Soloist Stand-Alone Single Axis Motion Controller


Design Features

  • Positioning control for brushless, DC brush-type or stepping motors
  • Available in models up to 150 A peak current
  • Ethernet, USB or RS-232 connectivity
  • Digital current loop
  • Integral shunt resistor network or optional external shunt
  • Optional encoder multiplier (up to x1000)
  • CE approval
  • Linear amplifier (HLe, ML) for low noise, ultra-high-performance applications
  • Runs brushless servo, brush, stepper or voice coil

Aerotech’s Soloist® is a single-axis servo controller that combines a power supply, amplifier and position controller in a single package. The Soloist can control up to five tasks simultaneously, as well as handle variables and manage I/O, making it well-suited for demanding production applications. The Soloist has high-speed position latch inputs and advanced data logging capabilities, making it ideal for laboratory and test instrument applications. The advanced software architecture shortens customer development time while including support for C#, VB.Net, LabVIEW® and MATLAB®, combined with our full IDE and multitasking operating system. Host-mode operation allows you to send commands with your PC via Ethernet or USB for immediate execution, while Ethernet or USB also permit networked Soloists for multi-axis sequenced motion and I/O passing.

The Soloist has three PWM form factors (HPe, CP, MP). The Soloist MP offers the same advanced software as the CP but in a smaller package designed for OEMs that can supply bus power from existing power supplies. The Soloist HPe can be used for larger systems requiring up to 150 A peak current.

The Soloist has three linear-drive form factors (HLe, CL, ML) that are ideal for higher precision applications. The Soloist CL with linear power stage is available for low noise and ultra-high-performance applications. This controller is ideal for high bandwidth requirements and maintains superb linearity and zero crossover distortion. For example, applications that have many motion reversals and that require high position accuracy will benefit from using the Soloist CL. The Soloist HLe provides the same ultra-high linear amplifier performance as the CL, but also includes higher peak and continuous current output along with additional features and options. The Soloist ML provides a very small package linear power stage for high position-accuracy applications.

The IDE software shares a common theme with other Aerotech software products providing the user with a clear, easy-to-use platform. This Windows®-based interface provides powerful diagnostic, development and analysis tools for OEMs and end-users alike.

Allen-Bradley Interface

Combine proven PLC with proven motion control for easier integration, startup and maintenance of medium- and high-end automation projects. The Aerotech EtherNet/IP™ interface enables AB PLCs (MicroLogix, CompactLogix™ or ControlLogix) to be integrated directly with the Soloist. Motion can be directly programmed in the RSLogix 5000 environment or separate programs can be written on the controller and triggered from the AB PLC. Aerotech has two interfaces: ASCII and Register. Choose the PLC, motion controller and interface that best fits your application needs.

Total Solution

Soloist controllers are fully tested and ready to run right out of the box. Aerotech can integrate the Soloist into a complete motion system, removing the burden of parameter setup and axis tuning.

Practical Power

Each series is capable of driving a wide range of motors including brushless, DC servo and microsteppers. Brushless motors are sinusoidally commutated to minimize torque ripple. Using a digital servo loop with feedforward, the Soloist tightly tracks velocity and position trajectories with virtually zero error. On-board autotuning and built-in calculators make servo tuning simple.

Variables, Math and More

With variables and math capability, one program can be used to produce a variety of parts by simply prompting the user for new application data.

Application Versatility

The Soloist has other built-in features such as axis calibration and backlash compensation, so you can maximize your machine’s accuracy and precision. The “user units” feature makes it easy to customize the Soloist to your specific machine, allowing custom units for both linear and rotary applications.

The controller is equipped with dual encoder inputs so you can tackle master-slave applications or achieve higher accuracies with dual-loop control. Precise registration-based moves are also possible because of the fast 0.1 microsecond acknowledge time. The Soloist easily handles complex functions such as output-on-the-fly and velocity profiling.

Integrated Automation Solutions Brochure CA0117B

For complete information on our advanced motion controls, software, drives, and other automation solutions, please see our Integrated Motion and Machine Control Solutions brochure. You can download a pdf or order a hard-copy HERE.


Soloist Applications

The Soloist is used in a variety of high performance motion applications on the production floor and in the R&D lab. Below are a few examples of applications using the Ensemble platform.

Click the titles to view the example application.

Feed to Length

The Feed to Length application feeds material (steel, plastic, paper, and other types) through a system (draw, pinch, or nip roller) where it is processed (marked, cut, printed, and otherwise processed) at fixed distances.

Flying Cutoff

The flying cutoff is a motion control application in which material or product must be cut while in motion. This application cuts a continuously moving strip of material into predetermined lengths by accelerating a die to make a cut and then returning the die to the home position to be ready for the next cutting cycle.

Flying Shear

The flying shear is a motion control application in which material or product must be processed or cut while in motion. The flying shear controller tracks a point on the product by monitoring line speed through the auxiliary encoder input combined with high-speed inputs. Configure the software to accelerate the shear to match the speed and control the cutter or knife while maintaining line velocity and position synchronization for accurate cuts. When the process is complete, the flying shear decelerates to a stop and returns to the home position for the next cycle. The Soloist can be configured to use fixed or variable distances.

Advantages of Servo System

  • Motion follows line speed so that accuracy is maintained even if line speed varies
  • Electronics and software give maximum flexibility, and enable fast changeover to new lengths, speeds, and other process parameters
  • Digital control provides for high throughput and accurate cuts with minimal waste.

In-line Bottle Filler

Use the Soloist for line bottle filling applications, including the following:

  • Fill containers to variable volumes
  • High-speed inputs regulate distance between bottles
  • Synchronize the line speed, trigger fillers to open, and return to home position
  • Use auxiliary encoder inputs to measure line speed, or receive commands from a second Soloist over the Ethernet
  • Optionally, operator can manually control line operation and filling process

Labeling Applications

When placing labels on products, the product travels to the label machine on a conveyor. The conveyor speeds up, slows down, or even stops. Despite this inconsistency, the labeling mechanism must remain synchronized with the product conveyor.

For accurate label placement, use the Soloist as a motion controller because it responds to changes in line speed and quickly initiates corrective motion.

The Soloist synchronizes the label motor speed to the conveyor speed, acting like an electronic gearbox based on the master encoder. To accurately place the label, conveyor motion is initiated at a preset distance between products by photocell input.

Lane Diverter

The Soloist can be used in package sorting applications by using input(s) from a sensor(s) to determine package type and quickly divert the package to its correct destination.

Package Sorter

For package sorter applications, use digital inputs to detect product signals that indicate the manner in which products are to be sorted and routed to outgoing conveyors.

Rotary Index Table

The Soloist can be used as a rotary indexer with a fixed or variable index distance. You can set the Soloist to index in the same direction all the time or set it to determine the shortest path to the target position and traverse that path in the appropriate direction to maximize throughput. The accuracy and resolution of the index are dependent on the feedback transducer. With a software multiplier, the Soloist increases resolution up to 512 times.

Rotary Knife

Use the Soloist™ for rotary knife applications, including the following:

  • Cut variable length pieces
  • High-speed inputs register mode for cutting
  • Synchronize the cutting blade to motion of the line; accelerate out of cut to move pieces forward
  • Use auxiliary encoder inputs to measure line speed, or receive commands from a second Soloist™ over Ethernet
  • Operator can manually control line operation and cutting process


Soloist Specifications

Axes One
Axis Loop Type/Update Rate PID loop with up to 20 kHz servo update rate with feedforward; eight user-configurable digital filters (e.g., notch, low pass)
On-Board Memory Program Storage 2 MB flash memory for user programs, parameters, miscellaneous storage
Program Execution 512 KB RAM for program and 512 KB for data
RAM 2 GB (or greater)
Driver Type Compatibility Brushless (linear or rotary) servo with on-board commutation; DC brush servo; stepper/microstepper (on-board commutation)
Position Feedback 6-channel encoder interface, differential RS-422 signal, sine, cosine and marker; 20 MHz input data rate; optional on-board analog encoder interpolation (of up to 1024-times encoder multiplication)
Position Modes Absolute, incremental, dynamic trajectory correction
Motion Types Independent Motions Point-to-point incremental; target position or velocity; velocity profiles; time based; free run
Coordinated Motions Advanced queuing and deferred execution features for simultaneous command execution
Digitally Geared Motions Gearing with optional auxiliary encoder input
Advanced Features Automatic PID loop gain computation (autotuning)
Contouring Cubic spline curve-fitting; velocity profiling
Error Mapping 1D error mapping; backlash compensation
Acceleration Profiles Linear and jerk limiting parabolic; independent acceleration and deceleration profiles possible
Acceleration Ramp Rate, time or distance based; independent acceleration and deceleration capability
Programmable Multitasking Up to 5 independent tasks
Programming Command Set AeroBasic, LabVIEW®, MATLAB®, VB.Net, C#, C++/CLI, C Library
Interface On-board menu-driven program selection from front panel; program editing and download with Windows® PC through Ethernet or USB to Host PC, or ASCII commands via RS-232, IEEE-488 or Ethernet
Command Execution Modes AUTO Program runs complete upon startup
SINGLE Full debug capability to step, step over, step into individual program lines
IMMEDIATE Commands are executed upon entry
JOG Axes controlled with jog pad on front panel or optional joystick
REMOTE Command execution controlled by remote host through Ethernet, RS-232 or IEEE-488 communications port via ASCII strings
Process Time Command execution up to eight motion lines per 1 ms (from command sent to motion start); read request @ 1 ms; average is 7 µs per program line (e.g., c = a + b)
Input/Output Standard Included with each amplifier axis: CW, CCW and Home limits; sin, cos, marker, Hall effects, ESTOP, encoder fault, brake, motion overtemp; 1 channel of 16-bit A/D per axis (±10 VDC)
Optional I/O Board (can be added to each amplifier axis) Eight opto-inputs with the I/O board option; eight opto-outputs with the I/O board option; sinking and sourcing configurable with parameters; 5-24 VDC can be used with any I/O pins; single axis PSO (each axis with optional I/O; one additional 12-bit (±10 VDC) input and one additional 16-bit (±5 VDC) output; brake relay: 0.5 amp solid-state relay available with option board; secondary TTL RS-422 auxiliary encoder input; position latch with 50 ns position capture latency
Encoder Inputs TTL RS-422 standard (also on optional I/O auxiliary encoder input); optional amplified sine encoder input on primary encoder channel; programmable resolution up to 1024-times the analog encoder resolution; 40 MHz TTL RS-422 square wave primary or auxiliary encoder; 250 kHz amplified sine primary (with optional on-board encoder multiplier)
Absolute Encoders EnDat 2.2; Renishaw RESOLUTE
Additional Interfaces Serial 10/100 Base T Ethernet communication interface for system setup, application networking, embedded programming, immediate commands and Modbus over TCP; USB communication interface for system setup, application networking, Windows® PC control interface; RS-232 port with programmable baud rate, length, parity, stop bits (second RS-232 port optional)
Fieldbus EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP

Minimum PC Requirements

To install and run the Soloist software, you must have Administrative privileges for installation and your PC must have the minimum requirements.

Processor Intel Pentium 4 or faster
RAM 1 GB or more
Operating System 32-bit or 64-bit version of one of the following:
  • Microsoft Windows 10
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 (any Service Pack)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 (any Service Pack)
Other operating systems are not supported.
Graphic Display 1024 × 768 pixels or higher resolution
Hard Disk Space 500 MB available disk space
Microsoft Internet Explorer Internet Explorer 6 or later(1)
Required Peripherals Keyboard, mouse and CD-ROM drive
  1. Internet Explorer is not included as part of the Soloist installation. If it is not installed on your computer, you must manually install it before you continue with the Soloist installation.


Motion Composer

Aerotech’s latest motion controller release (download here) focuses on ease of use for the programmer, shortens development times compared with other tools and provides the flexibility to use the tools or controller most familiar to programmers. A complete Integrated Development environment and a comprehensive .NET motion library provide classes for motion, I/O, status, and diagnostic information. Program in Visual Studio and use the .NET library, or use the Motion Composer (IDE) to develop code with English-style commands or G code. A LabVIEW® VI library is available for NI users, while a complete C library is available for those using VB6, C++/CLI, or C. An EPICS public library is available for building distributed control systems.

Motion Composer Suite

The Motion Composer Suite includes the Motion Composer IDE, Digital Scope, Configuration Manager, Console, Status Utility and Firmware Loader. Optional modules include the Operator’s Interface, Motion Designer, Dynamic Controls Toolbox and Enhanced Throughput Module.

Key Function of Each Module

The Motion Composer is an environment for developing and debugging AeroBasic programs for controllers, and also functions as a simple operator's interface for the developer. The Motion Composer can be used to perform the following tasks:

• Write and debug programs – use breakpoint, step into, step over, colorized programming and standard program control (start, stop, pause, compile, etc.)

• Program flow control – If constructs, Looping constructs, Subroutines, Command basic motion

• Inspect diagnostic information

• Perform basic configuration

Learn more about Motion Composer Suite

Standard Motion Composer Suite Includes:

  • Motion Composer
  • Configuration Manager
  • Digital Scope
  • Console
  • System Diagnostics (Status Utility)
  • Firmware Loader

Optional Motion Composer Modules

Ordering Information

Ordering Example





Ordering Options

SoftwareLicenseController OptionsSystem OptionsMotion Composer (MC) OptionsMaintenance



Soloist Software

Option Description
SOLOIST-MC Soloist: Full installation of Soloist controller and selected software components on a new system. Full part number includes software options listed below. Pricing is summation of selected software products. Maintenance (software update) included in price for one year from date of purchase.

Includes the Integrated Development Environment, Scope, System Diagnostics, and System Maintenance. Soloist Motion Composer is intended for deployment on desktop or industrial PCs. See current operating system specifications on the "Specifications" tab above.

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

Includes the following software options:


Option Description
-MACHINE Provides the ability to:
- Write, compile, execute, debug programs in AeroBasic
- Full access to .NET 2.0 and C Library
- 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 the SYSTEM, CONTROLLER, or MC options on an existing Machine License.
-LICENSE EXTENSION Extends the maintenance period on an existing license. Can be purchased in yearly increments.
-MACHINE MIGRATION Use this license to migrate a MACHINE license prior to 2.53 to 2.53 or later.
-MACHINE DOWNLOAD Use this license to download the software from the website.
-MACHINE ADDITION Use this to increase the number of licenses associated with an existing Key.
-CD ONLY Makes a CD of the associated License ID.

Controller Options

Option Description
-DYNAMIC CONTROLS TOOLBOX Includes Harmonic Cancellation
-ENHANCED THROUGHPUT MODULE Includes setup and monitoring screens of the ETM module. Included in the price of the hardware modules sold separately.
-ENHANCED TRACKING CONTROL Enhanced tracking control for reduced dynamic following error and settling times
-VERSION Previous release of Soloist, where X.XX is the previous release number. For releases prior to 3.00, please consult factory.

System Options

Option Description
-ETHERNET/IP ODVA certified EtherNet/IP™ module provides full integration with Allen Bradley PLC and programmable from RSLogix™. Module has two APIs: ASCII and Register-to-Register.

Motion Composer (MC) Options

Option Description
-MOTION DESIGNER The Motion Designer is an add-on software component that provides the ability to create, import, run, and evaluate motion profiles (trajectories).
-LABVIEW Includes LABVIEW® 2010 VI samples.
-MATLAB Includes MATLAB® library for motion, parameters, and data collection


Option Description
-MAINTENANCE-y-mm First year of maintenance is included with the initial purchase. Additional years can be purchased.