Soloist Drive-Based Single-Axis Motion Controller


Design Features

  • Drive-based motion controller - part of the Soloist Platform
  • Powerful controller operates side-by-side on a motor drive, eliminating the need for additional hardware
  • Multiple single-axis controllers can be controlled by a single PC via Ethernet or USB
  • Delivers productivity and quality through combined motion and process control
  • Executes real-time application code developed in the Soloist Motion Composer Suite
  • Directly programmable through the .NET, C, C++, MATLAB, and LabVIEW libraries
  • Controller data is accessible to SCADA and MES control systems via libraries
  • Advanced motion trajectory features

Power and Flexibility in a Drive-Based Controller

The power of the Soloist drive-based motion controller comes from both its powerful features and its flexibility. We develop our controller technology from the ground up, allowing us to deliver an automation product that is centered around precision. This approach gives our products a new level of performance, especially when compared to typical motor drive solutions. This often results in a new and rewarding experience for those used to working with motor drives from general automation suppliers.

By using the single-axis Soloist controller, enabled by the AeroBasic language, unique single-axis functionality is available. Features such as Aerotech’s Position Synchronized Output (PSO) distance-based process triggering, gearing, advanced data collection, file access, analog and digital I/O control, and standard program flow and mathematical concepts are all integrated with powerful servo control. This can all be executed at up to 20 kHz.

Combined with powerful software tools, the Soloist controller excels in simple testing and R&D applications and is robust enough for production environments.

Powerful Single-Axis Trajectory Generation

At the heart of the controller is the ability to translate commands into the industry’s best trajectory. Our controller includes the Aerotech motion engine — a robust technology that differentiates Aerotech control from other providers. This technology translates what you programmed for the single-axis trajectory into the drive’s servo control loop. Soloist servomotor drives can control DC brush servomotors, AC brushless servomotors, voice coil motors, and stepper motors. Advanced trajectory features include:

  • Point-to-point (PT, PVT)
  • Target position and target velocity
  • Linear and freerun
  • Torque (current) mode operation
  • Digital gearing to a global variable, to an auxiliary encoder input, or to an analog input
  • Cubic spline curve-fitting
  • Velocity profiling
  • Backlash compensation
  • Error compensation
  • Advanced queuing and deferred execution features

Single-Axis Automation

Single-axis drives should do more than simply move a motor. With Soloist drives, a complete controller is included, which allows sensors and feedback devices to come together with servomotor control applications.

A single-axis Soloist motor drive has a controller with direct access to up to 50 I/O points. Using the AeroBasic language’s logic and control, algorithms are easily programmed based on the state of I/O.

Ethernet and RS-232 Support

Soloist drive-hardware includes both ethernet and RS-232 communication ports. These ports allow greater expandability of your automation solution — beyond the I/O available on the drives.


The Ethernet port is configurable for Modbus communications. Class 1, Class 2, and part of Class 3 of the OpenModbus/TCP specifications are supported. While the Soloist always functions as Modbus/TCP slave, it can also act as a Modbus/TCP master when enabled, thus acting as a master and slave at the same time. Several blocks of Modbus registers are used to exchange data between the master and slave devices.

Aerotech includes standard procedures in its help files for integrating both WAGO and AutomationDirect devices over Modbus.


Aerotech offers a Soloist EtherNet/IP™ option that communicates with Aerotech Soloist drives and the various ODVA Common Industrial Protocol (CIP™) objects that are used. The Soloist supports a Generic EtherNet/IP I/O interface by using Class 1 (Implicit Messaging) communications.

EPICS Compatible

Aerotech’s Soloist controller is compatible with EPICS. Motor records are available from Argonne National Lab. Use your existing EPICS interface to control the most advanced motion controller in the industry.

Motion Composer Suite Engineering Software

Aerotech’s Soloist Motion Composer Suite is a feature-rich engineering software package. Simply connect to the controller using the Motion Composer Suite and then use several user-friendly tools to set up the drive’s control loops and controller-specific parameters.

The Soloist Motion Composer Suite includes the Motion Composer IDE — a feature-rich programming environment for developing real-time application code. The Motion Composer IDE allows you to quickly build, debug, load, and run real-time application code on the controller.

Programming Libraries Extend Functionality

When your goal is to deploy a custom user experience or access data from your drive, the Soloist controller enables many paths to success. Standard programming libraries for .NET, C, and C++ are included with the controller. If you are developing MATLAB or LabVIEW applications, support for each product is available.

No matter how you want to approach your precision motion control application, the Soloist controller helps you to succeed.

System Setup with the Soloist Drive-Based Motion Controller

The center of a powerful setup experience is the drive-based controller, which offers several options. As seen in the graphic below, these ‘smart-drives’ allow your design ideas to become your automation solutions. Our drive options enable the controller, fieldbus support, and servomotor control to be set up simultaneously with a single parameter file.

Motion -Control -Platform -Main -Image

Programming Libraries

.NET, C, and C++ Libraries Plus REST Interface

Aerotech’s standard controllers are flexible enough to handle almost any control application. From simple motion to coordinating and synchronizing the motion of multiple axes in your machine, Aerotech automation controllers provide the flexibility and power required for today’s automation challenges, and it is all accessible through powerful programming libraries.

MATLAB® Library and LabVIEW® VIs

Users who program in MATLAB and LabVIEW can benefit from Aerotech’s powerful automation tools. Integrate into your native environment with well-documented libraries.

.NET Library – Fully Functional for Developers

The Soloist .NET library is made accessible to our customers in the same structure and format that we use to develop our own applications. Therefore, developers should never worry that using our API will somehow reduce the capabilities of their own products or developments.

Some of the high-level functionality available in our APIs include:

Functionality Description
Connect Connect to one or several controllers
Configure Configure settings, set/retrieve controller and drive parameters, tune motors and encoders, and load drive firmware
Execute Commands Execute AeroBasic commands in .NET
Program Files Compile AeroBasic programs, get build errors, load and run AeroBasic programs on the controller, and handle the controller tasks that run AeroBasic programs
Communicate Set up and command drive and controller communication ports and protocols
Monitor Status Get status and monitor information coming from the controller
Collect Data Collect data on the controller in real time; exposes functionality used by the Digital Scope

Accessing Data with the Soloist Drive-Based Motion Controller

Accessing data from your controller is simple. The Soloist controller allows fast and easy access to data through both the Soloist Motion Composer Suite and through the APIs.

Through the Motion Composer Suite

More than 30 axis status items are available for each controller axis, and 10 task state items are available for each controller task.

Through the API

These same signals are available for collection and analysis through industry-standard tools using the programming APIs.

Machine Performance with the Soloist Drive-Based Motion Controller

Once set up and ready to go, the system performs. The Soloist controller contains a long list of standard controller capabilities as well as advanced controller capabilities.

These features are all easy to access with the powerful Motion Composer Suite software and controller APIs.

See the datasheet for the the full list of features.



Soloist Drive-Based Motion Controller Specifications

High-speed registration Electronic gearing (with optional auxiliary encoder input) EasyTune and autotuning Backlash compensation Autofocus
Axes Single axis
Programming Tasks 5 tasks available
Position Modes Absolute, incremental, dynamic trajectory correction
Motion Commands The Soloist controller includes the following motion commands:
  • ABORT: Stop any generated trajectory motion on the axis and decelerate the axis to zero velocity
  • AUTOFOCUS: Enable an outer tracking loop (usually used to control vertical distance from a substrate)
  • BLOCKMOTION: Prevents motion. The BLOCKMOTION command is a safety feature and is usually executed in a monitor program or a control task program.
  • DISABLE: Disables an axis
  • ENABLE: Enable an axis
  • FAULTACK: Clear axis faults
  • FREERUN: Move the axis without specifying a target distance
  • HALT: Cause the profiled motion FIFO queue to hold when new moves are loaded
  • HOME: Send the axis to its reference position (home)
  • LINEAR: Move an axis an incremental amount or to an absolute position at a specified speed
  • MOVEABS: Set the point-to-point movement of an axis to an absolute distance
  • MOVEINC: Incrementally set the point-to-point movement of an axis from its position
  • PT: Executes a cubic spline between two adjacent points. Unlike the PVT command, the PT command uses an average velocity to execute motion.
  • PVT: Executes a cubic spline between two adjacent points
  • START: Cause the moves that are in the profiled motion FIFO queue to start executing (motion starts)
  • VELOCITY: Set a velocity profiling mode when blended moves are required
  • WAIT INPOS: When you use the WAIT INPOS command, the program waits for the preceding motion to finish and reach its specified position before it executes the next program line
  • WAIT NOWAIT: When you use the WAIT NOWAIT command, the program does not wait for the preceding motion to finish and reach its specified position before it executes the next program line
  • WAIT MOVEDONE: If you set WAIT MODE to INPOS, the controller determines that the preceding motion has reached its position by using the values specified in the InPositionTime and InPositionDistance parameters. After the position error of the axis is less than the value specified by InPositionDistance, and this is true for an amount of time specified by InPositionTime, the controller considers the axis in position.
Homing Types

Multiple procedures are available in order to establish the home position of an axis

  • Home past limit switch to home marker
  • Home to limit switch and reverse to home marker
  • Home to home marker
  • Home to limit switch
  • Home at current position and set to zero
  • Home at current position and set to absolute position
FIFO queue

In the Soloist, profiled motion can be loaded into a first-in, first-out (FIFO) queue. The controller uses profiled motion FIFO queue when you issue LINEAR motion or PVT motion. Moves loaded in the profiled motion FIFO queue can be halted by using the HALT command. They can be restarted by using the START command.

Note: the HALT command is used to set the profiled motion FIFO queue to hold commands instead of executing them.

HALT and START pairs can be used to synchronize moves with I/O and other non-motion commands.

Acceleration Profiles Acceleration Types
  • S-curve: Trapezoidal acceleration applied resulting in an “s-curve” velocity profile
  • SCURVE = 0: a constant acceleration applied resulting in linear velocity profile
  • SCURVE between 0 and 99: a trapezoidal acceleration applied resulting in an “s-curve” velocity profile
  • SCURVE = 100: a triangular acceleration applied resulting in an “s-curve” velocity profile
Acceleration Modes
  • Time based: axis acceleration takes place over a specified time
  • Rate based: axis acceleration takes place at a specified rate
  • Distance based: axis acceleration takes place over a specified distance
Velocity Profiling Blend multiple coordinated motion commands into one continuous motion path. In this velocity profiling mode, the controller does not decelerate to zero between consecutive coordinated moves. During the move sequence you can change the velocity if necessary. The axes will increase or decrease in speed in a coordinated way such that the programming path is maintained.

Velocity -Profiling
Advanced Features
  • High-speed registration
  • Electronic gearing (with optional auxiliary encoder input)
  • EasyTune and autotuning
  • Backlash compensation
  • Autofocus
  • AeroBasic
  • C++/CLI, C
  • .NET
  • LabVIEW®

Soloist Software License Specifications

Soloist Order Entry Point

Full installation of the Soloist Motion Composer Suite and unlocks certain features on the Soloist drive-based controllers

Pricing is summation of selected products. Maintenance (software update) included in price for one year from date of purchase.

The Soloist Motion Composer Suite is intended for deployment on desktop or industrial PCs

  • Soloist Configuration Manager
  • Soloist Motion Composer IDE
  • Soloist Digital Scope
  • Soloist Console
  • Soloist Firmware Loader
  • Soloist Help
  • Programming Help

The Soloist is not multilingual and cannot be used in applications that require a native-language user interface

License Machine

Contains both the Soloist Motion Composer Suite and options that
enable features on an Soloist Drive-Based Controller

Provides the ability to:

  • Write, compile, execute, debug programs in AeroBasic
  • Full access to .NET, C, and C++ libraries
  • Access full diagnostics, fault, and status information
  • Access and set I/O, registers, and variables
  • Collect, analyze, and save data
  • View files from machine for analysis and record keeping
  • Connect PC to machine through Ethernet TCP/IP or USB
  • Upgrades can be installed (firmware or controller) using loader
Machine Upgrade
  • Use to change configuration options on an existing machine license
  • Requires the current license ID from customer
  • Price is based on the new options added
  • Maintenance extension is a separate line item
Machine Addition Increases the number of licenses associated with an existing key
License Extension
  • Extends the maintenance period on an existing license
  • Can be purchased in yearly increments
Media Only License ID distributed on the specified media

Ordering Options and Details

Dynamic Controls Toolbox

Contains a collection of controller-level algorithms that are designed to improve machine positioning, increase throughput, and reduce cycle times. Parameters supplied in the toolbox are used to configure these algorithms.

Dynamic and Threshold Gain Scheduling

Adjusts the servo-loop gains based on specific inputs. These algorithms can improve position performance and reduce cycle times.

Harmonic Cancellation

Improves performance by reducing the tracking error to sinusoidal reference commands, motor force ripple or other position-dependent disturbances, and cross-axis disturbances such as that created in a linear axis by an unbalanced rotational axis.

Command Shaping

Filters undesired frequencies from the commanded position, velocity, and acceleration.

Enhanced Throughput Module The Enhanced Throughput Module (ETM) can improve machine throughput by measuring base or frame vibration directly and using this information in the servo control algorithm.
Enhanced Tracking Control Enhanced Tracking Control (ETC) improves move-and-settle times in point-to-point positioning and decreases tracking errors that occur during contoured motion. The ETC is a control algorithm that works with a conventional Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) servo loop and increases the ability of the servo mechanism to reject low-frequency disturbances that can cause position errors. Examples of low-frequency disturbances include friction, isolation table movement, and cable management. Use ETC only with stages that have a high encoder resolution.

Ordering Information

Soloist Drive-Based Machine Controller Software Ordering Options

Soloist Soloist Motion Composer Suite

License Options

-Machine Soloist software installation on a single PC
-Machine upgrade Soloist software configuration change of license
-Machine addition Soloist software increase license count for existing key
-License extension Soloist software extend maintenance period of license
-Media only Soloist software distribute current license on media
-Download Installation media provided for download only
-USB Installation media provided on a USB drive
-CD Installation media provided on compact disk
-Default Current version of software/controller
-Legacy Legacy version of software/controller
-Maintenance-X-00 Software/controller maintenance for x year(s) after purchase where X is one through seven. One year is default.

Drive-Based Controller Configuration

Dynamic Controls Toolbox  
-Dynamic Controls Toolbox Aerotech Advanced Controls
Enhanced Throughput Module  
-Enhanced Throughput Module Setup and monitoring screens for ETM modules
Enhanced Tracking Control  
-Enhanced Tracking Control Reduced dynamic following error and settling times
-EtherNet/IP EtherNet/IP class 1 I/O, ASCII command, and register interface objects
Motion Designer  
-Motion Designer Trajectory creation and evaluation software
-LabVIEW Includes LabVIEW 2010 (forward compatible) VI samples
MATLAB Libraries  
-MATLAB MATLAB library for motion, parameters, and data collection

Soloist Controller Connection Cable (Items Ordered Separately)

PC to Ensemble Drive/Controller Cable  
ENET-XOVER-xx Ethernet crossover cable (available in length xx where xx = 9, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, or 150 dm)
USB-AMBM-xx USB A-Male to B-Male cable (available in length xx where xx = 5, 10, 30, 50, or 200 dm)
-MATLAB MATLAB library for motion, parameters and data collection