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
Encoder Interface Device

US Digital (Vancouver, WA) offers the QSB (Quadrature to USB) encoder interface adapter that interfaces standard quadrature encoder signals into a PC USB port for encoder verification. Single-ended or differential versions are available. Another version supports single-ended encoder input, digital I/O, and step/direction...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Position Sensors

Novotechnik (Southborough, MA) has introduced the TX2 series of position sensors with stroke lengths up to 300 mm. The sensors are sealed to IP67 specifications, and feature an 18-mm-diameter housing size. The sensors provide linearity to 0.05%, with resolution of more than 0.01 mm. They are equipped with pivot heads to provide...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Position Sensor

PIHER North America (Libertyville, IL) offers the PS15 rotary position sensor in a 15-mm package. It is surface-mountable for detecting changes in angle and position, and converting them to a voltage output. It can be processed by standard automated placement equipment and reflow soldered. The sensor is available with...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electronic Handwheel

The HR 1120 electronic handwheel from Heidenhain Corp. (Schaumburg, IL) is used in machine automation systems where changing formats or positioning objects with numerous axes is necessary. It is suitable for both portable and stationary housings, and is used in association with the machine control. The mechanical detent with...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Lead Screws

Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions (Hollis, NH) offers the Kerk® Micro Series lead screw assemblies. Standard configurations include 2-mm-diameter screws with leads ranging from 0.3 mm to 2 mm revolution, and a variety of nut configurations of self-lubricating acetal and Kerkite® High Performance Composite Polymers. The lead screws are...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Diaphragm Pump

The Thomas 1210 Series diaphragm liquid DC pump from Thomas Division (Sheboygan, WI) features the REFLEX valve design that provides a bubble-free liquid flow for fuel cell and diagnostic applications. Available in 12V and 24V DC diaphragm models, the pump handles a mixture of air and liquid, has a low sound level, and weighs 2.4...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Driver IC

International Rectifier (El Segundo, CA) offers the AUIRS4426S dual-channel, low-side driver IC for hybrid power train drives, direct fuel injection, and DC-DC converter applications. Available in an 8-lead package, the IC is a low-voltage, high-speed power MOSFET and IGBT driver that features matched propagation delay for both...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rolled Ball Screws

Lee Linear (Piscataway, NJ) has introduced end-machined precision rolled ball screws available in a range of sizes and leads. Made from induction case-hardened alloy sheet, the screws are integrally sealed and are available in both inch and metric configurations. They provide smooth motion for close-tolerance applications. The...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
MEMS Inclinometer

The PTAM27L series MEMS-based inclinometer from ASM Sensors (Elmhurst, NY) is designed for single- and dual-axis tilt angle measurements. For single-axis versions, measurement ranges span from ±15° to ±180°, in increments of 15°. For dual-axis versions, the measurement ranges span from ±15° to ±60°, in increments of...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Vertical Lift Stage

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) offers the ANT 130-5-V linear motor-driven wedge-style vertical lift stage that provides in-position stability for nanopositioning applications. It offers travel up to 5 mm and is a precision stage designed for standalone use, or it can be integrated with other stages for a multiaxis nanopositioning...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Stepper Motors

The Super Torque 5818 series stepper motors from Lin Engineering (Morgan Hill, CA) measure 2.4" and feature up to 305 oz-in of holding torque. Bipolar and unipolar windings are available with the option of a custom winding for high speeds or low resonance. Applications include packaging, automation, semiconductor, and dispensing....

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic 3D Scanner Automatically Scans Spacecraft Heat Shields
Adept Viper 850 robot arm
Adept Technology
Pleasanton, CA
925-245-3400
www.adept.com

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, performs research and technology in aeronautics, spaceflight, and information technology in a 3D vision lab. Using...

Articles : Motion Control
Controlling Robotics Precisely With Haptic Technology

Robots are capable of very precise motion, but must be guided with precision in order to fulfill their potential. Consider the task of guiding a robotic surgeon’s arm to suture a wound or insert a catheter. A human surgeon, with all his or her knowledge and experience, is required to...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Control System Safely Moves a Robot During Invasive Neurosurgery

Robotic devices have been used in the medical industry for more than 40 years. Despite the advantages, researchers have faced unique challenges in developing effective, safe robotics applications for medical use. In contrast with industrial applications in which robots operate in...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Progress in Development of the Axel Rovers

Progress has been made in the development of a family of robotic land vehicles having modular and minimalist design features chosen to impart a combination of robustness, reliability, and versatility. These vehicles at earlier stages of development were described in two previous NASA Tech Briefs...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Compact, Lightweight Servo-Controllable Brakes

Compact, lightweight servo-controllable brakes capable of high torques are being developed for incorporation into robot joints. A brake of this type is based partly on the capstan effect of tension elements, which is described by the well known equation

Th/Tl =...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Arm Manipulator Using Active Control for Sample Acquisition and Transfer, and Passive Mode for Surface Compliance

A robotic arm that consists of three joints with four degrees of freedom (DOF) has been developed. It can carry an end-effector to acquire and transfer samples by using active control and comply with surface topology in a...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Alignment System

PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P. (Auburn, MA) offers the F206.S six-axis Hexapod alignment system that provides 6D motion with 33-nanometer resolution and alignment software for optics and photonics components. The system includes a parallel kinematics controller/driver featuring vectorized motion and arbitrary pivot point...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rail System

Thomson (Wood Dale, IL) has introduced the 500 Series Profile rails with an optional ball spacer carriage that reduces carriage running noise by up to 6 dB. The rails' design optimizes the surface interfaces between steel and plastic transition areas along the ball bearing circulation path. Standard end seals provide contaminant...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Controller

QuickSilver Controls (Covina, CA) offers the SilverSterling™ controller for NEMA 11, 17, and 23 frame brushless servo motors; DC brush motors; and voice coil actuators, providing a 5A RMS continuous drive with 7A peak at 12V to 48V. The controller provides both RS-485 and CAN communications ports, supporting DMX, MODbus™ RTU, and...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Screw-Driven Linear Actuator

Bishop-Wisecarver Corp. (Pittsburg, CA) has introduced the HepcoMotion® PSD80 Profile screw-driven linear actuator with Herculane® wheel technology. Housed on an aluminum beam and fitted with a stainless steel sealing band, the actuator uses Herculane wheels mounted to an adjustable carriage. Single or multiple...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Vibration Monitor

SKF Group (San Diego, CA) has introduced the Multilog Online System DMx, a multi-featured vibration monitor for conventional and hazardous environments. It can be directly installed within a hazardous area, removing or reducing cabling, cabinets, and isolation barriers. It combines protection and condition monitoring in a...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motor Drive

DSC sensorless brushless motor drives from Koford Engineering (Winchester, OH) provide a programmable sensorless control for operation for 12- to 32-volt applications, with current up to 10 amps and speed of up to 96,000 rpm with a 2-pole motor. The 240-Watt drives use a digital signal controller, which can be programmed to...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Grippers

DPGplus sealed two-finger parallel grippers from Schunk (Morrisville, NC) are available in sizes 240 and 300. A pneumatic drive with oval pistons and multitooth guides ensure the user precise gripping for production machine and assembly applications. The grippers handle rough or dirty workpieces, and are suited for loading and unloading...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Digital Torque Tester

The Snap-on Industrial Digital Torque Tester (DDT) from Snap-on Industrial (Kenosha, WI) features light weight and an integral transducer and rugged housing. It can be wall-mounted or used in a benchtop vise to allow the user to test torque wrenches and torque screwdrivers. It features a 4.7" touchpad screen to capture peak...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Gearbox

Wittenstein (Bartlett, IL) offers the L-Version alpha SP + High Speed low-friction gearbox for applications requiring continuous duty with high nominal output speed and longer service life. Features include high maximum and nominal output speed and reduced nominal torque, lower heat buildup, lower no-load running torque, and high...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tip-Tilt Stages

Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) has introduced the TECHSPEC Tip-Tilt stages for tilt control of both optics and mounting posts. They feature black anodized aluminum construction and are available in three stage sizes: 30-mm square, 40-mm square, and 70-mm square. Each is offered in English or metric configurations. The stages are...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Servomotor Actuator

The Tolomatic IMA from Tolomatic (Hamel, MN) is an integrated-motor, rod-style actuator that delivers up to 3,300 pounds of force when equipped with a new roller-screw option. It incorporates a hollow core rotor and skewed motor windings. The integrated motor design is suited for clamping, pressing, valve control, and spot...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Planetary Gearhead

Portescap (West Chester, PA) has introduced the R08 planetary gearhead that delivers continuous torque of 0.05 Nm within an overall envelope of 8 mm. The standard gearbox is available from 4 to 256 ratios, which can be further extended to ratios of 4096. The gearhead can be coupled with brush DC, brushless, and stepper motors...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Encoders

Baumer (Southington, CT) has introduced HDMag magnetic hollow-shaft encoders for direct mounting onto large-sized shafts up to 740 mm in diameter. Available in both absolute and incremental versions, the encoders provide 17-bit absolute single-turn resolution. Measuring 27 mm wide, the encoders are suited for limited-space...