Motion Control

Spherical Motor Eliminates Robot’s Mechanical Drive System

The spherical induction motor eliminates the robot's mechanical drive system.

The SIMbot robot features an elegant motor with just one moving part: the ball. The only other active moving part of the robot is the body itself. A spherical induction motor (SIM) eliminates the mechanical drive system and can move the ball in any direction using only electronic controls. These movements keep SIMbot’s body balanced atop the ball.

Posted in: News, Motors & Drives
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New Steel Enables Better Electric Motors

Jun Cui of Iowa State University’s Ames Laboratory works with a metal spinner, which rapidly solidifies metal into thin ribbons. (Photo by Christopher Gannon)

In order to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as internal-combustion cars, their motors must be smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more cost-effective. A research team is working to develop motors with the stator core (a non-rotating, magnetic part) manufactured with thin layers of a new “electrical steel.”

Posted in: News, Motors & Drives
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Improve Encoder Performance With EtherNet/IP

As industrial automation networks go, EtherNet/IP has more than its share of advantages. It’s fast. It’s flexible. It’s easy to set up. It’s robust. Those advantages, however, come at a price. Users have to invest in infrastructure and devices certified to work with the EtherNet/IP standard.Today, EtherNet/IP is among the most popular industrial networks, and there’s no shortage of compliant devices. Consider motion control applications, for example. There are hundreds of EtherNet/IP actuators, drives, controllers and sensors on the market today.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Motion Control, 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, Automation, Robotics, Optics, Kinematics, Automation, Production, Robotics
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Electro-Hydraulic Motion Controller

Delta Computer Systems (Battle Ground, WA) has announced the RMC200 closed-loop electro-hydraulic motion controller that has the capacity to handle closed-loop control of up to 32 motion axes. The controller can synchronize the motion of multiple axes, enabling the construction of machines with scalable performance and quick production changeovers. It provides built-in support for controlling pressure/ force as well as position/velocity/acceleration. Through use of a programmable feature key, the controller will enable only the number of control loops that a customer’s application needs. Other features include a display screen on the CPU, I/O modules with push-in wire connectors, and fully encased, user-installable modules that “rock-in” to provide power-sequencing capability. The unit’s modular expandability enables it to support expanded control and I/O interfacing compatibility as new modules are developed.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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Grippers

Airpot® Corp. (Norwalk, CT) announced GramForce™ Accurate Force Pneumatic grippers that generate no measurable friction and provide a gentle grip for delicate operations. They operate at pressures from 0.02 MPa to 0.7 MPa, and offer holding pressures as low as 0.25 N (0.056 pounds) and up to 8.6 N (1.9 pounds). With synchronous and counterbalanced parallel design that allows unchanging gripping force in any mounting orientation, the grippers are internally driven by two 5.6-mm-bore pneumatic actuators. The carriage blocks are mounted on a stainless steel rail. They have operating ranges from -20 to 80 °C. The design accommodates finger lengths up to 75 mm. Assembled, the gripper is less than 50 mm high, less than 79 mm long, and 26 mm wide. The grippers are suited for precision assembly equipment, test and measurement devices, robotic end-effectors, small parts handling, and machining operations.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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Hollow Shaft Encoder

Kübler (Charlotte, NC) released the Sendix F5883 Motor-Line optical hollow shaft encoder with a mounting depth of 43 mm. The encoder is based on the Sendix platform, and features Intelligent-Scan Technology . It is insensitive to magnetic fields, offers EMC characteristics, and supports interfaces such as SSI, BiSS, SinCos, RS422, and Push-Pull for connection to frequency converters. The encoder is resistant to installation errors, shock, and vibration. It is available with a through hollow shaft of up to 15 mm, and clamping on the A and B side for all usual geared motor drive shafts. With a tangential cable outlet, the encoder can be installed in tight mounting spaces.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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AC Drive

Danfoss Drives (Milwaukee, WI) introduced the VACON 20 AC drive that features built-in PLC functionality. It is available in all common voltages (110- 600V), and a power range up to 18.5 kW/25 HP. The built-in RS-485 interface offers a serial control interface for the drive. With optional modules, the drive can be connected to almost any communication system including CANOpen, Fieldbus, DeviceNet, and Profibus DP. Features include accessible terminals, built-in DIN rail mounting, and the MCA parameter-copying tool that can clone settings without main power in the drive. Users can build their own control logic in the drive, and utilize unused I/O of the drive for performing other machine-related tasks. In addition, the parameter list can be freely modified, and application-specific parameter sets and default settings can be created.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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Positioning Controllers

maxon motor (Fall River, MA) offers the EPOS4 controller module with detachable pin headers and two different power ratings. With a connector board, the modules can be combined into a ready-to-install solution. The position controllers are suitable for control of brushed DC motors and brushless BLDC motors (EC motors) with Hall sensors and encoders up to 750W continuous power and 1500W peak power. The CANopen positioning motor controllers are available with Ethernet-based interfaces such as EtherCAT, or absolute rotary encoders. Features include Field Oriented Control (FOC) with multiple analog and digital I/O, along with various command options. Start-up and parameterization are performed with the EPOS Studio intuitive graphical user interface and user-friendly, menu-controlled wizards.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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Fan Controller

Orion Fans (Dallas, TX) offers the OA11/22 fan speed control unit that provides precise airflow control. The field-adjustable, dual-channel phase control unit allows the user to control fan speed for single or multiple fan assemblies. The control units are designed for use with any AC fan or fan tray. The 120/220 VAC speed control unit allows users to specify and control fan noise, speed, and air delivery according to specific application requirements. Four user-adjustable speeds (off, low, medium, and high) allow for maximum control and flexibility with minimum setup time. The unit is designed with fan trays and equipment racks in mind, where noise versus airflow needs to be controlled according to immediate needs.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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