Drives and Controls Magazine
Dual-channel AC motor controller is ‘world’s first’
Published:  10 July, 2017

The US robot technology developer Roboteq has announced what it claims is world’s first dual-channel variable-frequency drive (VFD), capable of driving two AC induction motors simultaneously. Each motor can draw up to 60A at up to 60V, or 3.6kW per channel.

The FIM2360 controller's two channels can be operated independently, or be combined – for example, to set the direction and rotation of a vehicle by co-ordinating motors on either side to provide steering like a tank. The two channels can also be linked to drive a single AC motor up to 120A.

The VFD is aimed at high-power, battery-operated applications such as AGVs (automatic guided vehicles), materials-handling equipment, warehouse robots, personnel carriers, golf cars, electric boats and agricultural robots. When combined with Roboteq's MGS1600 magnetic guide sensor, the VFD can control AGV motion using just two components.

The FIM2360 supports several operating modes, including open-loop Volts/Hertz, fixed slip control, and field-oriented torque and speed modes. It accepts commands from analogue pedals/joysticks, remote control radios, USB ports, or an RS-232 serial interface which can connect it to computers, wireless modems or WiFi adapters.

The controller incorporates a Basic language interpreter capable of executing more than 50,000 instructions per second. This can be used to write scripts for adding custom functions, or to develop automated systems without needing an external PLC or computer.

Roboteq claims that its dual-channel motor controller is the first of its type

There are up to eight analogue, 10 digital and 6 pulse inputs. Four 1A outputs are provided for activating valves, brakes, lights or other items. The controller’s operation can be optimised using nearly 80 configurable parameters, such as programmable acceleration or deceleration, current limits, operating voltage range, use of I/O, and more.

A free PC utility is available for configuring and tuning the motors. Updated operating firmware can be downloaded from Roboteq’s Web site to reprogram the controller in the field.

The FIM2360 is built into a compact 140 x 140 x 25mm enclosure with an aluminium bottom plate for efficient cooling. It is available globally for $595 in single quantities, complete with cable and PC-based configuration software.