Controllers Get to Atomic Level

July 31, 2008
Searching to Select and Integrate the Right Motion Control Solution

Designed to investigate the atomic structure of new materials, understand the kinetics of chemical reactions and peer into living organisms to understand their biological process, Australia’s Neutron Beam Instrumentation Project (NBIP) is located at the new $350 million Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) nuclear reactor, located at Lucas Heights in Sydney.

Dr. Frank Darmann, electrical project engineer for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, undertook a search to select and integrate the right motion control solution to maneuver the eight non-invasive neutron scattering instruments that comprise the NBIP. Each of the neutron-scattering instruments has 24 to 32 axes, with each axis of motion encoded with precision absolute encoders. Additionally, each is designed to run around the clock throughout the year, are sized at about 137.76 ft2, weigh approximately 1,540 lb and move around on granite floors.

In the end, Darmann selected Motion Solutions Australia to provide the necessary components, which include a combination of 42 Galil DMC-2280 and DMC-2183 eight-axis Ethernet motion controllers, as well as more than 200 stepper drives and amplifiers.