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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Table

Physik Instrumente (PI) L.P. (Auburn, MA) has introduced the M-660 rotary table driven by piezo motors that enable a profile of 14 mm. The table is equipped with a direct measuring en coder. It can accelerate to velocities of 720 degrees/sec. and its directly coupled optical encoder resolves position down to 4 μrad, providing...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Multi-Axis Motor Control

Maxon Motor USA (Fall River, MA) offers the EPOS2 36/2 multi-axis controller in a motherboard configuration that provides either a standalone multi-axis motor controller or one that can be integrated into the final product as a sub-board. Starting with 11 nodes connected together via CANopen, the snap-apart construction...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
AC Motors

The IronHorse™ line of general-purpose AC motors from AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) includes cast iron threephase motors in horsepower ranges from 1 to 200 hp. The motors are available in speeds of 1200, 1800, and 3600 RPM, and are electrically reversible. The T-frame and TC-frame TEFC motors feature ribbed cast iron frames and are...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Digital Inclinometer

Analog Devices (Norwood, MA) has released the ADIS16210 MEMS iSensor® digital inclinometer system that provides measurements of both pitch and roll angles over a full orientation range of ±180°. It integrates iMEMS® multi-axis accelerometer technology and signal processing, adding addressable user registers for...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Solenoid Valve

Parker Fluid Control Division (New Britain, CT) offers the High Flow direct mount NAMUR solenoid valve for general-purpose valve actuator applications. It features a NAMUR mounting pattern and flow rates from 1.2 to 3.0 Cv. A spring return allows operation in the event of a power loss, and a screened exhaust nut protects valve...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Step-Down Controller

Linear Technology Corp. (Milpitas, CA) offers the LTC3867 fixed-frequency synchronous step-down DC/DC controller with nonlinear control, differential output voltage sensing, and clock synchronization. The 4V to 38V input range encompasses a variety of applications including intermediate bus voltages. Onboard N-channel MOSFET...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Actuator

Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions (Waterbury, CT) offers a 36-mm G4 linear actuator that includes an adapter plate that allows the smaller 36- mm OD unit to replace 42-mm and 46-mm units in existing applications using the same bolt pattern and pilot surface. The actuator design utilizes optimized teeth geometry along with high-energy...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Compressor

The 2220 Series brushless DC oil-less air compressor from Thomas Division (Sheboygan, WI) is designed for applications requiring a compact compressor with variable output. The unit weighs 1.48 pounds and measures 3.8 × 2.64 × 4.7". It features a variable speed motor that produces flow to 1.2 cfm and pressure to 30 psi. It uses...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Servo Motors

Wittenstein (Bartlett, IL) has introduced the MRSH line of servo motors designed in a modular concept to allow users to select frame sizes, lengths, and options. The MRSH049A and MRSH064A models are available in lengths of 15, 30, 45, and 60 mm; the MRSH130A in lengths of 30, 60, 120, and 230 mm; and the MRSH178A and MRSH178C in...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
V-Belt Drives

Premium banded V-belts from TB Wood’s (Chambersburg, PA) are designed for drives requiring high impact strength and load-carrying power. Banded belts feature a multiple-layer tie band that provides lateral rigidity to prevent belts from turning over or from coming off the drive. Premium singles are available for applications...

Articles : Motion Control
NASA Announces New Launch System

Today, NASA announced the new Space Launch System (SLS), an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit.

Articles : Imaging
When Human-Machine Interfaces and Control Converge

Today’s human-machine interfaces (HMIs) provide the link between sophisticated technology and the human touch required to effectively operate essential systems and applications. By offering intuitive contact between the operator and the process, users can safely operate trains, build cars,...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Innovation in Smart Robotics

After turning the dial to heavy-duty and pushing the start button, Modi waits for the click that indicates that the interlock mechanism successfully locked the door of the washing machine. Shortly after, the water starts to flow and the machine indicates that the soak and scour phase is in progress. Now it’s time...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Actuators Offer Performance, Efficiency, and Cost Benefits

As production rates and quality standards continue to increase, manufacturers require motion control solutions that effectively perform at higher speeds, and provide better accuracy, simpler installation, and higher efficiency without increasing costs or maintenance...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Precision Servo-Hydraulic System Controls Pharmaceutical Tablet Machine

The manufacturing of pharmaceutical tablets is carried out using machines that appear, at first sight, to be very simple. First, a die is filled with the correct amount of powder. Next, two opposing punches compress the powder to form the tablet. Finally, the tablet is...

Articles : Motion Control
Steer-by-Wire Systems with Integrated Torque Feedback Improve Steering Performance and Reduce Cost

Hydraulic steering systems have long dominated the industrial utility vehicle market because of their familiarity both to vehicle designers and operators. More recently, a trend has been seen towards the use of electronic steer-by-wire systems...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Electro-Hydraulic Motion Controller for Earthquake Simulation

How do you test the behavior of different soil structures in an earthquake? Obviously, large earthquakes don’t happen often, and they certainly don’t happen on cue. The solution, of course, is to model earthquakes in a laboratory environment. And that’s exactly what is being...

Articles : Imaging
Machine Vision Fundamentals: How to Make Robots ‘See’

Machine vision combines a range of technologies to provide useful outputs from the acquisition and analysis of images. Used primarily for inspection and robot guidance, the process must be done reliably enough for industrial automation. This article provides an introduction of how...

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 : Robotics, Automation & 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 : Motion 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...