Motion Control

Choosing the Right Potentiometer for Reliable Sensing

In today’s market, there are a variety of available types of position sensing systems. It is important to compare unique features to application needs in order to find the best fit. A potentiometer sensor is an electromechanical component that consists of a resistor where the voltage divider value can be measured at any position by means of sliding contacts between the applied voltage values. Physically, a potentiometer consists, at a minimum, of a resistance track, a collector track, and a sliding contact that can be moved along the resistance track by means of mechanics (Figure 1). The movement of the sliding contact can be rotatory (angle) or translational (path).

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Embedded Virtualization Enables Highly Integrated “Soft Motion” Platforms on the PC

With the increased processing power that PCs have attained, a complex machine that used to require an expensive and dedicated hardware-based motion control solution can now be accomplished on a multicore PC running on a real-time operating system (RTOS).

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Imitative Robotic Control: The Puppet Master

Automated systems can have a hard time completing complex tasks in a timely manner. When controlling a robot outside autonomous mode, a good control device needs to give the user full control of the system while enabling the mission to be completed in a quick, accurate, and efficient manner.

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Service Robots Use Flat Motors to Provide Reliable, Safe Motion

Unlike industrial robots for manufacturing, service robots come with their own specification requirements aimed specifically at the end user, and the most discriminating user at that — a human being. That’s why designing and manufacturing service robots takes a particular set of skills and engineering expertise.

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Encoders Ensure Position Accuracy of Linear-Torsion Tester

Instron (Norwood, MA) manufactures materials testing equipment and accessories that are used to test samples ranging from components for jet engines to medical syringes. The company’s ElectroPuls systems are used for fatigue testing, which examines the behavior of materials under fluctuating or cyclic loads in the elastic regime. The E1000, E3000, and E10000 fatigue test systems are suited for biomedical/biomechanical research applications, and feature a wide dynamic performance range and low force characteristics. The all-electric systems use linear motor technology to eliminate the need for ball/lead-screws, and enable slow-speed static tests through to high-frequency dynamic tests at over 100 Hz.

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Choosing the Right Drive Technology

Coming up with the right drive technology for an application often depends on the options available. Here are five of the most common drive configurations being used today, along with their benefits and drawbacks. Although there are a number of variations of drive technologies for motion applications, there are a few that are used for the majority of systems being built today. These most common drives do take a bit of understanding before applying.

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Reasons for Turning to Slotless DC Motor Technology

When first introduced, brushless DC motors, despite their many advantages, were cast as a costly alternative to brush-commutated motors, and were typically only specified for low-power applications where long life was the primary desired requirement. Without the mechanical brush-commutator mechanism that would wear and eventually result in motor failure, brushless motors could be relied upon to deliver performance over time. As for other advantages, conventional wisdom held that brushless motors provide high speed and fast acceleration, generate less audible noise and electromagnetic interference, and require low maintenance. Brush-commutated motors, on the other hand, would afford smooth operation and greater economy.

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