National Instruments Simplifies Advanced Motion Control

2 min read

New Software and NI C Series Modules Deliver Easy-to-Use Platform for Simple to Complex Motion Control Applications

Aug. 10, 2009 – National Instruments has announced the new LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module, which simplifies the development of advanced single- and multi-axis motion applications, and new NI C Series modules, which expand the connectivity of the NI CompactRIO programmable automation controller (PAC) platform to hundreds of servo and stepper drives from NI and third-party vendors. These two additions to the NI family of motion products combine the ease of use and I/O capabilities of NI LabVIEW graphical programming with the customisation and synchronisation benefits of field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based CompactRIO hardware to deliver an ideal platform for developing advanced motion applications.

LabVIEW NI SoftMotion offers the convenience of programming motion profiles with a high-level, function block API based on the Motion Control Library defined by PLCopen. It includes function blocks for straight line, arc and contoured move types as well as function blocks for advanced operations such as electronic gearing and camming. The module also features advanced functions for designing custom motion applications including trajectory generation, spline interpolation, position and velocity control and encoder implementation. Because the module is an extension of LabVIEW, engineers and scientists can easily synchronise their motion applications with I/O and measurements in a single development environment.

LabVIEW NI SoftMotion seamlessly integrates with CompactRIO to deliver an ideal solution for advanced motion control applications. Using the new C Series drive interface modules, engineers and scientists can take advantage of a CompactRIO feature that automates FPGA programming to easily integrate FPGA benefits such as reliable, high-speed control and synchronisation into their applications. Additionally, LabVIEW NI SoftMotion works with customised axes for engineers and scientists who want to use third-party hardware.

With direct connectivity to hundreds of servo and stepper drives, the new C Series drive interface modules make it easy to incorporate new or existing motors and drives into motion systems. The NI 9512 module connects to stepper drives and motors, while the NI 9514 and NI 9516 modules feature single- and dual-encoder feedback, respectively, and interface with servo drives and motors. Because motion applications tend to be processing-intensive, the drive interface modules perform onboard processing to free up processing power and increase performance. Additionally, the drive interface modules work with the NI 9144 deterministic Ethernet expansion chassis, which features two Ethernet ports that make it possible to daisy-chain multiple chassis from a CompactRIO, the NI 3100 industrial controller or a real-time PXI controller to create distributed motion applications.

Readers can visit to learn about NI motion control products as well as read case studies and download white papers on how NI technology can be used for motion applications.

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 30,000 different companies worldwide, with no one customer representing more than 3 percent of revenue and no one industry representing more than 15 percent of revenue. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 5,000 employees and direct operations in more than 40 countries. For the past 10 years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

Pricing and Contact Information

LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module
Priced* from £1,399; €1,649
NI 9512 drive interface module for stepper motors
Priced* from £549; €649
NI 9514 drive interface module for servo drives and motors
Priced* £599; €699
NI 9516 drive interface module for servo drives and motors
Priced* from £629; €749
* All prices are subject to change without notice.

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