Configure Servo Drive to Run with Parker Automation Controller
Richard Blanchette | March 28th, 2018
In this walkthrough, I will show you how to configure the Parker Automation Controller (PAC) machine controller to talk to a device on the EtherCAT network. I will also show some of the troubleshooting you will need to get a third party drive functioning. In this example, I will show how to add a Parker P-drive and then the additional step for a Copley Xenus Plus servo drive.
The first step in the process is to confirm that your servo drive is operational on its own. Most drives will have their own tuning and configuration software. Parker has their Drive Support Tool software for startup and configuration. For more info on how to configure and get started with the P-drive be sure to check out Kevin Gough’s post, here.
To start with a Copley drive, you can watch this video made by Dean Crumlish from Copley Controls: Getting Started with Copley Controls Xenus. Once your drive is configured and you are able to confirm basic motion, we can get powered up and configured. See the image below for how I have my hardware setup.
Once your drives and controller are powered up and the drives are daisy-chained via the EtherCAT port, we can start up the Parker Automation Manager (PAM) software. On startup, you will need to create a new project. In the new project window select "standard project." At this point, your workspace should look similar to the image below:
To add a servo drive as an EtherCAT slave, you will right-click on the EtherCAT_Master tree and select the “add device” option. A new window will pop up and you will have the option to select the vendor and then the device provided by that vendor. For this exercise, we will proceed with configuring a standard P-drive and we will circle back around to this point for the Copley drive later on. Therefore under the “Parker Hannifin” option for the vendor, you will scroll down until you see the option for “PD-xxC - Standard EtherCAT drive.”
Once you add the drive, it is often encouraged to save the name of the axis as something other than what is generically given to it. I called this one “Parker_X.” To do this, you will need to “slow click” the name of the axis and that will allow you to change the name. After that, double-click the axis and apply scaling and any dynamic limits you may want to implement on the controls level of your machine. On this screen, when you are connected to the controller, you should see an online status section showing you are connected to the drive. See below for what the page will look like when the drive is active.
Now that I have shown how easy it is to connect a P-drive to a PAC controller, I will show a case where we will need to hook up a Copley drive to a PAC controller. Parker has pre-installed many devices in the PAM development environment, but let us say that you have a device that Parker would not have the device information for and we will need to add it to the repository.
The first thing you will need to do is locate the EtherCAT Slave Information (ESI) file for your drive. For Copley, you can find all this information on the download firmware and EDS/ESI page. For our situation, we will be using the Copley_XEL file in the zipped folder Copley provides. Once you have extracted that file, you will need to go back into PAM and select the “tools” drop-down menu and select “device repository”. The device repository window should open up and then you will need to select fieldbuses->EtherCAT->Slave. Like shown below:
Select “install” and navigate to where you stored the .XML file for your drive and install it. The data should be now selectable from the “add device” menu. Right-click on EtherCAT_Master tree option under “devices” and select “add devices.” In the menu for vendor, select “Copley Controls.” It may not be immediately viewable, but search until you find “Xenus Plus EtherCAT Drive.” From there, configuration and programming should be identical to the P-drive, or for any other drive added to your project.
Now you would have all of the functionality of the PAC controller plus the benefits or functionality you're looking for from any drive manufacturer with the basic EtherCAT requirements. The PAC has a lot to offer machine automation. For an example of the PAC’s power, check out Matt Edwards' Blog on CAD to Motion For Drilling Applications.
Keep in mind other network functionality you can take advantage of with optional cards are profinet, Ethernet/IP, Ethernet TCP/IP, OPC server, Modbus, and Profibus. If you have any questions about how to integrate a PAC controller into your existing or new machine design, contact Cross Company.
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Richard studied mechanical engineering at Old Dominion University with a focus on intelligent machine design. He has worked with Cross Company since 2014 and has expertise in electro-mechanical motion that is OEM, R&D, and Integrator focused. His day-to-day tasks include building relationships with customers and developing custom and off the shelf multi-axis solutions to fit application needs.