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.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Visual Environment for Remote Virtual Exploration (VERVE) v2

VERVE is a 3D visualization system that provides situational awareness, science analysis tools, and data understanding capabilities for robotics researchers and exploration science operations. VERVE includes telemetry views that show remote system status, and can be extended to support...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Optimal Alarm System Design and Implementation

An optimal alarm system can robustly predict a level-crossing event that is specified over a fixed prediction horizon. The code contained in this package provides the tools necessary to design an optimal alarm system for a simple stationary linear dynamic system driven by white Gaussian noise.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software for Autonomous Drilling

One of the goals of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is to collect powderized samples from the interior of rocks and deliver them to onboard science instruments. This goal is achieved using the algorithms and software that control the drill hardware to produce a system that...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Morpheus Lander Vehicle Simulation/Vehicle Flight Software

The Morpheus simulation is a suite of software models that simulates the performance of a lander vehicle. The specific vehicle is a terrestrial lander used as a “vertical test bed” platform for developing technology, and proving hardware and software systems for use in space...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Risk-Aware Mars Rover Operation Tool with Autonomous Terrain Classifier and Path Planner

The greatest single source of risks for Mars rovers is terrain. These risks are currently managed by a labor-intensive process in which rover operators carefully examine the terrain and plan a path to avoid any potential hazards. This poses a challenge,...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robotic System Builds Biggest Composite Rocket Parts Ever Made

One of the largest composites manufacturing robots created in America will help NASA build the biggest lightweight composite parts ever made for space vehicles. The robot will build structures larger than 26 feet in diameter. The robot travelled across the country from Electroimpact,...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
3D Projection Improves Robot-to-Human Communication

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a way for robots to project their next action into the 3D world and onto any moving object, such as car parts on an assembly line. The achievement will help to improve human and robot safety in manufacturing scenarios.

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
What Engineers and Customers Need from a Motion Control System

In the automation industry, engineers strive every day to advance their process and products. Engineers have to select components, learn and use many tools to construct their automation systems, and support the systems in production. More importantly, to be successful and...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
The Increasing Use of Electrical Actuators in the Aerospace and Defense Industry

Hydraulic and pneumatic systems have traditionally been the market leader in providing power in the aerospace and defense industry because of their low cost and high power density. But in recent years, attention has been focused on the limitations of hydraulic...

Products : Motion Control
Industrial Robot

ABB (Auburn Hills, MI) introduced YuMi, a collaborative dual-arm industrial robot designed for small parts assembly environments. It features dual arms, flexible hands, a universal parts feeding system, camera-based part location, lead-through programming, and motion control. YuMi has a lightweight yet rigid magnesium skeleton...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Air-Bearing Platform

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) offers the PlanarHDX planar air-bearing platform for semiconductor manufacturing and advanced test and inspection. Structural elements were designed using a silicon carbide ceramic. The resulting material and structure enable 1.5-m/s scan speeds and 5-g peak acceleration with a payload of up to 20...

Products : Motion Control

PCB® Automotive Sensors Division (Depew, NY) offers MEMS DC response accelerometers for improving the precision of low-frequency vibration and motion in automotive applications. Available in full-scale ranges from ±2g to ±200g, the accelerometers come in single-axis (Series 3711E and Series 3741E) and triaxial (Series 3713E)...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Infrared Scanner

Aimess Services (Braunschweig, Germany) offers the R3Dscan 3D infrared scanner as an automated solution with direct connection to industrial robots. The scanner can be integrated into production lines to inspect dimension, shape, and position of objects in manufacturing cycles. The scanner was designed for inspecting objects...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Brushless DC Motors

High Torque Density Brushless DC Motors from BEI Kimco (Vista, CA) are available in multiple designs. The motors use proprietary low magnetic circuit design techniques and feature a frameless motor design composed of a rotor and stator. This design enables integration into an existing assembly, minimizing the need for extra...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rigging Kit

AeroGo (Seattle, WA) introduced the Air Caster Rigging Kit that contains everything necessary to move heavy, awkward, or delicate loads using compressed air. The kit is housed in a rugged and lockable storage box, and can be configured to accommodate numerous and varied load requirements in a variety of applications, handling load...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Driver and Controller

The Tolomatic ACS actuator control solution from Tolomatic (Hamel, MN) is a servo or stepper driver and controller developed for use with electric actuators. The system is ODVA™ conformant for EtherNet/IP™. The electric actuators and control solutions can replace pneumatic cylinders, and can automate manual processes...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Linear Actuators

Haydon Kerk™ Motion Solutions (Waterbury, CT) offers linear stepper actuators as replacements for solenoid valves in critical applications such as security door actuation systems. With over 200 thread designs and four motor frame sizes below 43 mm available, compact linear actuators can be custom designed and built to specific...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motor

maxon precision motors (Fall River, MA) offers the EC-I 40 DC brushless motor in a high-torque version for applications demanding very high torque. The iron-core internal rotor drive is available with a diameter of 40 mm, and delivers up to 234 mNm of torque. The motors feature high dynamics, low cogging torque, and high output...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Diaphragm Pump

Gardner Denver Thomas (Sheboygan, WI) offers the 1610 diaphragm pump that provides fast evacuation times for applications where speed is key. Volume flow rate is up to 8.0 l/min, vacuum up to 90%, and pressure up to 2.0 bar. Even when running under full load, the pump operates with a low sound level that remains stable over the...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Stepper Motors

Nanotec (Feldkirchen, Germany) introduced the SC3518 series stepper motors that feature high torque and EMC properties. The 2-phase hybrid stepper motors feature frame size NEMA 14 (35 mm) and a 1.8° step angle; torque is between 0.18 and 0.32 Nm. The motors are connected via an integrated connector that enables easy cable...

Products : Motion Control
Servo Drives

ADVANCED Motion Controls (Camarillo, CA) introduced the AZBH10A4 and AZBD10A4 micro-sized analog plug-in brushless servo drives that add Hall Velocity mode and Duty Cycle mode capabilities to the μZ series. The drives are designed for embedded applications in industries such as robotics, military, electric mobility, medical, and...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electronic Valves

Clippard Instrument Laboratory (Cincinnati, OH) introduced the DV-3 Minimatic® electronic 3-way valves that use a patented valving principle. The valves are suited for applications across numerous industries, and are modifiable with flow, mounting, pressure, voltage, material, and other options. Features include leak-free...

Products : Motion Control
Brushless Torque Motors

Allied Motion (Buffalo, NY) released the Megaflux MFH170i series of 170-mm (6.7-in) diameter housed brushless torque motors. The series is comprised of the 170 series brushless torque motor, a digital servo drive, and a programmable optical encoder integrated into a rugged machined aluminum housing with duplex bearings....

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Design and Engineering of Process Plants Based on the “Lego Principle”

Manufacturers in the process industries need to adjust to smaller batches and different types of product in the same plant. Plants based on the “Lego principle” are designed and engineered precisely to the respective task, whether for the production of a specific...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrochemically Enhanced Mechanical Polishing of Optics

Optical component fabrication using metals or ceramic materials involves many grinding and/or machining and polishing steps to achieve the proper form to the tolerances of imaging or photonic focusing instruments. These instruments range from infrared sensors, through visible and...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Expendable Cooling System for Venus Lander Concept

This innovation is a concept for a novel thermal architecture that would enable a day-long surface mission on Venus. A Venus lander mission could last much longer than a few hours on the surface of the planet by absorbing heat from the Venus environment, and from the electronics within the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rapid Quench Furnace for Processing Powder in an Inert Environment

Ongoing work in the development and characterization of sensory materials requires the development of shape memory alloy (SMA) powder or particles. These are embedded in structural material so that the progression of localized damage that occurs during fatigue crack growth will...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Field Excavator with Embedded Force Measurement

The Centaur 2 (C2) platform is a compact vehicle with four independently steered and actuated wheel pods, allowing the vehicle to pivot in place and tilt in two directions. It is designed to interface with and carry the anthropomorphic robot torso of Robonaut 2. There are two nearly identical...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Very Low Thermal Power Waste Heat Recovery System for Deep Space Missions

Deep space missions, like the ones going to outer planets and those that rely on solar photovoltaic power, need extremely large solar arrays to produce that power for their operations because the solar intensity is so low at those locations. Hence, there was a need for a...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Loop Heat Pipe with Thermal Control Valve for Variable Thermal Link

Existing technologies [Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) and passive Thermal Control Valve (TCV)] are integrated and made to work together to provide a passive variable thermal link. The result is a novel LHP with passive TCV that was developed to provide variable heat rejection (turn-down)...


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Using Simulation to Design Robust Adhesively Bonded Structures

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Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development and Simulation

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Thermal Management Crisis: Knowing Your Passive Solution Options

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IoT’s Role in Today’s Transportation Systems

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3D Printed Metals Are Not All the Same