Single-axis smart drives feature Ethernet Powerlink interface

Paul Boughton
Baldor Electric is launching a new generation of smart drives. Economical and compact for many common single-axis automation requirements, the drives also feature an Ethernet interface that is compatible with Powerlink, the deterministic Ethernet-compatible motion control protocol.
The new programming capability - known as Mint Lite - is now being fitted free of charge on all of Baldor's Microflex e100 and Motiflex e100 single- and three-phase drive ranges. These drives are available in a broad choice of power ratings up to 33.5A, with higher ratings coming soon. The versatile drives may be used to control rotary and linear servo motors, linear motors, closed-loop vector motors, and in V/Hz control modes.
Mint Lite supports a range of basic motion programming requirements including performing relative and absolute moves, S-ramp profiles, jog and homing movements, changing target positions on the fly, registration moves, and reacting to real-time trigger events. The programming facility enables standalone drives to be used for many common automation and machinery tasks such as cutting or feeding to length, indexing axes, simple pick-and-place movements, and machine adjustments such as changing guides or backstops to reconfigure machinery for new batches.
More flexible PLC interfacing is another notable application for the new drives. Every drive manufacturer offers a defined process data exchange interface with PLCs, or a 'drive profile' utility. The ability to program Baldor's drives means that the standard drive profile may be adapted, perhaps to simplify the communications process or perhaps to optimise drive behaviour for a specific application. The drives' TCP/IP-compatible Ethernet interface also makes it simple to link into Ethernet factory networks for changing product recipes, reporting production metrics and similar tasks.
All of Baldor's Microflex e100 and Motiflex e100 drives come with built-in I/O as standard - including fast latch inputs for registration applications - plus Canopen manager capability to support distributed I/O expansion and HMI interfacing. Motiflex e100 drives offer card slots for further local I/O expansion and fieldbus connectivity. The fieldbus modules extend connectivity options to external PLCs, supporting interfaces such as Ethernet/IP, Profinet-IO, Profibus and Devicenet. This configuration versatility allows drives to be configured very cost-effectively to provide single-box drives/controls for automation applications.
If used in a Powerlink system, the local intelligence adds versatile new system building capabilities. Critical events can be acted on directly, thereby eliminating the impact of network and controller scan time latencies; the faster response of critical axes can be translated directly into higher throughput. Another fundamental difference a smart drive can make is by using the local intelligence to offload a centralised Powerlink network controller. For machine builders configuring systems with large numbers of motion axes, this can lead to significant savings, as the Mint Lite programming capability is supplied as standard.
Development and configuration tools for the drives are included in Baldor's development environment, Mint Workbench, which is provided free of charge to users.
For more information, visit

Recent Issues