Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Who would benefit from using the KINGSTAR Machine Automation Platform?

Any company or engineering team that relies on motion control boards or motion controllers today can benefit from using the KingStar motion products. KINGSTAR Soft Motion simply replaces traditional motion control boards with software that runs on an industrial PC. In other words, the motion control software runs on the your average industrial PC yet can perform with the same precision as a dedicated motion control board that costs twice as much. The command interface for KINGSTAR Soft Motion matches most popular motion control

Can an all-software solution really perform comparably with a motion card or EtherCAT hardware device?
Most motion control boards rely on DSP or FPGA technology and the x86 general-purpose processors can now exceed the performance of these motion control boards. For a detailed comparison, read the white paper: Software vs. Hardware Machine Control: Cost and Performance Compared.
Why would I use the framework rather than integrating the components myself?
A primary benefit of the framework is increased quality and reduced cost. The quality is increased because the components can be pre-tested and the cost can be reduced because the components are bundled. The cost of integration is not included in the price of the framework. Further having a framework with pre-integrated components shortens the time to market because the effort to do integration is not required.
What skills are required to successfully build a KINGSTAR-based PC machine controller?
KINGSTAR seeks to eliminate the need to understand real-time programming. It offers an application programming interface (API), which is accessed directly from the Microsoft Windows development environment. The API comprises machine commands that describe the motion that is desired for the industrial machine. Modes of motion include point-to-point positioning; position tracking; jogging linear and circular interpolation; contouring; and electronic gearing.

Product-Specific Questions

What is included in KINGSTAR Fieldbus powered by EtherCAT?
KINGSTAR Fieldbus powered by EtherCAT includes a real-time operating system (RTOS) extension to Microsoft Windows, an EtherCAT master, and an EtherCAT auto-configuration layer. The EtherCAT auto-configuration layer pre-integrates a long list of EtherCAT servos and relies on the OpenCAN over EtherCAT protocol. This package is targeted to companies that would like to build a machine controller but still rely on either their own motion control board or a motion control board available from a third-party supplier.
What is included in KINGSTAR Soft Motion?
KINGSTAR Soft Motion includes an RTOS extension to Microsoft Windows, an EtherCAT master, and EtherCAT auto-configuration layer and a motion control library. Like most hardware-based machine controllers and motion control boards, programming the KINGSTAR motion package is simplified, with two-letter intuitive commands and a full set of software tools for servo turning and analysis.
What is the difference between the EtherCAT and Soft Motion products?
KINGSTAR Soft Motion simply adds the motion control capability to KINGSTAR EtherCAT.
Can I purchase the motion control without the EtherCAT Package?
The motion control is not sold as a stand-alone product. The benefit of the KINGSTAR framework is that the components are all pre-integrated and pre-tested to ensure the highest quality at the lowest cost.
Since KINGSTAR pre-integrates world-class components like EtherCAT masters, do I need to purchase the individual components?
The KINGSTAR products are bundled solutions so you do not need to purchase the individual components but rather purchase the package as a bundle and get all the individual components that are pre-integrated and pre-tested, ensuring the highest quality and the lowest cost.

Technical Questions

What is the protocol for commands in the EtherCAT Package?
Today the KINGSTAR framework supports CANopen over EtherCAT. In the future, the framework could support other protocols like Sercos over EtherCAT, or other industry standards.
Is the motion control API compatible with any well known APIs from motion card vendors?
Like the programming of most hardware-based machine controllers and motion control boards, the programming of KINGSTAR Soft Motion is simplified, and a full set of software tools for Servo turning and analysis.
What are the NIC Cards supported by KINGSTAR Machine Controller?

KINGSTAR packages support all NIC cards that are supported by IntervalZero’s RTX64 RTOS extension. RTX64 supports most NIC cards that are available today. Download the full list of supported NIC cards.