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.

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology, is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) of NASA. The Laboratory has a wide-ranging charter for solar system exploration, Earth observation, astrophysical research, and technology development. It is located on 176...

Articles : Motion Control
Motion Control Requirements for Medical Instruments

Medical equipment motion control runs the gamut from electric wheelchair motion to heart assist pumps. This article will focus on the segment consisting of medical laboratory instruments. Even in this segment, motion control ranges from precision liquid handling and dispensing, to sample-...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Motors Keep Telescope Operating in Record-Low Antarctic Temperatures

At Concordia Station in Antarctica, there is a telescope mount that has been operating for a few years. Recently, there was a new record temperature at the Dome C site: -84.6 °C, or -199 °F. Not many things operate well in such conditions, but the telescope mount — which...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Robots and Vision Combine for Accurate Sheet Metal Cutting

In the general construction industry, many different parts are cut from sheet metal and then welded together on a large machine or vehicle. The trouble arises when the sheets are placed on the cutting table; the larger and heavier they are, the more difficult they are to position on the...

Application Briefs : Test & Measurement
Crew Test Module Provides Launch Escape System

New Shepard rocket-propelled vehicle

Blue Origin
Kent, WA
253-872-0411 www.blueorigin.com

Blue Origin has received funding from NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative to develop a composite crew test module and a launch escape system for its commercial...

Articles : Motion Control
Synchronizing Hydraulic Axes in a Pultrusion Machine

Many hydraulically operated machines perform adequately with on/off “bang-bang” valves, but some need special controls to avoid maintenance problems and deliver quality production output. This is particularly true when multiple hydraulic axes need to be synchronized. In these cases,...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Removing Digestive Tumors With a Therapeutic Endoscopy Teleoperation Robot

Endo Tools Therapeutics (ETT) is a medical device company based in Brussels, Belgium that was established in 2008. The company was formed after an innovative research project started in 2004 at Erasme Hospital (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and the faculty of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Crane Brake Release Tool

At the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF), the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) segments are processed after they arrive by rail prior to a Shuttle launch. Using overhead bridge cranes capable of lifting up to 200 tons, the engineers remove the rail cover of the SRB segments, inspect the propellant grain and metal...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Distributed Control of Long Slender Robotic Manipulators

Sample acquisition from small bodies is a key capability needed for proposed comet and asteroid sample return missions. This investigation determines how to utilize shape memory materials (SMMs) in sampling booms that result in improved sampling capability. By training an SMM wire to...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Drive and Controller

MICROMO (Clearwater, FL) offers the series 2232/2250 BX4 CSD/CCD compact drive and integrated motion controller from Faulhaber. The series incorporates the BX4 four-pole brushless technology with a single-axis motion controller. The drives are available with an RS-232 serial or CAN interface. Configuration of the drives is...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electic Motors

NovaTorque (Sunnyvale, CA) offers Premium Plus+ electric motors in 2 and 3 HP @ 1800 RPM as a motor system paired with a variable frequency drive, or as standalone motors. The 2-HP version has a full-load rated efficiency of 91.5% at 1800 RPM and is available in a 143T frame, and the 3-HP version has a full-load rated efficiency...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motor/Drives

Dunkermotoren USA (Elgin, IL) has introduced the BG75 series modular brushless permanent magnet motors driven by an integrated servo motor drive. The series is composed of 2.95" squared high-power-density motors in three stack lengths. The motor peak torque varies from 22.1 in-lb for the BG75×25, to 44.2 in-lb for the...

Articles : Motion Control
Electromobility Drives Green Vehicles

Environmental friendliness, economy, and individuality are the fundamental ideas associated with the topic of eMobility (electromobility). The increasing scarcity of resources and constantly rising prices are being felt by everyone, as will be the follow-up costs if we don’t succeed in reducing...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Components Optimize Performance of Liquid Chromatography System

Pricing pressures, intense competition, and strict regulatory demands are challenging scientists and researchers in the fast-growing, highly-regulated pharmaceutical, life science, biochemical, industrial, and environmental industries to make important breakthroughs faster...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Machine Vision Aids Earthquake Retrofit Studies

As recent events in Haiti and Argentina have highlighted, many urban buildings in seismically active regions worldwide are in need of reinforcement to resist earthquake damage. One challenge facing earthquake retrofit activities is finding a balance between the cost and the effectiveness of the...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Sensor

Piher North America (Libertyville, IL) offers the MTS 360 SMD rotary position sensor that combines a through-shaft design with 360° absolute position feedback in an ultra-miniature size. The non-contacting sensor measures 6 × 17 × 18 mm, and features reliability to 50 million cycles. The sensor can be integrated on a PCB, and...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Universal Motor Controller

Oriental Motor (Torrance, CA) has introduced the SCX10 single-axis universal stepping motor controller that allows users to operate any motor via three serial communication protocols, including RS-232C, CANopen, and USB interface. It can be used either in an open loop or closed loop system. Standard software allows for...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hydraulic Cylinders

J.H. Williams Tool Group, a unit of Snap-on Industrial (Kenosha, WI), offers single-acting lock nut cylinders in diameter sizes from 2 to 12". Units are designed to support loads for extended periods without hydraulic pressure; an overflow port prevents cylinders from travel. Units are 10,000 psi/700 bar with weight capacity...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Triaxial Accelerometer

Dytran Instruments (Chatsworth, CA) has released the 3363AT series miniature triaxial accelerometers for modal analysis testing and environmental stress screening. The IEPE-type piezoelectric sensors have a laser-welded titanium design that includes ceramic sensing elements coupled to ultra-low-noise JFET electronics. The...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Pressure Valve

The Model 795 pneumatic dispensing valve from Tridak (Torrington, CT) dispenses very high-viscosity fluids, gels, and pastes that require high pressure to achieve suitable material flow. The valve can be used for silicone gels, greases, adhesives, and sealants. The valve features an adjustable flow control and repeatable...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushed DC Motors

Maxon Motor (Fall River, MA) offers two new motor sizes with IP54 protection rating and mounting brakes. The commutated DC motors, with output power of 200 and 250W, are protected on the commutation side with sealed aluminum housing. The cable outputs are sealed with PG cable fittings, and the shaft is secured with a radial...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Actuator Drive

Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions (Hollis, NH) offers the PCM4806 IDEA™ programmable linear actuator drive that is RoHS compliant and optimized to regulate a low-current power stage suitable for controller can-stack linear actuators. The compact electronic drive and fully programmable control unit feature a graphic user...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Motors

Pittman® Series 8690™ brush-commutated DC motors from AMETEK Technical & Industrial Products (Kent, OH) are 26-mm motors for data storage, medical, semiconductor processing, automation, and other high-performance applications. The iron core DC motors incorporate bonded neodymium iron boron magnets, and include 7-slot skewed...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Piezo Driver

Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA) offers the XPSDRVP1, an XPS-compatible driver card for the piezoelectric stack-based NanoPositioning line of sub-nanometer-resolution stages. The driver eliminates the need for either an XPS pass-through card or an independent piezostack driver. An erasable programmable readonly memory (EPROM) stores the...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
MEMS Inclinometer

TURCK (Minneapolis, MN) offers the Q42 dual-axis inclinometer sensor with a CANopen interface for angular tilt detection, and angle measurements of ±10, 45, and 60 degrees. The device measures angular tilt in reference to gravity. It features a MEMS device that incorporates a microelectromechanical capacitive element into the...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Single-Axis Accelerometer

Kistler Instrument Corp. (Amherst, NY) offers the Type 8640A miniature, single-axis, IEPE PiezoBeam® accelerometer for the multi-channel modal and structural analysis of small or thin-walled structures and components. Offered in ranges of ±5 g, ±10 g, and ±50 g, with sensitivities from 100 to 1000 mV/g, the unit...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Ring Encoder

ASM Sensors (Elmhurst, IL) offers the PMIR7 series POSIROT® incremental en coder magnet rings in three sizes for different shaft sizes. They yield up to 184,320 pulses per revolution in conjunction with the quadrature encoder read head. The encoder system consists of a magnetoresistive read head, PMIS4, and a dual-channel...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Stages

The MS-2500 stage from Applied Scientific Instrumentation (Eugene, OR) provides 100 mm of Yaxis travel and 250 mm of X-axis travel, and works on existing inverted microscopes. Custom configurations are available, including front-loading stages with over 300 mm of Y-axis travel. The stage accepts standard 160 × 110 mm or wide 283 × 110...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hybrid Stepper Motors

Servo2Go (Greenville, DE) has introduced the Applied Motion Products HT24 NEMA 24 frame series of hybrid stepper motors for applications where additional power is required, but changing to a size 34 motor is not possible. The motors are available with single or dual shafts, and are optimized for microstepping. Optional...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Diaphragm Pump

The 1410 Series DC miniature diaphragm pump from Thomas Division (Sheboygan, WI) measures 3.3 × 1.2 × 2.1" and is designed for medical and other applications requiring high performance in a compact package. The pump features maximum flow of 4.3 lpm, with a maximum pressure of 27.5 psig, and a maximum vacuum of 22.0 in.Hg. The...