Motion Control

Compact, Low-Force, Low-Noise Linear Actuator

This actuator has potential uses in military and automotive applications. Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space activities. There are many types of actuators that were designed to operate as linear or rotary motors, but there is still a need for low-force, low-noise linear actuators for specialized applications, and the disclosed mechanism addresses this need.

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Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

Applications include industrial robotic arms, industrial machinery, and automobiles. This invention is an electronically commutated brushless motor controller that incorporates Hall-array sensing in a small, 42-gram package that provides 4096 absolute counts per motor revolution position sensing. The unit is the size of a miniature hockey puck, and is a 44-pin male connector that provides many I/O channels, including CANbus, RS-232 communications, general-purpose analog and digital I/O (GPIO), analog and digital Hall inputs, DC power input (18–90 VDC, 0–l0 A), three-phase motor outputs, and a strain gauge amplifier.

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Servo Control System

The MESA 7I77 card set from Mesa Electronics (Richmond, CA) is a FPGA-based, 6-axis analog control system for CNC, industrial automation retrofits, and OEM systems. Six axes of analog outputs and encoder inputs are sufficient for up to 5-axis machines plus spindle control. Encoder inputs are individually programmable for TTL or differential mode. The PCI or PCIE host interface provides real-time access to the motion hardware. In addition to the motion-related I/O, 32 digital inputs and 16 digital outputs are provided. These digital I/O points are isolated from the system ground and can use 5V to 32V I/O voltage.

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Diaphragm Pump

The 118Z Series pressure/vacuum oil-less diaphragm pump from Thomas Division (Sheboygan, WI) provides a low-vibration design that utilizes a lightweight nylon housing and end cap that limit the pump’s weight to 4.4 pounds. It features a 24V brushless DC motor.

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Slotless Frameless Motors

Applimotion (Loomis, CA) has introduced new models of the UTS slotless frameless direct drive motors in sizes from 12 mm to 300 mm diameter. The motors feature zero cogging and sinusoidal torque curves. With large through holes and thin radial cross-section, the frameless kits integrate into gimbal, rotary stage, or automation platforms. The motors offer smooth electromagnetic rotation when integrated with a servo control system with high-resolution encoder and sinusoidal current control amplifier.

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Electromagnetic Machine Software

SPEED 2012 software from CDadapco (Melville, NY) consists of five machine programs: PC-BDC (Brushless PM Motors), PC-IMD (Induction Motors), PCDCM (DC Brush Motors), PC-WFC (DC and AC Wound Field Motors), and PC-SRD (Switched Reluctance Motors). Each program is intended for designing and calculating a range of electromagnetic machine performances. A number of templates are used to establish the machine’s dimensions, assist in laying out the winding, select the desired materials, and compute the machine’s performance at a single operating point, or over an entire speed/torque range. A link to the software’s FEA program PC-FEA offers analysis of fine details.

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Variable Speed Drive

The Drives & Motion Division of Yaskawa America (Waukegan, IL) has released the P1000 variable speed drive that provides control for variable-torque loads through 500. Configuration tools include a multi-language LCD display with a real-time clock, parameter storage, fan and pump application presets, and a portable USB copy unit. DriveWizard® computer software delivers configuration, monitoring, and trending functions enhanced by direct connectivity through the drive’s USB port. The drive offers three expansion ports for additional I/O, feedback, and network communications, including DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP/IP, Profibus-DP, PROFINET, BACnet, and Lonworks.

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