March 11, 2014 Volume 10 Issue 10

Motion Control News & Products

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Robot with longer reach handles heavier payloads

The new RV-35/50/80FR robot series from Mitsubishi Electric Automation is ideal for handling large workpieces and heavy objects. This series has a max reach of almost 83 in. (2,100 mm) and a max payload over 175 lb (80 kg), so it's a great solution for palletizing and machine tending. These robots have a wide range of safety functions, including position and speed monitoring, and simplified installation and programming when paired with Mitsubishi Electric's MELFA Smart Plus card.
Learn more.


Linear servo press solutions from Tolomatic

Improve your pressing systems with electric linear actuators from Tolomatic. While hydraulic presses are a traditional choice in many manufacturing applications, a new generation of high-force Linear Servo Press technologies is now replacing high-maintenance hydraulics. They offer significant advantages in precision, programmability, energy efficiency, reliability, and flexibility.
Learn more.


Tech Tip: What is a stepper motor linear actuator?

What is a stepper motor linear actuator (SMLA), what types are available, and what can they do for your linear motion designs? Find out in this informative Thomson video. Learn how precision lead screws can be combined with a stepper motor in a number of ways, and discover which type can benefit your linear motion applications.
View the video.


Brakes for high-speed SCARA robots and more

Precise positioning of semi-conductor wafers during SCARA assembly operations requires instantaneous braking and holding power while minimizing heat in the system. The latest compact and slender Miki Pulley BXR-LE brake models provide the needed, perfectly controlled braking in a confined area of the system using minimal power. The braking response and holding power of this power-off engaged brake makes it ideal for this and other high-speed applications. The BXR-LE brake uses 24 VDC for a split second to overcome compression spring inertia to open the brake, then consumes only 7 VDC by utilizing the BEM power control module.
Learn more.


Automated piece-picking solution

The MI.RA/ OnePicker is a new and fully automated intelligent piece-picking solution from Comau. The easy-to-use, AI-backed, and collaborative solution reduces upstream process times, saving time, energy, and resources for warehouse, e-commerce, and other applications while increasing overall productivity and cost efficiency. Designed to autonomously pick miscellaneous objects from the same bin, it's a smart way to eliminate unsustainable sorting activities. Comes with Comau's Racer5 six-axis cobot.
Learn more.


Unlock cost savings: Revolutionary GAM GPL Gearbox

The GPL planetary gearbox, when paired with your preferred servo motor, delivers a solution that can match the fit and performance of direct drive motors while offering significant cost savings. With <6 arcsec backlash, GAM says this gearbox outperforms all other zero-backlash gearboxes on the market, making it the ideal choice for your applications. Discover how one company realized significant savings by replacing multiple direct drive motors with the GPL gearbox in a modular housing.
Read the GAM application story.


Bosch Rexroth new linear motor modules

Fast, compact, and precise. These properties characterize the new linear motor modules (LMM) with integrated screw-free direct drive from Bosch Rexroth. The axes are available in sizes 140, 180, and 220 mm and feature a zero-backlash direct drive. They complement the existing linear motion technology portfolio as a ready-to-install solution offering excellent value for money. The linear motor modules are available in all sizes with iron-core linear motors. Standard strokes are up to 1,540 mm and forces up to 2,400 N.
Learn all the specs and options.


OnRobot doubles payload capacity of its grippers

OnRobot's new 2FG14 and 3FG25 electrical grippers for heavy-duty, collaborative applications are now launching along with the new machine tending solution AutoPilot powered by D:PLOY, developed in collaboration with Ellison Technologies. The new three-fingered 3FG25 gripper provides users with 25 kg (55.1 lb) of payload power in a compact, all-electric, lightweight form, unlocking the potential of the latest cobots. Ideal for CNC machine tending, the 2FG14 is a lightweight parallel-finger gripper with a payload of 14 kg (30.8 lb). It doubles the payload and gripping force of OnRobot's popular 2FG7 gripper while also providing 30% more total stroke.
Learn more.


Linear guide system corrects misalignments

Bishop-Wisecarver's UtiliTrak® linear guide system includes vee rails for precision and open rails for misalignment float to provide smooth and accurate motion on inaccurate structures. Because precise parallelism is difficult to achieve, it is not uncommon for mounting surfaces to be slightly out of parallel. UtiliTrak's design compensates for mounting errors and does not require absolute parallelism for accurate operation. Genius.
Learn more.


Universal Robots emerges as preferred robotics platform for AI solutions at Automate 2024

At North America's largest automation show (Chicago, May 6-9), cobot pioneer Universal Robots will redefine the frontiers of physical AI, showcasing how the "ChatGPT moment for robots" has arrived in a wide range of applications. Automate attendees will also experience how Universal Robots' newest cobot models, the UR20 and UR30, automate tasks with increased payload, reach, and torque.
Learn more.


Multi-stage mini vacuum pumps: Max performance

Designed to meet the demanding needs of industrial users, the CMS M series mini vacuum pump from COVAL combines robustness, performance, and modularity, offering an optimum solution for applications requiring high suction flow rates, such as gripping porous parts, emptying tanks, or material handling when integrated into vacuum grippers. Thanks to their ultra-compact design and optimized multi-stage Venturi system, these pumps guarantee powerful suction flows up to 19.42 SCFM, while reducing compressed air consumption in a compact footprint.
Learn more.


Choosing a stepper motor: PM or hybrid?

Lin Engineering stepper motors are widely used in various applications that require precise control of motion, such as in robotics, 3D printing, CNC machines, and medical equipment. There are two main types of stepper motors: permanent magnet (PM) and hybrid. Learn the differences, advantages, and when to use one type or the other.
Read this informative Lin Engineering article.


Top Product: Integrated servo system is 20% smaller than standalone unit

Applied Motion Products has introduced the MDX+ series, a family of low-voltage servo systems that integrate a servo drive, motor, and encoder into one package. This all-in-one drive unit is an ideal solution for manufacturers in logistics, AGV, medical, semiconductor, the solar industries, and many others.
Read the full article.


Overhung load adaptors provide load support and contamination protection

Overhung load adaptors (OHLA) provide both overhung radial and axial load support to protect electrified mobile equipment motors from heavy application loads, extending the lifetime of the motor and alleviating the cost of downtime both from maintenance costs and loss of production. They seal out dirt, grime, and other contaminants too. Zero-Max OHLAs are available in an extensive offering of standard models (including Extra-Duty options) for typical applications or customized designs.
Learn more.


Why choose electric for linear actuators?

Tolomatic has been delivering a new type of linear motion technology that is giving hydraulics a run for its money. Learn the benefits of electric linear motion systems, the iceberg principle showing total cost of ownership, critical parameters of sizing, and conversion tips.
Get this informative e-book. (No registration required)


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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