Planning and Control of High-Tech Motion Stage using ROS-Industrial

Alten Mechatronics, in cooperation with Bosch Rexroth and FEI, created a motion planner application for a 5-DOF motion stage in a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM).

The application is a little outside the scope of other application of ROS-Industrial (i.e. robots), but the problems in these high-tech system can benefit hugely from advanced in robotics. In this case motion planning libraries from MoveIt! were implemented to generate collision free paths for the 5-DOF motion stage moving in a cluttered environment (refer to our 20 October 2014 blog post).

Building on earlier simulations, the application was extend to control the physical hardware. For this a communication was set up between ROS and the motion controller of the motion stage: The Bosch Rexroth NYCe 4000 motion controller. A driver for this platform was created in accordance to the simple message protocol, so that no development on the ROS side was needed: The NYCe controller acts as any other robot controller already supported by ROS-Industrial.

The result is application with ROS tooling (MoveIt!, RVIZ, etc.) and a high-tech motion platform able to plan and execute complex motions and increasing the speed of path execution with a maximum factor of 5 compared to current implementation.

More possibilities are open, like optimizing paths or planning constrained paths using the Descartes planner.