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STMicrolectronics, Maxon Team Up on Servo Control Kit for Robots

Image: maxon

November 25, 2019      

GENEVA and SACHSEIN, Switzerland – STMicroelectronics and maxon today announced a joint collaboration to help accelerate the design of robotics applications and industrial servo drives. At the sps 2019 trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, the companies will demonstrate a jointly developed servo control kit.

The EVALKIT-ROBOT-1 is a plug-and-play system aimed to help users more easily approach the world of precise positioning and high-end motion in servo drives and robotics, the companies said. A maxon 100-watt BLDC motor with built-on 1024-pulse incremental encoder is included in the kit, showcasing its magnetic design to ensure smoothness and balance for fine control, even at low rotor speeds.

The servo control board supplied with the kit includes ST’s STSPIN32F0A intelligent three-phase motor controller, and a complete inverter stage built with ST power transistors ready to connect to the motor. Motor-control firmware is also included with the kit, letting users start the motor and begin sending commands.

“Our motors are trusted worldwide to deliver high quality, precision, and accuracy,” said Felix Herger, head of business development industrial automation, at maxon motor. “Teaming with ST has created a platform that makes these attributes more easily accessible to a wider variety of product designers.

The kit is now available at the STMicroelectronics website, priced at $129.

“Designing high-end motion controls with accurate positioning capabilities is complex and time-consuming, demanding specialist skills,” said Branimir Ivetic, motion control marketing manager at STMicroelectronics. “Working with maxon, we have now put those skills in a box for our customers. The EVALKIT-ROBOT-1 kit accelerates development of next-generation robotics and automation that delivers advanced capabilities and dexterity with excellent reliability and ease of use.”

Further technical information

ST’s STSPIN32F0A system-in package contains critical circuitry for motor control, including an STM32F031C6 microcontroller and three-phase inverter driver in a compact 7mm x 7mm VFQFPN package. The microcontroller comes loaded with plug-and-play firmware for MODBUS communication and field-oriented control (FOC) with precise positioning capabilities. Power management and current sensing circuitry are also embedded in the device making it more flexible and versatile.

The maxon EC-i 40, 40mm-diameter, 100-Watt brushless (BLDC) motor embeds a maxon ENX 16 EASY 1024-pulse incremental encoder for precision control. Hall sensors for detecting rotor position are included. The motor features an optimized design for high output torque with low cogging torque, which permits smooth motion across the speed range and enhances positioning precision.

The 3-phase BLDC inverter power stage features ST’s STL7DN6LF3 60V, low on-resistance, N-channel MOSFETs, capable of 6A maximum output for driving the motor.