New Product Discoveries - Omron's Motion Controller and STMicroelectronics' Dev System

Digi-Key Electronics has always been the go-to for board level electronic components. Increasingly, however, we have started to support a wider breadth of Industrial Automation devices that are considered “finished goods products.” Today I want to introduce you to a couple different products with a focus on Industrial Automation.

The NX series from Omron are a set of PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) four axis motion controllers. In the 90s I used to work for a machine builder and it was quite difficult to generate sophisticated motion control. Problems such as having the ability to follow one axis to another and the ability to implement cam action from one PLC to another were very common. The Omron NX series have these functionalities built into the unit along with EtherCAT (Control Automation Technology). This allows for connectivity between units which means the one four axis control unit can actually control up to eight axes. This finished product is ready for implementation out of the box. Be sure to check out Scott Raeker’s “Omron NX1P2 Advanced Motion Controller” blog for more information on Omron PLCs.

On the other hand, for customers looking to build and develop their own machines, STMicroelectronics has the Nucleo development system. The Nucleo system is set up in such a way that you can stack the boards you want to utilize in your design to focus on what is important to you. In the case of a PLC, STMicroelectronics offers the X-NUCLEO-OUT01A1 Industrial Digital Output Extension Board. This board plugs directly onto the STM32 Nucleo, opening up options for high/low voltage and current IO along with wireless capabilities, essentially creating your own programmable logic controller. In addition, STMicroelectronics has implemented relay ladder logic, which allows your customers to make code changes on what is embedded on the microcontroller. Lindsay Foy has a great write up entitled “Creating Your Own PLC with STMicroelectronics”, about the Nucleo Industrial Digital Output Extension Board.

Specifically focused on the STMicroelectronics Nucleo platform, the article “Creating a Custom Wireless Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)” is available on the Digi-Key website as a guide to developing your own wireless PLC.

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About this author

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Randall Restle, Vice President of Applications Engineering at Digi-Key Electronics is responsible for assessing, designing and directing a team of skilled application engineers, technicians and management personnel to lead Digi-Key’s technical strategy of serving customers in the selection and use of advanced technology products. He joined Digi-Key in 2011 after 35 years in engineering, designing digital and analog circuitry, printed circuit boards and embedded software.  Randall holds BSEE, MS and MBA degrees from the University of Cincinnati. He is also a Senior Member of the IEEE, has been a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Ohio, a Certified Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute and is the inventor on several patents.

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