Motion Control

Motion Controller Helps Test for Hard Disk Defects

Hard disks were originally intended for computers in ultra-clean, ultra-safe data offices; by the 21st century, hard disks had moved beyond the office, finding their way into digital cameras, video recorders, PDAs, and cell phones. With the ubiquity of hard disks comes the risk that any number of electronic devices can fail if their hard disk crashes. To detect hard disk defects while still in the assembly stages, THôT Technologies (Campbell, CA) developed the Model 42000, a laser-based test and measurement system for hard drives’ disks, using the DMC 1832 3-axis controller from Galil Motion Control (Rocklin, CA) to help monitor and regulate various systems of the Model 42000 as it conducts testing.

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CNC Wood Routers Use Drive for Precision Control

The woodworking industry is as advanced and under pressure to deliver high-quality goods quickly as any. One of the most versatile tools devised to quicken production with flat panels of wood is the wood router, used to rout (hollow out) an area in the face of a piece of wood, and used for 3D design, cabinets, sign making, molds, and general material cutting. The table-like device, similar to a metal mill, consists of a broad-based wooden hand plane with a narrow gantry-carried cutting implement projecting beyond its base plate. To guide its computer numerical controlled (CNC) ATC wood routers, WartHog CNC (Soddy-Daisy, TN) turned to YET US’s (Manchester, NH) XtraDrive servo drive system, integrating it into the routers’ precision and power controls.

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Drive Utilized in Filament Respooler

Optical fiber, now the mainstay of telecommunications as well as sensor, illumination, and imaging systems, is made by first pulling a large-diameter preform into a long, filimentous fiber. Then divided into bunches, a resin cladding is applied to keep the transmital of light uncontamintated. The finished product is then wound onto large spools to await shipment to customers. Showmark (Downingtown, PA) developed the automatic UniSpooler to customize the amount of cable a customer gets based on need, and uses the Kinemax KI3-15-5 linear drive from Amacoil/Uhling (Aston, PA) to help guide filaments from the supply spool to smaller takeup spool with the desired amount of fiber or wire.

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Actuator Controls Valving in Micro-Satellite Thruster

In the 1980s and 1990s, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA) began developing advanced microsystems and microelectronics technologies and components for future space applications. One of these experimental designs, the Micro-Inspector Spacecraft, is capable of visual inspection of a host space vehicle with support from NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The piezoelectric actuator in the Micro-Inspector’s propulsion system is from Dynamic Structures and Materials (DSM, Franklin, TN), and controls the many valves of the satellite’s engines.

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Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder Helps Guide Aerial Tramways

In situations where human travel is necessary but where the geography is too steep or treacherous, aerial tramways often are used as a convenient alternative. Ski resorts, mountaineering centers, even archeological sites and cities with a diverse geography have tapped tramways as a method of transportation. When FREY AG (Stans, Switzerland) began constructing new aerial tramway systems, it turned to Micronor’s (Newbury Park, CA) fiber optic MR314 ZapFree™ high resolution hollow shaft rotary encoder to be part of the tramway’s positioning and cable systems.

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Pneumatic Cylinders Used in Robotic “Hand”

Robotics are now and have been an inextricable aspect of American industry, performing tasks as varied as the robots themselves. Robots can, in most cases, accommodate greater production speeds, and can be re-tasked for any future changes or even re-assigned to a different application. As technology advances, and demand and expectations grow, robotic systems are being developed displaying greater abilities in precision control and dexterity. The printing and packaging industries are no different, and when Roskam Automatic Machine (Birmingham, AL) developed a robotic end effector — what amounts to a robotic “hand”— to integrate with other robotic systems (industrial manipulators, or the “arms”), it relied on the pneumatic devices from Parker Hannifin (Cleveland, OH) to help run the robotic “fingers.”

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Software Used to Control Master-Slave Haptics Experiment

Haptics, also known as “force feedback teleoperation,” attempts to provide environmental interactions through a robotic system. Users mimic these interactions with robotic arms. By varying the amount of force the haptic devices exhibit, a user can achieve the sensation of interacting with the system. As it allows a user to interface with a remote or virtual environment, the goal of haptics is to augment a user’s sensory feedback while performing a given task. In order to construct safer haptic systems, researchers at the Intelligent Machine Dynamics Laboratory (IMDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) have built a series of master-slave devices, and utilize National Instruments’ (Austin, TX) LabVIEW 8.0 software and its various toolkits to control all feedback calculations, communication, control, and simulation, with the objective to investigate control difficulties that occur using a passive master with an energetically active slave.

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