Motion Control

Motion Controller

ACS Motion Control (Bloomington, MN) released the SPiiPlusCMHV line of EtherCAT master motion controllers that can manage networks with up to 32 axes and thousands of I/Os. The modules control networks with one or two axes of integrated drives that operate from 3-phase 230Vac to 480Vac, or 320Vdc to 670Vdc. The controllers offer currents from 5/10A (continuous/peak) to 20/60A (continuous/ peak). For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55588-312

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Robotic Tool Changer

The QC-160 Robotic Tool Changer from ATI Industrial Automation (Apex, NC) has a high moment capacity in a lightweight design, and features internal lock/unlock sensing and five 3/8 NPT and four ½ NPT pass-through air connections. It mounts directly to most 200-kg robots and enhances the robot’s ability to switch end-effectors automatically. The tool changer handles payloads of up to 600 pounds, and features integrated pneumatic ports and electrical connections. Other features include a patented failsafe locking mechanism to ensure high-moment capacity and strength. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55588-313

Posted in: Products, Robotics

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Positioning Assemblies

UniSlide assemblies from Velmex (Bloomfield, NY) deliver movement in one, two, or three dimensions with linear motion. The systems also can be customized for specific requirements. They are compact, and the design allows for construction of multi-axis systems. They are available in an array of standard manual or motor-driven models and sizes, including linear assemblies, elevating tables, and XY tables. They can be customized with rapid/fine motion, thumbscrew locks, special finishes, way covers, revolution counters, position encoders, or other options. The assemblies are constructed of a hard aluminum alloy and PTFE bearings. Linear UniSlides have a maximum load capacity up to 400 pounds horizontally, and 100 pounds vertically. Straight-line accuracy with precision lead screws is 0.0015" per 10" or better of the screw motion. The elevating tables and XY tables can lift up to 100 pounds. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55588-314

Posted in: Products, Positioning Equipment

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Reactionless Drive Tube Sampling Device and Deployment Method

Springs and a counter-mass create a powerful and stable sampling device. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A sampling device and a deployment method were developed that allow collection of a predefined sample volume from up to a predefined depth, precise sampling site selection, and low impact on the deploying spacecraft. This device is accelerated toward the sampled body, penetrates the surface, closes a door mechanism to retain the sample, and ejects a sampling tube with the sample inside. At the same time the drive tube is accelerated, a sacrificial reaction mass can be accelerated in the opposite direction and released in space to minimize the momentum impact on the spacecraft. The energy required to accelerate both objects is sourced locally, and can be a spring, cold gas, electric, or pyrotechnic. After the sample tube is ejected or extracted from the drive tube, it can be presented for analysis or placed in a sample return capsule.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Motors & Drives

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Developing Ceramic-Like Bulk Metallic Glass Gears

This technology has applications in gears, bearings, and gearboxes for automotive, spacecraft, and robotics. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This invention describes systems and methods for implementing bulk metallic glass-based (BMG) macroscale gears with high wear resistance. This invention creates bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) with selected mechanical properties that are very similar to ceramics, such as high strength and resistance to wear, but without high melting temperatures. Ceramics are high-strength, hard materials that are typically used for their extremely high melting temperatures. Because of their extreme hardness, ceramics are optimal materials for making gears, due to their low wear loss. Unfortunately, ceramics suffer from low fracture toughness (typically <1 MPa·m1/2), and their high melting temperatures prevent them from being cast into net-shaped parts. Ceramic gears, for example, must be ground to a final shape at great expense.

Posted in: Briefs, Ceramics, Metals

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Products of Tomorrow: March 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Aviation, Electronics & Computers, Detectors, Sensors

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Evaluation of Rail Gun Technology for Launch Assist of Air-Breathing Rockets

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida A prototype horizontal electromagnetic rail launcher has been demonstrated along with a corresponding theory. This system builds out of published work in augmented rail guns, but modifies this technology so that the motor can operate for seconds rather than milliseconds, and provide low acceleration (such as might be needed to launch an aircraft) rather than the extreme accelerations seen in the guns. The final system operates off of relatively low voltages (tens of volts), but with substantial currents. A lab bench prototype has been constructed and operated, demonstrating 13 Gs acceleration of a small 230-gram sled.

Posted in: Briefs, Motors & Drives

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