Elmo Composer: Servo Drives Tuning Software Overview

Servo drive software provides a means of configuring a motor controller and tuning the servo loops in addition to programming built-in functions. Elmo Composer is compatible with many popular Elmo drives, including SimpllQ and ExtrlQ servo drives.

Each component of the software is designed with a focus on the end-user requirements, with user-centric features that offer you improved performance and refined experience— all of which make a huge difference.

What is servo drive tuning?

Step motors (also known as Stepper motors and stepping motors) rely on even current pulses to turn a motor in defined steps.

Servo motors, on the other hand, run on a continuous current to reach a specified torque, velocity, or position. The current delivered to the motor is determined by a controller, which gets information (torque, velocity, or position) from an encoder.

There are two types of servo motors used in many positioning applications:

  • DC Brush servo motor – makes use of mechanical brushes to commutate a motor
  • Brushless DC motor – a permanent magnet brushless motor that uses external circuitry to commutate electronically

The controller sends the latest commands to the servo driver (amplifier), providing your motor with the precise current required to address any differences between command values and the actual values.

The servo commands are the required gain parameters which are set by a user, depending on various machine loads and operating conditions. The more optimally set these parameters are, the more accurately a servo motor can track the desired position in various motion profiles.

Servo motors work in closed-loop systems and depend on the error feedback produced after comparing the target value and the actual value. Most machine designs have compliance and inertia, which makes it rare for the target value to be achieved within the first command, hence the demand for feedback and correction commands.

Servo drive tuning adjusts the feedback to find out how hard your system is trying to correct an error. Besides, tuning helps ensure motor motion is smooth with little to no noise during and after a run.

Servo tuning is carried out:

  • Manually – using a PID algorithm to generate levels at which commands are sent to the servo drive
  • Auto-tuning – using motion control software like Elmo Composer

Elmo Composer software: Overview and features

Elmo provides a host of digital servo drive solutions. In addition to providing you with excellent performance and functionality, the servo drives are complemented by great software available in a CD-ROM delivered with the drive or downloadable from the Elmo website.

The Elmo Composer software provides you with a powerful, comprehensive environment for setting up servo motors. Further, use the software to auto-tune, configure, optimize parameters, program and troubleshoot various functions.

The Composer is essentially a toolkit fitted with numerous features or tools that help set up your system. This complete software suite helps you:

Make expert tuning simple

The included set of a Wizard and Elmo Studio tools help set up your servo drive in a matter of a few clicks. Advanced users can make use of the included advanced tools for analyses while having full access to system parameters, including;

●      Frequency analysis

●      Identification of motor parameters

●      Bode plots

●      Basic and advanced PID tuning

Monitor your servo drive

Tuning tools provide instant access to drive data by visualising the data on your screen or capturing higher speed data after a trigger event. You can further export the data for useful troubleshooting with Elmo support in case of auto-tuning errors. There is the option of monitoring different data streams, including:

●      Phase current

●      Voltage

●      Inputs and outputs

●      Target, demand, and actual values

Running and testing the motor

Motion Monitor allows testing the drive performance in a wide range of modes. This tool can record and display just about any system value, including:

●      Oscillation

●      Open-loop

Drag-and-drop functionality

A wide range of tools for both expert and novice users make setting up and prototyping your system easy.

Some other handy features include:

●      A networking option for direct communication between multiple servo drives via COM ports

●      Table Editor for editing existing PT and PVT tables

●      Sync Manager for synchronising internal clocks of CANopen network-connected drives

Usage and applications

Usage and applications

Elmo Composer software is used for programming servos used in radio-controlled planes for surface controls like elevation, rudders, or even operating the grippers.

In the pharmaceuticals and food industries, the software is used to maintain strict hygiene standards, while making in-line manufacturing where high repetition must be accurate.

The Verdict

While you don’t have to know how compact servo drives work to use one, the more you understand, the more doors you open for expanded project capabilities. And, Elmo Composer software can help you whether you are an engineer working on industrial systems or hobbyist building robots. Where will the Composer take you?

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