Yaskawa Adds New Compass Software to IEC Environment for Motion Control

June 23, 2020 by Leah Scully

For processes in additive manufacturing, robotics, and machine tool programming, Compass enables an intuitive and customizable HMI for all the end user’s needs.

In the world of automated machining, processes like 3D printing, CNC cutting, shape tracing, plasma cutting require programmable motion control components that can be monitored by a machine technician to build distinct features and parts. In modern manufacturing, most automated additive and subtractive methods are shaped by programmable data sent by a PC or a PLC to a motion controller and facilitates the synchronization of machine features and dynamic parts. High-level languages like G-code are often used to dictate the paths and events performed by CNC machines and other automated equipment used to build intricately engineered parts.  

As part of its motion control suite, Yaskawa now adds new Compass software for customizable human-machine interfaces (GUI) and graphical user interfaces (GUI) on automated machines. Graphical interface plugins from the company’s new “CNC navigator” can be used on motion solutions employing MPiec machine controllers and MotionWorks IEC programming environment.


Real-life usage of the new Compass software. Image courtesy of Yaskawa.


The software allows machine designers to create customized HMI for end-users employing automated equipment in their solutions to machine parts or define object paths in applications like robotics. The software allows end-users to view and alter their machine’s G-code so they can manage system performance on the fly.

Compass’ machine configuration features also lets users enter their machine’s parameters or import them as XML files from their motion controller. The built-in machine configuration step in Compass allows technicians to input cartesian coordinates, extruder and bed speed profiles, and advanced temperature control. Overall, HMIs programmed with Compass are built to be easy to program, configure, and use.


How is Compass Programmed and How Customizable is it for End Users?

The software comes with a suite of plugins for advanced machine control. Paired with the MPiec machine controllers, included Compass plugins can be used for tool changes, stepper control, tangential control, extruder pressure control, and many other advanced features.

For more specialized machine requirements, Compass modules written or edited in C# can be designed and customized to achieve necessary machine control. Additionally, Compass imports xml files from the machine’s controller to detect programmable parts during machine configuration.

Compass interface modules are programmed in C#, which makes them easier to design and program for advanced machine programmers. With Compass, HMIs can be customized further, since new modules programmed in C# can easily be imported into the Compass HMI.

Compass also allows technicians to alter the G-code so they can send path instructions to their motion controller, extruders, and other configurable machine parts. G-code display on a Compass-powered HMI also permits troubleshooting by the technician.


Compass Compatible with MotionWorks and Other Platforms 

As the newest addition to its motion control and kinematics solutions environment, Compass works with the company’s MPiec motion controllers and MotionWorks IEC programming environment to enable modular control of any machine parts. The environment is built-in Ladder Logic used typically for digital sensory data, Structured Text for algorithms, and Function Block Diagrams for machine control.