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, Applications, Motion Control

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CNC Machine Controllers

B&R Industrial Automation Corp. (Roswell, GA) offers standardized system modules for CNC machines. Consisting of hardware components, all necessary software functions, and available simulation options, the software package makes it possible to quickly implement automation processes. The system integrates CNC, PLC, and motion control in one controller, and the function modules in the standard CNC package are designed to provide all important functions for CNC processing machines, including functions for operation, configuration, and diagnostics of the system, and in particular, all the axes and CNC channels.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control

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Automation Control Platform

GE Intelligent Platforms (Charlottesville, VA) has announced the PACSystems® control and computing platform designed for the industrial Internet. It incorporates COM Express architecture with multi-core CPUs. The RXi platform offers high-speed interfaces, with multiple gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports. These features are coupled with GE’s PACSystems control engine. The controllers feature built-in redundant PROFINET interfaces, and can run HMI, Historian, and analytics applications at the machine, even in harsh environments.

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Harmonic Gearhead

Nexen Group (Vadnais Heights, MN) has announced a harmonic gearhead that directly replaces much larger, high-ratio planetary gearheads utilizing the latest harmonic strain wave gearing technology. In addition to its compact size, the gearhead features high torque, true zero backlash, and positional accuracy. A gearing-forward design overlaps components and allows the gearing to be integrated into the same plane as the bearing, resulting in a short and rigid gearhead. This narrow, rigid design is combined with a large, rugged, crossed-roller output bearing, designed to handle all combinations of radial, axial, and overturning moment loads in a single, compact envelope. The gearhead can fit virtually any machine, and can operate in less than half the space of conventional planetary gearheads.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control

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Helical Gearbox

GAM Gear (Mt. Prospect, IL) has introduced the SPH series inline planetary gearbox featuring helical gearing. It is designed for dynamic and cyclic motion control applications, and can be optimized for high-speed and continuous-duty applications. The gears are cut at an angle to help reduce axial forces associated with helical gearing, and then are ground for reduced noise levels and improved smoothness. The gear teeth are wider, allowing for larger permissible torques relative to the frame size, and heavy-duty taper roller bearings enable large loading capabilities.

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Microstepping Drive

Servo2Go.com (Greenville, DE) offers Applied Motion Products’ STR2 stepper drive, a compact, digital step and direction drive for applications requiring basic step and direction control of a 2-phase step motor. The drive outputs up to 2.2 A/phase to the step motor, and is compatible with a variety of 2-phase step motors that have been selected to optimize performance of both the drive and motor. The drive features microstepping performance and current control with anti-resonance. Anti-resonance electronically damps motor and system resonances, which improves motor smoothness and torque over a wide speed range.

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Position Sensor

Honeywell (Minneapolis, MN) offers the SMART rotary configuration position sensor that provides 360° non-contact angular position sensing. The sensor enables users to replace an optical encoder, or to utilize a sensor instead of a resolver. The sensor utilizes non-contact magnetoresistive (MR) technology to determine the object’s position, which allows it to sense position in dirty and harsh environments. It is designed to measure values down to 0.01º. Potential applications include steering angle, articulation angle, and boom arm detection, as well as solar panels or wind turbines. A combination of an ASIC and an array of MR sensors is used to determine the position of a magnet collar attached to a rotating object to identify and control the object’s position. The sensor’s automotive-grade potting makes it more resistant to vibration, shock, and extreme temperatures.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control

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