Motion Control

Real-Time Software Enables Multi-Core PCs for Industrial Automation

As early as 25 years ago, industrial system integrators saw the great potential that the Windows operating system brought to PCs. They saw the possibility of using the advanced graphic capabilities that Windows offered versus the relatively primitive human interfaces of DOS-based applications and those of other proprietary OSes. Windows enabled the development of controllers with advanced human-ma chine interfaces (HMIs) that provide a whole new level of functionality, and make machines easier to use and maintain.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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Using Source Measure Units to Characterize High-Power Semiconductors (Part 1)

The proliferation of electronic control and electronic power conversion into a variety of industries (e.g., energy generation, industrial motor drives and control, transportation, and IT) has made efficient power semiconductor device design and test more critical than ever. To demonstrate technology improvements, new device capabilities must be compared with those of existing devices. The use of semiconductor materials other than silicon demands the use of new processes. To be sustainable, these new processes must be tuned to deliver consistent results and high production yield. As new device designs are developed, reliability measurements must be performed on many devices over long periods. Therefore, test engineers must identify test equipment that is not only accurate, but scalable and cost-effective.

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Linear Guide Systems Streamline Aircraft Seat Assembly and Operation

Linear guide rails are an important component within aircraft interiors. Following are some of the places where they are used: • For seat adjustments — forward and back seat movements, footrests, sliding armrests, and tables. • Rails enable 180° positioning for super first class seats that flatten for sleeping. • Sliding privacy screens between passengers. • Kitchen slide-outs, such as garbage compactors. • Sliding lavatory doors.

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Robotic Accuracy Improves Aerospace Manufacturing

Where accuracy is concerned, robots have traditionally relied on repeatability. In the past, robotic accuracy has not been developed to a level of maturity acceptable to standard production processes. Critical aerospace manufacturing techniques such as fastening and drilling were historically not held to tight tolerances. Typical tolerances for airframe assembly fastening were in the +0.030" range. The standard is set by the positional requirement for drilling of fastener holes, which is a key target application for robotics in manufacturing.

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Hybrid Stepper Advancements Improve Medical Pump Performance

Designers of medical pumps often have to deal with the challenge of implementing precise, yet low-cost motion control. For most medical pumps, there are three basic technology alternatives for implementing such electronic motion control: permanent magnet brush DC motors, brushless DC motors, or step motors. Step motors (sometimes called stepping motors, stepper motors, or simply steppers) are a solid choice for position or speed control. Steppers are inherently digital — a pulse applied to the drive electronics results in a shaft movement of one step. They are commonly used “open loop,” meaning without feedback, due to their ability to achieve the desired number of steps every time (if sized properly). The number of incoming pulses and the rate at which they are fed can be used to implement very precise, yet very simple motion (position, speed, and acceleration) control. As long as the speeds required are not too high (less than 3000 RPM, typically), steppers often offer a far simpler, lower-cost, and maintenance- free alternative.

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Factors to Consider When Selecting and Specifying LVDT Linear Position Sensors

Fitting the right type of linear position sensor to an application requires at least a working knowledge of the attributes of this electromechanical device. Starting with the basics, the LVDT (linear variable differential transformer) is a common type of linear position sensor widely used in electromechanical systems today. It consists of two basic elements: a stationary coil assembly and a movable core or armature. While most LVDTs are fundamentally AC-in/AC-out devices, some have electronics built-in to make them DC-in/DC-out devices. This gives rise to the terms “AC-LVDTs” and “DC-LVDTs”.

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Compact, Low-Force, Low-Noise Linear Actuator

This actuator has potential uses in military and automotive applications. Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space activities. There are many types of actuators that were designed to operate as linear or rotary motors, but there is still a need for low-force, low-noise linear actuators for specialized applications, and the disclosed mechanism addresses this need.

Posted in: Mechanics, Tech Briefs, Mechanical Components, Motion Control, Briefs

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