Digital microstepping drive provides servo-like performance

Paul Boughton
Motion Control Products is launching the DMD556 next-generation digital microstepping drive that is claimed to benefit from unprecedented audio noise reduction and smooth low-speed performance for stepper motors. Although this product is believed to be one of the lowest priced stepper drives currently available, the DMD556 still achieves motor speeds in excess of 3000rpm and servo-like performance.
The DMD556's performance comes from its powerful 32-bit DSP processor and associated control algorithms. These achieve smooth performance at low speeds by minimising fluctuations from the desired motor speed. The DMD556 can also calculate the natural system frequency and apply a damping function to eliminate resonance. This yields higher speed and better motor performance; it also optimises torque and eliminates mid-range instability. Furthermore, by cutting stepper motor heating losses, the driver brings energy-saving benefits, together with reduced maintenance costs.
System set-up is said to be fast and simple due to the DMD556's motor auto-tuning and parameter auto-configuration technology. This allows automatic compensation for the unique characteristics of any motor connected to the drive. The motor can be sized from 1.7 NEMA to 3.4 NEMA due to a wide input voltage coverage and a programmable output current range from 0.5-5.6A. Either two- or four-phase motors can be connected. The drive has a programmable resolution from full step to 102,400 steps per revolution. The DMD556's Multistep function allows this full microstepping resolution to be applied to a standard 200-step motor, so system performance becomes smoother.
Motion Control Products' DMD556 is suitable for applications requiring smooth operation at low speed and performance at high speed. Typical examples include laser cutters, laser markers, high-precision X-Y tables, labelling, packaging and engraving machines, textile equipment, and pick-and-place handling devices. Over-voltage, over-current and phase-error protection is provided as standard.
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