Solutions for Motion Centric Industrial Automation

Positioning and motion tasks in industrial automation such as those in assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, mechanical engineering, laser material processing, inspection systems or in additive manufacturing demand solutions that need to be robust and reliable. Submicrometer accuracy, exact position reproducibility, high dynamics, and throughput are just as essential. This is particularly the case with industry 4.0 where safety and simple networking options play an important role. 

Complete Solutions for High-Throughput and High-Precision Multi-Axis Applications

Those requirements can only be fulfilled when the mechanics, drive technology, and control electronics of the positioning system are perfectly matched to each other.


A solution from a single-source supplier does not just offer the customer sophisticated positioning technology and high-performance control solutions, but also faster start-up and high flexibility when implementing new requirements.

What makes a positioner and motion solution smart? What functions and features must a high-performance control solution offer to make smart motion and positioning possible? PI has identified the following list of basic requirements that make it possible to offer solutions for industrial applications that fulfill the high demands for precision and dynamics irrespective of the number of motion axes.

Functional safety
Communication via fieldbus interfaces
Synchronization of the individual axes in the system
Multidimensional motion profiles
3-DOF compensation of the position error
Yaw compensation for gantry solutions
Suppression of system oscillation
Robust control behavior
Easy integration into the higher-level automation environment

ACS is a worldwide leading developer and manufacturer of modular motion controllers for multi-axis drive systems. The partnership with ACS has put PI into a position to supply customized complete systems for industrial applications with the highest demands on precision and dynamics and also to add its extensive experience in high-end projects for industrial applications intended to combine precision, productivity, and reliability all over the world.

You can find out more about ACS  >> here

High Performance Motion Control Systems

ACS Motion Control offers distributed-architecture motion control systems, completely modular, with components organized over three levels: 


  • The first level is the user interface. This is basically host software and allows for communication with the motion system.

  • The devices on the second level are called motion controllers. The motion controller is responsible for communication with the host software and also takes care of everything related to profile generation, trajectory, macros, diagnostics, and so on. The position commands are sent to the universal drive modules on the third level via an EtherCAT real-time network. In some products, the motion controller, the drives, and the power supplies are integrated into one housing. These products are called control modules.
  • The universal drive modules on the third level include the digital servo processor (DSP). It performs the servo positioning of the axes. The drive modules power and actuate the motors, handle the feedback devices, manage the I/Os, and analyze the sensor signals for closed-loop positioning control.


The ACS motion controllers are also EtherCAT masters, responsible for managing all the network nodes (drives, I/Os, sensors) of the EtherCAT network. The controllers are modular by design, interchangeable, scalable, and communicate with the host PC of the machines via various Ethernet protocols. Universal Control Module (UCM) drives are responsible for the servo control. All current, velocity, and position loops are processed at a frequency of 20 kHz regardless of the numbers of axes, which is a prerequisite for achieving high synchronization and dynamics with minimal errors.

The motion controller systems optimize standstill jitter and settle times by utilizing unique control algorithms, such as ServoBoost™ as well as by input shaping for example, which prevents vibration. Proprietary and patented technology such as NanoPWM™ and the DRBoost™ feature makes it possible to achieve a dynamic range higher than 100,000:1 and as a result to achieve nanometer level of tracking errors while scanning a wafer and standstill jitter at a sub-nanometer level for applications in metrology.

In addition, there is also extensive trigger functionality, e. g., for laser applications or inspection functions. The integrated 3-DOF compensation of positioning errors and yaw compensation for gantry solutions make it possible to realize applications with the highest demands on accuracy. The proprietary ServoBoost™ algorithm identifies disturbances in real time, identifies the root cause and minimizes its effect. It simplifies tuning and achieving optimization of the performance in the case of changing loads, interactions between different axes mounted on the same frame, and robustness overcoming many types of real disturbances.

The result is highly stable and robust control with high positioning accuracy and extremely short settling times.

The V-551 from PI with magnetic direct drive is one of the best positioning stages that we have ever tested!

Ze´ev Kirshenboim, President of ACS Motion Control

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