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.

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...

Products: Motion Control
DC Drives

IronHorse GSD1 series DC drives from AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) are Pulse-Width-Modulated (PWM) controllers for 12- to 36-Volt battery/solar-powered equipment. Design features include adjustable maximum/minimum speed, current...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Controller

Trio Motion (Tewkesbury, UK) offers the MC4N-Mini EtherCAT master for its Motion Coordinator series motion and machine controllers. The EtherCAT-dedicated controller can handle up to 32 axes of servo or stepper drives, and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Accelerometers

Meggitt Sensing Systems (Irvine, CA) has introduced the Endevco model 7284 series of lightly damped, high-g, triaxial piezoresistive shock accelerometers. The rugged sensors are available in 20,000 g and 60,000 g ranges. The...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Tachometer/Commutator

ServoTek Products (Newell, WV), a member of the Bellofram Group of Companies, has announced the TachSyn Series that can be used as either a brushless DC tachometer or brushless DC motor commutator for monitoring the...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Emergency Stop Switches

IDEC Corp. (Sunnyvale, CA) offers the XW 22-mm emergency stop switches with a ridgeless button that prevents dust buildup. Each operator features both push-turn and push-pull action. The potential energy level of the...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motor

Johnson Electric (Hong Kong) has announced the Compact ECTM E8 brushless technology motor for handheld powered tools. The motor is a design platform that provides high power for battery operated power tools. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) Vertical Cylinder Habitat

NASA’s Constellation Architecture Team defined an outpost scenario optimized for intensive mobility that uses small, highly mobile pressurized rovers supported by portable habitat...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Brushless Motors for In-Tank Fuel Pumps

Most automotive fuel systems use a Fuel Delivery Module (FDM) with components to filter and pump gasoline at a specified pressure and flow rate from the fuel tank to the engine. The FDM uses a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Origami-Inspired Folding of Thick, Rigid Panels

To achieve power of 250 kW or greater, a large compression ratio of stowed-to-deployed area is needed. Origami folding patterns were used to inspire the folding of a solar array to achieve...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Optimizing Closed-Loop Control in Hydraulic Motion

Performing closed-loop control of hydraulic servo systems is often more challenging than controlling servomotor systems. The main reason is that hydraulic systems use compressible oil to...

The LVDT linear position sensor can operate successfully over a wide range of temperatures, depending upon its design and the application in which it is operating. While...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Electric Machine With Boosted Inductance to Stabilize Current Control

High-powered motors typically have very low resistance and inductance (R and L) in their windings. This makes the pulse-width modulated (PWM) control of the current very difficult, especially when the bus voltage (V) is high. These R and L values are dictated by the motor...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Positive-Buoyancy Rover for Under Ice Mobility

A buoyant rover has been developed to traverse the underside of ice-covered lakes and seas. The rover operates at the ice/water interface and permits direct observation and measurement of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
International Space Station- Based Electromagnetic Launcher for Space Science Payloads

A method was developed of lowering the cost of planetary exploration missions by using an electromagnetic propulsion/launcher, rather than a chemical-fueled rocket for propulsion. An electromagnetic launcher (EML) based at the International Space Station (ISS)...

It’s that time of year when we ask NASA Tech Briefs readers to vote for the annual Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards.

Each month, our editors choose a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Kinematic Calibration Process for Flight Robotic Arms

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) robotic arm is ten times more massive than any Mars robotic arm before it, yet with similar accuracy and repeatability positioning requirements. In order to assess and validate these requirements, a higher-fidelity model and calibration processes were...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetostrictive Alternator

This innovation replaces the linear alternator presently used in Stirling engines with a continuous-gradient, impedance-matched, oscillating magnetostrictive transducer that eliminates all moving parts via compression, maintains high efficiency, costs less to manufacture, reduces mass, and eliminates the need for a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Precision Encoders for GEO Space Applications

High-precision encoders are used by earth observation instruments and in mechanisms for laser communication terminals (LCTs). A micro-radian resolution encoder for the LCT was designed for...

Fuel Flexible, Ultra-Portable Microturbine Generator Erik Herold, Jason Ethier, and Ivan Wang
Dynamo Micropower,
Boston, MA

A large unmet need in the oil...

Articles: Defense
2013 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2013 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, SAE International, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in eight categories: Aerospace & Defense (new this year), Consumer Products, Electronics, Machinery &...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Vision-Based Robot Design Wins NASA Test Course Challenge

As part of a NASA test course challenge, Teledyne DALSA engineered a winning Miniature Autonomous Roving Vehicle (MARV), earning the company a $350M contract with NASA’s Marshall...

Worldwide an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has developed an innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Feedback Sensors Keep Servomotors on Target

Fundamentally, a servo system can perform no more accurately than the accuracy of the feedback device controlling it. In addition, errors in speed or position can be introduced into the system by...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Handling Delicate Materials

Special care needs to be taken when handling delicate materials used in medical applications. Small diameters provide increased flexibility needed for long-flex-life applications such as cardiac catheter wires....

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Gearboxes

The i-series planetary gearboxes from Groschopp (Sioux Center, IA) are available with AC, PMDC, and brushless motors, and are made of cast aluminum. They are offered with up to three stages of steel cut or optional plastic gears,...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Machine Design Software

CD-adapco (Melville, NY) offers two connected simulation programs, SPEED and STAR-CCM+, for machine design. The SPEED tool is used to design motors, generators, and alternators; STAR-CCM+ is a heat transfer and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Actuators

Warner Linear (Belvidere, IL) has announced the ITrack linear actuators for light- and medium-duty applications where parallel motor type actuators won’t fit in limited space requirements. The actuators feature a release...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Torque Control Hinges

Reell Precision Manufacturing (St. Paul, MN) offers the TI-100 and TI-200 Series torque control hinges that provide pivoting capabilities without the standard appearance of conventional hinges. Depending on model, the...

Videos