Motion Control


Fixtureworks® (Fraser, MI) offers Imao® “One-Touch” pin-and-receptacle fasteners used to attach fixtures, plates, machine covers, and more, joining components with moderate clamping force. An alternative to nut-and-bolt assembly, the fasteners provide secure changeover and installation without the need for tools. The fasteners are available in quarter-turn, knob-locking, button-locking, ball-lock clamping, and magnet-lock clamping pin styles.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control, Positioning Equipment

Motor Drive Software

Teledyne LeCroy (Chestnut Ridge, NY) announced three-phase Motor Drive Power Analyzer software for its HDO8000 oscilloscopes for motor drive embedded control and power section debug. With the addition of three-phase power analyzer capability, and motor speed and torque integration, the drive system can be validated and debugged, and drive and motor power and efficiency measurements may be performed. The software is used by motor, motor drive, variable frequency drive, variable speed drive, industrial automation, and motion control equipment manufacturers. Design engineers that integrate motors into their designs also can utilize the software to validate proprietary controls and complete drive system designs.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Software

Motor Gate Drivers

Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) offers the MCP8025 and MCP8026 3-phase brushless DC (BLDC) motor gate drivers with integrated power module, LIN transceiver, and sleep mode. The devices can power the dsPIC® digital signal controllers (DSCs) and PIC® microcontrollers (MCUs), driving MOSFETs, sensing current, preventing short circuits, outputting zero crosses, controlling dead time and blanking time, and monitoring for fault conditions such as over/under-voltage, over-temperature, and other thermal warnings.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control, Motors & Drives

HEV Motors

Parker’s Electromechanical Automation Division (Rohnert Park, CA) announced the GVM142 HEV motors. The generator and auxiliary motor series is an electric machine intended for use in electric and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) accessory applications such as high-power alternator replacements and electrohydraulic pump control. They feature a 142-mm frame size with an SAE A adapter mount to be close-coupled to hydraulic pumps. Within this frame size, there are three rotor lengths and dozens of winding variations that enable more than 100 combinations of base speed and power output for ultimate scalability and fine-tuning to the vehicle’s exact power generation or electrohydraulic requirements. The motors have rated power from 2.6kW to 30kW+, rated torque up to 36Nm, rated speed range from 1600 to 9800 RPM, peak power densities up to 3.7 kw/kg, operating voltages from 24VDC to 800VDC, and SAE J1455 environmental standards.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control, Motors & Drives

Positioning System

Physik Instrumente (Auburn, MA) offers the H-850KMLD 6-axis hexapod positioning system with 1,000-pound load capacity that provides 1-μm minimum incremental motion over a 100-mm travel range in XY, and 0.5-μm in the Z direction. Repeatability in the three linear axes is ±1μm, and ±5μrad/9μrad in the rotary axes. The hexapods include a controller and software package. The dedicated C-887 hexapod multiaxis-vector controller is commanded directly in Cartesian coordinates. The user can specify a random pivot point in space with a single software command. LabVIEW and text-based programming languages under Microsoft Windows or Linux are supported by libraries and program examples. For loads above 2,000 pounds, standard H-845 and custom hexapods are available.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control, Positioning Equipment

NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Spring Joint Package with Overstrain Sensor

This flexible joint provides two degrees of freedom and a tremendous amount of compliance. The overstrain sensor joint has a passive and restoring force that allows the joint to return to a default position, and is also proportional to the amount of lateral deflection the spring has undergone; this allows the OS sensor joint to be used in many of the under-constrained situations that cause universal joints to lock up.

Posted in: Articles, Techs for License, Fluid Handling, Motors & Drives

Supersonic Laser-Propelled Rockets Could Help Aircraft Exceed Mach 10

A new method for improving the thrust generated by laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. The method, developed by physicists Yuri Rezunkov of the Institute of Optoelectronic Instrument Engineering, Russia, and Alexander Schmidt of the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute in Saint Petersburg, Russia, integrates a laser‑ablation propulsion system with the gas‑blasting nozzles of a spacecraft. Combining the two systems can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds, while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Motion Control, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Power Transmission

Ocean Gliders Measure Melting Polar Ice

The rapidly melting ice sheets on the coast of West Antarctica are a potentially major contributor to rising ocean levels worldwide. Although warm water near the coast is thought to be the main factor causing the ice to melt, the process by which this water ends up near the cold continent is not well understood.

Using robotic ocean gliders, Caltech researchers have now found that swirling ocean eddies, similar to atmospheric storms, play an important role in transporting these warm waters to the Antarctic coast—a discovery that will help the scientific community determine how rapidly the ice is melting and, as a result, how quickly ocean levels will rise.

"When you have a melting slab of ice, it can either melt from above because the atmosphere is getting warmer or it can melt from below because the ocean is warm," explains lead author Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering. "All of our evidence points to ocean warming as the most important factor affecting these ice shelves, so we wanted to understand the physics of how the heat gets there."

Because the gliders are small—only about six feet long—and are very energy efficient, they can sample the ocean for much longer periods than large ships can. When the glider surfaces every few hours, it "calls" the researchers via a mobile phone–like device located on the tail. The communication allows the researchers to almost immediately access the information the glider has collected.

Like airborne gliders, the bullet-shaped ocean gliders have no propeller; instead they use batteries to power a pump that changes the glider's buoyancy. When the pump pushes fluid into a compartment inside the glider, the glider becomes denser than seawater and less buoyant, thus causing it to sink. If the fluid is pumped instead into a bladder on the outside of the glider, the glider becomes less dense than seawater—and therefore more buoyant—ultimately rising to the surface. Like airborne gliders, wings convert this vertical lift into horizontal motion.


Also: Learn about Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets and Snow.

Posted in: News, Communications, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic efficiency and help extend the flight time of small, lightweight electric aircraft.

The prototype aircraft are constructed using components from Aerovironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye UAVs that NASA acquired from the United States Marine Corps via the General Services Administration's San Francisco office. Unmodified, these small electric aircraft weigh 5.9 pounds, have a 3.75-foot wingspan and twin electric motors, and can carry a one-pound instrument payload for up to an hour.

After finalizing designs that featured longer and more slender wings and dual fuselages, the teams printed new parts including wing sections, nose cones, winglets, control surfaces, wing ribs and even propellers using the NASA Ames SpaceShop. The 3-D printed wing sections were reinforced using carbon fiber tubing or aluminum rods to give them extra strength without adding significant weight.

Flying as high as 12,500 feet above sea level, multiple small converted Dragon Eye UAVs, including the specialized and highly modified “FrankenEye” platform, will study the chemistry of the eruption plume emissions from Turrialba volcano, near San Jose, Costa Rica.

The goal of the activity is to improve satellite data research products, such as computer models of the concentration and distribution of volcanic gases, and transport-pathway models of volcanic plumes. Some volcanic plumes can reach miles above a summit vent, and drift hundreds to thousands of miles from an eruption site and can pose a severe public heath risk, as well as a potent threat to aircraft.


Also: Learn about Real-Time Minimization of Tracking Error for Aircraft Systems.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Motion Control, Motors & Drives

2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have invented a 2-in-1 electric motor that increases the range of electric vehicles. The engine integrates the traditional electric motor with the air-conditioning compressor, typically two separate units. This novel, space-saving design allows the use of bigger batteries, which can increase the range of electric vehicles by an additional 15 to 20 percent.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Automotive, Transportation

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