Motion Controller

The Flex-6 Nano EtherCAT controller

Trio Motion Technology (Freeport, PA) offers the Flex-6 Nano EtherCAT controller that coordinates the motion of up to 64 axes with EtherCAT cycle time down to 125 μs. The system coordinates stepper drives and analog devices and features a 1-GHz dual-core processor and Motion-iX operating system. The controller functionality is scalable through its click-together Flexslice I/O modules, allowing scalability up to 32 analog inputs and 16 analog outputs as well as 1,024 digital I/O points. Features include an Ethernet port for communication integration with common fieldbuses and factory networks and the ability to program the controller from a PC using C or LabVIEW.

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Electric Cylinder

The EPCE electric cylinder

The EPCE electric cylinder from Festo (Islandia, NY) enables fast movement in applications such as sorting, distribution, and testing. It converts the rotary motion of the mounted motor into the linear motion of a piston rod or rods via an internal toothed belt drive. Based on the location and number of piston rod(s), there are various models available including piston rod(s) on the left or right sides, front or rear, through the unit, or in the opposing direction. Up to four piston rods per unit are available. Working stroke ranges from 5 to 80 mm. Control options include integrated digital I/O and IO-Link. Units include toothed belt axis, spindle and toothed belt axis, mini slide, electric cylinder, and rotary drive.

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Motion Controllers

MC3001 motion controllers

Faulhaber (Schönaich, Germany) released MC3001 motion controllers available as MC3001 B (board-to-board connectors) or MC-3001P (28-pin plug connector). The controllers feature 1.4 amperes in continuous operation and up to 5 amperes peak current and are designed as slaves for control and positioning tasks of DC micromotors, linear DC servomotors, or brushless DC motors. With an overall height from 2.6 mm and a format from 16 × 27 mm, the controllers feature RS232 and CANopen interfaces. The MC3001 B can be plugged into a motherboard with three micro board-to-board connectors; the MC3001 P can be plugged in via a 28-pin plug connector.

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Motion Controller

The softMC 703 motion controller

The softMC 703 motion controller from Servotronix (Petach Tikva, Israel) supports up to 64 interpolated axes for robots, drives, and motors via any major OEM programmable logic controller (PLC).

The controller provides machine-to-machine communication with support for preemptive multitasking and asynchronous event response.

It includes an open, real-time programming language, C/C++, and the robot operating system (ROS).

It is equipped with three RJ45 connectors — LAN, EtherCAT, and auxiliary for devices such as HMI or teach pendant — and comes with a micro-USB port, two serial RS-485 ports, a DIN rail mounting bracket, and a book mounting bracket.

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Cobot Brakes

The MCNB-TSp Series of power-off, spring-applied holding brakes

Ogura Industrial Corp. (Somerset, NJ) developed the MCNB-TSp Series of power-off, spring-applied holding brakes for cobot applications that also serve a dual purpose as torque limiting devices. The brakes are capable of brief slipping without causing damage or injury. With torque limiting, surrounding components can be designed for lower loading. Four standard sizes are available from 0.32 to 4.0 Nm static torque and all are less than 1" long.

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Hydraulic Cylinders

RC-Trio hydraulic cylinders

Enerpac (Menomonee Falls, WI) introduced RC-Trio hydraulic cylinders that feature a bearing system and hybrid spring-return system. The cylinders include up to four wear bands made of hardened composite material and polyethylene seals. The stop ring includes an additional wear band to absorb greater side load and can handle full cylinder extension force. A pre-tensioned return spring system uses high-strength steel wire. The cylinders are available in 41 models and are designed for use in all positions. Features include collar and plunger threads and base mounting holes on 30- and 75-ton models.

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Brushless DC Motors

A flat brushless DC motor from Orbex Group

Orbex Group (Austin, TX) announced a line of flat brushless DC motors available with or without encoders. They are used in applications that require high torque density and have space limitations such as robotics, packaging, security, and medical. The motors feature a range of sizes, voltages, and speeds. Motor diameters range from 43 mm to 90 mm and lengths range from 9 to 38 millimeters. Available power levels span from 12 to 220 watts with winding options for different supply voltages.

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Torque Limiter

The Type ECKH torque limiter

The Type ECKH torque limiter for direct drives from Enemac (Kleinwallstadt, Germany) features metal bellows attachment and power density of up to 9,000 Nm. Misalignments between the motor shaft and the output shaft can be compensated. The safety coupling is also available in a corrosion-protected variant. The device is used in general mechanical engineering as well as in test benches, conveyor systems, and heavy industry.

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Gearboxes

The GP56-N series of motors

Nanotec (Feldkirchen, Germany) introduced the GP56-N series low-noise planetary gearboxes for brushless DC motors and stepper motors with flange size 56 and 60 mm. Helical toothing allows the teeth to mesh reducing vibrations and noise. The planetary gears and the ring gear consist of low-wear plastic. The gearboxes are available in one-and two-stage versions in nine different reductions between 3:1 and 35:1 and offer an output torque from 1.5 to 11.8 Nm. For use in harsh environments, the gearboxes are protected against penetration by dust and liquids according to IP54.

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Robot Cell

The LoadMate Plus robot cell

The LoadMate Plus robot cell from Mitsubishi Electric Automation (Vernon Hills, IL) can be easily moved and is suited for manufacturers in CNC machine tool applications.

The robot cell automates the task of loading and removing parts from a machine tool through the use of robotics. It can be mounted next to one machine, between two machines, and otherwise moved around a facility as required.

When paired with an M8 Series CNC, operators can use the Direct Robot Control (DRC) feature within the CNC controls to control and program the robot with menus and G-code from the same screen used for the machine tool.

No robot programming experience or teach pendant is required.

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Servo Drive

The servSD servo drive

The servSD from STXI Motion (Petach Tikva, Israel) is a ready-to-connect, low-voltage servo drive for applications such as automated guided vehicles/autonomous mobile robots, electronics assembly, and medical equipment. The drive doesn’t require pin soldering or cable adaptors; supports common motor feedback types including SSI, incremental, and BiSS; and uses real-time data exchange for axis synchronization. The SD01-030 model offers a 24 VDC input bus, 24 VDC input logic, continuous current of 30 Arms, and peak current of 100 Arms; the SD01-025 model features a 48 VDC input bus, 24 VDC input logic, continuous current of 25 Arms, and peak current of 80 Arms.

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Shaft Bushings

Posi-Lok shaft-hub locking bushings

Zero-Max® (Plymouth, MN) offers Posi-Lok shaft-hub locking bushings that eliminate the need for keyways that can weaken or cause excess wear to shaft components. They slide onto a shaft for mounting and provide concentricity with minimal radial and axial runout. The K Series is a single-taper, flanged design available in four different models. The G Series is a dual-taper flangeless design that supports shaft sizes from 19 mm to 120 mm. The D Series is a single-taper flangeless design for smaller outside diameter and size for the connected component. The M Series is a single-taper design with a stepped flange that provides a self-centering feature in an alloy steel construction for shaft sizes from 20 mm to 50 mm.

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MEMS Accelerometer

The Model 2210 single-axis MEMS capacitive accelerometer module

Silicon Designs (Kirkland, WA) offers Model 2210 single-axis MEMS capacitive accelerometer modules. They are available in standard ranges from ±2 g to ±400 g and incorporate a MEMS capacitive accelerometer chip together with high-drive, low-impedance buffering. The modules measure vibration and acceleration on either one, two, or three orthogonal axes and generate two analog voltage outputs that vary in response to applied acceleration. Output scale factor is independent from the supply voltage of +8 to +32V. At zero acceleration, differential output voltage is nominally 0 VDC; at full scale, it is ±4 VDC.

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Linear Encoder

The LIKselect kit-style linear encoder

The LIKselect kit-style linear encoder from HEIDENHAIN (Schaumburg, IL) is designed for precise positioning within its control loop. The miniature three-field scanning sensor is offered with a variety of frame designs, allowing the encoder to be integrated into complex machine system designs. With selectable accuracies of ±3 μm/m or ±5 μm/m on a 20-μm pitch scale, the encoder features a configurable scanning unit, measuring steps down to 78.125 nm, electronic adjustment capability after mounting, and standard incremental interfaces of 1 VPP, TTL, or RS-422.

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Shock Absorbers

The MC75 family of miniature shock absorbers

ACE Controls (Farmington Hills, MI) offers the MC75 family of miniature shock absorbers for energy damping in tight installation spaces in industrial manufacturing, material handling, packaging, medical, electronics, and robotics applications.

They feature energy capacity of 75 inch-pounds per cycle and 250,000 inch-pounds per hour.

Available in weight ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 pounds through 55 to 160 pounds, the units have length of 2.77". They also feature a 0.40" stroke length and one-piece outer body filled with temperature-stable oil. Other features include continuous outer body thread with lock nut and integrated positive stop.

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Brushless DC Gearmotors

The 12-48 VDC motor

Brother International USA (Bridgewater, NJ) offers brushless DC gearmotors that are lubricated and sealed for life. The 12-48 VDC motors are available with several shaft configurations and custom options. They feature helical and hypoid gearing, an e-coat finish for harsh environments, and a power range from 50 to 400 Watts. They are suited for applications in which brush dust contamination is to be avoided or brush contact arcing could affect electronically sensitive equipment.

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Transducers

Gefran WPG and WPP series magnetostrictive linear position transducers

AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) released Gefran WPG and WPP series magnetostrictive linear position transducers that translate a linear position to an electrical signal. They are available in stroke lengths from 50 to 500 mm and with an analog output signal of either 0-10 VDC or 4-20 mA for single-output models. Double-output models provide either a 0-10 VDC and reverse 10-0 VDC signal, or a 4-20 mA with a 20-4 mA reverse signal.

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Hybrid Bearings

Hybrid bearings from NKE Austria

NKE Austria (Steyr, Austria) introduced hybrid bearings that consist of ultrapure steel bearing rings and ceramic rolling elements made of bearing-grade silicon nitride. The ceramic rolling elements have high wear resistance for demanding conditions such as poor lubrication. The rolling elements are corrosion-resistant and high-rigidity. The raceway and roller geometry have been designed for high load capacity.

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Rotary Position Sensors

The RV series of rotary position sensors

NewTek Sensors (Pennsauken, NJ) introduced the RV series of rotary position sensors for industrial robotic systems. With a shaft that rotates 360° with no stops, the sensors measure shaft angle position over a nominal range of ±30°. The sensors are designed for areas with high temperatures, vibration, and shock. Operating temperature range is -65 °F to 221 °F (-55 to 105 °C). Units are available in both a size 8 and size 11 diameter.

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Accelerometer

The Model 2262B gas-damped piezoresistive accelerometer

Endevco (Depew, NY) announced the Model 2262B gas-damped piezoresistive accelerometer for shock environments. The transducer uses a multi-mode damped silicon piezoresistive MEMS sensing element. It is available in 1000, 2000, and 6000 g full scale ranges. The hermetically sealed stainless-steel package includes an integral 4-pin connector. The accelerometer is designed for shock applications in which there is a need to suppress high-frequency inputs for accurate motion measurements.

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Motion Control Kits

The SmartPak kit from Nippon Pulse

Nippon Pulse (Radford, VA) offers SmartPak and PulsePak motion controller kits for stepper motor applications. Each kit contains a hybrid stepper motor with an integral encoder, servo controller, and cable kit. Motors are available with a 1000 or 2500 cpr encoder and in NEMA sizes 8 through 34. The PulsePak includes a Nexus pulse and direction driver; the SmartPak features a Nexus all-in-one servo driver and controller. Both kits feature real-time servo/closed loop control, BASIC programming control, a built-in multi-thread processor, and a wizard for motion system tuning/autotuning.

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Servo Couplings

The GWE 5117 series elastomer jaw servo couplings

Ringfeder Power Transmission USA Corp. (Westwood, NJ) released the GWE 5117 series elastomer jaw servo couplings with a partially slit hub located directly under the jaws and two screw clamps. The couplings eliminate radial loads on the shaft and provide uniform power transmission. Designed for hollow shaft connections, the servo coupling is equipped with an expanding mandrel for friction-locked torque transmission. They feature a spider element that is available in solid standard form that minimizes movement or drilled through the center.

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Gearmotors

The gearmotor from Bodine Electric

Bodine Electric (Northfield, IL) introduced 40 Ex-Proof AC and BLDC gearmotors and four motors that are UL-listed for use in environments where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids are likely to exist under normal operating conditions. The CI/D1 geared motors combine the motor with an integral parallel shaft type FX gearhead. The gearmotors and motors meet National Electrical Code (NEC) Class I, Division 1 requirements and are rated for use in areas where groups C and D flammable liquids are commonly found. Both the type 34R6-FX (AC) and the 34B6-FX (BLDC) gearmotors and 34-frame motors are rated IP-66.

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Positioning Stage

The Four-Axis Gantry

H2W Technologies (Santa Clarita, CA) offers a Four-Axis Gantry (YY'ZZ'), a four-axis positioning stage that consists of two SRS-007-03-006-01 brushless linear motor stages, each vertically mounted to two independently moving horizontal linear axes. Each horizontal linear axis uses a BLDM-D04 H2W brushless linear motor to generate a continuous/peak force of 16.5 lbs./49.0 lbs. with each moving table capable of a total stroke length of 47.1". Each moving table has an independent, non-contact, 1.0-micron resolution encoder head reading a single encoder scale and is guided by a rigid recirculating ball linear bearing block sharing a single linear bearing rail.

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Pitch and Roll Stages

Pitch and roll stages from Optimal Engineering Systems

Optimal Engineering Systems (Van Nuys, CA) offers pitch and roll stages. The pitch axis (lower stage) is a goniometer stage with preloaded cross roller guides and a 1:296 ratio worm drive for motion over a range of travel of ±45 degrees, typical accuracy of 0.05 degrees, and repeatability of ±0.01 degrees. The roll axis (upper stage) is also a high-precision goniometer stage with preloaded cross roller guides and a 1:352 gear ratio worm drive for smooth motion over a range of travel of ±10 degrees. The stage has a 65 mm × 65 mm table and typical accuracy of 0.05 degrees and repeatability of ±0.01 degrees. Each axis has end-of-travel limit switches.

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Motion Design Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2021 issue of Motion Design Magazine.

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