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How-to Guide: Machine Configuration and Control with MachineApps

Francois Giguere Head of Automation / Jan 31st, 2019

 

This How-to Guide covers the initial power-up process of a Vention automated machine. In particular, this guide focuses on configuring the MachineMotion controller and conducting basic motion tests needed to validate that it’s ready to operate. This will be done using Vention's easy-to-use MachineApps.

Background

This How-to Guide is intended for users that have assembled a Vention machine and are ready to switch it on. Before you begin, make sure all the motors and sensors on your Vention machine are properly installed. We recommend reading the How-to Guide: Linear Axis Setup first.

Vention MachineApps

Vention provides easy-to-use MachineApps on every controller. MachineApps are compact graphical programs that allow users to control and configure Vention machines. Access them directly from a web browser—no installation necessary.

To access MachineApps:

  1. Connect your MachineMotion controller to a 90–120 V alternating current (AC) power source.
  2. Flip the main power switch to power-on the unit.
  3. Connect the MachineMotion USB cable to your computer.
  4. Open a web browser (we recommend Google Chrome for guaranteed compatibility).
  5. Wait 90 seconds.
  6. Go to http://192.168.7.2:8888.

You should see a ControlCenter page like the one below.

Figure 1: ControlCenter

ControlCenter

ControlCenter provides network configuration services and access to all the MachineApps that are available on your controller.

To launch a MachineApp, select the corresponding Run button (as shown in Figure 2).

Figure 2: Select "Run" in ControlCenter to launch an app

Network configuration settings are listed under “Configure”, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Network configuration in ControlCenter

Because you’re using the USB port connection, there’s no need to customize your network configuration. For further details on network configuration, refer to our How-to Guide: MachineMotion Network Configuration.

Linear Axis Configuration

Whether your machine has one or many linear axes, we recommend starting to configure your machine configuration with the 1-axis MachineApp. The best practice is to set the first axis independently and then configure more axes afterwards. In the case of the 1-axis MachineApp, doing so will configure the actuator that is connected to the DRIVE1 output of your MachineMotion controller.

STEP 1: Launch the 1-Axis Control App

Start by launching the 1-Axis MachineApp by browsing to http://192.168.7.2:8888/_apps/_app1Axis.html.

Every MachineApps in the ControlCenter controls a specific DRIVE port on the MachineMotion Controller:

  • 1-Axis Linear Motion
    • Axis 1 controls the actuator connected to DRIVE 1

  • 2-Axis Linear Motion
    • Axis 1 controls the actuator connected to DRIVE 1
    • Axis 2 controls the actuator connected to DRIVE 2

  • 3-Axis Linear Motion
    • Axis 1 controls the actuator connected to DRIVE 1
    • Axis 2 controls the actuator connected to DRIVE 2
    • Axis 3 controls the actuator connected to DRIVE 3

Figure 4: 1-Axis Linear Motion App

You should see a 1-Axis Linear Motion page like the one shown in Figure 4.

STEP 2: Configure the Linear Axis

This section covers the Axis 1 configuration settings (as shown in Figure 5).

Figure 5: Axis Configuration Settings

These settings ensure that the motion commands you send to the controller are accurately translated into physical motion. Without proper configuration, your command to move the carriage by 5 mm, for instance, could result in a movement of 10 mm, an undesired

Note: You only have to set up the configuration once. All the data entered in MachineApps is saved, so any settings you input now will show up again next time you launch the app."

Micro-Stepping

Stepper motors "step" when rotating, and this movement sometimes creates vibrations. Micro-stepping is a technique that improves their positional accuracy and controls vibrations.

The default micro-stepping value is 8. If a different value is required, additional care must be taken to properly configure the system. Please contact Vention’s technical support team for more details.

Quick-start setting: 8.

Mechanical Gain

The mechanical gain parameter depends on which linear axis system you’re using, see Table 1. It tells the system how much linear travel occurs for a single motor shaft rotation, and is given in millimeters per turn.

Actuator Part Number Description Mechanical Gain (mm / turn)
MO-LM-005-0004 Legacy Timing Belt Actuator 200
MO-LM-016-xxxx Timing Belt Actuator 150
MO-BS-003-xxxx Legacy Ballscrew Actuator 5
MO-LM-003-xxxx Ballscrew Actuator()) 10

Quick-start setting: 200 mm/turn if using a timing-belt actuator; 5 mm/turn for a ballscrew actuator.

Reverse Rotation

The reverse rotation setting changes the direction of motion. For details, see the Direction Reversal section in our How-to Guide: Linear Axis Setup.

Quick-start setting: Follow the steps in our How-to Guide: Linear Axis Setup . Leave Reverse Rotation unselected in the axis 1 configuration settings, unless you decide to select it after reading the Direction Reversal section.

Linear Axis Basic Control

Home and Stop

The Home and Stop buttons are found at the bottom of the 1-Axis Linear Motion configuration page (from Figure 4).

Stop

Select Stop at any time to immediately halt all movement on all axes. After pressing stop, you must always perform a homing operation to re-calibrate the system’s home location.

Quick-start instructions: If the carriage does not stop when it is close to its home sensor, press Stop and verify your setup. Refer to the How-to Guide: Linear Axis Setup for details.

Home (Homing)

To enable motion control, you must set a reference position. This reference position is also called “home” or “zero”—which is why homing refers to repositioning an axis relative to its reference position.

Quick-start instructions: Select Home to initiate the homing operation. The carriage will move towards its homing sensor until it is positioned at the home location.

Important: Always perform the homing operation every time you start up your machine.

Figure 6: Home and Stop Buttons

Absolute Motion

The absolute motion section, as shown in Figure 7, sends motion commands to the controller. It sets the position to which the carriage will move, as defined by the distance from the home location in millimeters. For example, entering “200” will result in the carriage moving 200 mm away from the home location. If the carriage is already positioned 200 mm away from the home location on the axis, it will remain in place, motionless.

Tip: Use the other input boxes to save common positions. Edit the tags on the left for ease of reference.


Figure 7: Absolute Motion Menu (editable tags at left, boxed in orange)

Relative Motion

The relative motion section sends motion commands to the controller, like absolute motion commands. Unlike absolute motion commands, however, these position commands are relative to the current position of the carriage. For example, entering “200” will result in the carriage moving 200 mm away from its current location. If the carriage is already positioned at 200 mm on the axis, it will move 200 mm away in the positive direction, for a final absolute position of 400 mm. Entering a negative value, like “-200”, will move the carriage in the negative direction for a final absolute position of 0 mm.

Figure 8: Relative Motion Menu

Configuring a Multi-Axis System

If your system contains more than one axis, go to the ControlCenter and run the 2-Axis Linear Motion App. Remember to configure your first axis before beginning to configure your second axis. At this stage, you can also experiment with movements that combine both axes.

Aside from that, all the setup steps we’ve covered so far are the same for the second axis and third axis.

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