Motion Control

Connectors Enable Precise Movement of Lunar Robotic Tool Changer

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA hired Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corp. to develop a totally mechanical tool changer for the end of what Langley’s Lunar Surface Manipulation System (LSMS) team describes as a robot that could unload landers. Then, after the landers were unloaded, it could, in addition to doing base assembly, mate with tools to take science experiments. This robot could be likened to a crane, but with more dexterity.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Tools and equipment, Robotics, Fasteners, Entry, descent, and landing
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Motion Control Components Keep Curiosity on the Go

PI Ceramic monolithic piezo actuators (PICMA) were put to use in the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. CheMin is an Xray diffraction-capable mineralogy instrument whose purpose is to determine if water was present in the formation of Martian rocks and soil.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Soils, Water, Ceramics, Chemicals, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft
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Motion Controllers as Data Acquisition and Testing Tools

Manufacturers often need to test their products to verify that they meet customer specifications, and provide the data that verifies specification compliance. This is particularly true when government contracts are involved, public money is being spent, and public safety is an issue. Often, separate electronic subsystems are used to apply the stimulus and measure the results, but if the same module that applies the stress can also record the response, more cost-effective testing systems can be built. An added capability that is often overlooked by material strength and durability test system designers is the power of some motion controllers to also serve as data acquisition support or input devices.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Reducing Linear Bearing Wear

To get the longest working life out of a linear bearing, keep it clean and well lubricated. This common-sense advice may sound easy enough to follow. Yet in the real world of round-the-clock, high-cycle manufacturing operations, bearings do get dirty and dry. And when either of these conditions happens, linear bearings will wear prematurely. In the worst-case scenarios, contamination and inadequate lubrication can create metal-on-metal contact between the bearing’s rolling elements and raceway. This can cause excessive wear in the form of denting, pitting, or galling results.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Wear, Bearings
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Hull-Cleaning Robot for Large Ships

Toxic paint is used on the bottoms of large ships to prevent fouling, which is when a biofilm layer develops, decreasing the ship’s efficiency moving through the water. To further complicate the matter, the paint must be blasted off and replaced every 5 to 10 years, at which time literally tons of toxic waste is produced and needs to be disposed of.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Waste management, Robotics, Biohazards, Hazardous materials, Marine vehicles and equipment
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New Automotive Test Bench Concept Eliminates Gyrating Mass

At its location in Recklinghausen, Germany, EDAG-Prüftechnik has offered comprehensive services in the conception, development, construction, and assembly of test benches for over three decades. EDAG’s clients include renowned manufacturers from the automotive industry as well as customers from the general mechanical and electrical engineering industries.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Transmission gears, Quality assurance, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Pressure Controllers Used in Sounding Rocket Payload Attitude Control Systems

Pressure controllers from Alicat Scientific have been selected for use in NASA sounding rockets to control payload attitude. The payload sections of some NASA sounding rockets are required to achieve pointing accuracies of finer than 1 arc second (1/3600 of a degree). Conventional attitude control systems (using solenoid valves) introduce too much shock and vibration, and are imprecise. NASA contractor Northrop Grumman chose the Alicat absolute pressure controllers for use with the rockets’ delicate optical instruments.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Attitude control, Spacecraft
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Creating a Fully Automated Pharmacy Warehouse

Previously, the walk from the sales counter of the pharmacy to the medication drawer wasted valuable time. Today, the fully automated picking system for European pharmacies by KLS requires only eight seconds. Image-based Cognex DataMan® 500 barcode readers can now guarantee rapid resupplying from the warehouse.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Identification numbers, Storage, Pharmaceuticals
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Optimized Machine Capability Through Mechatronics: Packaging for the Future

Mechatronics can be defined as the science to optimize the performance and capabilities of machines using a multi-domain synergistic design approach. It is also described as the combination of mechanical, electronic, computer, software, control, and systems de - sign engineering. Simply put, this concept enables machine builders to produce machines that produce the highest quality at maximum throughput. Additionally, it empowers manufacturers to make incremental improvements to existing assets to ultimately meet or exceed core key performance indicator (KPI) targets.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Optimization, Mechatronics, Systems engineering
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Robots Play Role in Future Aircraft Wing Production

KUKA Systems (Sterling Heights, MI), in conjunction with Bombardier Aerospace, has devised an innovative robotic cell for laying up dry carbon fiber material as a result of a national research and development project.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Wings, Production, Robotics
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