November 06, 2012 Volume 08 Issue 41

Motion Control News & Products

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Medium-load hexapod 6-axis motion platform

With the usability of 6-axis hexapods increasing in research and industry applications, PI introduces a new medium-load 6-axis precision motion platform, the H-825 hexapod. The H-825 provides a self-locking load capacity up to 30 kg (66 lb). The motion range is up to 55 mm (linear) and up to 38 degrees (rotation). High system precision is guaranteed by absolute encoders and an actuator resolution of 8 nanometers -- with excellent position repeatability of +/-0.1 µm and +/-2 µrad, respectively. The parallel-kinematic design of the hexapod makes it smaller and stiffer than traditional 6-axis positioning systems while providing a higher dynamic range. Features long-lifetime brushless servo motors.
>Read technical articles and applications of PI hexapods
>Watch Hexapod System Videos
>Specifications, Datasheet, More Information


Wheel drive assemblies for electric vehicles

WheelMax Steering Drives from Allied Motion Technologies are fully integrated, electrically powered traction wheels with on-board steering systems for electric vehicles. Each WheelMax Steering Drive combines a traction wheel with tire, epicyclic gearbox, robust steering gear and bearing system, and two rugged PMDC brush motors, one for traction and one for steering power. The complete assembly is compact, easy to mount, and requires little to no maintenance. WheelMax Steering Drives handle loads up to 227 kg (500 lb) and provide 14 Nm (120 lb-in.) continuous torque at speeds up to 5 km/hr (3 mph). Applications include AGVs, autonomous robotic material handlers, pushers and tuggers, powered utility carts, and hospital patient handlers, among many others.
Click here to learn more.


Micro Solutions: Myoelectric robotic prosthesis hand

The Bebionic myoelectric hand prosthesis was recently developed to help with daily life challenges. Powerful and compact FAULHABER dc motors ensure that the prosthesis can grip without any problems, quickly and firmly, and maintain a constant gripping force. Two electrodes integrated into the prosthesis shaft detect the myoelectric signals and forward them to the control electronics. These signals are amplified and used to activate the 5 small electric motors.
Read the full article.


New frameless brushless servo motor kits

The new frameless motor kits from Maxon consist of only a rotor and stator -- no bearings or motor shaft. With outer diameters of only 43 mm to 90 mm, these pancake servo motor kits are extremely compact. Available in size ranges from 30 W to 260 W, these EC (electronically commutated) frameless slotted motors feature low-voltage windings, high pole pair count, and are shipped as BLDC motor kits with the rotor and stator delivered separately without bearings and motor shaft. The flat design, high torque output, and hollow-shaft construction provide plenty of space for cable glands, allowing for a high level of integration into OEM applications such as collaborative and mobile robots, AGVs, exoskeletons, and embedded robotic applications.
Click here to learn more.


New DENSO robot product catalog

DENSO Robotics -- the world's largest manufacturer and user of small assembly robots -- has announced its new product catalog featuring a wide range of compact, high-speed industrial robots that have reaches of 350 mm to 1,300 mm, payload capacities as high as 20 kg, and repeatability to within +/-0.015 mm. The 52-page publication, which is offered in an interactive online version or as a download, features detailed descriptions, specifications, and schematics of DENSO’s entire lineup of four-axis SCARA and five- and six-axis articulated robots, robot controllers, and programming software.
Click here to learn more.


New precision linear motor stage family with magnetic direct drive and absolute encoders

Motion and nanoposi-tioning industry leader PI further expands its PIMag series of high-dynamics linear motor stages with a family of 18, the V-508 -- a new series of compact linear positioning stages with high-force 3-phase linear motors and crossed roller guides. This line features high velocity, high duty cycle, and three travel ranges. A variety of incremental and absolute measuring linear encoders are available. PI’s ultra-precise linear motor stages are well-suited for industry and research. Applications include metrology, testing, positioning, scanning, precision automation, micro-assembly, biotechnology, delay-lines, laser beam control, optics, lens testing, and photonics alignment.
Specifications, datasheet, more information >
Read tech article, "Performance of Direct-Drive Linear Motor Stages in Precision Positioning Applications" >


Flexible servo drive system for demanding geared motor applications

Siemens has expanded its extensive drive portfolio for servo applications to include the Simotics S-1FG1 servo geared motors, which are designed for use with the Sinamics S120 drive system. Sinamics S120 drives and Simotics S-1FG1 servo geared motors are an integral component of Siemens Totally Integrated Automation (TIA), which reduces engineering time and costs. The units have electronic rating plates, and the motors are connected via the Drive-Cliq system interface, so the system can be brought online quickly. The engineering of the Simotics S-1FG1 servo geared motor includes high efficiency and low torsional backlash for precise, dynamic motion sequences and is available in the following versions: helical, parallel shaft, bevel and helical worm gearboxes with up to 25 transmission ratios.
Click here to learn more.


First 7-axis motion and pressure sensor

TDK has announced the availability of the InvenSense ICM-20789 MEMS 7-axis integrated inertial device, combining a 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, and an ultra low-noise MEMS capacitive barometric pressure sensor. The ICM-20789 features a single small footprint, with the industry’s lowest pressure noise of 0.4Pa RMS and excellent temperature stability with a temp coefficient of +/-0.5 Pa/°C. Applications include: drones and flying toys; smart watches, wearables, activity monitoring; motion-based gaming controllers; virtual reality headsets and controllers; and indoor and outdoor navigation.
Click here to learn more.


Motor Tech: UAV camera stabilization with brushless motors

Today, recon is dominated by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones due largely to concerns for pilots’ safety and costs. However, photos and videos obtained from UAVs are only useful if they are crisp and clear, which requires both precise focusing and extreme stabilization of the camera system. Compact and powerful FAULHABER brushless DC motors from MICROMO were selected to get the job done.
Read the full article.


Mobility Tech Ideas: Scissor lift for UTVs

The UTX Scissor lift from Innovative Equipment is designed to be easily fitted and removed from almost any utility vehicle (UTV) in approximately 3 minutes without any heavy lifting. It provides the user with a working height of 18 to 19 ft on nearly any terrain. It can be leveled on slopes up to 12 deg. It has a lifting capacity of 500 to 600 lb and enables users to take a scissor lift "where no scissor lift has gone before." Stability has been tested to five times the ANSI requirements. It also has safety features that will not allow it to be used in unsafe conditions.
See it in action.


Become a robot programmer in 87 minutes!

Learning how to set up and program a collaborative robot -- or cobot -- no longer depends on real-life access to a robot or a training class. Now everybody with a desire to learn the concepts of cobots can log in to the Universal Robots Academy and get the introduction necessary to master basic programming skills. Become a master of the cobots! (That's a pretty sweet title.)
Click here to learn more.


Multi-axis robotic controller

Aerotech’s HEX RC is a 6-axis motion controller ideal for controlling robotic systems like hexapods. It is 4U rack-mountable and compatible with the Automation 3200 (A3200) motion platform. A high-performance processor provides the intense computing power needed to run up to 32 axes, perform complex, synchronized motion trajectories, manipulate I/O, and collect data at high speeds. This unit features 6 axes of drives capable of controlling any combination of brush, brushless, or stepper motors (both current loop and servo loop closures). An optional 6-axis jog pendant permits easy, manual control of the positioning system.
Click here to learn more.


Single-rail positioning stage (H-gantry)

H2W Technologies’ latest single-rail positioning stage design is an open-frame XY positioning system. It has two bottom parallel axes with one cross axis connecting the two (H-gantry). Each linear axis uses H2W’s brushless linear motors (BLDM-B04). Each has a total stroke length of 25.67 in. (652 mm) and can generate 6.2 lb (27.8 N) of continuous force and 18.7 lb (83.3 N) of peak force, or a combined 12.4 lb (55.6 N) continuous force and 37.4 lb (166.6 N) peak force on the bottom axis. The non-contact 1-micron resolution encoders allow for precise positioning. The moving tables are guided by a precision recirculating linear ball bearing system. Additional options include a home positioning sensor, end-of-travel-sensors, and custom mounting holes.
Click here to learn more.
Watch this stage in action.


Getting a grip on precision: Mechatronics vs. pneumatics

A gripping system for small parts that is both quick and powerful -- until now, that was often only possible with pneumatics. However, recently the leading expert for gripper systems and technology has developed a mechatronics-based EGP 40 gripper that easily achieves the same performance of its pneumatic counterparts. The drive that makes this impressive performance possible is FAULHABER small brushless DC servo motors from MICROMO.
Read the full article.


Mini linear motor stage with magnetic direct drive

Motion and nanoposi-tioning industry leader PI expands its PIMag series of high-dynamics linear motor stages with a new compact positioner for automation tasks. The V-408 stage is equipped with an incremental linear encoder for direct position measurement and a high-force 3-phase linear motor drive. The V-408 features high load-capacity precision crossed roller elements with anti-creep cage assist and a zero-wear, non-contact linear motor -- ideal prerequisites for long lifetime in high duty-cycle industrial applications. The high-force linear motor achieves velocities up to 1.5m/sec. An integrated optical linear encoder provides 10-nm resolution. Two models are offered with 25-mm and 50-mm travel range.


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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