Motion Control

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on motion control, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Noncontact Hall-Effect Position Sensor for Harsh Environments

Spectrol has produced an innovative design for a three-terminal voltage output device that integrates a Hall-effect sensor and a patented magnetic circuit to convert radial motion into a voltage-output signal. Standard electrical angles are at 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, 135, and 150...

Briefs : Motion Control
Biomorphic Robot With Distributed Power

The biomorphic robot with distributed power (BIROD) is a prototype of a class of robots that will contain simple, reliable distributed actuators that will consume power from local sources - a design concept inspired in part by biological actuators like muscles in limbs. The BIROD concept stands in...

Briefs : Motion Control
Fault-Tolerant Feedback System for Robot Control

A fault-tolerant feedback (FTF) system has been integrated into a robot control system to prevent robot-arm runaways that could be caused by failure of one or more transducers such as joint-position, torque, and motor-temperature sensors, or in associated wiring harness channels. The FTF system...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Apparatus for Attaching Two Spacecraft Under Remote Control

An apparatus called a "pneumatic stinger" has been developed to enable a first spacecraft, operating under remote control, to grasp a second spacecraft that is in orbit or other unpowered flight. The pneumatic stinger, which is mounted on the first spacecraft, is inserted in a...

Briefs : Motion Control
Motor Feedback Systems Raise Performance Level

Servomotor drive manufacturers agree that the performance of today's digital drive is largely determined by the performance of its feedback device. Clearly, previous feedback solutions, such as resolver technology and conventional encoders, no longer meet the increasing market demands for higher...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Finding a Solution for Bellows Coupling Failure

When a problem such as breaking bellows couplings threatens to halt a machinery production line, it is necessary to look beyond the obvious. In an application in which the coupling works on a Heidenhain encoder for an X-Y table that positions circuit boards, representatives of the user company and...

Briefs : Motion Control
Variable-Speed Motor Drives with Digital Control

Energy efficiency is a continuing focus of the power electronics industry. Motors consume the most electricity in commercial and industrial applications (followed at a distant second by lighting). More than 85 percent of electric motors are single-phase motors that are installed in numerous...

Briefs : Motion Control
Linear Motors Offer New Motion Capabilities

The linear motor was invented in the mid-nineteenth century, at much the same time as its brother, the rotating electric motor. Because the linear motor always has to effect a reversing movement - from one end of the motor to the other and back again - it has physical drawbacks as a source of energy...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
PC Control withIntegrated Motion

PC-based control has become one of the fastest-growing automation solutions for the factory floor. Control engineers are quickly dropping their proprietary PLC boxes and replacing them with PC-based control systems to gain the benefits of open-systems architecture. Similar to the shift away from proprietary Wang...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Robot Arm Actuated by Electroactive Polymers

The figure shows a robot arm that is essentially a miniature crane actuated by electroactive polymers. This mechanism has been constructed as part of a continuing effort to develop lightweight, compact, low-power-consumption telerobots.

Briefs : Motion Control
Wipers Based on Electroactive Polymeric Actuators

Wiping devices that exploit fingerlike bending motions produced by electroactive polymeric (ionomeric) actuators are undergoing development. These wiping devices function similarly to conventional windshield wipers. However, unlike conventional windshield wipers, these devices contain no motors,...

Briefs : Motion Control
Inflatable Strakes for Forebody Vortex Control

It is not necessary to allocate valuable forebody volume to strake-deployment mechanisms.

Briefs : Motion Control
Coupling Fixture Aligns and Seals Ends of Two Tubes

The figure presents a partial cross section of two poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) tubes with machined ends butted and sealed together in a special coupling fixture. This coupling scheme, in conjunction with the careful selection of PMMA tubes to match inner diameters, ensures the precise...

Briefs : Motion Control
Surface Micromachining of Diamond for Fabrication of MEMS Microstructures

A surface-micromachining process has been devised for use in fabricating microscopic polycrystalline diamond structures (e.g., bridges and cantilevers) as integral parts of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The general concept of MEMS encompasses such diverse objects...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hollow Shaft Actuators with Harmonic Drive Gearing

Harmonic drive gearing is recognized by designers for its zero backlash, high gear ratios, and compact design features. A recent development by HD Systems incorporates a large hollow shaft through the actuator, offering many benefits to the machine designer. The FHA hollow shaft actuator series...

Briefs : Motion Control
Vibration Testing with Innovative Supports

When developing the guidance system of a missile, it is necessary to know the resonant frequencies and mode shapes of the missile in flight. Simulating the free vibration condition in the laboratory, however, is a difficult task, since the required supports can affect the test results.

Briefs : Motion Control
Automated Propellant-Blending Machine

The automated propellant-blending machine, a Johnson Space Center (JSC) innovation, refines the production processes of commercial rocket-propellant manufacturers by: (1) generating inert blends that contain particles of uniform size; (2) eliminating manual mixing, thereby speeding production and reducing...

Briefs : Motion Control
Improved Roller and Gear Drives for Robots and Vehicles

Two types of gear drives have been devised to improve the performances of robotic mechanisms. One type features a dual-input/single-output differential-drive configuration intended to eliminate stick/slip motions; the other type features a single-input/dual-angular-momentum-balanced-output...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Electrostatic Displacement Control Compensates for Spring

The figure schematically illustrates part of an accelerometer in which a feedback control subsystem applies voltages to generate electrostatic forces to minimize the displacement of a proof mass suspended on a spring. Older systems of this type provide active control of the displacements...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetostrictive Inertial-Reaction Linear Motors

Linear-translation motors containing inertial-reaction masses driven by magnetostrictive actuator elements are undergoing development. These motors could be used to make fine position adjustments in diverse scientific and industrial instruments that operate at temperatures ranging from near...

Briefs : Materials
Device for High-Pressure Fused Deposition of Engineering Polymers From Feed Rods

A more versatile delivery system for fused deposition has recently been developed. This system uses a very stiff, precise, and compact actuator to drive a small piston/cylinder extruder that has a heated nozzle. Because feed rods are used as the feed material, this...

Briefs : Motion Control
Earthwormlike Exploratory Robots

Mobile robots that would resemble earthworms have been proposed for use in exploring remote, hostile, or inaccessible terrain surface and subsurface environments. This class of robots would be a special case of a more general class of proposed small, lightweight, relatively inexpensive exploratory robots....

Briefs : Motion Control
Miniature Multispeed Transmissions for Small Motors

A design has been developed for manufacturing multispeed transmissions that are small enough to be used with minimotors - electromagnetic motors with power ratings of less than 1 W. Like similar, larger systems, such as those in automobiles, the proposed mechanism could be used to satisfy a...

Motion Control Technology : Robotics, Automation & Control
Navigation and Control of Continuous Mining Systems

Research conducted at the Pittsburgh Research Center (formerly U.S. Bureau of Mines) developed technology that will allow computer-assisted operation of mechanized equipment normally used in underground room-and-pillar coal mining, while permitting workers to be located away from the hazardous...

Briefs : Motion Control
Hydraulically Driven High-Speed Spindle for General Machining

A hydraulically driven high-speed spindle system for milling, machining, facing, drilling, and joining metallic and nonmetallic materials has been developed. Spindles are the most critical elements of high-speed milling machines. The keys to successful design of high-speed spindles...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
A Technique For Compensating Joint Limits in a Robot Manipulator

A robust, optimal, adaptive technique for compensating rate and position limits in the joints of a six-degree-of-freedom manipulator has been developed. In this new algorithm, the unmet demand as a result of actuator saturation is redistributed among the remaining unsaturated...

Briefs : Motion Control
Hybrid Propulsion System for Returning a Sample From Mars

A paper suggests the development of a hybrid rocket engine and associated equipment for returning a sample of material from Mars at relatively low cost. In a hybrid rocket engine, a solid fuel is burned by use of a liquid or gaseous oxidizer, the flow of which can be throttled to control...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Antiovershoot Position Control for Motors Run at Full Speed

An improved motor controller provides a circuit that will allow a motor to run at full speed while traveling from point A to point B, and still be able to obtain the desired damping coefficient when reaching point B. Previously, a motor would overshoot its desired stopping point when...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Precision Actuator Positions Laser Grating

The tunable external cavity diode laser is an important new tool used to evaluate and test the latest fiber-optic components and building blocks of modern telecommunications systems. A key factor enabling operation of this type of laser is the ability to angle-tune the wavelength-dependent key component...

Motion Control Tech Briefs : Motion Control
Protecting a Micromachined Accelerometer During Handling

A highly sensitive micromachined accelerometer that is intended to be exposed to very small accelerations during operation incorporates features for protection against much larger accelerations during handling and transport. More specifically, the accelerometer is designed to measure...

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