Motion Control

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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Motor Used to Stabilize Remote-Controlled Camera Crane

It is a staple of the summer box office blockbuster: the car chase. Car chases have not only become a vital component of an action movie, they have also had to evolve, with audiences demanding even more thrills. To put the audience directly into the flow of traffic, studio executives turn to companies like Adventure Equipment, whose Ultimate Arm, a gyrostablized, camera-mounted, remote-controlled crane system attached to an SUV, gets in where the action is. Maxon Motors’ (Fall River MA) RE40 motor is used to maneuver the camera, capturing all the adrenaline-pumping moments.

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Plasma Cutter Utilizes Motor for Gantry Control

To cut through metal and other materials, a plasma cutter sends an arc of electricity through a high-speed jet of an inert gas. When electricity and gas meet, plasma is formed, hot enough to melt through sheet metal, and still moving fast enough to blast molten metal away from the cut. When engineers at Dynatorch (Padukah, KY) began to design a line of plasma and oxy-acetylene cutting machines, they utilized the SM2315D SmartMotor from Animatics (Santa Clara, CA) to operate the gantry, where the torch is mounted. To avoid the warping, kinking, or scorching that can occur when metal is improperly heated, the gantry and torch must maintain a fixed distance from whatever is being cut.

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