Motion Control

Automation Cables

Molex, LLC (Lisle, IL) offers Flamar industrial automation cables for signal and control equipment and servomotors. The cables are available in multiple jacket materials (PVC, WSOR, PUR, TPE). The standard cables range from 26 AWG to 10 AWG for applications in food and beverage, material handling, automotive lines, and other manufacturing operations. The cables are rated for temperature ranges down to -40 °C (-40 °F) and up to 105 °C (221 °F). They are compatible with all standard industrial connectors, including RJ45, the Brad® range of circular connectors (M8, M12, M23) for servomotors, and mPm® DIN valve and Molex Heavy Duty connectors.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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Precision Ball Screws

Thomson Industries (Radford, VA) has introduced miniature metric precision ball screws in three interface styles: flanged, threaded, and rounded. The FSI metric ball screws are flanged, and the RSI style is rounded. Both feature a multi-liner ball return system that provides smooth operation and increased load capacity. The miniature ball screws are available in a range of standardized diameters from Ø6 mm – Ø14 mm. Flexible ball nut mounting configurations and rapid prototyping are options for the ball screws.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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Servo Drives

The MR-J4-TM multi-network servo drives from Mitsubishi Electric Automation (Vernon Hills, IL) are available with Ether Net/IP™ and EtherCAT® interfaces. The drives feature dual 100BASE-TX Ethernet ports in line, tree, and star topologies; One-Touch Auto-Tuning; 2.5 kHz speed frequency response for short settling time; high-resolution 4,194,304 pulse/revolution absolute encoders; and Advanced Vibration Suppression Control II for vibration suppression on both the load and the machine base. The drives also come with add-on instructions for EtherNet/IP networks using ControlLogix® or Compact - Logix® controllers.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motors & Drives

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Precision Robotics and Automation: Hexapods Advance Production Processes

Hexapods — six-legged parallel-kinematic machines — are quickly gaining ground in a broad range of industrial automation applications after “learning” how to directly communicate with PLC or CNC controllers via Fieldbus interfaces. As far as the semiconductor and electronics industry, automobile industry, and precision assembly are concerned, many production processes have become inconceivable without them. Today, the six-axis positioning systems are available with load capacity from 2 kg to 2000 kg, and travel from 10 to hundreds of millimeters while maintaining submicron precision. Hexapods are used for aligning the smallest optical components in the latest silicon photonics production processes, for controlling automated labeling machines, and positioning entire body parts for automotive production. The intrinsic hexapod features contribute to a wealth of new possibilities in robotics.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Motor Controller Provides Custom Electronic Control Solution

A Fortune 200 company needed a turnkey, DC voltage, agency-compliant electronic control solution capable of providing motion control with memory position capabilities and auto run/sense features for a multi-motor application involving four motors. Particularly important to the design criteria was the development of an interactive system of wireless remote control capabilities and other user interface devices, including iPhone and iPad interconnect devices. It was a complicated job, and the company would need to partner with experts who could deliver a time- and cost-effective solution.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motors & Drives

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Process for Forming a High-Temperature Single Crystal Preloader

Non-contacting, acoustic pressure seals and preloader superalloys prevent fluid leakage.Friction has long been a thorny problem for sealing-device designers. Traditional sealing devices rely on a contacting relationship between surfaces and sealing elements to prevent fluid leakage, but in the case of moving elements, this contact produces friction that causes wearing and eventual failure of the sealing system. Friction also consumes energy and produces harmful debris. In a new breakthrough, however, researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have patented an acoustic seal that generates a pressure barrier to prevent fluid leakage from a high-pressure area. Instead of using contacting components as a seal, the patented seal employs acoustic technology to generate pressure waves that control, mitigate, or prevent fluid leakage. The result is a very low-leakage, non-contact seal that eliminates problems associated with friction. In addition, when traditional seals are needed in extremely high-temperature environments, Glenn innovators have developed new processes to enable the fabrication of single-crystal superalloys that can increase the upper limit of thermal seals to greater than 2000 °F.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Fluid Handling

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Fluidic Oscillator Array for Synchronized Oscillating Jet Generation

This technology can be used in aerospace applications, shipbuilding, gas turbines, and commercial spa equipment.NASA’s Langley Research Center develops innovative technologies to control fluid flow in ways that will ultimately result in improved performance and fuel efficiency. Often called fluidic oscillators, sweeping jet actuators, or flip flop oscillators, these flow-control devices work based on the Coanda effect. They can be embedded directly into a control surface (such as a wing or a turbine blade) and generate spatially oscillating bursts (or jets) of fluid to improve flow characteristics by enhancing lift, reducing drag, or enhancing heat transfer. Recent studies show up to a 60% performance enhancement with oscillators. NASA offers two new fluidic oscillator designs that address two key limitations of these oscillators: coupled frequency-amplitude and random oscillations. One oscillator effectively decouples the oscillation frequency from the amplitude. The other design enables synchronization of an entire array. The new oscillators have no moving parts — oscillation, decoupling, and synchronization are achieved entirely via internal flow dynamics.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Fluid Handling

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