language and PC-based application development software is included.

The main features include up to 16 times microstepping, memory for 2048 TMCL™ commands, automatic ramp generation in hardware and on the fly alteration of motion parameters (e.g. position, velocity, acceleration). There is the stallGuard™ for sensorless motor stall detection, full step frequencies up to 20kHz, dynamic current control and notably no heatsink is required.

Micromech is the UK and Eire distributor for these amazing products and if you would like to find out more click here or contact Stirling Morley on 01376 333333 or email

‘Affordable Automation’

Delta Tau tales of motion control…Episode 16: PMAC motion controller has the measure of JET

Delta Tau tales of motion control…Episode 16: PMAC motion controller has the measure of JET

Precision motion systems supplied by Delta Tau have played a crucial role in accurately measuring the in-vessel geometry of JET, the Joint European Torus, a tokamak plasma containment device that is being used for leading-edge research into the generation of energy from nuclear fusion.

Sited at Culham, near Oxford and operational since the early 1980s, JET has been upgraded many times. This major upgrade was the installation of a beryllium wall to face the plasma in the containment vessel. This replaces the existing carbon fibre wall and will enhance the capabilities of JET for use with tritium, greatly increasing its usefulness as well as extending its useful life. An essential preliminary to the installation of the new plasma-facing wall is the accurate determination of the geometry of the containment vessel. This is a far from trivial task as the shape of the vessel is constantly changing as a consequence of the extreme forces and high thermal loads generated during JET’s operation.

After a detailed theoretical study the first stage of the vessel measuring process was the installation of 300 photogrammetry targets incorporating 1,500 small circular retroreflective dots. After this, a special camera with tightly controlled optical characteristics and a resolution of one-tenth of a pixel was mounted on the existing remote handling boom. This five-metre long boom is driven by DC brushed servomotors on 18 axes, each of which is controlled using Delta Tau’s PMAC high-precision motion controller. The control system works in conjunction with a graphical operator interface created by the JET team’s software engineers, this provides a full 3D graphical model of the boom and its surrounding environment.

Using the facilities provided by the Delta Tau motion control systems, the boom was manipulated to accurately position the camera at 90 different pre-calculated positions within the containment vessel. From each position, pictures were taken of the targets. The pictures, which incorporate a high degree of redundancy in the target images, were subsequently analysed to produce an accurate map of the vessel’s contours.

By using this advanced technique, and exploiting the inherent flexibility and high positional accuracy offered by the motion control system it has proved possible for the JET engineers to measure the position of each target with an accuracy of the order of 0.01mm.

Micromech Systems is an authorised systems integrator for Delta Tau high level, multi-axis control products, if you wish to find out more about these exciting products then contact Stirling on 01376 333333 or

‘Affordable Automation’

Radiation Positioning Actuators and Tables from Micromech

Radiation Positioning Actuators and Tables from Micromech
Driven by industry demands there have been developed proven RAD hardened positioner modifications for operation in environments where exposure to Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Neutron, or X-Ray radiation exists.

Materials, of all types, located in radiation environments are vulnerable to material degradation therefore positioning equipment in such environments can experience adverse physical eff ects translating into reduced product life.
Radiation can be measured in terms of absorbed dose which is the amount of energy that ionizing radiation imparts to a given mass of matter. The most commonly used unit for absorbed dose is the RAD (Radiation Absorbed Dose), also REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man) and R (Roentgen) are also used.

The primary design objective in such radioactive environments is to employ material modifications and lubrication methods that reduce the physical effects of radiation damage and help promote increased product life.
Typical industries that have use these RAD Hardened Positioners are medical diagnostics, electric power generation, medical imaging, space exploration, naval nuclear, medical treatment, research and alternative energy.

To achieve the necessary specification the positioners are modified to have aluminum parts hard-coat anodized, stainless steel components, evaluation of all non-metallic components, custom cages for ballscrew and linear bearings, removal of ballscrew wipers, removal of linear bearing wipers, radiation approved plating, evaluation of magnetic material, radiation resistant gGrease and finally evaluation of strip-seals.

Radiation robustness is a paramount consideration when selecting materials for use inradiation environments so clearly material selection plays a significant role in determining product safety and product life.

To ensure success of the positioners they are built specifically to customers unique application specifications and as partners together customers are asked to provide radiation environment details and overall application perimeters.

They are then request the radiation type, the expected radiation dose and the required life of the product. In addition we will need to ask for performance and precision requirements of the application. From this data the application engineering team will perform sizing on the application to evaluate the cumulative effects of the specific radiation environment on the material used in the stages.

After thorough analysis of the environmental effects and application specifics the customer will be presented with a comprehensive solution that will satisfy the needs of the radiation application. Call Stirling Morley on 01376 333333 now to discuss your radiation application requirements.

Are your bearings causing you problems?

Are your bearings causing you problems?

  •  Insecure mounting
  •  Need a minimum footprint
  •  Assembly difficulties
  •  Excessive Wear
  •  Misalignment
  •  You want minimal maintenance

We have the answer!

A manufacturer of automated test equipment for low-cost testing of complex printed circuit board assemblies needed the machine to be accurate, flexible, rugged construction and have a long life.

The key feature of the analysing machine is its ability to apply multiple test probe points across a pcb to locate any manufacturing defects such as incorrect, missing, or mis-oriented components and electrical current opens or shorts. The machine’s multiple spring loaded probes are mounted in a custom platen which is accurately positioned by a scissors mechanism to ensure that its hundreds of test points are heavily loaded on the appropriate areas of the pcb.


The challenge for the company was to find bearings that would operate in an oscillatory motion and carry a peak load of 1250 kilo with a minimum bearing life specification of half a million cycles under load. Other bearing selection criteria included corrosion resistance, maintenance-free life, cost, and ease of installation. After an extensive search two of Spyraflo’s unique bearing were selected.

The complete scissors mechanism is held in place by four 19mm diameter Teflon-Bronze, Aluminium Pillow-Block Bearings PB2-750P. In addition four Self-Clinching 9.5mm diameter Teflon-Bronze Bearings FSP375N are securely mounted into the arms of the assembly carrying the extreme load associated with the elbows of the scissors mechanism.

The self-clinching process eliminates risk to the bearing’s ID during installation and ensures a secure, permanent fit that won’t come lose during operation.

These excellent machines equipped with Spyraflo bearings are now being shipped to manufacturing sites in over 40 countries around the world.

Micromech is the UK and Eire distributor for these clever bearings and if you would like to find out more perhaps request a sample then contact Alan Spinks on 01376 333333 or

‘A revolution in Bearings’