10th November 2006

Rotalink launches Red Drive, bringing sophisticated digital drive systems within easy reach of OEMs.

  • Motor, gearbox, encoder and drive package under £100.

10 November, Crewkerne, UK - - - Rotalink has virtually flattened the entry barriers to flexible digital drive systems with the launch of Red Drive. Smaller than a credit card, Red Drive - in conjunction with a dual channel encoder - can control a wide range of DC motors and gearboxes with up to 10A output current, allowing OEMs to create electromechanical positioning systems quickly and economically.

Motor, gearbox, encoder and Red Drive packages cost significantly less than £100 (in quantity). When combined with Rotalink’s simple drag-and-drop flowchart programming methodology that slashes development time, sophisticated control systems are now within easy reach.

Measuring just 46 x 63 x 24mm, Red Drive lets the user control all variables associated with rotational or linear movement, such as speed, acceleration, position, dwell etc. Ten digital I/O connections allow interaction with limit switches, Hall effect sensors, LEDs, buzzers and similar signals – and with other Red Drive controllers to create multi-axis control systems.

No complex programming is required. Windows-based Red Drive software provides an extremely easy to use interface for defining all aspects of the controller. Dragging readily understandable flowchart symbols such as start, accelerate, compare, wait and so on onto the work area allows program structure to be established within minutes. Repetitive sequences can be readily grouped into subroutines and variables provide for simple calculations and loop control.

Step parameters can be set directly from catalogue values, in real world values such as rpm and seconds, or as interactions with I/O signals. Context sensitive tool-tips help the programmer with parameter selection, whilst comprehensive checks and fail-safes built into the software trap many simple errors. Soft start/stop combined with user programmable acceleration sequences simplify the management of high-torque applications.

Over 100 commands, including subroutines, can be stored in the on-board EEPROM enabling complex motion sequences to be programmed. Program transfer through the serial interface to the controller typically takes less than a minute allowing shop floor installation of latest version into final product immediately prior to test and ship.

“Until now, there was simply nothing available at this price and flexibility in this power range anywhere,“ states Melvyn Hazell, Rotalink’s Managing Director. “Red Drive systems fill this gaping void in DC motor control, making this unique and flexible controller the most cost effective way of accessing a dc servo system.”

The launch of Red Drive makes Rotalink a one-stop-shop for complete control systems. Available with most of the company’s DC motors and gearboxes, it allows engineers to develop powerful systems with up to 10Nm of torque that outperform many, more expensive, stepper motors. In addition, its simple programming makes it a compelling design tool, allowing a machine to be exhaustively tested to its limit at the development stage.

Rotalink launches Red Drive