Case Study

High Speed Sorting


Our customer had a machine that sorted and packaged seed packets. They needed to increase the throughput of their machine but were limited by their PLC because the I/O latency was too high. High speed sorting and packaging machines require high speed and deterministic IO. Our customer chose to use our RMP EtherCAT Motion Controller because it improved their sorting speed by a factor of 5.

Joining Technologies Automation
Connecticut, USA
Apr 2017


Motion Controller Features

High Speed and Deterministic I/O Capability – The customer required several IO functions to be performed both quickly and deterministically. Our RMP EtherCAT motion controller includes several features that enabled them to increase their sorting and packing throughput.

Automatic Output Trigger Based on Encoder Position – Using a feature of our controller called User Limits, our customer was able to setup a comparison of the conveyor position and the location of the packet that is monitored in controller firmware. As soon as the seed packet reached the diverter position, the user limit comparison became true and fired the “extend” digital output within 1 EtherCAT sample to extend the appropriate actuator and divert the packet into it’s box.

Quick Retract – Once the diverting actuator becomes extended to divert the packet, the user limit feature was used to quickly retract the actuator by evaluating the state of the “extended” digital input and immediately triggering the “retract” output.

Hardware Selection

RSI assisted with the selection of the IO modules needed for the application including Digital inputs/outputs and Analog inputs/outputs.

Software Development

RSI developed an intuitive touchscreen based user interface. The UI takes care of all the I/O logic and helps the operator observe performance, maintain the system, and analyze I/O index location.

The application we developed logs relevant data to an online server for remote diagnostics and data analytics. The data is analyzed alongside other installed machines to determine if a machine is in need of maintenance. The data is also used to identify operators in need of further training which improves worker efficiency.


“Our finished product impressed our customer enough that upon accepting the machine and before taking it home they sent us more work. This wouldn’t have been possible without some great support from RSI!"
- JT Automation


  • sRMP EtherCAT Motion Controller
  • Ultra high Precision Angular Encoders
  • Servo Motors
  • High Torque Gearheads
  • EtherCAT Servo Drives


  • Extremely reliable control solution for mission critical applications.
  • Custom torque bias control algorithm achieves zero backlash and arc-second system accuracy.
  • Real time OS integration for application development.


See UI/HMI images below:

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Q&A with Customer
RSI ➜ Why did you select RMP EtherCAT Motion Controller for your application?
Customer ➜ We were looking for a PC based control environment that would allow us to focus more on the automation rather than writing all IO and motion controls from scratch. The increased dependability and EtherCAT/P were essential.
RSI ➜ Can you please describe what your machine does?
Customer ➜ Using a through-bore rotary, 2 ball-screw axes, Large-bore pneumatics, and an SPI/Trumpf Cube fiber laser we automatically Locate, swage, and press a multipart assembly. Once pressed a circumferential full penetration weld is made. Once complete the part ejects for an operator to manually load. This is a Class 1 laser system with a Sick Safety controller preventing any access to dangerous functions of the machine and multiple user levels.
RSI ➜ Describe your development experience using RapidCode API motion libraries:
Customer ➜ The initial learning curve was a bit tough as this is a different environment than I am used to and we primarily program in VB.NET as a group. With some assistance from the RSI group, we were able to get the system up and running very well. I now have enough libraries built here that I am confident I could bring another system to a customer with greater confidence in far less time.
RSI ➜ Were there any RMP motion controller feature(s) that stood out to you?
Customer ➜ My primary focus was IO and Motion, both were very stable. I like the ability that within reason it looks like we could jump to different hardware that best suits the customer’s needs. This is a common problem that has previously caused steep learning curves every time.

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