Motion Control

Optical Encoders

MICROMO (Clearwater, FL) announced the FAULHABER high-precision IER3 and IERS3 optical encoders. Both encoders deliver two-channel quadrature signals and an additional index signal. They can position a FAULHABER micro DC motor or brushless DC servomotor with a typical accuracy of 0.1° to 0.3°. The encoders combine the LED, photodetectors, analysis unit, and interpolation levels on one chip. They lengthen motors by 15.5 to 18.5 mm. Both encoders are also available with line drivers that generate complementary output signals and make data transmission resistant to electrical interference, especially in encoders with long connecting cables. The IER3 encoder has a resolution of up to 10,000 lines per revolution, and achieves an angular resolution of 0.009° with the evaluation of 40,000 edges per revolution. The IERS3-500 provides resolutions of 250 and 500 lines per revolution.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers, Motors & Drives, Optical Components, Optics
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Rocket Motor Design Could Boost Small Satellite Missions

Artists concept of a CubeSat onboard propulsion system. (Photo: Inside Out Visuals)

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a rocket motor concept that could be used to power CubeSat low-cost satellites. The Los Alamos team recently tested a six-motor CubeSat-compatible propulsion array with tremendous success.

Posted in: News, Motors & Drives, Power Transmission
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Morphing Wing Could Enable More Efficient Manufacturing and Flight

The entire shape of the wing can be changed by activating two small motors that apply a twisting pressure to each wingtip. (Photo: Kenneth Cheung/NASA)

A new morphing wing architecture could greatly simplify the manufacturing process and reduce fuel consumption of aircraft by improving the wing’s aerodynamics, as well as improving its agility. The wing consists of a system of tiny, lightweight subunits that could be assembled by a team of small, specialized robots, and ultimately could be used to build the entire airframe. The wing would be covered by a “skin” made of overlapping pieces that might resemble scales or feathers.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Motors & Drives
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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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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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Hollow Shaft Encoder

Kübler (Charlotte, NC) released the Sendix F5883 Motor-Line optical hollow shaft encoder with a mounting depth of 43 mm. The encoder is based on the Sendix platform, and features Intelligent-Scan Technology . It is insensitive to magnetic fields, offers EMC characteristics, and supports interfaces such as SSI, BiSS, SinCos, RS422, and Push-Pull for connection to frequency converters. The encoder is resistant to installation errors, shock, and vibration. It is available with a through hollow shaft of up to 15 mm, and clamping on the A and B side for all usual geared motor drive shafts. With a tangential cable outlet, the encoder can be installed in tight mounting spaces.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control
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