Motion Control

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: Tech Briefs, Mechanics, Briefs

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Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

Applications include industrial robotic arms, industrial machinery, and automobiles. This invention is an electronically commutated brushless motor controller that incorporates Hall-array sensing in a small, 42-gram package that provides 4096 absolute counts per motor revolution position sensing. The unit is the size of a miniature hockey puck, and is a 44-pin male connector that provides many I/O channels, including CANbus, RS-232 communications, general-purpose analog and digital I/O (GPIO), analog and digital Hall inputs, DC power input (18–90 VDC, 0–l0 A), three-phase motor outputs, and a strain gauge amplifier.

Posted in: Tech Briefs, Mechanics, Briefs

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Reducing Machine Controller Design and Deployment

Machine design and deployment requires integration of various technologies such as controls, mechanics, vision, lasers, data acquisition, and software, to mention only a few. These mechatronic solutions usually target a specific purpose such as part manufacturing, marking, packaging, etc. Often the controller is a key focus in the design because it must connect and coordinate all of the processes on the machine. Using separate programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and motion controllers necessitates integration, which is costly and time-consuming. Using a single controller for the machine eliminates the need for integration and shortens design and deployment time and cost.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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High-Accuracy Closed Loop Force Feedback

Benefits of serial servo digital presses for force gauge specifications. Hand-driven press assemblies, which require a specific amount of force applied for a given amount of time, present challenges when attempting to accurately measure or replicate results in production or quality control processes. In contrast, servo-driven digital presses are able to provide accurate, consistent, and repeatable results while outputting trackable data. By controlling position and current, the servo-driven digital press allows for stable, accurate, and repeatable control.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs

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Rotary Sensing Technologies for Medical and Robotic Shaft Angle Sensing Applications

This technical brief provides an overview of existing types of rotary sensor technologies, and compares the strengths and weaknesses of each type for use as through-hole shaft angle sensing devices. Today’s sensor technologies for robotic and medical applications include many devices that have evolved from industrial applications. Because of this general migration, they are not ideally suited to the requirements in new robotic and medical products. Specifically, conventional contacting and non-contacting sensing solutions do not offer the customization, small package size(s), and environmental and durability requirements that are so necessary in these custom applications.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Positioning Equipment, Robotics, Sensors

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Underwater Autonomous Vehicles Combine Robotics and Vision to Inspect Oil Pipelines

Among the various components of a submarine pipeline, the vertical section known as a riser is critical to managing the pipeline. This section connects the piping that runs along the bottom of the sea with the floating production platform.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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Motion Control and System Engineering Considerations

Motion control choices are best made in light of the whole system architecture, as the selection of system architecture will drive not only the implementation and integration stages of the project, but also manufacturing and field service, and even the ability to ship and install the final product. We will first review a quick tour of system engineering, and then go on to the motion control specifics.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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