Motion Control

Spherical Motor Eliminates Robot’s Mechanical Drive System

The spherical induction motor eliminates the robot's mechanical drive system. The SIMbot robot features an elegant motor with just one moving part: the ball. The only other active moving part of the robot is the body itself. A spherical induction motor (SIM) eliminates the mechanical drive system and can move the ball in any direction using only electronic controls. These movements keep SIMbot’s body balanced atop the ball.

Posted in: News, Motors & Drives

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New Steel Enables Better Electric Motors

Jun Cui of Iowa State University’s Ames Laboratory works with a metal spinner, which rapidly solidifies metal into thin ribbons. (Photo by Christopher Gannon) In order to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as internal-combustion cars, their motors must be smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more cost-effective. A research team is working to develop motors with the stator core (a non-rotating, magnetic part) manufactured with thin layers of a new “electrical steel.”

Posted in: News, Motors & Drives

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Improve Encoder Performance With EtherNet/IP

As industrial automation networks go, EtherNet/IP has more than its share of advantages. It’s fast. It’s flexible. It’s easy to set up. It’s robust. Those advantages, however, come at a price. Users have to invest in infrastructure and devices certified to work with the EtherNet/IP standard.Today, EtherNet/IP is among the most popular industrial networks, and there’s no shortage of compliant devices. Consider motion control applications, for example. There are hundreds of EtherNet/IP actuators, drives, controllers and sensors on the market today.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Motion Control, Motors & Drives

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Precision Robotics and Automation: Hexapods Advance Production Processes

Hexapods — six-legged parallel-kinematic machines — are quickly gaining ground in a broad range of industrial automation applications after “learning” how to directly communicate with PLC or CNC controllers via Fieldbus interfaces. As far as the semiconductor and electronics industry, automobile industry, and precision assembly are concerned, many production processes have become inconceivable without them. Today, the six-axis positioning systems are available with load capacity from 2 kg to 2000 kg, and travel from 10 to hundreds of millimeters while maintaining submicron precision. Hexapods are used for aligning the smallest optical components in the latest silicon photonics production processes, for controlling automated labeling machines, and positioning entire body parts for automotive production. The intrinsic hexapod features contribute to a wealth of new possibilities in robotics.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics, Optics, Kinematics, Automation, Production, Robotics

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Motor Controller Provides Custom Electronic Control Solution

A Fortune 200 company needed a turnkey, DC voltage, agency-compliant electronic control solution capable of providing motion control with memory position capabilities and auto run/sense features for a multi-motor application involving four motors. Particularly important to the design criteria was the development of an interactive system of wireless remote control capabilities and other user interface devices, including iPhone and iPad interconnect devices. It was a complicated job, and the company would need to partner with experts who could deliver a time- and cost-effective solution.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motors & Drives, Stability control, Electronic control systems, Wireless communication systems, Collaboration and partnering, Electric motors

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Electro-Hydraulic Motion Controller

Delta Computer Systems (Battle Ground, WA) has announced the RMC200 closed-loop electro-hydraulic motion controller that has the capacity to handle closed-loop control of up to 32 motion axes. The controller can synchronize the motion of multiple axes, enabling the construction of machines with scalable performance and quick production changeovers. It provides built-in support for controlling pressure/ force as well as position/velocity/acceleration. Through use of a programmable feature key, the controller will enable only the number of control loops that a customer’s application needs. Other features include a display screen on the CPU, I/O modules with push-in wire connectors, and fully encased, user-installable modules that “rock-in” to provide power-sequencing capability. The unit’s modular expandability enables it to support expanded control and I/O interfacing compatibility as new modules are developed.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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Grippers

Airpot® Corp. (Norwalk, CT) announced GramForce™ Accurate Force Pneumatic grippers that generate no measurable friction and provide a gentle grip for delicate operations. They operate at pressures from 0.02 MPa to 0.7 MPa, and offer holding pressures as low as 0.25 N (0.056 pounds) and up to 8.6 N (1.9 pounds). With synchronous and counterbalanced parallel design that allows unchanging gripping force in any mounting orientation, the grippers are internally driven by two 5.6-mm-bore pneumatic actuators. The carriage blocks are mounted on a stainless steel rail. They have operating ranges from -20 to 80 °C. The design accommodates finger lengths up to 75 mm. Assembled, the gripper is less than 50 mm high, less than 79 mm long, and 26 mm wide. The grippers are suited for precision assembly equipment, test and measurement devices, robotic end-effectors, small parts handling, and machining operations.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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