June 11, 2013 Volume 09 Issue 22

Motion Control News & Products

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Cobot is 'golden arm' for new pipe welding system

ARC Specialties has solved the challenge of creating repeatable, full-penetration pipe welds by combining artificial intelligence (AI), advanced sensors, and the UR5 collaborative robot from Universal Robots. The unique Artificial Intelligence Pipe Welding System debuted at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston at the beginning of May.
Read the full article.


Piezo motor technology: Questions answered

There's a new kind of piezo motor in town, and it's got legs. The Piezo LEGS rotational motor is a direct-friction drive that provides precise motion without any mechanical play or backlash. There are no gears or transmission, so changing the direction of the motion will introduce no error. The simple Piezo LEGS motor is also extremely stiff. Find out the answers to frequently asked questions about this exciting motor technology available from the FAULHABER Group.
Read the full article.


Get a linear shafting sample on the house

Lee Linear has produced world-class, linear motion components and linear shafting for over 40 years. With the ability to manufacture custom shafting -- threading, diameter reduction, keyways, flats, plating, and more -- to required standards in a short amount of time, Lee Linear is able to fulfill orders on time, eliminating downtime and increasing profits for its customers.
Request your sample.


Real-World Application: Actuator linkage for diverter valve in hybrid vehicles

Cablecraft Motion Controls was contacted by a large exhaust gas management system supplier to develop a special actuator linkage to control a diverter valve in the exhaust gas stream of hybrid passenger vehicles. The application presented quite a number of challenges, including meeting cost, temperature, and PPAP timing requirements.
Read the full article.


Next-gen permanent magnet AC motor with integrated encoder

Designed for today's demanding machine drive applications, the new VFsync synchronous AC motors from Bison Gear and Engineering run at high efficiency with advanced variable frequency drives. These IP66/IP54 platform motors were optimized with FEA software and then tooled with highly efficient internal permanent magnet-style rotors. VFsync provides a compact footprint that is 56 percent smaller and 63 percent lighter than common 3-phase induction motors. Power range is .25 to 1.5 hp. They are supplied with swivel connectors and shielded cables to make installation trouble-free. Popular frame sizes available. The product line includes the new motors, quick-connect cables, and a programmable and networked VFD.
Learn more.


Largest autonomous mobile robot can lift 1 metric ton

At the Automate 2019 Show and Conference, Mobile Industrial Robots launched the MiR1000, the company's largest autonomous mobile robot (AMR). This mobile platform can automatically pick up, transport, and deliver pallets and other heavy loads up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) through dynamic environments. Like the MiR500 introduced in 2018, the MiR1000 is a collaborative, safe, and flexible alternative to potentially dangerous and expensive forklifts on the factory floor. MiR also released another industry first -- artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities across all of its AMRs for improved navigation.
Learn more.


Top Roller conveyor for mobile industrial robots

Real efficiency in logistics automation is achieved when the entire workflow is handled by robotics solutions that communicate smoothly with each other. That's the vision behind ROEQ's new TR500 Top Roller unit that automates load and unload operations of the MiR500, the largest and most powerful autonomous mobile robot from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). Danish company ROEQ is launching the Top Roller at the Automate 2019 show in Chicago this week, along with a host of other add-ons for MiR. The TR500 accommodates U.S. pallets and can be delivered with a fully automated lifter functionality for pick-up and delivery of goods.
Learn more.


Top Tech Tip: Specifying self-lubricating bearings for linear motion systems

Self-lubricating ball bushing bearings have experienced an increase in use among motion system designers thanks to their ability to significantly reduce cost of ownership, improve performance, and deliver virtually maintenance-free operation. However, these bearings may not reach their full potential without being properly specified, installed, and evaluated for compatibility with their intended environment. Learn how to specify them for long-lasting use in your motion system applications.
Read this informative Thomson article.


New long-travel linear motor stage

The new V-417.336025E1 linear translation stage from PI is engineered for industrial applications with high demands on dynamics, precision, smooth scan motion, short settling times, and low tracking error. It provides 32 in. of travel (813 mm). The stage achieves high velocities to 79 in./sec (2 m/sec) based on a direct-drive ironless linear servo motor. High accuracy, repeatability, and functionality are guaranteed by an integrated absolute-measuring linear position encoder featuring 1-nm sensor resolution. Applications include: pick and place, optics, semiconductor test and inspection, bio-tech, DNA sequencing, 3D printing, and laser processing and machining.
Learn more.


More stopping power for servo motors -- using less space

Miki Pulley's BXR-LE spring-applied Electro-Magnetic brake series safely holds a static position, without the need for external power. When the stator is energized, the brake is disengaged allowing free rotation. When no current is applied, compression springs halt the brake rotor, thereby stopping the input shaft rotation. This is an ideal feature to prevent rotation during power failure events. There are six total size configurations in the BXR-LE series to choose from. Of particular importance: These brakes have a slim design and high holding torque in a very compact package. Great for robotics.
Learn more.


Variable frequency drives benefit constant speed applications

Using a variable frequency drive (VFD) can be beneficial in many constant speed applications driven by electric motors, such as those that require controlled starting and have been historically served by a reduced-voltage soft-starter (RVSS). While an RVSS and a VFD can both provide a controlled start, let's examine the benefits of each technology and when it makes sense to use one over the other.
Read this informative Parker Hannifin blog.


How a Seventh Axis adaptation aims to move cobot technology into more factories

Advances in technology and software are expanding the scope of potential cobot work environments to include small and mid-size operations. That's why Rollon Corporation has created a Seventh Axis system for collaborative industrial robots from Universal Robots (UR). This shuttle system is designed to extend the operating area of UR's cobots to enhance their performance in automated processes for various industries without sacrificing their simplicity.
Read the Rollon article.


New 200-W high-torque brushless servo motor

The new EC-i 52XL 200W Brushless Servo Motor from maxon is a powerhouse. When space is limited but high torque and dynamics are required, the maxon EC-i 52XL motor is the ideal motor choice. With its extended length (80 mm to 110 mm), this motor with flux collector rotor provides outstanding torque performance compared to the existing EC-i 52 180W High Torque that is often needed, especially on the industrial automation front. Its extra power can be even more significant at relatively low speed, which makes it a solid fit for a variety of industrial applications including material handling and transport systems.
Learn more.


ABB launches IEC food-safe motors

ABB has launched a full range of IEC Food Safe motors designed for applications in the food and beverage industry that need frequent sanitation. The new IEC Food Safe motors are part of ABB's Food Safe family that includes stainless steel NEMA motors, mounted ball bearings, and gearing. Motors are available in the power range 0.18 to 7.5 kW, in 2- to 6-pole versions for 230- to 690-V at 50 or 60 hertz. They feature IE3 premium efficiency to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Flexible mounting arrangements ensure they will fit almost any application. Frame sizes are 71 to 132.
Learn more.


New Sinamics G120X drive series specializes in infrastructure pump, fan, and compressor applications

Siemens has introduced the new Sinamics G120X drive, a simple, seamless, and easy-to-use drive designed for use in pump, fan, and compressor applications in industries such as water/wastewater, HVAC/R, irrigation/agriculture, and in industrial environments. Sinamics G120X has a power range of 1 to 700 hp (0.75 to 630 kW) and can operate in temps from -4 to 140 F (-20 to 60 C) with any standard motor, including synchronous reluctance motors (SRM). It has an integral DC choke that improves harmonics and EMC performance. Sinamics G120X meets all the latest and upcoming UL, NEMA, and EN/IEC standards for 2019 and beyond and offers up to 100-kA short-circuit current rating (SCCR), ensuring enhanced product safety and energy efficiency.
Learn more.


Bye bye hydrazine: Powerful 'green' spacecraft fuel will propel a mission in 2015

By Robert P. White, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

In 2015, NASA, for the first time, will fly a space mission using a radically different propellant -- one that has reduced toxicity and is environmentally benign. This energetic ionic liquid, or EIL, is quite different from the historically employed hydrazine-based propellant, which was first used as a rocket fuel during World War II for the Messerschmitt Me 163B (the first rocket-powered fighter plane).

Within the U.S. space program, hydrazine was used on the 1970s Viking Mars program, and more recently in the Phoenix lander and Curiosity rover Mars missions, as well as in the Space Shuttle's auxiliary power units. Significantly, monopropellant hydrazine-fueled rocket engines are the norm in controlling the terminal descent of spacecraft. What makes hydrazine desirable as a propellant for this terminal descent role is that, when combined with various catalysts, the result is an extremely exothermic reaction that releases significant heat in a very short time, producing energy in the form of large volumes of hot gas from a relatively small volume of hydrazine liquid.

Unfortunately, hydrazine has several significant drawbacks: It is very toxic when inhaled, corrosive on contact with skin, hazardously flammable, and falls short in providing the propulsive power required for future spacecraft systems. In 1998, driven by these challenges, Dr. Michael Berman, a program manager at the Arlington, Va.-based Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the basic research arm of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), funded Dr. Tom Hawkins of the Propellants Branch, Rocket Propulsion Division at AFRL's Aerospace Systems Directorate, to find a more benign, yet even more powerful material to replace hydrazine.

This research effort was ultimately associated with a joint government and industry development program, the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) initiative, to improve U.S. rocket propulsion systems. IHPRPT challenged the Department of Defense, the National Air and Space Administration, and the rocket propulsion industry to double U.S. rocket propulsion capability (cost and performance) by 2010. Beginning in 1996, this IHPRPT challenge meant the development of propellants that would provide far greater energy density than current state-of-the-art propellants.

Hawkins' interest in EILs began early on in his career beginning at Lehigh University when he worked on advanced propellants for the Strategic Defense Initiative in the 1980s. Knowing the untapped potential of ionic liquids to provide high-energy-density materials, he embarked on an effort to design and characterize the EIL family. This effort was funded by AFOSR and continues to the present day.

"We were on the right track [in 2002] when we produced an ionic liquid monopropellant that incorporated an EIL that was investigated under our AFOSR program," said Hawkins. "This propellant class, known as AF-M315, has an energy density close to twice that of the state-of-the-art spacecraft monopropellant, hydrazine."

With additional support from the IHPRPT program, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and related USAF missile programs, a full characterization of one of these new propellants, AF-M315E, was investigated for its overall safety and hazard properties. According to Hawkins, these safety properties, coupled with the performance of AF-M315E, were "... absolutely outstanding; we found the oral toxicity of AF-M315E to be less than that of caffeine, and its vapor toxicity to be negligible. The vapor flammability of AF-M315E was essentially nil, and this made it difficult to unexpectedly ignite and sustain combustion of AF-M315E -- one could even put out small fires with the propellant!"

Combustion using AF-M315E does require a higher temperature, though, compared to hydrazine.

In 2005, NASA took a keen interest in this very promising alternative to hydrazine and performed further evaluations. Follow-on work performed by Aerojet, Inc. brought AF-M315E engine design to a level that was very attractive for a technology transition to the commercial sector. But for that to occur, it was necessary to find a champion to sponsor the flight demonstration that would make AF-M315E spacecraft propulsion an "off-the-shelf" choice for future propulsion systems. NASA became that champion in 2012 with their selection of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation as the lead integrator for the Green Propellant Infusion Mission -- a $45 million program that will produce new AF-M315E-based thrusters for NASA's 2015 spacecraft mission. Additional program team members consist of the AFRL, Aerojet, the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center, and the NASA/Glenn Research Center.

The field of energetic ionic liquids is the product of AFOSR-sponsored research at AFRL that is changing the landscape of work in the energetic materials community.

"The AFOSR-funded program provided the synthesis and characterization work for an EIL that enabled the experimental USAF fuel, AF-M315E, to act as a high-energy-density, environmentally benign, easy-to-handle replacement for spacecraft hydrazine fuel," said Hawkins.

Hawkins also noted that 20 years is a well-recognized time period for producing such a revolutionary propellant approach and propulsion system due to the fact that the EIL approach to liquid propulsion is completely different than that of hydrazine, and, most significantly, the performance potentials of EIL-based propellants are not small incremental improvements, but significantly larger than any state-of-the-art propellant. As EIL-based propellants are developed, they will provide lower-cost and safer propulsion system operations along with greater mission flexibility and faster mission response times.

Published May 2013

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