Special Coverage

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water

Rotary Encoder

Gurley Precision Instruments (Troy, NY) offers the A08/R108 series rotary encoder that provides both incremental (to 4,096 counts) and absolute (up to 12 bits) position information in an 8-mm-diameter package. Available in both a shaft and blind hollow-shaft configuration, the encoder offers several mounting and interface options. Optional temperature range is available from -40 to 85 ºC, and a radial/axial load of 3N. Output options include an RS-422 differential line driver for incremental applications or SSI with gray-code or natural binary where absolute feedback is required.

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Linear Actuator

Ultra Motion LLC (Cutchogue, NY) has introduced the Series A linear actuator that can be configured for stroke lengths up to 16", for forces up to 500 pounds, or for speeds up to 20" per second. Add-on equipment includes brakes, position feedback devices, and mounting hardware. Applications include those requiring minimal weight and size, including satellites, robotics, factory automation, and power-assisted prosthetic devices.

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Magnetic Particle Brakes

Fan-cooled magnetic particle brakes from Placid Industries (Lake Placid, NY) incorporate an electrically powered fan fastened directly to the brake. The fan cools the brake by blowing ambient air over the outside and into the vent holes. The moving air lowers the temperature of the brake and increases heat dissipation ratings. A threaded port accepts compressed air to increase heat dissipation up to 1,900 Watts. Rated brake torque is from 4 to 300 lb-feet. Wide tension ranges are possible since output torque can be varied from 3 to 100% of rated torque. Controlling input DC current varies load torque, and torque is independent of slip RPM. The brakes can be used to produce adjustable soft stops.

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Pan-Tilt Units

FLIR Motion Control Systems (Burlingame, CA) offers the E-Series family of computer-controlled pan-tilt units that incorporate an integrated 32-bit microcontroller for motion control fidelity, including lower jitter, built-in Ethernet interface for IP and Web control, and expandable payload I/O. The units also include integrated digital encoders, providing user-configurable ranges of motion. The PTUD48 offers payloads to 15 pounds with an integrated slip-ring; the PTUD100 offers payloads to 25 pounds for fixed and mobile applications; and the PTU-D300 offers heavy-duty payloads to 70 pounds.

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Servo Drive

Technosoft (Bevaix, Switzerland) has introduced the ISD860 intelligent drive for motion applications that require embedded intelligence and high servo control. Based on MotionChip™ DSP technology, the device is able to drive 12A continuous and 31A peak currents at a supply voltage ranging from 12 to 72 VDC, with a PWM of 20 kHz frequency. The unit embeds the motion controller, drive, and PLC functionality in one unit. It controls brushless, DC, or linear motors up to 860W continuous/2.2kW peak voltage. It works in single-axis, multiaxis, or standalone configurations, and uses EasyMotion Studio and Technosoft Motion Language for drive setup, tuning, and motion programming, which can be done from a CAN master via PC or PLC, or directly at drive level through its built-in motion controller.

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Electro-Hydraulic Motion Controller for Earthquake Simulation

How do you test the behavior of different soil structures in an earthquake? Obviously, large earthquakes don’t happen often, and they certainly don’t happen on cue. The solution, of course, is to model earthquakes in a laboratory environment. And that’s exactly what is being done by the Center for Geotechnical Modeling at the University of California, Davis. Since it’s not economical to simulate the forces of an earthquake on fullsize soil structures such as one would find beneath a real bridge or large building, physical models of much smaller size are used. In Figure 1, for example, is a model of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit transbay tube that was recently tested in Davis1.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Computer simulation, Weather and climate, Electrohydraulics
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Uncooled Thermal Camera

FLIR Systems, Portland, OR, has introduced the Tau 640 high-resolution, uncooled, longwave camera core with 17-micron pixel size and Digital Detail Enhancement image processing algorithms. The camera features multiple resolution options and configurations, as well as several lens options. Camera Controller software provides user control over most camera functions.

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Color Sensors

The Series 4055 color sensors from Contrinex, Old Saybrook, CT, are used for color control and color sorting processes. The sensors feature three teachable color channels with independent 200 mA outputs, which allow for three color tones to be programmed. The teach process offers a choice of five different tolerance levels. Color detection within the operating range of 30 to 40 mm is independent of the target distance. The sensors feature switching frequency to 4 kHz, adjustable pulse delay and stretching, NPN and PNP versions, and 10-bit precision of R, G, and B signals.

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Machine Vision Software

3D-LocateTM machine vision software from Cognex Corp., Natick, MA, provides real-time 3D position information for machine vision systems. The software uses multiple sets of features found by a geometric pattern matching tool, PatMax®, to determine an object’s 3D orientation.

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Bandpass Filters

Deposition Sciences, Santa Rosa, CA, offers long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) bandpass filters with operation at temperatures between ambient and 10 K. A variety of substrates is available, including germanium, silicon, zinc sulfide, zinc selenide, quartz, sapphire, and polymers. Sizes from a few millimeters to more than 2” in diameter can be supplied.

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