Motion Control

Creating Motion Control and Drive Electronics With an FPGA-based System

Complex machines in semiconductor manufacturing often have tough performance requirements for motion control. When traditional PLCor PC-based motion controllers fail to meet these requirements, machine builders turn to custom board development — a time-consuming and expensive process. Recent advances in embedded technologies have made it possible to use FPGA-based COTS platforms to not only meet those requirements, but also to get to market faster by using graphical system design.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Electric Motors vs. Fluid Power: Robotic System Designers Have a Choice

Robotic system designers should choose the right power source for the job. Often, electric motors are chosen without thinking about the benefits of hydraulics or pneumatics. For applications where precise control of large forces and smooth motion are required, or applications that require “forgiveness” in the motion, fluid power can deliver significant benefits compared to electromechanical motion.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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Lead Screws Used in Diamond Analyzer

Traditionally, once they are shaped, but before they are mounted, diamonds are rated by the “4 Cs” — clarity, color, carat, and cut. Modern gemology, however, grades finished diamonds by a more accurate standard: light performance. The quality of how a diamond innately captures and “plays” with light separates a superior gemstone from a flawed one. Supporting 10 million people and recording a profit of $1,010 billion in 2006, but facing a global supply crunch and competition from gem-quality synthetic diamonds, the diamond industry must get superior stones on the market quickly and reliably. For quality assurance, many firms have turned to the BrillianceScope™ Analyzer from GemEx (Mequon, WI) to measure the light performance of finished diamonds in a comparative test against some of the industry’s highest-rated stones. GemEx utilized the RGS™ Rapid Guide Screws from Kerk Motion Products (Hollis, NH) to maintain the precision of the BrillianceScope’s testing mechanism.

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Scales Work as Part of Thermonuclear Ignition Target Assembly

Scheduled for completion in 2009, the National Ignition Facility Project (NIF), part of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL, Livermore, CA), is a component of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Stockpile Stewardship Program, whose mission is to maintain the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear stockpile without underground nuclear testing, banned since 1992. To continue research into thermonuclear ignition, NIF began the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Program for high-energy density physics. To this end, NIF constructed a complex system of lasers ending in a chamber ten meters in diameter to house tiny fuel capsules called “targets” that are subjected to a high-energy pulse, setting off a small thermonuclear burst. The target assembly machine, part of NIF’s thermonuclear testing system, is custom built by ABTech (Swanzey, NH), using the LIP 481R linear scales from HEIDENHAIN Corp. (Schaumburg, IL).

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Motion Capture Software and Systems for Gait Analysis and Biomedicine

Nowadays, there are many technologies available that are used to quantify the motion of humans and animals. However, recent innovations in optical motion capture systems have added unprecedented capabilities, allowing the same program to be used by clinicians to assess walking deficiencies, i.e., gait analysis, of their patients; by movie animators to quantify the subtle motions of groups of actors; by engineers to evaluate how workers interact with machinery; and by researchers to study the locomotion of animals and better design walking and flying robots.

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Hydraulic Safety Catchers Protect Spallation Neutron Source Shutter Operation

At full power, the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), part of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN), will produce the world’s most intense pulsed neutron beams for neutron scattering research methods. With a full-power capability of 1.4 megawatts, the SNS is used for scientific research and industrial development. While neutrons are abundant in the universe, for the detailed images researchers require, only a neutron of the right “brightness” can be used; SNS provides these brighter neutrons. The neutron delivery system consists of shutters composed of tungsten and steel, weighing 18 and 30 tons and two meters thick, and which are raised and lowered vertically by stainless steel hydraulic cylinders. The shutters are used to maintain position integrity and control the flow of neutrons of the SNS. Employed at each shutter are two specially designed hydraulic release stainless steel Sitema Safety Catchers designed by Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME, Rockford, IL).

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Piston Pump Helps Drive Cotton Module Loading Procedure

World cotton production in 2006/07 is forecast at 115.7 million bales, and global cotton consumption is forecast at a record of nearly 121 million bales, with 13.2 million acres dedicated to cotton in the United States alone. Cotton is one of the most heavily traded commodities on the world market, and whose value is influenced by how fast the product leaves the field and gets to the gin for processing into fiber. Module Truck Systems (MTS, Lubbock, TX) designed a specialized truck, a cotton module mover, to facilitate quick transportation of cotton from the field to gin yard, using the Heavy Duty Series 2 Hydrostatic Pump from Eaton Corp. (Cleveland, OH) to drive the loading chains that holds the raw cotton as it loads into the trailer bed.

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