Motion Control

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain

Traditional robots often feature isolated mechanical joints. These discrete components limit a rover’s ability to traverse sand, stone, and other challenging environments. A team at the University of California San Diego has demonstrated a more flexible option: a soft robot that lifts its legs over obstacles and operates on a variety of terrains. The 3D-printed quadrupedal technology may someday support search-and-rescue missions requiring intelligent navigation capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Terrain, Kinematics, Additive manufacturing, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles
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High-Temperature Actuators Bend as They “Breathe”

The mechanical components are made from films that expand and contract as they let oxygen in and out.

Extreme temperatures are hard for mechanical components to endure without degrading. To address the problem, researchers at MIT worked with several other universities to develop a new way to make actuators that could be used in exceptionally hot environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Heat resistant materials, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation
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3D-Printed Tensegrity Object Can Change Shape

The technology creates a large, lightweight, strong object that can be flattened and then expanded to its full size when heated.

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3D printers to create objects capable of dramatic expansion. The technology could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices. The new 3D-printed objects use tensegrity, a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. The researchers fabricated the struts from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication, Materials properties, Polymers, Smart materials
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Flat, Triangular Modules Connect to Form Origami Robot

Using two genderless mechanisms, module sides are connected and folded to create reconfigurable 3D structures.

Origami robots are composed of thin structures that can fold and unfold to change shape. They are compact and lightweight, but have functional restrictions related to size, shape, and how many folds can be created. On the other hand, modular robots use large numbers of individual entities to reconfigure the overall shape and address diverse tasks. These robots are more flexible when it comes to shape and configuration, but they are generally bulky and complex.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication, Robotics, Lightweight materials, Materials properties
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New Products: August 2017 Motion Design

Brushless AC Servo Motors

Allied Motion Technologies (Amherst, NY) introduced the HeiMotion™ Premium (HMP) brushless AC servo motor family. The motors, which have a 20,000+ hour life span, are available in five metric frame sizes with rated torque from 0.12 up to 14.4 Nm, and continuous shaft power from 50 W to 3.75 kW. Standard flange sizes include 40, 60, 80, 100, and 130 mm. Top speed ranges from 2,000 to 9,000 RPM; holding torque goes from 0.18 to 18.5 Nm; and winding voltage choices extend from 48 V up to 560 V. Optional features include standard resolver or encoder (including single cable HIPERFACE® DSL interface), holding brake, and connector choices.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control
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Straws Help Create Simple Robot Joints

Plastic drinking straws and inflatable tubing are used to build machines that walk like insects.

Inspired by arthropod insects and spiders, Harvard professor George Whitesides and Alex Nemiroski, a former postdoctoral fellow in Whitesides’ Harvard lab, used ordinary plastic drinking straws to create a type of semi-soft robot capable of standing and walking. The team also created a robotic water strider capable of pushing itself along the liquid surface.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Design processes, Robotics, Materials properties, Plastics
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Advanced Tool Drive System (ATDS) Camera Positioning Mechanism (CPM)

Robotic servicing of a satellite in low earth orbit (LEO) or geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) requires advanced systems capable of meeting the harsh environments of space. To support this effort, the Goddard Space Flight Center Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) has developed a camera positioning mechanism that will be capable of viewing features on a client satellite. Application of the CPM technology would be in multiple areas of spaceflight requiring robotic servicing including space exploration, planetary science, Earth science, and manned spaceflight.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Positioning Equipment, Optics, Optics, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Robotics, Satellites
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New Products: June 2017 Motion Design

Load Adaptor

Zero-Max (Plymouth, MN) introduced the Model 650 Overhung Load Adaptor that's designed to provide more radial and axial load support for hydraulic motors and pumps. The SAE B Model 650 is in the middle of the company's range of load adaptor sizes ranging from the smallest 200 SAE A mount model to the largest 1500 SAE F mount model. The new adaptor features a cast iron housing, 130,000 PSI stress-proof steel shaft, and heavy-duty spherical roller bearings. Designed for either face or foot mounting applications, it handles speeds up to 3500 RPM and is manufactured to ISO 9001:2008 quality standards. Overhung load adaptors protect the shaft seal of the motor, which can improve the operational life of the motor in harsh environment applications.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control
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Today’s Advanced Hose And Hydraulic Systems

If you’re under pressure to pick the right components to keep your hydraulic hose assemblies running at peak performance—without incidents or downtime—you’re not alone.

Posted in: White Papers, Motion Control, Automation
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Shaping the Future of Service Robotics

Robots emerged in the early 1960s as a way to automate the monotonous and dangerous tasks in factories around the world. As time passed and new technologies emerged, these robots have taken a place outside of the industrial market and alongside humans in manufacturing and non-manufacturing applications alike.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics
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