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  • Writer's pictureMatt Prellwitz

Perfect Your Machine Long Before It’s Built Using Motion Designer Software

TC3 Motion Designer simplifies implementation of drive technology from initial motor sizing to commissioning and machine operation

Motion Designer Software

Motor technology is so steeped in mechanical engineering that it can be easy to forget how much impact software can have on the accuracy and performance levels of motion system designs. This extends to automation software, but also to modern motion designer software packages that help specify, design and simulate fully-functional mechanics in machines and other equipment.

Motion designer packages have been around for a long time and are often run in a stand-alone fashion. However, PC-based motion control platforms, such as those offered by Beckhoff Automation, are built on universal software that can fully integrate a motion designer into the entire automation engineering environment, and can also be installed in a stand-alone fashion. In particular, TC3 Motion Designer (TE5910) can be used to properly size servomotors to strike a better balance between motor size and service life, and to optimize overall equipment efficiency (OEE) in the long run.

With TC3 Motion Designer, all necessary motion axis calculations for load, mass, speed, inertia and torque are automated, as are the connected mechanical components or conveyors, crank arms, delta robots and much more. This helps the user select the right servomotor and drive system every time. All of this also assures a much clearer picture into the accuracy and performance of the motors before a single mounting plate is attached. It also makes it much simpler to configure typical mechanical components in complex designs so users can properly analyze counter weights and tensioners, for example.

Rough estimates for simple load cases with motion profiles, such as those based on a half or third rule, or a seven-segment profile, are easy to achieve in just a few mouse clicks. More complex motion control tasks and full kinematic systems, possibly in conjunction with more sophisticated motion profiles such as cam gears according to VDI 2143, are also taken into account. With an additional import tool, more complex motion profiles can be added from measurement results, which are generated in TwinCAT 3 automation software and exported to CSV files. Export functions in motion designer software make it possible to transfer configurations directly to automation software system managers, without the need for repeated inputs. Regeneration calculations are integrated that look at the mechanical considerations that must be made to allow proper accessory selection upfront. Users are notified of incorrectly configured components with event notifications and visual notifications onscreen.

A built-in optimization algorithm leads to straightforward selection of gearboxes and motors. It suggests the optimum combination based on mechanical and cost considerations as defined by the user, taking into account adjustable filters. The connected database provides access to all available gearboxes, motors and servo drives offered by the vendor, including I/O terminals with built-in drive functionality for servomotors. The automatic geometry-matching feature checks compatibility of motors and gear units, preventing the selection of combinations that are not suitable for the application. Finished motion designer projects can be exported to a PDF file with complete bill of materials (BOM) and documentation for all aspects of motors and drives, down to all cables and accessories required to commission a complete system in the field.

Through the combination of these modern mechanical design tools, engineers now have a clearer picture than ever into exactly how their machines and equipment will perform long before the build and install phases begin.

Want to learn more about TC3 Motion Designer and other TwinCAT tools for motion control? Contact your local Beckhoff sales engineer today.


Matt Prellwitz

Matt Prellwitz is the Drive Technology Product Manager for Beckhoff Automation LLC.

A version of this article previously appeared in Control Engineering.


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