Motion Control

Computation of Wing Deflection and Slope from Measured Strain

Patent-pending methodology computes detailed wing loads during actual flight. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California A lightweight, robust fiber-optic system is the technology behind a new method to compute wing deflection and slope from measured strain of an aircraft. This state-of-the-art sensor system is small, easy to install, and fast, and offers the first-ever means of obtaining real-time strain measurements that can accurately determine wing deflection and slope during flight. Such measurements are particularly useful for real-time virtual displays of wing motion, aircraft structural integrity monitoring, active drag reduction, active flexible motion control, and active loads alleviation.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, Aviation, Measuring Instruments

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Specifying Actuators for Cleanroom Environments

Selecting the right actuator for use in any manufacturing operation involves a host of application-specific variables, including aspects such as the required stroke length, load capacity, acceleration, maximum speed, and positioning repeatability. Add a cleanroom specification to the list and the choice of available options becomes significantly smaller. Consider these questions to help make the best choice for your cleanroom application, whether it’s for the medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or semiconductor manufacturing industry.

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NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Spring Joint Package with Overstrain Sensor This flexible joint provides two degrees of freedom and a tremendous amount of compliance. The overstrain sensor joint has a passive and restoring force that allows the joint to return to a default position, and is also proportional to the amount of lateral deflection the spring has undergone; this allows the OS sensor joint to be used in many of the under-constrained situations that cause universal joints to lock up.

Posted in: Articles, Techs for License, Fluid Handling, Motors & Drives

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Analyzing 6-Pulse Drive Harmonic Mitigation Techniques for Industrial Automation

Contemporary industrial automation control systems are employing variable frequency drives (VFDs) in ever-increasing numbers. VFDs give control engineers flexibility to precisely regulate the speed and torque of motors in a wide array of applications. The proliferation of these VFDs has brought increased attention to harmonic distortion created by these drives and their effects on the power system. A standard-pulse drive with no built-in harmonic mitigation controls may interfere with neighboring equipment, reduce equipment life, and create a serious negative impact on the quality of utility power. Looking at the theory of operation for the following harmonic mitigation techniques and their typical performance levels may help take the guesswork out of harmonic reduction for these power systems.

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Reliable Locking in High-Vibration Environments

Today’s PCB plug-in connectors must accommodate many trends, including increasing miniaturization, rising levels of performance of electronic components, and growing complexity in machine and system engineering.

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Selecting the Proper Motor for Linear Motion Applications

Linear motion systems are found inside countless machines including precision laser cutting systems, laboratory automation equipment, semiconductor fabrication machines, CNC machines, factory automation, and many others too numerous to list. They range from the relatively simple such as an inexpensive seat actuator in a passenger vehicle, to a complex, multi-axis coordinate system complete with control and drive electronics for closed-loop positioning. No matter how simple or complex the linear motion system, at the most basic level, they all have one thing in common: moving a load through a linear distance in a specific amount of time.

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Design Considerations for Gearmotors in Long-Life Applications

At first glance, the photo at the top is not appealing to any market — a pallet full of old gearmotors is not something one wants to think about after purchasing the necessary gearmotor/motor for their application. But think of it this way instead: these gearmotors were removed from their installation for a refurbishment project after being in service for 30 years. Sandia National Laboratories placed these gearmotors into service in their Heliostat Field in New Mexico in the 1970s. The gearmotors were used to position solar reflectors to concentrate light from all of the individual panels towards one point at the top of a tower. After 30 years, Sandia decided to upgrade the field with a new control system, and they decided to replace the still-operating gearmotors at the same time.

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