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“Everything you need, nothing more” – Trio Motion Technology

Author : Paige West, Group Editor of DPA

15 January 2021

DPA speaks with Tom Alexander, Head of Business Development and Dave Greensmith, Product Manager of Trio Motion Technology about the expansion of its motion controller range, business during the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of the UK market.

Trio MX servo motors with MC664 128 axis Motion Coordinator and DX4 servo drive
Trio MX servo motors with MC664 128 axis Motion Coordinator and DX4 servo drive

Trio is a specialised provider of high-performance motion control technology, encompassing the systems involved in moving parts of machines, robots or motors in a precise and controlled manner. The main components involved typically include a motion controller, drives and motors, or actuators

Trio has been manufacturing high-quality motion controllers since 1987 and has a comprehensive range that allows economical, flexible and seamless control of one to 128 axes of servo motors, stepper motors, piezo motors and hydraulic systems. 

With offices in Tewkesbury (UK), Pittsburgh (USA), Pune (India) and Shanghai (China), Trio supplies its entire product range worldwide via a network of fully supported distributors. 

In 2017, Trio was acquired by the Estun Group, which is supporting Trio in its growth. Trio has exceeded 15 percent growth year on year since the acquisition. In addition to the primary global markets, a significant proportion of Trio’s business is in China where the company’s motion control capability has enabled Estun to become a major player in the country’s automation market. 

Trio also has a dedicated in-house research & development team that designs controls as solutions for customer applications. 

A plug-and-play motion solution 

Trio has recently expanded on its motion controller range – which the company brands ‘Motion Coordinators’ - with the launch of a servo drive and motor package. 

The launch of the new DX4 servo drive and MX servo motor series expands Trio’s machine solution and now makes it faster and easier for OEMs to utilise the high-performance motion control available from Trio’s range of Motion Coordinators. The DX4 servo drive has plug-and-play compatibility with Trio’s controllers and slice I/O systems, all programmed within a single software, Motion Perfect 5. This increases the speed of application development and commissioning for OEMs in industries including packaging, medical, metal, CNC, robotics and 3C. The DX4 servo drive operates at 200V AC and its power extends from 50W to 3kW. 

But why launch a new product now? 

Trio DX4 servo drives
Trio DX4 servo drives

Well, as Tom Alexander notes, “People have had a lot of time to look and reflect on new ways of doing things over the last few months”, and this is the type of solution for which customers have been asking. 

Businesses have increased their adoption of automation products and solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic – and it doesn’t look like they’re going to slow down! Alexander continues, “People didn’t tend to spend money on automation because they couldn’t afford it. Now, they’re thinking about it because it provides them with some throughput they can guarantee and protect, and it means they can reduce staff exposure.” 

Also, Trio has something unique to offer; good integration and simple ways of getting your motion going. Alexander believes this will make the company more competitive with the big players in the market: “People are always looking for good value and one of the things Trio can guarantee is products of significant value at a good price.” 

“Everything you need, nothing more” 

This is the ethos of design for Trio. The idea is to look at the design of the product and simplify it as much as you can – basically taking out anything that can be added centrally. This maximises functionality and saves cost. When it comes to Trio’s new DX4 servo drive, they’ve removed all functionality which is already included in their motion controllers

Trio’s motion control solutions are scalable and additional functionality can be quickly added when required. Flexslice I/O modules, covering a broad range of control functionality, are easily clicked into place and programmed through Motion Perfect 5. The Motion Perfect 5 software is available free of charge and the competitively priced Motion Coordinators mean that Trio offers the lowest cost-per-axis motion control at 64 axes. 

Featuring on Trio’s new servo drive and motor package, absolute encoders eliminate homing cycles, autotuning is simple and effective, and Safe Torque Off (STO) minimises downtime. Scalable functionality has been designed for cost effectiveness; this means no keypad or complex display, and the OEM only pays for the capabilities they need. 

Trio designs and manufactures its own motors, which means it can optimise the motor speed torque characteristics and therefore the current and voltage characteristics to match the drives – squeezing out the maximum performance. 

Trio EtherCAT Flexslice IO
Trio EtherCAT Flexslice IO

How important is the UK market? 

Firstly, it’s the company’s ‘home’ market which Trio’s engineers, both those established and those new to the organisation, have a great deal of experience of with regard to UK OEMs’ needs and ways of working. 

At the same time, awareness of the Trio brand is in many ways greater in international markets such as the USA, Italy and China. In the case of China, Trio’s prominence was the reason for Estun’s original interest in the motion technology specialist, where its motion controllers are still sold carrying only the Trio logo despite the power of China’s home brand. Now, with Trio’s new capability as a machine solution provider, the brand has a new opportunity with UK OEMs looking for a motion-first machine solution. 

Training 

The current situation regarding the worldwide spread of coronavirus has been a challenge for most. To help its customers during this period, Trio has created a set of videos taken during the last training course held in the UK. 

The 18 videos are designed to provide an overview of the Motion Coordinator product range and to introduce programming using Motion Perfect and Trio's programming language. 

The course is based upon practical worked examples of each topic, to enable the attendees to gain some valuable hands-on experience of using Motion Perfect to develop applications. 

These videos are free to view here: http://www.triomotion.uk/public/support/training.php 


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