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
Researcher Develops World’s Smallest Micro Motor

Micro actuators are needed for numerous applications, ranging from mobile and wearable devices, to minimally invasive medical devices. However, the limitations associated with their fabrication have restricted their deployment at the one-millimeter scale.

 News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Researchers Create 'Cognitive' Underwater Robots

A new programming approach developed by MIT engineers gives underwater robots more “cognitive” capabilities.

In March, the team tested the autonomous mission-planning system during a research cruise off the western coast of Australia. The researchers tested their system on an autonomous...

 News : Motion Control
Elastomer Enables Soft Flapping Robotic Wings

Researchers have discovered a new resonance phenomenon in a dielectric elastomer rotary joint that can make the artificial joint bend up and down, like a flapping wing. The new phenomenon makes the dielectric elastomer joint a good candidate for creating a soft and lightweight flapping wing for...

 News : Motion Control
Alcohol Ignition Lock Could Prevent Drunk Driving

If every new car made in the United States had a built-in blood alcohol level tester that prevented impaired drivers from driving the vehicle, how many lives could be saved, injuries prevented, and injury-related dollars left unspent? Researchers at the University of Michigan studied the impact...

 News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Inkjet Technology Prints 'Soft Robot' Circuits

A new potential manufacturing approach from Purdue University researchers harnesses inkjet printing to create devices made of liquid alloys. The resulting stretchable electronics are compatible with soft machines, such as robots that must squeeze through small spaces, or wearable electronics.

 Articles : Motion Control
Reducing Power-On/Off Glitches in Precision DACs: Part 2

Part 1 of this article introduced a phenomenon called power-on/off glitch. The example discussed the impact of this phenomenon on a motor control system. We limited our analysis to a DAC where the output buffer is powered on in normal mode: zero-scale or mid-scale. In Part 2, we analyze...

 News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Vehicle Explores Depths of Antarctica

A robotic vehicle developed by Georgia Institute of Technology scientists and engineers recently dove to depths never before visited under Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf.

The team deployed (and retrieved) the vehicle through a 12-inch diameter hole. The "IceFin" searched through 20 meters of ice and...

 News : Test & Measurement
Explosive Destruction System Begins Eliminating Chemical Weapons

The Explosive Destruction System (EDS), designed by Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Army, has begun safely destroying stockpile chemical munitions.

 News : Aerospace
New Materials Enable Flapping Robotic Wings

Dielectric elastomers, popular materials in robotic hands, soft robots, tunable lenses, and pneumatic valves, may now be used to create flapping robotic wings.

Researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology in Weihai, China and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have discovered a...

 Application Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Autonomous Robots Keep Warehouse Running Green

YLOG, a startup company in Austria, uses an intelligent and very environmentally friendly logistics system that is winning an increasing number of customers. The technology makes use of individual, freely moving Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AiVs) that detect each other, observe right-of-way...

 Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
PLC-Based Robotic Controls Versus OEM Robotic Controls

As more manufacturing facilities and distribution centers discover the benefits of robotic material handling solutions, the decision of how best to control the robot must be made. While robot original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer their own tightly integrated controller, recent...

 Briefs : Test & Measurement
Advanced Rolling Mechanics Analysis (AROMA) 1.0

AROMA uses a boundary-element formulation to calculate normal and shear pressure distributions and sub-surface stresses for elastic bodies in contact. In addition to handling static normal and sheer loading, it also solves the contact problem for rolling elements such as bearings, traction drives,...

 Products : Motion Control
Magnetic Encoders

POSITAL (Hamilton, NJ) introduced new models of IXARC magnetic encoders that combine incremental and absolute rotation measurement capabilities in a single, compact package. Absolute encoders provide a control system with a report of the rotational angle and rotation count at a specific point in time; incremental encoders...

 Products : Propulsion
Servo Drive

Elmo Motion Control (Nashua, NH) offers the NANO Gold Twitter servo drive that delivers up to 4000 Watts of qualitative power, current up to 50A at 100VDC, and up to 15A/200V with advanced servo capabilities and support for EtherCAT or CANopen networking communication. It weighs 18 grams, is less than 13 cm3 in volume, and complies...

 Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Planetary Gearbox

GAM (Mount Prospect, IL) offers the SPH inline planetary gearbox with helical gears for dynamic and cyclic applications, as well highspeed and continuous duty applications. It is available in six frame sizes with nominal torque ratings from 15 to 900 Nm. The face width of the gears provides more tooth contact and greater...

 Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Clutches

U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission, LLC (Wheeling, IL) announced Cam Clutch unidirectional/ mechanical clutches that lock the inner and outer races through the locking action of cams, transmitting torque in one direction of rotation while overrunning in the other. The cams are made of alloy steel, and the races are made of alloy steel with...

 Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bearings

igus (East Providence, RI) offers xiros® ball bearings with ball races made from high-performance polymer iglide® A500. The bearings are maintenance- and lubrication-free, and are designed for temperatures up to 302 °F. They are corrosion-resistant, non-magnetic, washable, chemical-resistant, FDAcompliant, and accommodate 3-20 mm...

 Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Linear Motors

Heidenhain (Schaumburg, IL) offers ETEL ILF and ILM series ironless high-speed linear motors for use in the semiconductor and electronics industry. The motors utilize an ironfree coil design for zero-attraction force between the carriage and the magnetic way. The ILF is a smallersized motor for very high dynamic and low-moving mass...

 Products : Motion Control
Electric Cylinder

SMAC (Carlsbad, CA) introduced the CBL50 electric cylinder designed to achieve peak force of 50N at 2 Amp current, and acceleration up to 40G. It features carriage-free design and built-in linear bearings. It is available with a vacuum and spring option for pick-and-place applications. With the optional IP65 and IP67 dustproof...

 Products : Motion Control
Pump Drive

The Drives & Motion Division of Yaskawa America (Waukegan, IL) released the iQpump Micro intelligent pump drive for variable-torque pump loads through 25 HP. It is available in NEMA 1 and NEMA 4X rated models. A variety of package options are available, and integrated pump-specific software enables a range of pumping applications...

 Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stages

Optimal Engineering Systems (Van Nuys, CA) released low-profile XYθ (theta) stages that move in an XY-plane and rotate around the center of the XY-plane. Available in 12 models in two precision grades, the stages have linear travels from ±2 by ±2 mm, up to ±30 by ±30 mm. The stages can rotate around the center of the XY plane up to...

 Products : Nanotechnology
Nanopositioning Stages

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) offers the QNP-XY series piezo nanopositioning stages with resolution to 0.15 nm, linearity to 0.007%, and repeatability to 2 nm. The stages provide a variety of travel lengths (100 μm to 600 μm), feedback options, and vacuum versions, as well as resonant frequency up to 885 Hz. The capacitive...

 Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Coupling

C-Flex Bearing Co. (Frankfort, NY) offers a Super Plastic torsional damping coupling that stabilizes high-precision systems by dampening transient torque variations. The patented design offers high-torque loads with zero backlash for positioning in industries such as medical, packaging, and semiconductor. The standard flexible coupling...

 Products : Motion Control
Motion Controller

ACS Motion Control (Bloomington, MN) released the SPiiPlusCMHV line of EtherCAT master motion controllers that can manage networks with up to 32 axes and thousands of I/Os. The modules control networks with one or two axes of integrated drives that operate from 3-phase 230Vac to 480Vac, or 320Vdc to 670Vdc. The controllers...

 Products : Motion Control
Robotic Tool Changer

The QC-160 Robotic Tool Changer from ATI Industrial Automation (Apex, NC) has a high moment capacity in a lightweight design, and features internal lock/unlock sensing and five 3/8 NPT and four ½ NPT pass-through air connections. It mounts directly to most 200-kg robots and enhances the robot’s ability to switch...

 Briefs : Motion Control
Reducing Power-On/Off Glitches in Precision DACs

Voltage glitches are common in a signal chain path, especially when the system is being powered up or down. Depending on the peak amplitude and glitch duration, the end result in the system output can be catastrophic. One example is an industrial motor control system where a digital-to-analog...

 Briefs : Motion Control
Piezoelectric Actuated Inchworm Motor (PAIM)

Conventional piezoelectric materials, such as PZTs, have reasonably high electromechanical coupling over 70%, and excellent performance at room temperature. However, their coupling factor (converting electrical to mechanical energy and vice versa) drops substantially at cryogenic temperatures, as the...

 Products : Motion Control
Brushless Motor Drive

The DPFlex™ II digital, sensorless, brushless motor drive series from Allied Motion (Amherst, NY) offers speed capability to 150,000 RPM, the ability to drive lower-impedance motors, and software settable rotation direction. Features include outputs up to 48 V and 30 A peak (1200W output power) to drive a wide range of...

 Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Positioning Assemblies

UniSlide assemblies from Velmex (Bloomfield, NY) deliver movement in one, two, or three dimensions with linear motion. The systems also can be customized for specific requirements. They are compact, and the design allows for construction of multi-axis systems. They are available in an array of standard manual or...

 Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sampling Mechanism for a Comet Sample Return Mission

Sample return missions have the ability to vastly increase scientific understanding of the origin, history, current status, and resource potential of solar system objects including...

Technology Leaders

Webcasts

 Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Adaptive AUTOSAR and a Ready-to-Go Vehicle Run-Time Environment

 Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

The Next Giant Leap: Back to the Moon and On to Mars

 Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

SOSA and Its Impact on OpenVPX

 Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Automotive Glazing: Past, Present, and Future

 Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Lightweighting with Composites and Plastics

 On-Demand Webinars: Imaging

Innovative Approach for Ultrahigh-Speed Machine Vision