Encoders

POSITAL (Hamilton, NJ) offers kit-style encoders for feedback for servo and stepper motors that enable a control system to have complete information on the physical position of the mechanical components that it is directing. Multiturn absolute kit encoders are based on magnetic sensing technology. The multiturn counting system is powered by wire energy harvesting technology that enables the absolute encoder to maintain true absolute position over power cycles and rotation of the encoder during power-off conditions. With 17 bits (131,072 positions) of single-turn resolution and 16 bits (65,536 turns) of multi-turn range, the encoders are suited for position control applications.

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Accelerometers

PCB Piezotronics (Depew, NY) announced Models 357A64 and 357M168 accelerometers designed for extreme temperatures from 1200 °F (649 °C). The single-ended-output, charge accelerometers feature a UHT-12 sensing element and integral hardline cable terminating in a 10-32 jack connector. The 357A64 features a screw tab mount and the 357M168 has a weld tab mount.

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Motion Controllers

Nippon Pulse America (Radford, VA) introduced Performax (PMX) motion controllers. The box controllers utilize the company’s PCL-6000 series advanced motion controller chips for 4-axis and 2-axis motion. The PMX series also features linear coordinated motion capabilities as well as circular coordinated motion capabilities for four-axis models. Available functions include trapezoidal or S-curve acceleration, encoder feedback support, on-the-fly speed change, multi-task standalone programming, and analog joystick control. The controllers are available with USB, RS-485, and Ethernet communication options.

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Programmable Logic Controller

IDEC Corp. (Sunnyvale, CA) released the MicroSmart FC6A Plus PLC with up to 2,060 local I/O to control and monitor the largest machines or entire small-scale manufacturing facilities. Program memory is 800 kB (100K steps). Two models are available, each with 24 Vdc input power. The 16 I/O model has 8 inputs and 8 relay or transistor outputs. The 32 I/O model has 16 inputs and 16 transistor outputs. Each model also includes an integral 0-10 Vdc analog input with 12-bit resolution. Each model can accommodate up to three plug-in discrete, analog, serial communication, or Bluetooth cartridges. Up to 63 I/O expansion modules can be added, enabling the unit to handle up to 2,060 I/O with a maximum of 511 analog I/O. The controller also includes an optional Bluetooth wireless communication adapter, giving users the power to monitor the PLC and download/upload programs from any PC or laptop with Bluetooth capability. Files can be stored at the PLC or logged to the PLC’s SD memory card for transfer to an FTP server. All models have two built-in RJ45 Ethernet ports. Optional plug-in communication cartridges can be added to create two additional RS232C/RS485 ports.

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Linear Motion Platform

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) offers the Integrated Granite Motion (IGM) platform that can be designed with mechanical or air bearings, ball-screw or linear-motor drives, and a variety of feedback elements ranging from encoders to laser interferometers. Additional axes of motion — such as rotary, lift, or piezo stages, or even galvanometer scanners — can be integrated onto the axes. IGM systems can have higher stiffness than a stage-on-granite solution because the IGM system has fewer parts in the structural loop. The systems can be more compact due to the more integrated nature of machine components and granite. This provides for the possibility of smaller Abbe offsets and better machine positioning accuracy. In addition, it is simpler to optimize axis design parameters such as travel length and payload capacity because each axis of an IGM solution is engineered and built directly into the main granite structure.

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Integrated Motors and Drives

AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) offers SureStep integrated drive/ motor units that provide accurate microstepping position and speed control for smooth motion and step response. They require only two components: power supply and integrated stepper motor/drive. Standard and advanced motor/drives are available. They feature torque from 54 to 340 oz-in and software-selectable resolutions ranging from 200 steps per revolution. The drives can operate with traditional high-speed inputs but can also be commanded via 0–5V analog input. An internal indexer can accomplish point-to-point moves controlled via ASCII communication. Free SureMotion Pro drive configuration software is available for advanced integrated motor/drives to configure and set up the drive, including drive, motion control mode, I/O, and motor. A Status Monitor screen aids in troubleshooting alarms and faults.

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Magnetic Couplings

Miki Pulley (Plymouth, MN) introduced magnetic couplings that transmit torque from one shaft to another using a magnetic field rather than a mechanical connection. The design incorporates rare earth neodymium magnets in the assembly to transmit torque by pairing opposite magnetic poles via the input and output hubs without physical engagement. The couplings have an intended engineered torque limit at a specific air gap. The transmittable maximum torque may be adjusted by increasing or decreasing distance between coupling hubs. Depending on model, size, and installed air-gap, the magnetic couplings’ upper torque limit may be exceeded without mechanical damage. The hub slips to the next magnetic pole without noise or mechanical wear. Applications include automation including assembly systems, pumps, compressors, and transmissions in closed containers. Four models in multiple sizes are available with torque from 2.66 in-lbs. to 1610 in-lbs. Bore size ranges from 8 to 55 mm on butt shaft configurations.

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Machining Software

Mastercam 2019 machining software from CNC Software (Tolland, CT) features 2D through multi-axis milling automation features, CAD and model preparation improvements, expanded 3D tooling, Accelerated Finishing™, and turning and mill-turn enhancements. A series of automated 2D through 5-axis toolpath improvements includes re-engineered chamfering and holemaking, plus multiax-is deburring. Other features include enhanced CAD functionality and 3D model import support, improved part preparation and fixture setup tools, additional PowerSurface capabilities, and expanded support for Model-Based Definition (MBD). An expanded digital tool library capability delivers 3D tool assembly models. The software offers improvements to toolpath and machine simulation, tool-path graphics, and other verification and analysis tools as well as support for block-drilling multiple holes simultaneously and better axis control in simulation.

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Threaded Shaft Collars

Ruland (Marlborough, MA) offers inch and metric left-hand threaded shaft collars available in one- and two-piece clamp styles in steel and stainless steel with bore sizes ranging from 1/8 to 2-1/4" and 4 to 30 mm. Left-hand threaded shafting is used to reduce the risk of components coming loose in rotating applications and as a safety measure to prevent the unintended removal of critical components. Threaded shaft collars are suited for guiding, spacing, stopping, mounting, and component alignment in industries such as packaging, printing, semiconductor, and solar. The two-piece type allows for installation or disassembly without the need to remove adjacent components. Threads are double-tapped for a burr-free finish. The units offer controlled face-to-bore perpendicularity (TIR ≤0.002" or 0.05 mm) when used as a load-bearing face or for aligning components such as bearings or gears. The collars are manufactured from 1215 lead-free steel with a proprietary black oxide finish and 303 stainless steel with hardware of like material.

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Gearboxes

EXSYS Tool (San Antonio, TX) introduced EPPINGER high-precision planetary-type gearboxes available in PE (planetary eco) and PP (planetary precision) styles for applications that require low backlash, high efficiency, shock resistance, and a high torque-to-weight ratio. With a modular design that combines ground gears and precision gear components, the gearboxes mount to a variety of motors through a flexible flange system. The range comprises five sizes, with each size offered as a single-, dual-, or triple-stage design. Each gearbox variant is also available as a precision design with reduced backlash. Overall transmission ratios are available from i = 3:1 to i = 512:1 in a variety of applications. Servo planetary gearboxes in PT-style are also available for installation of all common servomotors with all sizes of the gearboxes. PT-style gearboxes feature a design by which all ring gears, planet gears, and sun pinions are case-hardened and ground for high-stiffness positioning tasks.

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