November 06, 2012 Volume 08 Issue 41

Motion Control News & Products

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Plastic bearings have staying power

Plastic bearings are strong enough to outperform and outlast metal in countless applications. Plastic bearings are an economical replacement for needle, ball, and plain metal bearings. However, they are often not considered a viable choice in the engineering community due to the common misconception that plastic is inferior or weaker compared to metal. Uncover common misconceptions and learn the true reliability of plastic bearings in this new igus® whitepaper.
Click here to go to the whitepaper -- no registration required.

New gearbox sizing tool

GAM's new Sizing Tool makes it easy to find the right gear reducer, coupling, or linear mount product compatible with your motor. Simply select your motor, adjust the ratings based on the application, and narrow down the products that match. Over 9,000 of the most popular servomotors on the market are available for selection. After choosing a motor, easily narrow down the list of matching products by filtering attributes.
Click here to learn more.

Positioning accuracy that rivals a glass scale

The newly enhanced IMS-I integrated measuring system from Rexroth achieves maximum linear motion positioning accuracy even in challenging work environments with contaminants and interference fields. This compact solution for ball and roller rail systems has an inductive design that offers repeatable accuracy rated to 0.25 µm at distances up to 4.5 m -- equivalent to more expensive glass scale systems. This solution is suitable for a wide range of industrial applications, including positioning laser cutters, synchronizing ram or plunger units in presses, extracting PET bottles at high speeds, and 3D printer processes that produce abrasive dust.
Click here to learn more.

Heavy-duty spring plungers optimize positioning accuracy

SZ-NIV-HD series heavy-duty spring plungers from FIPA are new must-haves in rough production environments. Also called spring-loaded suction fingers, the units ensure that the attached suction cups handle sensitive products gently and protect the grippers from collision damage. One of the key reasons for the long service life of FIPA's heavy-duty spring plungers is the high-quality igus plain bearing, which offers high abrasion resistance and excellent sliding properties with minimum play. The lubricant embedded in the bushing material ensures smooth running and maintenance-free operation throughout the entire service life.
Click here to learn more.

Electric replacement for hydraulics

The Tolomatic RSA-HT high-force rod-style actuator is designed for high-duty-cycle performance in demanding applications, while delivering the added control and consistency of an electric drive actuator. This actuator, which can also be considered as a replacement for hydraulic applications, triples the maximum force capabilities of the standard RSA line from 4,038 lbf (17.96 kN) to 12,900 lbf (57.38 kN).
Click here to learn more.

High-performance 16-mm ECH brushless slotless motor

Portescap's newest addition to its Ultra EC mini motor platform is the 16 ECH brushless motor, designed to provide an economic motor solution for high-performance applications. The 16ECH has been specifically optimized for high continuous torque at low to medium speeds, maximizing power between 40 K and 55 K rpm, and rated speed at approximately 60 K rpm. The 16ECH is available in 36- and 52-mm length versions, with Hall sensors and three different coils to match your speed and voltage requirements.
Click here to learn more.

Motion control components: Flexible bellows couplings

Precision motion control applications require mechanically tight systems, especially between motors, driven loads, and feedback devices, to ensure accurate positioning. FC Series bellows couplings are the standard bellows coupling configuration offered by Servometer with 16 standard sizes ranging in diameter from 0.250 to 1.00 in. FC couplings employ Servometer's patented electrodeposited bellows to offer maximum flexibility, side thrust capability, and angular misalignment, and are an ideal fit for most motion control instruments including encoders, potentiometers, servomotors, and more. Samples are available.
Click here to learn more.

M12 CANopen integrated motors

Lexium MDrive integrated motor systems expand industrial field bus communication options with the release of CANopen with M12 circular connectors on NEMA motor sizes 23 & 34. Combined with its compact size, the integrated stepper motor, controller, I/O, and drive electronics with closed-loop performance is an ideal fit for many motion applications.
Read the full article.

Mini linear motion components

Thomson Industries has expanded its range of high-performance, miniaturized components with the launch of several new products. The new precision TSI Rolled Ball Screws offer high load capacity, smoothness, and quiet operation that can be easily customized. Thomson Miniature Metric Ball Bushing Bearings offer smooth and rapid operation in a light, compact package, lasting up to 27 times longer than conventional linear bearings. The mini Glide Screw combines the best features of linear bearings and linear guides into an easy-to-install, one-part solution that requires no external guides and delivers the ultimate in compact design.
Click here to learn more.

Rexroth Drive & Control technologies

With the latest update of its popular GoTo Products App for iOS and Android devices, Bosch Rexroth now offers convenient mobile access to its broad range of Drive & Control technologies for fast delivery throughout North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico). The GoTo Products 4.0 app includes all of the latest additions to Rexroth's GoTo Focused Delivery Program, with a powerful sync-on-demand feature that lets users update the app with the latest product offerings at any time, wherever they are.
Click here to learn more.

Direct-drive linear motors with integrated encoders

New patent-pending SDLM-051 direct-drive linear motors with built-in encoder from MotiCont eliminate backlash and provide users with high acceleration, high speed, high resolution, and long life. Available in several off-the-shelf models, these compact motors feature resolutions of 5.2 µm (0.000206 in.), 1.25 µm (0.000049 in.), and sub-micron resolution.
Click here to learn more.

Customized direct-drive motors

Applimotion's Frameless Direct Drive motor kits have been used in custom direct-drive motors for more than 15 years in automation systems, robotics, semiconductor equipment, medical devices, and communication systems. The ULT, UTH, and UTS motor kits can be integrated into a customized assembly with high-resolution encoders and precision bearings. Some assemblies even include harmonic-drive gearing systems. Custom assemblies can range from 8-mm to 600-mm diameters and torque from .1 to 1,000 NM with unique through-holes, mechanical features, and custom cabling.
Click here to learn more.

High speed without sacrificing torque

The TMK series line of torque motors from ETEL is the result of market demand for higher-speed rotary motors that maintain the amount of torque provided in other models, such as ETEL's TMB series. Due to its unique rotor design, which utilizes buried magnet technology along with field weakening, it is able to rotate with speeds of up to nine times greater than a typical torque motor's standard working speeds. And with the buried magnet technology also providing a higher flux concentration, the TMK series motors can produce up to 30 percent more continuous torque compared to traditional torque motors of the same size. Liquid cooling increases its continuous torque even further. This model is making its debut at the IMTS show and won an innovation award at the Industrie Paris 2014 tradeshow. Available in the U.S. through Heidenhain.
Click here to learn more.

World's first robot with advanced safety settings

With eight new adjustable safety-rated functions, Universal Robots now provides the only robot in the world that adapts advanced safety settings to each specific application. The third generation of the company's UR5 and UR10 robot arms also comes equipped with True Absolute Encoders that eliminate the need for re-initializing the robot, enabling automatic startup and easier integration into other machinery.
Read the full article.

Mini rotary actuator has highest torque and power output

New Scale Technologies has demonstrated a miniature rotary actuator module (M3-R) with torque of 0.17 Nm and speeds of more than 400 degrees per second in a compact, 60-mm-diameter by 8-mm-thick design. Resulting from the successful completion of a Phase 1 SBIR project for the U.S. Navy, the non-inductive rotary actuator module delivers higher power output in a smaller footprint than electromagnetic pancake motors or other piezoelectric actuators. Applications include guided munitions and missile systems, MRI-compatible medical devices, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) controls, gimbal systems, and computer equipment.
Click here to learn more.

DARPA tests UAV-to-UAV refueling at 45,000 ft

DARPA completes close-proximity flight tests of two modified RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, demonstrates technology enabling autonomous aerial refueling.

Global military aviation currently relies on a key enabler: aerial refueling. Fighters, bombers, reconnaissance, and transport aircraft use "flying gas stations" to go the extra mile.

Increasingly, UAVs are conducting combat and ISR operations, but they aren't designed to be refueled in flight. In 2007, DARPA teamed up with NASA to show that high-performance aircraft can easily perform automated refueling from conventional tankers, yet many unmanned aircraft can't match the speed, altitude, and performance of the current tanker fleet. The 2007 demonstration also required a pilot on board to set conditions and monitor safety during autonomous refueling operations.

But DARPA has been working to close this capability gap.

Global Hawk UAVs demonstrate close-proximity test flight.



DARPA's two-year Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling (AHR) program, which concluded Sep. 30, explored the ability to safely conduct fully autonomous refueling of UAVs in challenging high-altitude flight conditions. During its final test flight, two modified Global Hawk aircraft flew in close formation, 100 ft or less between refueling probe and receiver drogue, for the majority of a 2.5-hr engagement at 44,800 ft. This demonstrated, for the first time, that High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) -class aircraft can safely and autonomously operate under in-flight refueling conditions.

The flight was the ninth test and the first time the aircraft flew close enough to measure the full aerodynamic and control interactions for unmanned-to-unmanned connections. Flight data was analyzed over the past few months and fed back into simulations to verify system safety and performance through contact and fuel transfer, including the effects of turns and gusts up to 20 knots.

Since HALE aircraft are designed for endurance at the expense of control authority, the program started with the expectation that only one in six attempts would achieve positive contact (17%). The final analysis, however, indicated that 60% of the attempts would achieve contact.

Multiple autonomous breakaway contingencies were successfully triggered well in advance of potentially hazardous conditions. Fuel systems were fully integrated and ground tested, demonstrating a novel "reverse-flow" approach with the tanker in trail. This approach opens valuable trade space for future developers to choose between various fixed and modular implementations of proven probe and drogue hardware.

"The goal of this demonstration was to create the expectation that future HALE aircraft will be refueled in flight," says Jim McCormick, DARPA program manager. "Such designs should be more affordable to own and operate across a range of mission profiles than systems built to satisfy the most stressing case without refueling. The lessons from AHR certainly extend beyond the HALE flight regime, and insights into non-traditional tanker concepts may offer further operational advantages."

Using this capability, U.S. military Global Hawk UAVS could fly nonstop for days or maybe even weeks.

Source: DARPA

SIDEBAR: Some basic Global Hawk stats courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

Q. How far can Global Hawk fly?

A. It has an inter-continental range (~11,500 miles). This means the aircraft can fly from New York and land anyplace in the world.

Q. How high can Global Hawk fly?

A. About 12 miles high -- an altitude almost twice that of airliners. From this height, you can see over 300 miles to the horizon.

Q. How long can Global Hawk fly?

A. More than 32 hours -- the longest of any high-altitude operational aircraft in the world.

Q. How much can Global Hawk carry?

A. It can carry equipment weighing 3,000 lb -- that's the weight of a Ford Focus.

Published November 2012

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