Motion Control

New Products: April 2017 Motion Design

Variable Frequency Drives

Through a new partnership, variable frequency drives (VFDs) from American Control Electronics (South Beloit, IL) will now be offered as a product add-on to Brother Gearmotors’ portfolio of sub-fractional AC gearmotors and reducers. OEMs have access to an optimized VFD for the Brother sub-fractional power range instead of purchasing an offthe- shelf VFD that may not be the best fit for the application. For example, a user buying a sub-fractional HP (1/100th to 1/6th HP) gear motor will not have to choose an off-the-shelf VFD rated for 1/4 HP. ACE’s microprocessor-based VFDs control AC motor speed and torque by varying input frequency and voltage.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control
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Differential Measurement System

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products, Inc. (Middletown, CT) has released the KD-5100 differential measurement system, which provides resolution to a nanometer of positional change. Featuring a small package size – only 2 x 2.12 x 0.75 inches thick – the KD-5100 is a good choice for applications where space is a limiting factor. It is manufactured to MIL-H-38534, with MIL-SPEC components used throughout the electronics module wherever possible. The KD-5100 features rugged construction, with a mean time between failures of better than 238,000 hours in a space flight environment and 55,000 hours in a tactical environment.

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Posted in: Products, Products, Data Acquisition, Motion Control, Positioning Equipment
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Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Universal benchmarks can standardize the measurement of robotic manipulation tasks.

The Yale-CMU-Berkeley (YCB) Object and Model Set provides universal benchmarks for labs specializing in robotic manipulation and prosthetics. About two years ago, Aaron Dollar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University, came up with the benchmark idea to bring a level of specificity and universality to manipulation tasks in robotics research. He enlisted the help of two former colleagues in the robotics community, Dr. Siddhartha Srinivasa from Carnegie-Mellon University and Dr. Pieter Abbeel of the University of California, Berkeley.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Kinematics, Research and development, Robotics, Quality standards, Biomechanics
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Mechanisms for Achieving Non-Sinusoidal Waveforms on Stirling Engines

The current state-of-the-art Stirling engines use sinusoidal piston and displacer motion to drive the thermodynamic cycle and produce power. Research performed at NASA Glenn has shown that non-sinusoidal waveforms have the potential to increase Stirling engine power density, and could possibly be used to tailor engine performance to the needs of a specific application. However, the state-of-the-art Stirling engine design uses gas springs or planar springs that are very nearly linear, resulting in a system that resonates at a single frequency. This means that imposing non-sinusoidal waveforms, consisting of multiple frequencies, requires large forces from the drive mechanism (either the alternator or the crank shaft). These large forces increase losses, and increase the size and requirements of the control system. This innovation aims to reduce the external forcing requirements by introducing internal mechanical components that provide the forces necessary to achieve the desired waveforms.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Motion Control, Alternators, Crankshafts, Engine efficiency, Stirling engines
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Improving Stirling Engine Performance Through Optimized Piston and Displacer Motion

Stirling engines typically achieve high efficiency, but lack power density. Low power density prevents them from being used in many applications where internal combustion engines are viable competitors, and increases system costs in applications that require Stirling engines. This limits their operating envelope in both terrestrial and space applications. Sinusoidal piston and displacer motion is one of the causes of low power density. Previous work proposed solving this problem by replacing sinusoidal waveforms with waveforms that more closely approximate those of the ideal Stirling cycle. However, when working with real engines, imposing ideal waveforms has been shown to reduce power density and efficiency due to increased pressure drop through the regenerator and heat exchangers.

Posted in: Briefs, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Motors & Drives, Engine efficiency, Pistons, Stirling engines
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Linear Motor

The LinX® linear motor from Anca Motion USA (Wixom, MI) delivers a continuous force from 333 N to 665 N, and peak force from 2136 N to 4272 N. It features a cylindrical design with a thermal barrier that helps separate and remove heat from the motor. The motor’s zero net attractive forces eliminate the downforce associated with flatbed motors. Its cylindrical profile makes the system compact, effectively fitting into a space similar to that required by a regular ball-screw and circular motor. The motors are fully sealed and rated to IP67 or optional IP69K, making them well suited for machine tool and food processing systems. The motor can be enabled with an algorithm that increases axis stiffness and helps to minimize axis deflection with greater accuracy.

Posted in: Products, Motors & Drives
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Optical Encoders

MICROMO (Clearwater, FL) announced the FAULHABER high-precision IER3 and IERS3 optical encoders. Both encoders deliver two-channel quadrature signals and an additional index signal. They can position a FAULHABER micro DC motor or brushless DC servomotor with a typical accuracy of 0.1° to 0.3°. The encoders combine the LED, photodetectors, analysis unit, and interpolation levels on one chip. They lengthen motors by 15.5 to 18.5 mm. Both encoders are also available with line drivers that generate complementary output signals and make data transmission resistant to electrical interference, especially in encoders with long connecting cables. The IER3 encoder has a resolution of up to 10,000 lines per revolution, and achieves an angular resolution of 0.009° with the evaluation of 40,000 edges per revolution. The IERS3-500 provides resolutions of 250 and 500 lines per revolution.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers, Motors & Drives, Optical Components, Optics
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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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Servo Drives

Advanced Motion Controls® (Camarillo, CA) announced AxCent™ servo drives for centralized motion control schemes. The Models AB15A100, AB25A100, and AB20A200 are panel-mount servo drives that operate with brushless permanent magnet motors as well as brushed motors and inductive loads. The drives are controlled with ±10V analog command signals, and use trapezoidal commutation when driving brushless motors. The AB15A100 outputs 15A peak and 7.5A continuous with up to an 80VDC bus; the AB25A100 outputs 25A peak and 12.5A continuous with up to an 80VDC bus; and the AB20A200 outputs 20A peak and 10A continuous with up to a 175VDC bus.

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