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Mint language reaches fourth generation

01 October, 1999

Mint language reaches fourth generation

Baldor Electric has released the fourth version of its Mint motion control language, with several extensions designed to make it more flexible and powerful.

Mint was originally developed more than a decade ago by Optimised Control as an easy-to-use programming language encapsulating complex motion control functions in plain English commands. It joined the Baldor portfolio when the US drives company bought Optimised Control in 1997.

The latest 32-bit version of Mint supports the CANbus field bus system allowing many different controllers, I/O modules and other components to be linked in centralised or decentralised architectures.

It also brings together three different programming techniques - Mint, host C and embedded C - under a common API (Application Programming Interface). This makes it possible to program different items of hardware in different languages via a single interface.

"Many customers have a software team that programs in C, and maintenance people who do not," explains Phil Strong, Baldor`s director of motion controls. "With a flick of a switch they can now change from one language to the other."

"You can pick hardware at the right price and use the same software across the board," says Strong. "You can save money by developing a program once and using it on servo drives, vector drives and other platforms."

Baldor is considering setting up a shareware library of Mint programs for different applications.

The company is making Mint the common programming language for all of its products worldwide. The first Baldor hardware product to exploit Mint is the recent MintDrive "intelligent" servo drive which encapsulates the language on a credit-card sized PCB. Future plans include a Mint-based open-loop drive and a version of Mint that will run on a PC.

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