Motion Control

Ball Splines

Released from THK (Schaumburg, IL), the SLS/SLF Ball Splines feature caged technology, allowing for smooth motion. A synthetic resin cage cradles each ball, separating it from others, while spaces between rolling elements retain the lubricating grease to act as a lubrication system. The units feature a rigidity of ±10%. Outer shaft diameters are available from 15 to 100 mm. Low-noise options are available.

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Linear Actuator

From Exlar (Chanhassen, MN), the Tritex™ Series of electric linear actuators, combining a brushless servomotor, servo amplifier, and position control in one unit. Up to 500 watts of continuous power can be applied to the actuator’s brushless servomotor. The standard product is rated IP54 with optional IP65 rating for wash-down and fluid applications. Mountings include front flange, rear clevis mount, side mount, and trunnion mount. The unit is available in standard IEC metric dimensions. Other features are: 24 and 48 V DC power, 25" per second maximum linear velocity, 1,250 lbf maximum continuous thrust capacity (2,270 lbf peak), and low resolution incremental feedback. Customization is available.

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Ethernet Controller

Galil Motion Control (Rocklin, CA) released the DMC-40x0 Ethernet/RS232 controller family as part of the Accelera line, coming in 1- to 8-axis formats. Accepting encoder input frequencies up to 22 MHz and providing servo update rates up to 32 kHz, the line can complete program instructions in 40 microseconds. The device operates in a standalone configuration or can be interfaced with a PC via the Ethernet 10/100Base-T or RS232 ports. Memory is up to 510 symbolic variables, 16,000 array elements in 30 arrays, and application program space up to 2,000 lines × 80 characters. Mode of motion capability includes: point-to-point positioning, position tracking, jogging, linear and circular interpolation, contouring, electronic gearing, and ECAM. Other features include isolated I/O, eight uncommitted analog inputs and outputs, and PID compensation.

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DC Gearmotor

Midwest Motion Products (Watertown, MN) released the Model No. MMP-S28-400A GP81-046 BR-015 DC gearmotor. The device accepts any 24 V DC source. The gearmotor is reversible; the output is rated for 61 Nm continuous torque at 43 rpm and 100 Nm peak. Motor windings for 36, 48, 60, and 90 V are available. The integrally mounted fail-safe brake requires 24 V DC power and features a holding torque of 15 in-lbs. Mounting is accomplished with four “face mount” M-6 threaded holds, equally spaced on a 65 mm B.C. diameter. Dimensions are 3.2 (max diameter) × 13.3" long, and the unit has a keyed output shaft diameter of 19 × 49 mm long.

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Alternatives to Keyways in Motion Systems

The age-old tradition of using shaft keys in mechanical drives has served the power transmission industry well for many years. When appropriately sized, it guarantees that virtually no relative motion can take place between a shaft and its respective shaft hub in a unidirectional continuous motion application. Today’s increasing demands for speed, precision, and small size have changed the standard for shaft locking devices, and challenged motion components manufacturers to develop new methods of keyless shaft locking for dynamic loading. As motors and drives become increasingly capable of rapid acceleration and rotary positioning accuracy in smaller and smaller packages, backlash, stress distribution, and balance have all needed to be addressed in shaft locking devices, in many cases rendering the shaft key obsolete.

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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.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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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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