March 11, 2014 Volume 10 Issue 10

Motion Control News & Products

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Electromechanical kit for easy joining applications

Bosch Rexroth's new, innovative Smart Press Kit is designed to meet future industrial requirements and provides a complete mechatronics package immediately ready for use across an extremely wide range of standardized pressing and joining applications -- particularly 2 to 30 kN. The modular kit, consisting of mechanical components, electrical components, and software, simplifies product selection and configuration as well as commissioning. The Smart Press Kit can be connected via open interfaces and conveniently monitored on a tablet during operations. This maximizes transparency, reduces downtime, and increases productivity. Applications include press-fitting bearings into housings, crimping cables and hoses, and inserting (for example, integration of magnets in lamination stacks).
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Flat external high-speed rotor motor

With the DF20, Nanotec now offers a flat external rotor motor with a diameter of just 20 mm. It is available with two different windings for 12 and 24 V and is equipped with digital Hall sensors for simple control. The DF20 features a rated power of 5 W and a rated speed of 5,200 rpm. The open design without rotor housing ensures optimal heat dissipation -- even at high speeds. Thanks to its compact construction with flat ribbon cable, this brushless DC motor is ideal for applications with limited space, such as robot grippers, medical pumps, or prosthetics. An adapter board is available for test purposes as an accessory.
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OnRobot's One System Solution grippers receive UR+ certification

With the One System Solution launched this fall, OnRobot disrupted the end-of-arm-tooling (EoAT) industry, presenting a full line of intelligent grippers and sensors with a unified mechanical and communications interface. The innovative approach allows for quick plug-and-play tool changes and fast and easy programming across multiple production lines and applications. The One System Solution grippers are now also part of the UR+ program that tests and certifies EoAT products for seamless use with cobots from Universal Robots. Additionally, the URCap software automatically identifies the OnRobot tool that is mounted on a UR robot, so a variety of OnRobot products can be used effortlessly.
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New integrated DC motor and controller package

Haydon Kerk Pittman has just announced the latest addition to its popular line of brushless DC motors. The EC042B IDEA Motor Series is now available with CANopen communication-enhancing motion control capabilities. Save money and space by utilizing the IDEA Motor's integrated package of motor, drive, and feedback connections in a compact and programmable unit. A single motor/drive unit reduces motion system components by up to 75 percent per axis and simplifies machine troubleshooting. Save time using a pre-engineered, factory-configured and tested servo system. Immediately generate complex precise motion sequences by using the available Graphical User Interface that provides an intuitive programming environment to quickly develop, save, and debug complex motion sequences.
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Smart actuators deliver on the promise of Industry 4.0

As Industry 4.0 initiatives bring more and more industrial axes of motion into the realm of automation, the need for cost-effective control across them grows as well. Consider, for example, industrial tasks such as raising or lowering a conveyor to handle cartons of various sizes. If such adjustments are needed only a few times a day, automation with conventional technology would be difficult to justify. Automating such intermittent operations with pneumatic cylinders, for instance, would require costly infrastructure and elevated maintenance costs while providing only limited control capability. Today's smart electromechanical actuators, however, enable designers to automate intermittent operations affordably by embedding functionality that has previously required an external infrastructure.
Read the Thomson article.


New hygienic integrated electric actuators provide modular clean-in-place solutions

The Tolomatic IMA-S stainless-steel integrated servo actuator is designed for the most demanding food and beverage processing applications, eliminating harborage points and preventing bacterial growth. The 316 stainless-steel construction provides excellent corrosion resistance and withstands high pressure, high temperature, and caustic washdown. It meets clean-in-place requirements, allowing machine designers to achieve open machine designs and eliminate shrouding required to house standard actuators. This series offers forces up to 11.1 kN (2,500 lbf), stroke lengths up to 450 mm (18 in.), and options for planetary roller screws or ball screws. A proprietary lubrication feature helps extend service life.
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Engineer's Toolbox: Three steps to mount a step motor

Jeff Kordik, chief technical officer, Applied Motion Products, runs through the basic steps to mount a step motor and also covers key mounting dimensions. He provides his pro tips along the way and also gives tips for determining proper step motor torque as a sidebar. Lots of good info here.
Read the full article.


Mini linear stages for precision automation

Positioning systems that not only work very precisely but are also suitable for higher loads while requiring little installation space are sought after in medical tech, biomedical engineering, or when aligning components in the laser and photonics industries; in micro assembly; and even when handling parts in industrial automation. With the L-505 series, PI (Physik Instrumente) now has compact linear stages in its portfolio that can be loaded to 30 N and are available in two space-saving dimensions: a 36-mm narrow, elongated version with direct fixed drive and a 60-mm-wide, shorter version with folded drivetrain. These compact linear stages are offered either with a DC motor or a stepper motor and with or without gearhead.
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Motor sizing basics: Balancing torque, speed, and inertia for optimal application performance

Optimizing motor selection for motion control applications can have significant performance, cost, and maintenance benefits. Select too large a motor, and you could overwhelm your actuators and incur unnecessary equipment and energy costs. Select too small a motor, and you may not achieve the torque and speed you need for effective performance. Andrew Skidmore, senior project engineer at Thomson Industries, covers what you need to know to make the proper selection for your application.
Read the Thompson article.


Slip rings for demanding environments

The Orbex Group now offers IP65-rated slip rings for reliable use in demanding industrial or outdoor applications. Constructed from stainless steel, the rugged 200 series resists shock, vibration, and corrosion in salty or washdown environments. It features a wide temp range (-40 to 80 C) and the longest service life of any Orbex slip rings -- up to 80 million revolutions. Units incorporate proprietary channeled brush technology, which creates multiple contact points and reduces contact forces to minimize wear in food processing, packaging, wind turbines, marine cable reels, downhole inspection equipment, and other demanding applications. Mini (300 series) and through-bore (series 500) slip rings also available.
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Multi-axis gimbal system for defense

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions has just introduced a new multi-axis gimbal system for military applications such as counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and air defense operations that offers a great combination of reliability, precision, and affordability. The SPS-1000 is a next-gen sensor positioning system (SPS) that accurately acquires, tracks, and points a variety of sensor payloads in harsh land, sea, and airborne environments. Two key benefits of the modular design approach are integral field-replaceable control electronics (which eliminates all external cables without any sacrifice in performance) and a reconfigurable design allowing for utmost payload flexibility.
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Linear motion guide with built-in encoder

New from THK, the Type SHS-LE integrates the global standard THK Type SHS LM Guide with a THK linear encoder (linear position sensor). This combined model allows for compact machine designs that require less assembly time. THK's Type SHS Caged Ball LM Guide performs with high speed and precision. Each row of balls is arranged at a contact angle of 45°, enabling the SHS to be used in all directions. Its patented THK Caged Technology employs a synthetic resin cage with a patented curvature that cradles each ball and separates it from the next. The spaces between the rolling elements retain grease and act as a lubrication system for long-term, maintenance-free operation. Other benefits include increased speed and accuracy, decreased noise levels, low dust generation, and long life.
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Compact hydraulic/pneumatic position sensors

Novotechnik's TM1 Series of position sensors are designed for use in hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders -- especially in tight-space applications. They are based on magnetostrictive technology and are available in screw flange or plug-in flange models. A ring-shaped magnetic marker moves up and down the sensor's shaft for touchless operation. Specs include stroke lengths from 50 to 2,000 mm (1.9 to 78.7 in.) and accuracy to +/-0.04 percent.
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6 latest trends in direct drive motor technology

Direct drive motors have always been seen as a technological step up from standard transmission devices, with torque and linear motors being seen as the higher end alternative to gearboxes and ball screws. Although the base design has been around for a long time, motor makers are still working on fine-tuning different aspects to increase the overall performance and quality of the product. Here are six advancements that direct drive motor builders are taking to ensure the customer gets the most out of their capabilities. By Brian Zlotorzycki, Business Development Specialist, ETEL Motors
Read the full article.


Small DC motors for lab spectrophotometry

The DeNovix team needed a motion solution for their spectro-photometer application which called for intermittent short, quick motions with micron-level accuracy. After research and testing, they chose FAULHABER small DC motors configured with a high-resolution encoder and an all-plastic planetary gearhead to successfully bring their product to market.
Learn more.


Cincinnati Inc., ORNL working on machine that 3D prints HUGE parts; Local Motors plans to use the tech to 3D print electric car

By Mike Foley, Designfax

Cincinnati Inc., a metal fabrication juggernaut for more than 100 years, has teamed up with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop and commercialize a new large-scale additive manufacturing system capable of printing huge polymer components -- much, much faster than many current systems can build small parts.

Hmmm ... how can that be?

Well, according to Lonnie Love, Ph.D., group leader of ORNL's Manufacturing Systems Research Group, the secret is in the materials and the delivery.

Love says that the new machine has an 8 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft build envelope and is scalable, with the biggest near-term future platform envisioned to be 20 ft x 10 ft x 8 ft. That is huge, when you consider that a 3 ft3 build envelope is considered large these days.

The proposed large-part additive manufacturing machine from Cincinnati Inc.

 

 

But how can the material print and cure faster? Now that is interesting. Love says that the answer is two-fold.

First, the machine prints with a big nozzle, so more material is heated and extruded (but not anywhere near as precisely). Love says that a typical fused-deposition modeling (FDM) machine has a 0.020-in. nozzle. The ORNL machine uses a 0.3-inch one. The material comes out looking like, and this is a really accurate description, something you'd see when looking at your piped-icing-decorated birthday cake (see Local Motors video below). No one said this machine is fast and accurate, at least when it comes to the printing part.

The other difference is the material. Instead of using a line of (plastic or ABS) filament like most 3D printers use, the ORNL machine uses a mixed plastic-and-carbon-fiber material that comes in pellets. The carbon fiber greatly reinforces the material, so it can be formed lighter and stronger. But unlike traditional FDM, Love says that this material enables part stability at room temperature. "There is no oven," he says, so parts cure extremely fast, even if they are large.

A prototype of the large-scale additive machine is in development using the chassis and drives of Cincinnati's gantry-style laser cutting system as the base, with plans to incorporate a high-speed cutting tool, pellet feed mechanism, and control software for additional capability.

Cincinnati's experience in designing, making, and controlling large-scale manufacturing systems, as well as its long working relationship with ORNL, led to the partnership.

"As one of the oldest U.S. machine tool makers, with continuous operation since 1898, we view this as an opportunity to start a new chapter in our history," says Andrew Jamison, CEO of Cincinnati Inc. "Over the years, we've supplied more than 40 metal working machine tools to Oak Ridge and its subcontractors. Now, working together, we intend to lead the world in big-area additive manufacturing for prototyping and production."

According to Love, the capability of this machine to produce tooling -- and not particularly standardized "parts" -- is its big breakthrough. "We have already made and tested large metal forming tools for the aerospace industry," says Love. "It will revolutionize U.S. tooling. We've made custom furniture and are working with Local Motors on customized printed electric vehicles." Love says the project was initially an internal Lockheed Martin program. They partnered with ORNL last year, and ORNL has funded it internally for a year. This year the goal is transitioning to a commercial product with Cincinnati Inc.

So rather than printing "parts" (be they big or small) like most of think of when we think of 3D printing, this printer can also print the base materials to create things like big molds or dies.

"But I thought you said this process isn't particularly accurate," you are probably thinking, "so how can you use it for tooling?" Well, that is where another process comes in: subtractive manufacturing (or milling). Remember that Cincinnati said that the machine can incorporate a high-speed cutting tool?

A look into the Local Motors project can shed a little more light on this. Alex Fiechter, head of R&D and community management at Local Motors, explains (in the video below) that the large ORNL 3D-printing machine also contains a machining head for material removal, so that once the 3D part is printed in the rough it can be machined to needed tolerance/specifications.

Local Motors, a pioneer in the online design and hardware co-creation market and known for creating a really cool customizable car called the Rally Fighter, has agreed to build a 3D-printed electric car for the Association For Manufacturing Technology to be featured at the upcoming International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2014 in Chicago, IL, September 8-13, 2014.

Local Motors Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) electric car concept to be demonstrated at IMTS 2014.

 

 

"We're printing the body and frame of the vehicle, along with seats and anything else that we can," says James Earle, advanced manufacturing engineer at Local Motors. "... The printed parts will all be one piece."

"We won't be printing the drive train components or any other electrical systems," says Earle.

A look at a video update that Local Motors posted recently gives some insight into what is going on with their IMTS car and the ORNL printer. In it, Fiechter explains how the printer first lays down the basic form of the polymer/carbon fiber part quickly and then the part is machined out (that's the subtractive part) to produce a finished result. Local Motors also says that it is investigating using ULTEM with carbon as one possible material and ABS with carbon as another.

Using this method, both standard "parts" and tooling can be created.

"We're using chopped fiber that is integrated into the plastic pellets we buy (we don't add it ourselves)," says Earle. "For FDM parts (fused deposition modeling, how we're printing the car), it's relatively new. We're one of only a few using carbon fiber to reinforce printed plastic at this scale, but there are a lot of people interested in the idea and studying it."

Earle says that they probably won't be 3D printing metal parts for the IMTS car, but the project engineers "have looked into printing custom fasteners that we could incorporate into the car as we print."

"For our purposes, we want to print a functional car," says Earle. "That means printing 'usable' parts. There is a lot of interest in the machine from other companies for use in creating dies for tooling purposes, e.g. to form sheet metal, but Local Motors wants the car to be printed in one piece. It's possible we may, in the future, use the printer to create molds for door panels or something, but initially no."

Published March 2014

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