Motion Control

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, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Advantages of Servo Motor and Direct Drive Technology

For many years, stepper motors have been the most popular type of electric motor designed into instrumentation for a wide variety of reasons. Stepper motors have become increasingly commoditized, and can be sourced easily. In addition, the growing “maker movement” has simultaneously made them more popular and reduced their cost. Unlike servo motors, stepper motors don’t require tuning to optimize their performance. What’s more, scaling and motion commands are typically quick and simple to execute using stepper motors. Servo motors often require a bit more expertise in executing complicated (torque, velocity, or position) loop closures. Finally, micro-stepping allows most modern drive electronics to step or increment a stepper motor to a resolution of 50,800 steps per revolution or higher.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Motors & Drives

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An Inside Look at Electromechanical Power-Off Braking Options

Making the right choice between spring set and permanent magnet brakes can impact safety, durability, maintenance, and performance. Power-off brakes are designed to hold or stop motion in the absence of power. Adding an electrical current releases the brake, freeing the load for motion. Given the safety ramifications of keeping a system locked in place until it is powered up, motion control system designers tend to specify power-off brakes more often than power-on brakes. There are, however, two different failsafe brake technologies: one uses compression springs to hold its load in place, and the other uses permanent magnets. Each has specific strengths and weaknesses, and knowing the difference can impact safety, durability, cost, and performance.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control

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A Soft Control Architecture: Breakthrough in Hard Real-Time Design for Complex Systems

How to cut costs, improve quality, and differentiate your products with a software-based approach to machine automation OEMs have long relied on expensive, cumbersome hardware like FPGAs and DSPs for precision motion control. But new advances in software-based machine automation are changing that paradigm, with huge potential benefits.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Semiconductors & ICs, Software

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5 Real-Time, Ethernet-Based Fieldbuses Compared

Ethernet-based fieldbus standards have changed the game for machine builders. But with so many protocols competing to be most valuable and viable, how should you decide which to use?

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Software

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Software vs Hardware Machine Control: Cost and Performance Compared

OEMs traditionally used DSP-based hardware, plugged into a PC, for motion control. But new software-based solutions have challenged this approach, claiming equal or better performance at lower cost.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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