Special Coverage

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water

Self-Learning Robot Hands Adapt to Grasp Objects

A new grasp system with robotic hands works without previously knowing the characteristics of objects. The system, which learns by trial and error, was developed by researchers at Bielefeld University in Bielefeld, Germany. It features two hands that are based on human hands in terms of both shape and mobility. The robot brain for the hands must learn how everyday objects like pieces of fruit or tools can be distinguished based on their color or shape, as well as what matters when attempting to grasp the object; for example, a banana can be held, and a button can be pressed. The system learns to recognize such possibilities as characteristics, and constructs a model for interacting with and re-identifying the object.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Positioning Equipment, Automation, Robotics
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Crawling Robot is Powered by Moisture

Using an off-the-shelf camera flash, researchers at Jilin University, China, turned an ordinary sheet of graphene oxide into a material that bends when exposed to moisture. They then used this material to make a spider-like crawler and claw robot that move in response to changing humidity, without the need for any external power.

Posted in: News, Materials, Motion Control, Robotics
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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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Sizing and Selecting Linear Motion Systems

The LOSTPED acronym can help designers avoid mistakes by reminding them to consider all the interrelated factors during system development and specification.

Virtually all manufacturing processes incorporate some type of linear motion. A common mistake that designers make when sizing and selecting linear motion systems is to overlook critical application requirements in the final system. This can lead to redesigns, and may also result in an over-engineered system that is costlier and less effective than desired. “LOSTPED” is a simple acronym that guides the designer in gathering the information needed to specify the appropriate linear motion components or modules in any given application.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Systems engineering, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Manufacturing processes
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Oil Sheer Clutch Cuts Downtime for Metal Stamping Press

Replacing a mechanical clutch, the oil sheer technology supplies constant, reliable tension on the stock feeding a 400-ton press to deliver precision and repeatability.

In the metal stamping business, precision, repeatability, and uptime are key. But stamping accuracy suffers when improper tension on the coil feeders incorrectly supplies metal to the presses, resulting in off-spec parts and increased rejections. ART Technologies of Fairfield, OH, relies on an oil shear clutch brake to supply constant, reliable tension on the coil feeding to one of its 400-ton presses to produce the precision and repeatability it needs, with no downtime for maintenance or adjustment. When the plant is working 20 hours a day, that uptime is as critical as the tolerances it maintains.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Stamping, Parts
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Piezo Technology in Pneumatic Valves

Solenoid devices are the standard for electrically controlled pneumatic valves. However, piezo valves offer many advantages over their solenoid counterparts, and open entirely new areas of application.

Pneumatic valves made with piezo technology offer many advantages. They are small, lightweight, extremely precise, durable, fast, and save energy. Piezo valves do not need energy to maintain a switching status, and therefore generate almost no heat. What's more, piezo valves can potentially be operated without any noise. Another key advantage is that they always work proportionally.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Parts, Valves, Pneumatic systems
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Adding Simple Vision Systems to Collaborative Robots

Upfront evaluation can help determine if a vision system is the best solution for an automation application.

Adding vision to a collaborative robot can open a world of possibilities for automation applications. With a vision system, a robot can inspect parts, check specific features of a part, recognize a part to pick it up, count items, adjust its path using visual feedback, color sort, and so on. The breadth of applications requires careful consideration to ensure selection of the right technology for the job.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Automation, Robotics
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Modular Climbing Robot Splits into Multiple Explorer Bots

Researchers from the Robotics Research Centre at the International Institute of Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H), have developed a stair and obstacle climbing robot that can disassemble itself into smaller robots, and then reassemble back into one device. As a composite system, the Detachable Compliant Modular Robot (DCMR) can climb steep obstacles and staircases, and explore uneven terrain. When it detaches into multiple robots, it can explore cramped spaces, traverse flat terrain, and behave as a Multi Agent System (MAS).

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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Actuated Smartwatch Moves in Five Directions

In an effort to make digital smartwatches more convenient for users, researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Waterloo have produced a prototype watch face named Cito that moves in five different directions. With the ability to rotate, hinge, translate, rise, and orbit, the model improves functionality and addresses some of the limitations of today’s fixed-face watches.

Posted in: News, Motion Control
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