Mind the gap: a simpler, faster, better height following solution

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Accurate 2D laser cutting requires precise control over the z-axis. The standoff - the distance between the cutting head and the surface being cut - needs to stay consistent to ensure a good surface finish.
Height following - where this gap doesn’t change, despite the ups and downs of the item being cut - is achieved by using capacitance sensing, using the change in an electric field to determine distance. Until now, this has been complicated to integrate. Existing solutions come with constraints to performance improvements.
ANCA Motion is a specialist in control systems for laser cutting, and is developing a new height following solution, allowing precise control of this stand-off distance with a device that plugs directly into the AMD5x servo drive.
This removes a need for additional hardware in the control cabinet, saving space. Fewer components means a more robust system, and a lower possibility of going into failure mode, damaging workpieces or the laser head, and causing downtime.
“There's no need for that second device in the middle of the chain, you can just plug it straight into the servo drive,” explains Dr Farzad Keynejad, Embedded Software Engineering Team Leader, ANCA Motion
“Then we run our height following algorithms inside that servo drive, which also controls the z-axis NC mode.”
Being directly integrated into the drive control loop means performance advantages. Update rates are 1ms on a typical CNC system. The new height following solution’s update rate is every 250us. The room for error decreases, and the ability to detect and avoid obstacles increases.
Plugging directly into ANCA Motion’s AMD5x high-performance servo, the height following system also offers the benefits of a single-vendor solution: compatibility, speed, ease of service and more.

12 September 2019