Motion Control System

Elmo Motion Control (Nashua, NH) introduced Quartet, an ultra-small 4-axis motion control system with multi-axis control, integrated 4 × 5 kW servo drives, and safety and networking functionality. The system is operated by a simple programming environment made for fast implementations of any 4-axis application. The 4-axis module can operate as a standalone unit as well as a standard EtherCAT node within a network. The full multi-axis control solution is suited for space-restricted applications and provides minimal heat dissipation and less wiring and cabling. The module can be mounted within the system as an integral part and not in a traditional external cabinet.

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Voice Coil Motor

Moticont (Van Nuys, CA) released the GVCM-095-089-03 linear voice coil motor (also known as linear DC motor) that features a continuous force of 63.9 lbs. (284.1 N) and 202.0 lbs. (898.4 N) of peak force at a 10% duty cycle. Guided by a plain bearing that can allow side loads up to 3 lb. (13.5 N), the 0.236” (6.0 mm) diameter shaft with an internal thread has a stroke length of 0.5” (12.7 mm). The low-inertia brushless motor also features high acceleration/deceleration, zero backlash, high repeatability, and a high force-to-size in either direction. The motor has threaded mounting holes in the housing and coil ends for integration into new and existing applications.

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Dual Encoders

Harmonic Drive (Peabody, MA) released Dual Absolute encoder versions of the FHA-C mini actuator that feature BiSS-C bi-directional communication for both encoders. The dual absolute encoders offer single-turn, absolute position at the output without the need for battery backup. Panel mount connectors come standard and four exit options are available. The actuators combine a Harmonic Drive gear component with a pancake brushless servomotor. A single-turn, 14-bit, gear output encoder has been integrated along with a single-turn, 14-bit, motor input encoder, providing a true absolute encoder that does not require a battery within 360° of rotation of the output.

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Rotary Stages

ALIO Industries (Arvada, CO) introduced TRUE NANO® mechanical rotary stages with crossed roller bearings for improved stiffness for offset loads and rotational precision. Integrated with servo torque frameless motors, the stages can handle applications with extreme mass and acceleration while maintaining nanometer-level precision. Standard stages have 0.2 arc-second repeatability using supplied motion controllers. Standard mechanical crossed roller bearings are rated at 13 to 20 microns of radial and axial run-out, with optional runouts of certain models below 5 microns. The family consists of multiple motor sizes to meet duty cycles as well as mass and acceleration needs from 80 to 300 mm in diameter. Vacuum rotary union options are available on the inner diameter for mounting a vacuum chuck.

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Couplings

Miki Pulley (Plymouth, MN) offers SFM couplings for high-speed power transmission applications up to 24,000 rpm where high torque and precision alignment are critical. Available in 10 sizes, the couplings transmit torque by connecting two shafts while damping system vibrations and accommodating misalignment. The couplings have a disk spring design that provides high torsional rigidity and axial flexibility. The high-response, zero-backlash design features a high torque-to-weight ratio. The couplings have a torque rating from 60 N•m to 600 N•8, depending on model size. Torsional stiffness ranges from 104,000 Nm/rad to 970,000 Nm/rad with parallel misalignment of 0.02 mm.

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Collaborative Robot

Universal Robots (Ann Arbor, MI) offers the UR16e collaborative robot with a 16-kg (35-lb) payload capability. It combines the high payload with a reach of 900 mm and pose repeatability of 0.05 mm for automating tasks such as heavy-duty material handling, part handling, palletizing, and machine tending. The robot can be unpacked, mounted, and programmed to perform a task in less than an hour. It includes built-in force sensing, 17 configurable safety functions including customizable stopping time and stopping distance, and an intuitive programming flow. It meets compliance regulations and safety standards for unobstructed human-robot collaboration including EN ISO 13849-1, PLd, Category 3, and full EN ISO 10218-1.

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Brushless DC Motors

Haydon Kerk Pittman (Harleysville, PA) announced the EC042B IDEA® Motor Series of brushless DC motors with CANopen communication-enhancing motion control capabilities. The motors provide a pre-engineered, factory-configured, and tested servo system. A graphical user interface provides an intuitive programming environment to develop, save, and debug complex motion sequences. Since the connections between the drive and motor are made internally, users can connect power, optional I/O connections, and communications and the motor is ready to operate. The system integrates a brushless servo motor with an IDEA® Drive controller and CANopen communications ports to synchronize motion among multiple motors. The motors are available in three lengths, each with optional factory-configurable gearboxes.

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Nanopositioner

Prior Scientific (Cambridge, UK) released the NanoScan OP400 piezo-based objective scanner that incorporates integral capacitive feedback sensors. It is compatible with most microscopes and objective lenses and has a range of settings for different objective sizes, weights, and performance needs. Coupled with the Queensgate NPC-D-6110 digital controller, the system uses standard 0-10V analog input and output. The digital control technology with variable acceleration/deceleration algorithms improves step settle time by reducing overshoot and preventing stage ringing. Users can control external equipment such as cameras.

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Linear Actuators

The Electrak® HD electromechanical linear actuators from Thomson Industries (Radford, VA) feature onboard electronics that eliminate the need for standalone controls and high power for hydraulic applications to electric conversion. The actuators can move loads up to 16 kN (3600 lbs.). The Electrak Modular Control System (EMCS) is built into every HD actuator and serves as the foundation for onboard controls including an optional J1939 CAN bus.

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Digital Drive

The XC2 PWM digital drive from Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) is a small-form-factor, single-axis motor drive designed for motion control applications. It can control brushless DC, brush DC, voice coil, or stepper motors at up to 100 VDC operating voltage and 10 A peak current capability. The current loop and servo loop are digitally closed to ensure positioning accuracy and rate stability. This allows loop closure rates of up to 20 kHz while also permitting real-time digital and analog I/O processing, data collection, process control, and encoder multiplication. The drive includes safe torque off (STO), a data array consisting of more than 4 million 32-bit elements, dedicated home and end-of-travel limit inputs, and an enhanced current sense device. Encoder support includes square-wave, sine-wave, and absolute encoders.

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Angle Encoder

RSF Elektronik, a HEIDENHAIN company (Schaumburg, IL), offers a kit angle encoder for motion feedback in robotics, semiconductor, medical, and machine tool applications. The encoder is available in absolute (MCR 15) and incremental (MSR 15) versions. Both models consist of an optical scanning unit and a separate full circle drum with the graduation on the outer diameter. The encoders are available in several sizes of drums, from an inside diameter of 40 mm up to 330 mm. The drums come with accuracies starting at 20 arc seconds with up to 10 arc seconds, depending upon diameter. Resolutions are also diameter-based and range from 22 to 25 bits for the absolute versions. Maximum revolutions per minute on the large diameter is 870, and the smallest diameter can be spun up to 12,200 times per minute.

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Linear Position Sensors

ASM Sensors (Elmhurst, IL) offers the posichron® EasyMount absolute, non-contact, and wear-free linear position sensor system for hydraulic cylinders with measurement ranges up to 5,750 mm. The core part of the sensor solution is a maintenance-free magnet fixed inside the cylinder; the sensor itself is mounted on the outside of the hydraulic cylinder. In case of maintenance or repair, the sensor is accessible from the outside. Redundant sensor configurations are an option up to fourfold. Various designs are available to fit different installation conditions. The degree of protection is up to IP68 /IP69. The sensors reach a linearity of up to 0.02% of the measurement length.

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Gripping Tool

Piab (Hingham, MA) offers the piSOFTGRIP® soft gripping tool, a vacuum-based soft gripper that grips sensitive and lightweight objects of odd geometries and/or an unusual surface. The tool has three gripping fingers and a vacuum cavity, all made in one piece. Gripping force is adjusted and controlled by the applied vacuum level. It can grip objects with a diameter of up to 50 mm (1.97”). Made in detectable silicone approved for direct contact with food, the gripper enables the food industry to extend their automated food handling to include a wider range and is also a lightweight automation tool, which means that very little extra weight is added when fitted to robot arms. It has a building height of approximately 80 mm, allowing it to be used where space is limited. The tool features compressed air saving functionality (ES), so virtually no energy is needed to perform a grip and release.

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Linear Transport System

The eXtended Transport System (XTS) from Beckhoff Automation (Savage, MN) is a mechatronic system that contains all functions necessary to support integration for motion control applications in many industries. With attached mechanical guide rails, the motor modules feature directly integrated power electronics, EtherCAT communication, and position measurement. An unlimited number of wireless movers can be controlled at up to 4 m/s on customizable paths. The system features EtherCAT, PC-based control, and TwinCAT 3 automation software from Beckhoff. The movers can accelerate, brake, position, and synchronize themselves on the fly with automatic collision avoidance provided by TwinCAT 3 software. The movers contain magnetic plates that, together with the coils in the motor modules, generate propulsive forces. Movers absorb the attractive forces of the magnets on both sides and compensate for them. As a result, the rollers — composed of low-wear plastic — can move at acceleration greater than 100 m/s2.

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Shock Accelerometers

PCB Piezotronics (Depew, NY) released Model 356A04 and 356A05 ICP® triaxial shock accelerometers designed for electronic drop testing at accelerations up to 5,000 and 20,000 g's, respectively. They are suited for measuring shock and vibration in space-restricted locations and on systems sensitive to mass loading. The miniature accelerometers feature two different sensitivity options: 1.0 mV/g (Model 356A04) and 0.25 mV/g (Model 356A05). Each has a flexible integral cable for ease of cable routing. The high overload shock limits reduce the potential for sensor damage or signal saturation during testing. The sensors are packaged in a hermetically sealed titanium housing and are powered by any ICP signal conditioner or data acquisition system that provides an excitation voltage of 18 to 30 VDC at 2 to 20 mA of constant current.

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Integrated Motor

The TSM14POE StepSERVO™ integrated motor with Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality is available from Applied Motion Products (Watsonville, CA). PoE technology provides DC power and Ethernet communications over a single cable for space-constrained and remote locations. The motor offers a complete motion control solution with a motor, encoder, drive, and controller combined in a single integrated motor package. This eliminates the need to connect motor power and feedback cables to an external motor controller. The motor is built upon Applied Motion's StepSERVO™ Closed Loop Stepper Technology that provides higher torque, higher acceleration rates, better efficiency, decreased motor heating, and less audible noise than traditional, open-loop step motor systems. It adapts to existing industrial Ethernet networks with support for common protocols such as Modbus TCP. The motor features an integral 4096-count magnetic encoder for position and velocity accuracy.

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Extension Rails

LM76 (E. Longmeadow, MA) offers SAIBO TPE28 and TPE43 series partial extension rails. The compact, precision sliding rails are assembled with a zero clearance and are created using a C-shaped external rail and an internal slider. Two rows of steel ball bearings (one on the top and bottom of the slider) travel in ball cages on hardened V-shaped ways with four points of contact. The rails are suited for applications requiring smooth motion such as material handling, wafer handling, delicate parts transfer, assembly, testing, and drilling. The TPE28 series consists of 14 rails with stroke lengths from 72 mm (2.834”) to 601 mm (23.661”) and supporting loads from 1224 N (275 lbs) to 15,166 N (3409 lbs) when two rails are mounted in parallel and the load is uniformly distributed between the rails. The TPE43 series consists of 23 rails with stroke lengths from 123 mm (4.842”) to 1013 mm (39.881”) and supporting loads from 3192 N (717 lbs) to 48460 N (10,894 lbs) when two rails are mounted in parallel and the load is uniformly distributed between the rails. Both have operating temperature range of -20 °C to 120 °C.

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Industrial Brakes

Mondel Magnetek 200S general-purpose industrial brakes from Columbus McKinnon Corp. (Getzville, NY) are suited for high-duty-cycle industrial applications such as overhead cranes, conveyors, hoists, turntables, and lock gates. The IST model complies with DIN standards for metric and ISO requirements, while the AST model complies with AIST/AISE-NEMA standards for North America. Both are three-phase AC thruster brakes with low shaft heights for cranes with low headroom. Four adjustable configurations are available for both models when a built-in spring is used.

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Silicon Expansion Valves

DunAn Microstaq (Austin, TX) introduced modular silicon expansion valves with cooling capacities of 6, 7, and 8 tons (R-410a). The valves are electronically controlled, normally closed, and one-directional flow valves. They can be used for refrigerant mass flow control in industry-standard HVAC and refrigeration systems. They provide superheat control and mass flow adjustments through a closed loop control methodology achieved with the company's Universal SuperHeat Controller that is preprogrammed for multiple refrigerants. The valves provide a plug-and-play option for an electronic closed loop control solution.

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Motion Design Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2019 issue of Motion Design Magazine.

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