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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, Machinery & Automation, 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

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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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Servo Drives

Advanced Motion Controls® (Camarillo, CA) announced AxCent™ servo drives for centralized motion control schemes. The Models AB15A100, AB25A100, and AB20A200 are panel-mount servo drives that operate with brushless permanent magnet motors as well as brushed motors and inductive loads. The drives are controlled with ±10V analog command signals, and use trapezoidal commutation when driving brushless motors. The AB15A100 outputs 15A peak and 7.5A continuous with up to an 80VDC bus; the AB25A100 outputs 25A peak and 12.5A continuous with up to an 80VDC bus; and the AB20A200 outputs 20A peak and 10A continuous with up to a 175VDC bus.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motors & Drives

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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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AC Drive

Danfoss Drives (Milwaukee, WI) introduced the VACON 20 AC drive that features built-in PLC functionality. It is available in all common voltages (110- 600V), and a power range up to 18.5 kW/25 HP. The built-in RS-485 interface offers a serial control interface for the drive. With optional modules, the drive can be connected to almost any communication system including CANOpen, Fieldbus, DeviceNet, and Profibus DP. Features include accessible terminals, built-in DIN rail mounting, and the MCA parameter-copying tool that can clone settings without main power in the drive. Users can build their own control logic in the drive, and utilize unused I/O of the drive for performing other machine-related tasks. In addition, the parameter list can be freely modified, and application-specific parameter sets and default settings can be created.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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