Technical Article

Simple, Cost-Effective I/O: Control Techniques Releases Drive Expansion

April 18, 2024 by Joshua Tidwell

Expanding motor drives with I/O is a cost-effective way of increasing local control without burdening the control system. Control Technique’s new SI-I/O 24 Plus expands I/O right on the drive unit.

Control Techniques, a Nidec brand and company known for an extensive catalog of AC, DC, and servo motors and drives, has released the new SI-I/O 24 Plus, a high-density I/O expansion solution for drive-based machine control systems. The SI-I/O 24 Plus provides machine builders with the opportunity to place the drive closer to the application of motion without the need for expensive automation components such as remote I/O hubs and PLCs, creating a zero cabinet architecture.


Servo drive I/O expansion unit from Control Techniques

The SI-I/O 24 Plus was designed as a cost-effective I/O expansion solution for Control Techniques Digitax HD and the high-performance Unidrive M series servo drives. Image used courtesy of Control Techniques


The SI-I/O 24 Plus

With an obsession with flexible motion control drives designed to meet the needs of their customers, Control Techniques has found a solution to provide their dynamic Digitax HD and high-performance Unidrive series servo drives with a plug-in, high-density, cost-effective I/O expansion. The expansion increases the drive’s I/O with 16x digital inputs (8x of them being high-speed capable), 8x digital outputs, and 1x incremental encoder input. Along with the rest of the industry, Control Techniques has provided integrators and machine builders with a zero cabinet solution for simple drive-based controlled machines to prevent unnecessary and expensive components in simple automated systems, such as HMIs, PLCs, or remote I/O.

For those who are looking to upgrade from Epsilon EP servo drives, the SI-I/O 24 Plus can provide a simple and cost-effective means to upgrade to Control Techniques high-performance Digitax drives. The SI-I/O 24 allows the new drive to be configured without completely re-wiring to the end user's current system or requiring a complete overhaul of electrical components.

Control Techniques also includes a DIN rail mountable HD44 breakout terminal interface board and an HD44 cable to go with the SI-I/O 24 Plus. This allows packaging, material handling, automotive, and many other industries the opportunity to upgrade to a drive with higher productivity and accuracy with minimal downtime.


Complete setup of drive, add-on I/O module and adapters

The SI-I/O 24 Plus includes a high-density, DIN rail-mounted screw terminal to provide a quick and easy connection from the drive to the module. Image used courtesy of Control Techniques


PowerTools Studio Software

To make things even easier, Control Techniques provides The PowerTools Studio Motion Made Easy software that provides end users with free intuitive software for commissioning their drives for motion control. The PowerTools Studio software is a user-friendly, visual software environment that simplifies the motion control configuration of their higher-performance Digitax HD and Unidrive M series servo drives.

To make things even more simple, Control Techniques recommends integrating the PTi210 Module that allows access to the PowerTools Studio interface from the machine. Machine builders can easily program Control Techniques Digitax HD or Unidrive M servo drives. The visual interface allows designers to access parameters through a project tree to configure servo drives with a simple point-and-click, drag-and-drop, or fill-in-the-blank interface. Through the software, machine builders can monitor real-time performance metrics and parameters for ease of maintenance and troubleshooting.