Motion Control/​Automation

Explore the latest developments in motion control and automation. Discover innovative advances from NASA and major research labs in robotics, autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, PID controller applications, motor drives and power transmissions.

News : Motion Control
Harnessing Everyday Motion to Power Mobile Devices

Imagine powering your cell phone by simply walking around your office or rubbing it with the palm of your hand. Rather than plugging it into the wall, you become the power source. Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed the first triboelectric nanogenerator, or "TENG." The team paired two...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Re-entry Vehicle Shape for Enhanced Performance

A vehicle entering the atmosphere of a planet will do so at hypersonic speeds and will need to decelerate and maneuver through that atmosphere while protecting its payload from excessive heating. As a consequence, the vehicle shape must be designed to provide optimal aerodynamic lift and drag...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
CubeSat Deployable Log Periodic Dipole Array

The antenna is composed of two main deployable structural components that help it achieve the large packing factor necessary to fit within the small volume of the CubeSat. The primary component of the antenna array is a tension stiffened truss, which is preloaded using a large tape spring. The truss...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Protective Sleeve for a Pyrotechnic Reefing Line

A metallic sleeve provides protection and guidance for the actuating lanyard pull of a parachute system reefing line cutter. This device ensures that the reefing line cutter is not damaged during packing or deployment. In addition, the device ensures that the actuating lanyard that initiates the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Metabolic Heat Regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption

Two fundamental problems facing the development of a portable system to sustain life on extraterrestrial surfaces are (1) heat rejection and (2) rejection of metabolically produced CO2 to an environment with a ppCO2 of 0.4 to 0.9 kPa as is present on Mars. Portable...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Moving Magnet Voice Coil Actuators Offer Controllable Movement for High-Duty-Cycle Applications

There are two types of voice coil actuators: moving coil and moving magnet. The materials of construction are similar, since they both use rare earth magnets, steel, copper wire, and basic insulation materials. There is a tendency to want to say one...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Integrated Motion Solution Keeps Laser Marking Machine Costs Down

As the demands of traceability and compliance are put on manufacturers, using a laser provides permanent marking of a variety of information, including 2D bar codes, serial numbers, company information, and logos.

Briefs : Motion Control
Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM)

Autonomous robotic manipulators have the potential to increase manufacturing efficiency, provide in-home care, and reduce the risk to humans in hazardous situations. The current challenge in autonomous robotic manipulation is to approach the capabilities of dedicated, one-off manipulators in known...

Briefs : Motion Control
Sliding Gait for ATHLETE Mobility

ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is a multipurpose mobility platform for planetary surfaces. It is a cross between a wheeled rover and a walking robot, and travels using powered wheels mounted on the end of each of six robotic limbs. Each limb is a fully articulated robotic manipulator...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Motors and Gearheads

The DCX 10S and DCX 22L motors from maxon motor (Fall River, MA) are new additions to the DCX series of DC motors. Also available is the GPX 22 gearhead in a version with reduced noise level and with ceramic axes. The DCX 10S is a brushed DC motor with high power density and low vibration that exceeds the 1 mNm threshold...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Cylinders

Tolomatic (Hamel, MN) offers ERD electric cylinders in six body sizes. The ERD is a rod-style electric actuator family designed as an alternative to pneumatic cylinders, and an option for automating manual processes. They are suitable for motion control applications such as washdown environments, product changeovers,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Encoders

Nemicon Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) offers the 7S Series incremental rotary encoder that measures 7.2 mm (0.28346") in diameter, and features high resolution and high noise immunity. The encoders offer 3 signals: A, B, and Z (index signal), and three options for resolution from 100 to 400 pulses per rotation. Output type is open...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Slide Systems

The TOPBALL® slide products from NB Corp. (Hanover Park, IL) are self-aligning and feature a floating wiper seal. The floating load plate adjusts clearance. Tolerances are achieved by grinding, rather than stamping, the raceways and load plates. The slide products are available as total systems or as individual...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Stepper Motors and Drives

Bimba Manufacturing (University Park, IL) has released a suite of stepper motors and drives for use with its Original Line Electric®(OLE) actuators. The suite includes the IntelliMotor®, an integrated stepper motor, and AC and DC stepper motors and drives. The IntelliMotor provides the stepper...

Products : Motion Control
Brushless Motors

Koford Engineering LLC (Winchester, OH) has introduced a line of 2.3"(60 mm) slotless brushless motors available with a variety of windings in either sensor- less or hall sensor configurations. Rated output is up to 800 Watts continuous power with no load speeds from 0.864 to 25,104 rpm. The slotless design provides cog-free...

Products : Motion Control
Incremental Encoders

The HS35 series through hollow shaft and OptoPulse EIL580 series solid and hollow shaft incremental encoders are available from Baumer (Southington, CT). They use an optical scanning principle that delivers less than 1 arc minute accuracy for applications such as speed and position control for robotics. The encoders’...

Products : Motion Control
Motor/Drive

Lenze Americas (Uxbridge, MA) has introduced the Smart Motor for applications ranging from material handling to packaging automation. The device combines a conventional AC motor with electronic drive control technology, and is fully programmable from a smartphone. Equipped with control intelligence in the terminal box, the motor...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless DC Pump

The 230 Series from Thomas Division (Sheboygan, WI) is a brushless DC WOB-L® air compressor designed for applications requiring a compact, lightweight pump with variable output. The pump measures 3.8 × 2.64 × 3.63" and weighs 1.2 pounds. It features variable output (1,000 – 3,000 RPM) utilizing a brushless DC motor, an...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Servo Gearheads

DieQua Corp. (Bloomingdale, IL) offers the WATT Drive series of helical gearing servo gearheads with a variety of inline and right-angle helical, helical bevel, and helical worm designs. The gearheads provide torque capacities up to 14,000 Nm for general-purpose servo-controlled applications. They feature backlash as low as 5 arc...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Servomotors

Beckhoff Automation (Savage, MN) offers the AM8500 series servomotors that are suitable for applications with larger external mass inertias such as CNC applications in machine tools. The motors are available in four sizes and three lengths with standstill torques from 1.38 to 29 Nm. One Cable Technology (OCT) enables the power and...

Products : Motion Control
Angle Sensors

TURCK (Minneapolis, MN) has announced inductive angle sensors for rotary actuators. Operating with the inductive resonant circuit measuring principle, the sensors provide valve monitoring on rotary actuators. The sensors are designed with an open face design, providing analog or discrete outputs and various mounting options. The...

Products : Motion Control
Accelerometer

Measurement Specialties (Hampton, VA) offers the Model 8101 compact accelerometer designed for general-purpose vibration measurement. The plug-and-play piezoelectric linear accelerometer is available in two dynamic ranges (±40 g and ±160 g), as well as two measurement directions (X- or Z-axis configuration). The accelerometer...

Products : Motion Control
Stepper Motor Pre-Driver

Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX) has introduced the DRV8711 integrated stepper motor pre-driver that is configurable with an on-chip microstepping indexer, as well as stall detection and current regulation that tunes any motor. External MOSFETs control the stepper motor to provide minimum heat dissipation. The pre-driver...

Products : Motion Control
MEMS Accelerometers

Murata (Hoofddorp, Netherlands) has announced the SCA720 series of analog MEMS accelerometers for electrically controlled suspension and engine anti-vibration applications. Measuring 7.0 x 8.6 x 3.3 mm and constructed from a single crystal silicon, the accelerometer’s 3D structure employs capacitive sensing techniques....

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Torque Inserts

TI-300 Series torque inserts from Reell Precision Manufacturing (St. Paul, MN) provide positioning and pivoting, enabling precise, controlled positioning of equipment and components for a range of hinging applications. They feature a rated service life of 50,000 cycles and incorporate ReellTorq® clip technology, which eliminates...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Actuators

Exlar Corp., a Curtiss-Wright company (Chanhassen, MN), has announced the Tritex II integrated linear actuator with a 75-mm frame size. With forces to 1035 lbf continuous and 2075 lbf peak, the AC powered actuator features a 1.5kW servo amplifier. The actuators combine a brushless servomotor with an AC or DC powered servo drive,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Motors

ETEL (Schaumburg, IL) offers the LMS ironcore linear motor series. Featuring a patented anti-cogging design, the motors are suited for thermal-drift-sensitive precision machines, and other motion control applications such as high-end automation. The motors can be used in any machines where a high power density is required with a...

Products : Motion Control
Customized Motors

Applimotion (Loomis, CA) provides brushless direct drive motor kits for complex motion assemblies in automation, semiconductor equipment, medical device, and satellite communication systems. Complete assemblies with motor kits inside are available. The ULT, UTH, and UTS motor kits can be integrated into a customized assembly...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Customized Motors

Applimotion (Loomis, CA) provides brushless direct drive motor kits for complex motion assemblies in automation, semiconductor equipment, medical device, and satellite communication systems. Complete assemblies with motor kits inside are available. The ULT, UTH, and UTS motor kits can be integrated into a customized assembly...

Products : Motion Control
Piston Pump

HAWE Hydraulics (Charlotte, NC) has introduced the V60N axial piston pump with displacement of up to 130 cm3/rev and peak pressures of up to 450 bar. It is suited for load-sensing systems working at operating pressures of up to 400 bar, and supplying hydraulic users with different pressure levels and/or variable volume...

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