Single-cylinder engines for combustion research
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has designed and manufactured two advanced single-cylinder engines for combustion research and friction analysis, as well as alternative fuel, wear, optical, crank offset, and bore-to-stroke relationship studies. The engines, one for light- and medium-duty applications and one for heavy-duty applications, can accommodate either multi-cylinder or single-cylinder heads through a custom cylinder barrel and head support shelf. They include several unique patent-pending innovations, including mechanisms that adjust compression ratios and crankshaft offsets without the need for disassembling the engine. Optical access, dynamic cam phasing, secondary balancers, and floating liner devices can be added to the standard configurations. Specs available in online "Single-Cylinder Research Engine" flyer.
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Hybrid gantry stage provides precision XY/XYZ motion with linear motors, air bearings, and ball bearings
PI's new A-341 hybrid gantry XY/XYZ positioning stage provides the framework for controlled precise overhead motion that is often sought after for 3D printing, assembly, pick-and-place, alignment, inspection, and industrial automation applications. The A-341 HGS hybrid gantry is designed to combine maximum throughput with smooth and highly accurate motion in a compact envelope. It features a unique hybrid bearing design. The cross axis utilizes a frictionless air bearing guiding system, which allows for excellent velocity control, repeatability, straightness, and cleanliness. The lower dual-motor axis uses precision mechanical linear bearings for rigidity and reduced size. This combo offers an overhead gantry motion platform optimized for step and scan applications in the smallest possible form factor.
Micro-brakes for precise motion control applications
The ultra-compact 112 Model Electromag-netic Micro-Brakes from Miki Pulley ensure fast response in high-torque, demanding applications. The simple design features a stator with integrated mounting flange, proprietary composite friction liner, and armature complete with ring plate spring and hub. These brakes halt rotation mechanically by utilizing an electromagnetic field to create mechanical friction. With fast response, the brake's armature engages the stator when the coil is energized. A constant-force plate spring transfers torque to the rotating brake body, halting all motion.
Electric high-force linear actuator choices: Ball vs. roller screw
Many applications require high-force linear actuators -- from moving equipment in a foundry to powering a press in metal forming to guiding heavy logs in a sawmill. Whatever the application, a machine designer is faced with a choice: whether to specify a ball or roller screw in the electric high-force linear actuator. Learn how to make the best decision for your application.
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Using SmartMotor data to diagnose linear actuator performance problems
Effective troubleshooting of a motion control system problem can be a daunting and time-consuming process, even for seasoned automation professionals. However, the Moog Animatics SmartMotor fully integrated servo, with built-in controller and firmware, is constantly monitoring a variety of operating parameters. This case study investigates how that data can be used to quickly and effectively troubleshoot and resolve a motion control system problem.
Read the Moog Animatics article.
Advantages of electroformed metal bellows
Servometer metal bellows manufactured using our patented electro-deposition process create flexibility, protection, motion, and balance for systems requiring precise, repeatable results. This exclusive manufacturing technology produces electroformed bellows that offer unique characteristics such as high-strength but lightweight construction and custom engineered geometries. Learn more by viewing our "Electroforming Basics of Miniature and Specialized Components" white paper.
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Top 5 challenges of motion control design
As motion control solutions -- from angle encoders to direct drive motors -- become even more ubiquitous in industrial situations, engineers face evolving demands and opportunities. From lowering the cost of advanced technologies to improving functional safety in automated environments, here are the top five challenges and opportunities in today's motion control design industry as seen by engineers from HEIDENHAIN.
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Two-way traction drives reduce motor torque ripple
Rolling Motion Industries (RMI) has released two new, highly efficient two-way gearless traction drives. The MAR-17-2-2.1 and MAR-23-2-2.1 permanently lubricated drives have only six moving parts and typically last three times longer than conventional gearboxes. The drives have demonstrated up to an 84 percent reduction in motor torque ripple. The MAR17-2-2.1 Traction Drive is designed for speeds to 3,600 rpm with 10 to 20 in./lb of torque, and the MAR-23-2-2.1 Traction Drive is rated for 3,600 rpm with 20 to 30 in./lb of torque.
High-precision multi-axis motion with hexapod 6-axis systems -- New 130-pg PI catalog
Multi-axis motion and positioning systems are often used for precision automation and alignment applications in fields including optics, photonics, aerospace, medical engineering, and laser technology. Hexapod parallel-kinematic motion and positioning systems provide a novel approach to multi-axis motion, combining precision and compactness with versatility. PI's new 130-page catalog provides background information and features a variety of hexapod (Stewart-Platform) motion and positioning systems with 6 degrees of freedom and high resolution and repeatability in the sub-micrometer and even nanometer range.
Get the new catalog today (no registration required).
World's most compact 3,000-W integrated servo motor
JVL's newest addition to its motor portfolio is a complete, high-capacity MAC motor with a rating of 3,000 W. MAC motors are complete servo systems that include a high-dynamic AC servo motor, hall sensors, encoder, power supply, driver, and positioning controller and Nano-PLC, as well as options for incorporating various control modules such as Bluetooth, WLAN, ZigBee, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, CANopen, DeviceNet, Profibus, Profinet, Nano PLC, and more. With a length of only 311.8 mm and a torque of 9.55/28.6 Nm at 3,000 rpm, this MAC motor matches the size of traditional servo motors without built-in controllers. Many more features.
Smart gripper has fingertip sensors that see and feel objects
You can automate high-precision assembly tasks with the OnRobot RG2-FT smart gripper. The built-in 6-axis F/T sensors at the fingertips provide extremely accurate gripping for better production quality. This gripper is so smart it detects the risk of slipping before it happens! The Danish company OnRobot has just opened its U.S. headquarters in Dallas. The company is a global leader in end-of-arm tooling for collaborative robots and also provides hardware and software used with collaborative robots from a variety of robot manufacturers such as Universal Robots, KUKA, FANUC, and Yaskawa.
SmartMotor can handle extreme low temps
Moog Animatics has released its new Low Temperature Range (LTR) SmartMotor in two standard NEMA frame sizes: model SM17205M-LTR (the LTR-17) and model SM23165M-LTR (the LTR-23). Both motors have been meticulously engineered for robust and reliable operation in extremely frigid environments and at high altitudes. To achieve this, onboard internal heaters ensure that the motors can start up in temperatures below -40 degrees C. Other design changes allow these motors to withstand random vibrations up to 6G 10-2000 Hz, and standard IP sealing protects the motors from condensation.
Small DC motors for spectrophotometry
The DeNovix team needed a motion solution for their spectrophoto-meter application which called for intermittent short, quick motions with micron-level accuracy. After research and testing, they chose a FAULHABER small DC motor configured with a MICROMO encoder and an all-plastic planetary gearhead to successfully bring their product to market.
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100 million random moves: New lifetime spec for rotary micro stage with integral controller
New Scale Technologies has significantly increased the lifetime specification for its M3-RS-U Rotary Smart Stage, a precision rotary micro stage with embedded controller. The new specification of 100 million random positions underscores the utility of these compact, all-in-one motion modules for integrating embedded motion inside in medical, commercial, and industrial instruments. The increased lifetime spec makes the selection decision even easier for product designers who need to embed motion in their portable and hand-held systems.
Electric extreme-force linear actuators beat hydraulics in metal casting
Metal casting is precise work conducted in a high-temperature environment. Unmolding a workpiece requires both force and control. It's a task often left to hydraulic cylinders, but their high-force capabilities come with significant drawbacks, like inadequate control and messy leaks. New, electric extreme-force linear actuators offer precision and clean operation.
Read the Tolomatic blog.
Army engineers cook up new recipe for biofuel: blue-green algae plus artillery propellant
By Audra Calloway, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey
While people who go to the beach and lakes may think of algae as a slimy nuisance, engineers at Picatinny Arsenal have partnered with private industry to harness its photosynthesis ability to develop a safe, cheap, fast, and environmentally friendly way to recycle aging M6 artillery round propellant and create biofuel.
Propellant is the chemical substance in the artillery round that ignites and propels the round out of the howitzer tube. Currently, M6 propellant in the M119 artillery rounds is disposed, or demilitarized, primarily through incineration or open burning, which generates carbon dioxide.
"Because the algae-based process uses photosynthesis, it actually consumes carbon dioxide," explained Pamela Sheehan, the project officer and principle investigator for the M6 recycling research program at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.
Graphic by Kelley Glass.
"So not only is the process not carbon-dioxide generating, it goes beyond being carbon neutral to a carbon-dioxide consumer," she said. Eliminating the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during destruction of propellant helps the Army reduce its carbon footprint and take action against climate change.
When circumstances allow it, the military recycles metal parts during the demilitarization processes.
However, the algae-based demilitarization method would allow the Army to recycle nitrogen, which is present in all propellants and explosives.
"We've conceptualized a process to develop a capability to extract and conserve that nitrogen using a hydrolysis process," Sheehan said. Hydrolysis is a chemical process of decomposition.
"The nitrogen then is in the form of nitrite and nitrate, and we want to use that nitrogen to grow algae in a reactor. The algae utilizing the nitrogen will grow, and as they grow will produce ethanol, and an oil product that can later be refined into diesel fuel," she explained.
Additional revenue source
By creating oil that can be sold or used on site, the algae-based biofuel process will also allow the Army to create a source of revenue from what otherwise has been a waste-stream. This will offset the cost of demilitarization.
The Picatinny team is working with the industrial biotechnology company Algenol Biotech LLC, which has a patented algae technology platform for the production of ethanol and other biofuels.
The company recently won the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and has previously received funding from the Bioenergy Technologies Office at the Department of Energy.
ARDEC engineers are developing the hydrolysis process to extract the nitrogen at Picatinny.
The nitrogen would then be shipped to Algenol in Florida for the algae growth process.
Reducing the military's weapon stockpile
M6 propellant is one of the Department of Defense's top 10 most plentiful items in the demilitarization stock pile. Currently, about 8.7 million pounds of M6 propellant are stockpiled and awaiting disposal -- enough to fill about three Olympic-size swimming pools.
Incineration and open burning can be slow processes because the military is limited by equipment size, weather, and regulatory air permits as to how much propellant can be burned per burn space and per year.
"Because of logistical and environmental permit limitations, it could be 21 years before 8.7 million pounds of M6 propellant can be burned," Sheehan said.
Current estimates indicate that the same amount of M6 propellant could be disposed of in seven years using the algae-based process because the military could treat more per year, since it is not constrained by the limitations associated with burning.
"The algae-based process is a broad program, and we're looking at it as a platform technology," Sheehan said. "All of our energetics have nitrogen in them -- all of them. So conceptually, this process can apply to everything we have in the stockpile -- currently and in the future."
But how much does it cost?
Cost and budgets are always a significant factor to military programs.
Open burning the M6 propellant is currently the cheapest way to dispose of it. Typically, open burning and open detonation is about $1,000 per short ton of the M119 prop charge. The other alternative is to use a closed disposal treatment system, like an incinerator, which is roughly $4,000 per short ton.
However, the algae process is estimated to cost around $1,800 per short ton, making it more expensive than open burning, but still far cheaper than closed disposal.
"We want to implement a process that's safe, environmentally sound, faster, and cheaper," Sheehan said.
This innovative process to reuse artillery propellant has been underway at ARDEC since 2014. So far, it has made significant progress.
Sheehan's team has proven the concept can work successfully in small batches. The engineers are now scaling up and testing the process at a larger volume with reactors that run continuously.
Conversion of energetics to renewable biofuel is an example of a new capability in biotechnology and industrial microbiology emerging from the Demil and Environmental Technologies Division at ARDEC.
ARDEC is currently funding the program through science and technology funds and may transfer the program to the Product Manager Demilitarization once the concept has been proven, which could be as soon as 2018.
Product Manager Demilitarization is part of the Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal. The Army is the single manager of conventional munitions and is responsible for demilitarization of all old, unserviceable, or excess ammunition for the Department of Defense.
Published January 2016
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