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Meridian™ Drives

Meridian Drives

Meridian™: Motion Controller and Brushless Motor Drive in One

Meridian is the combination of a high-performance, all-digital brushless motor drive, a powerful motion controller, and flexible, digital I/O, all in one space-saving package.

And at the price of a typical stand-alone brushless motor drive, Meridian is like getting a powerful motion controller for free with every drive.

Looking for an all-in-one solution?
ClearPath is Teknic’s line of brushless servo motors with a built-in drive and controller. Simple, compact, and lower cost than the sum of its components.

Save even more money

Meridian is only offered to OEM customers, so we don’t use distributors or sales reps. You buy direct from Teknic, cutting out the middlemen, and saving 15 to 35 percent—on top of the savings you get from combining the motion controller and drive. The total savings is surprising…

For example, you can get a high performance motion controller and motor drive, in one integrated unit, powerful enough to drive 2-inch and 3-inch servo motors (or stepper motors), for just $199 per axis. Save even more by combining Meridian with Teknic’s high-performance Hudson™ brushless servo motors, which start at $105, including an optical encoder and connector. You save even more considering that there’s no need to buy an expensive cable to connect the drive and controller.

You can even use Meridian to drive stepper motors in true vector servo mode, giving you the ability to get the closed-loop reliability and robust performance of a servo using low-cost, mass-produced stepper motors.

World class motion performance

Unique, patented motion profiles allow faster and smoother moves. These “tuned” motion profiles are unusual looking, but proven superior to s-curves and jerk-limiting—see the g-Stop™ video below.

Meridian’s advanced servo algorithms use predictive error compensation and fuzzy logic to achieve tight tracking and sub-millisecond settling times. The combination of state-of-the-art motion profiles and excellent tracking accuracy provides unsurpassed motion control performance and quality. For more information on Meridian’s high-performance servo control features, see Teknic’s popular Eclipse family of servo drives (they share the same servo control engine).

Rich set of motion control features in a high-performance engine

With more than 400 functions, Meridian provides extensive motion control capability and flexibility. Its innovative design and dedicated DSP on each axis allows Meridian to score a blazing 4,000+ commands per second throughput—more than enough speed for even the most demanding and large-scale automated machines.

High-speed applications also get a boost from a number of Meridian features designed for fast-moving, high-throughput machines. Meridian can be set up to interrupt the machine’s host CPU upon any number of detected events (for example, the change in state of a sensor, or an axis reaching its target position). You no longer need to use CPU-hogging “spin loops” to constantly poll devices to see if an event has occurred. Meridian will automatically interrupt the host, so you can count on fast, deterministic response and low CPU overhead.

Using Meridian’s dedicated high-speed capture hardware and its built-in Programmable Logic Array, you can accomplish all sorts of high-speed tasks. You can quickly fire outputs in response to detected events (or specified encoder positions), you can capture encoder position on the fly with single count accuracy, and you can respond immediately to user-defined patterns of digital inputs without even involving the CPU.

Accelerated Prototyping System™ (“APS”) and sFoundation™

Meridian has software tools for everyone on the development team, and for all phases of the development cycle—the only motion controller with just the right tools for every situation and skill set.

For those who need to move fast and get newly built axes up and running early in the project, we have the APS Control Panel, a graphical user interface that allows users to easily set up axes, jog and make point-to-point moves on any axis, and collect extensive diagnostic information, all with absolutely no programming required. At last, you won’t need to involve a software engineer just to get your system up and running to begin testing early in the development cycle.

If you need to test subsystems with multiple axes, or run more complex motion sequences that include I/O—tasks that are common later in the project—you can use the APS Script Development Interface (“SDI”). The SDI allows a novice programmer (often a test technician or a mechanical/electrical engineer) to write scripts using drop-down menus of available commands and the same rich set of built-in functions and programming constructs available in Visual Basic®. You can write programs as simple as one line, or as sophisticated as a thousand lines or more. The SDI gives you powerful productivity tools like keyword auto-completion, context-sensitive syntax help, breakpoints, single-stepping, and much more. No more cryptic, two-letter mnemonic codes and archaic development tools.

APS software is a convenient tool for system configuration, operation and troubleshooting.

Finally, when the machine software designers get involved, and start serious application development, Meridian’s sFoundation comes into play. The sFoundation is an extensive library that takes care of a large portion of the foundation code that needs to be created for any machine automation project (e.g., event handlers, thread handlers, error recovery, diagnostics, and many other modules). You no longer have to labor for weeks or months developing code that, although important, nobody will notice. Instead, you can invest your time developing the unique code that will make your machine more innovative and competitive. Meridian’s software tools for all phases of the project cycle allow unprecedented software development productivity.

The APS Script Development Interface provides a simple interface for programming sophisticated motion sequences.

Ease of Performance™

To Teknic, “Ease of Performance” means that your design effort will be easy relative to your performance needs. Applications with low to moderate performance requirements will be quickly and easily accomplished with Meridian’s simpler functions. The most challenging, high-performance applications may not be so trivial to accomplish, but Meridian’s rich feature set and sophisticated functionality will make state-of-the-art performance readily achievable.

Lots of choices

There are 18 different Meridian models to choose from, so you can mix and match to meet your exact needs. Compact, backplane-mounted models are small enough to fit 12 axes of motion control and drive electronics (including heat sinks) into a little more than one quarter of a cubic foot. And if you need lots of power, you’re covered too. Our highest power Meridian gives you 15 kilowatts peak (for only $758 in moderate annual quantities).

Create as small or as big a system as you need

Meridian systems can be scaled up to 48 axes, one axis at a time. This means no more paying for an 8-axis controller when you only need five axes, and no more getting stuck when you need “just one more axis…”; Meridian will grow with your needs. It also gives you the flexibility to make last-minute design changes without fear of being constrained by your control system.

Meridian fits into tight spaces

Teknic’s innovative thermal dissipation technology allows Meridian to pack 150 to 190 watts of peak power into every cubic inch. For example, a board-mountable Meridian, only slightly bigger than a deck of cards (including its heat sink), delivers more than 2,200 watts of peak power!

And using standard Cat-5 cable, Meridian units can be individually distributed around your machine, wherever you have a little bit of space. Often, there is enough space near the motor, so you can eliminate the need for a motor cable by plugging the motor directly into Meridian.

Meridian works with a wide variety of motors

Every Meridian model can run brush and brushless servo motors, stepper motors (in both open-loop mode, and full, vector-driven, closed-loop mode), linear motors, voice coils, and others. With the Meridian family of controller drives, you can run motors all the way from tiny stepper motors to massive brushless servo motors delivering more than 10hp.

Now, get an extra boost from stepper motors

For open-loop stepper motor users, Meridian’s sophisticated current loop control and true RMS torque protection allows significantly higher accelerations and decelerations than possible with standard stepper drives.

Add an encoder to your stepper motors to get even more speed and power. Meridian can run stepper motors as closed-loop servo motors, using vector commutation to get maximum smoothness and performance. And you’ll never lose steps again, or need to do time-consuming software position correction. Robust positioning and more than four times the power is now available from any standard two-phase stepper motor.

Eliminate noise problems

Unlike other products in its price range, Meridian has full electrical isolation between its power electronics and its high-speed logic circuitry. And every Meridian in a multi-axis system has full optical isolation from the rest. These features make electrical noise problems a thing of the past.

Besides eliminating noise problems, another benefit of full isolation is that machine safety certification is easier to obtain, especially if you use Meridian’s ability to drop hazardous bus power while keeping logic power alive.

Powerful and easy-to-use diagnostic tools

Meridian is the only motion control solution on the market that allows you to gather extensive diagnostic information without stopping or interfering with normal machine operation. All Meridian models have two completely independent communication channels—one for normal operation, the other dedicated to giving you real-time diagnostic data (e.g., data on torque usage, tracking accuracy, etc.) without disturbing normal operation whatsoever. This allows you to gather performance data and troubleshoot problems faster and more easily, and to diagnose intermittent problems that only occur during actual operation. Other motion controllers disturb normal operation and make troubleshooting more difficult and sometimes impossible. Dual-channel communication also makes preventative monitoring and remote support easier and more effective.

Open architecture gives you design flexibility: Meridian is compatible with a wide array of complementary hardware and software. No special hardware interface or software drivers are required to use Meridian, so your application will be portable to a broad choice of host CPU hardware and operating systems.

Most popular styles of motors are supported; you’re not limited to Teknic motors. And you can use Meridian’s low-cost customization module to easily make your own Meridian-compatible devices in case you have any special or unique requirements.

Here’s a typical way you might use the Event Strip Charts. Let’s say you have an axis that has been working well, but suddenly develops a large tracking error. A sudden spike in tracking error can be confusing. But a glance at the Event Strip Charts shows that the spike starts shortly after the drive goes into voltage saturation. This points to a power supply problem.

Robust, flexible, and expandable I/O

Meridian offers feature-rich digital I/O that operates from 4 to 28 VDC. Inputs are digitally filtered to prevent false triggering, they can latch on edge transitions to reliably capture fast transients, and they can be set up to automatically interrupt the host when signals change.

The outputs are powerful enough to drive solenoids, brakes, and small motors, and they have active clamping to protect them from the inductive voltage spikes typical with these devices. They are also protected from ESD, short-circuits and other overloads. And the built-in electrical isolation means you don’t have to worry about noise problems related to these high-power inductive loads.
Meridian I/O is expandable in increments of 8-in/8-out (up to 1,800 I/O points per system) for only $6 per I/O point.

Easy, reliable and low-cost wiring

A single, low-cost Cat-5 (Ethernet) cable between Meridians provides: 1) high speed, full-duplex communication, 2) all logic power, and 3) an independent diagnostic communication channel. Simplified wiring means lower cost, easier assembly, and higher reliability.

The IEX-808 component provides 8-in/8-out I/O expansion for only $6 per I/O point.

Factory-direct technical support, free

Because Teknic works exclusively with OEM machine builders, we don’t use distributors and manufacturer’s reps. This not only cuts out middleman cost, it also means your technical support is provided directly by Teknic personnel—technical experts who specialize in products from only one manufacturer rather than fifteen or twenty. Additionally, because Meridian’s diagnostic tools are designed to allow easy remote use, Teknic specialists are only a phone call away, and can directly view and operate your system, if desired.

Designed, Built and Tested in the USA

All Meridian drives are assembled using skilled production technicians right here in Rochester, New York, under the close supervision of the engineers who designed them. You don’t have to worry about the quality issues and uncertain lead times associated with overseas manufacturing.

Unsurpassed warranty protection

Meridian drives are the result of more than twenty years of continuous improvement in design and manufacturing reliability. Because of this, Teknic can confidently offer a three year parts and labor warranty on all Meridian products. In fact, Meridian’s warranty is more than three full years; it’s good for three years after you install it in a machine (up to an additional six months from purchase date). We want to make sure you get warranty protection for three full years of actual usage.

To get volume pricing, full specifications and other downloads, just fill in a quick registration form (less than 30 seconds, we promise).

If you have any questions email Teknic, or call us at (585) 784-7454.

We can also help you decide which models are right for each axis of your machine; we’ll do a free, solid-body simulation based on your specific requirements.

We can also provide a formal price quote for everything you need for a complete system. Contact Teknic now.