H2W has built its smallest moving magnet voice coil actuator (NCM01-04-001-2IB) to date, with an outside diameter of 0.40 in (10 mm) and a length of 0.735 in (18.8 mm). It has a stroke of 0.10 in (2.5 mm) and generates a continuous force of 0.10 lb (0.45 N) and a peak force of 0.30 lb (1.35 N). It weighs just 0.20 oz (5.7 g). This actuator uses a hardened shaft and sliding contact bushing to ensure long life and is ideal for oscillatory motion -- particularly in a number of handheld applications. Moving magnet voice coil actuators have built-in bearings, so there is no need for the customer to add mass or complexity to their motion system to integrate a bearing, and there are no moving leads to worry about cable management. Click here to learn more.
Motion: Next generation of precision motion controllers -- V3.0
MICROMO launches the new MC3/MCS motion control family -- an extensive and versatile basis for the complete FAULHABER motion system. The new controllers are optimized for use with FAULHABER motors, offer electronics for simple operation with state-of-the-art interfaces for multi-axis applications, and provide a motion control system solution with the most compact integration into industrial grade housing. The Motion Controllers V3.0 are high performance, intelligent, networked drives optimized for OEM and automation applications. Click here to learn more.
Cool Tools: Digital oscilloscope tests motors for damaging shaft voltages
Industrial motors controlled by variable frequency drives (VFDs) are at risk of electrical bearing damage. The new AEGIS Shaft Voltage Tester Digital Oscilloscope makes it easier than ever to check in-service motors for damaging VFD-induced shaft voltages and head off bearing damage and costly unplanned equipment downtime. A complete package, the two-channel, full-function 100-MHz digital oscilloscope comes with a special conductive microfiber-tipped probe for exceptional shaft contact, a probe holder with magnetic base, and a compact carrying case. Click here to learn more.
Low-cost belt-drive actuator
Tolomatic’s family of MXB electric belt-drive actuators includes a new solid-bearing load-carrying design ideal for harsh environments. The trapezoidal solid bearing provides a rigid, long-lasting bearing system capable of operating in environments that roller bearings would not be able to withstand. With loads up to 520 lb, speeds to 100 in./sec, and strokes up to 230 in., the MXB-S belt-drive actuator is an economical solution for light- to moderate-loading applications requiring high duty cycle and high speeds over long strokes. Click here to learn more.
Robotics: Robotiq camera for Universal Robots couldn't be more user friendly
Robotiq has just launched a new vision-guided pick-and-place solution for those oh-so-popular Universal Robots. This camera can be working on a shop floor in 5 minutes flat. No external PC is required to set up, program, or run the camera -- the camera’s user-friendly software is seamlessly embedded within Universal Robot’s graphical user interface. The compact camera design fits perfectly on the UR wrist and offers direct connectivity to the controller. Early users of the system say Robotiq’s Camera breaks down all the integration barriers we are used to seeing with vision systems in manufacturing automation. Click here to learn more.
What's so cool about piezo motors?
The PiezoWalk technology used by Physik Instrumente (PI) combines the technological advantages of piezo-class resolution with long travel ranges: They offer subnanometer resolution, high forces, and high stiffness. In contrast to conventional long-travel piezo-motor principles, PiezoWalk stepping drives are not subject to sliding friction effects, and virtually wear-free motion is achieved because the “legs” lift off for each step. Click here to learn more.
Low-cost linear motion systems resist roll, pitch, and yaw
The low-cost, wide, stable platforms of the SAIBO SB-LGC Linear Motion Systems are available exclusively from LM76 in two sizes to meet load requirements up to 6,000 N (1,349 lb). These wide, low-profile linear motion systems feature low noise, smooth travel, high speed to 10 m/s (120 ft/s), high acceleration to 50 m/s (150 ft/s), low weight, high linear accuracy, and sealed radial low-friction bearings. Because of their wide profile, they have high moment (roll, pitch, and yaw) load capacities. Additionally, they are easy to install, in any orientation, into new and existing applications. Click here to learn more.
Cool Tools: Voice coil actuator developer kits
BEI Kimco has improved its Voice Coil Actuator (VCA) Developer's Kit to include three new actuator sizes with greater force and stroke capabilities to provide a broader diversity in off-the-shelf selection (custom kits can also be ordered). Choose from six actuators with force performances ranging from 15.56 N to 1,512 N, and total strokes ranging from 6.35 mm to 31.7 mm. The kit provides all the necessary components to get an actuation system up and running to easily build a prototype. Uses include actuation, position, force control, proof-of-concept, full-function prototypes, test bed for actuator system design, stand-alone use for single-purpose actuation, live testing, vibration generator, and student engineering projects. Click here to learn more.
High-dynamic linear nanopositioners
Aerotech’s QNPHD linear piezo nanoposition-ing stages provide the benefits of both a stage and actuator in one compact, high-stiffness package. With a direct-metrology, capacitive sensor feedback option, high resonant frequencies, and high load capacity, the QNPHD is ideal for a wide range of high-speed and high-precision applications such as scanning probe microscopy, disc-drive testing, and semiconductor wafer articulation. Click here to learn more.
Auto: Lean-and-mean CANopen motor controllers
The ability to maximize battery life and extend vehicle operations, essentially running “lean and mean,” is the key to keeping a vehicle operating at peak performance. The DVC series motor controllers from Advanced Motion Controls are digital four-quadrant servo drives purpose-designed and built to operate today's modern mobile electric vehicular platforms. Providing high power from battery supplies, the DVC series features a compact design, IP65 construction, and multiple operating modes for controlling either permanent-magnet brushed or brushless motors in applications such as traction/propulsion, steering, and lifting. Click here to learn more.
Slotless zero-cogging motor kits
Applimotion's UTS Series Slotless Direct Drive Frameless Motors are permanent-magnet 3-phase ring-type, low-profile, direct-drive motors with a large through hole available in 29-mm to 240-mm diameters. For the ultimate in smooth operation when scanning or positioning, motors offer zero cogging and sinusoidal torque angle curves. Features include: medium motor constant and optional windings, back iron rings, and hall device feedback. Click here to learn more.
Test: Minimize uncertainty in high-speed applications
From motor sports to aerospace to making wind turbines, performance tests of high-speed motors and drives at high rotational speeds are an important factor. Now HBM has developed the T40HS as a space- and cost-saving torque flange for rotational speeds up to 45,000 rpm, for non-contacting transfer of signals while ensuring maximum precision. Thanks to the compact measurement flange design, the T40HS features high torsional stiffness, which allows for dynamic torque measurements. No additional bearings are required. Click here to learn more.
Servo motor brakes
Nexen Group’s Eclipse Servo Motor Brakes offer distinct advantages over spring-engaged, electrically released brakes. No energy is consumed when the brake is disengaged. It is spring-engaged/air-released (no electric coil) to keep the brake cool until it’s needed. Nexen’s servo motor brakes are designed to mount to the shaft end of servo motors up to 20 hp, including NEMA 23, 34, and 42 frame sizes. Key features include fail-safe operation, 50 percent more torque, and zero backlash. Click here to learn more.
High-load hexapod for simulation, stabilization
The dynamic-motion H-900KSCO hexapod from PI (Physik Instrumente) provides linear travel ranges up to 200 mm and rotation to 66 deg. This compact unit is driven by brushless servo motors and combines high load capacity (130 lb) with fast response and high linear speeds up to 80 mm/sec and angular speed of 30 deg/sec. The parallel kinematics design eliminates the need for moving cables and results in a very stiff and compact positioning solution, compared to conventional multi-axis designs. Hexapod applications include motion simulation (profiles compatible to ISO 20672, ISO 8728, and ISO 16328), industrial production, precision machining, automotive industry, and stabilization of motion on moving vehicles and vessels. Click here to learn more. Watch video on versatility of PI hexapods.
10-mm motor doubles output torque
MICROMO announces the launch of a new generation of metal brush commutated FAULHABER motors, the 1024…SR series with a diameter of 10 mm. In combination with a gearhead, its output torque can achieve 300 mNm, twice that of similar products on the market. Thanks to a superior torque/speed ratio (flat slope), the motor can handle varying loads at reduced speed variations with smooth control. This performance is achieved with very low noise and vibration levels. A wide range of matching speed and motion controllers, encoders, and gearheads allow for optimal adaption in high-demand applications like portable devices or optical equipment. The significant power and torque enhancement is based on a redesign of nearly all of the motor’s elements, including a new coil, a new commutation system, and a new magnet. Click here for more information.
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.