January 26, 2016 Volume 12 Issue 04

Motion Control News & Products

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First explosion-proof stackable multi-turn encoder

Sensata Technologies has introduced the first explosion-proof stackable multi-turn encoder, an ideal position sensing solution for oil and gas applications such as drawworks, top drives, and pipe-handling equipment where working conditions are extreme. The new encoder, BEI Sensors' model MAAX, is ATEX and IECEx certified to operate in explosive environments and features a Profibus output in a unique, stackable package. CANopen and SSI outputs are also available. The MAAX provides up to 16 bits of resolution as well as up to 16 bits of turns by mechanical counting. This workhorse product operates directly in Zone 1 environments without the need for an accompanying Intrinsic Safety barrier.
Learn more.


QTR Series torque motors by Tecnotion

With Tecnotion torque motors, the magnetic design is optimized for maximum flux density and copper fill to provide very high torque-to-volume ratios. Motor sizes from 68-mm to 160-mm diameters are available, packing serious power to work with any servo drives on the market. Tecnotion torque motors are extremely compact, provide a very stiff drive train, eliminate the need for time-consuming mounting procedures, are virtually maintenance free, and can be integrated directly into the machine structure, while the spacious open inner diameter enables wire and cable feedthrough. The entire series comes with completely sealed stators and integrated temperature protection and measurement sensors.
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160 pages of piezo linear motors, rotation stages, and multi-axis motion systems

PI's new comprehensive piezo motor solutions catalog covers a large number of linear, rotary, and multi-axis motion systems based on a variety of piezo motor types along with their appropriate controllers and drivers. Ultrasonic piezo motors, for example, are preferred for high-speed applications; inertia motors are small and cost efficient; PiezoWalk drives provide the highest forces up to 800N; and piezo-ratchet drives can replace micrometers in remote "set and forget" applications. All piezoelectric motors are self-locking, field-less, and not affected by magnetic fields, and they can be integrated easily mechanically.
Get the PI catalog today (no registration required).
Watch different types of piezo motors in action.
Learn about different kinds of piezo motors products.


Electromechanical actuators with modular design

SKF CASM-100 electro-mechanical actuators from SKF Motion Technologies have been uniquely engineered with a modular design, enabling tailored solutions for a wide range of industrial linear movement and positioning applications. Modules provide choices among motor types, gearboxes, ball screws or roller screws, and accessories. Standardized interfaces connect the different components. These actuators use up to 80 percent less energy than pneumatic cylinders and 50 percent less energy than hydraulic alternatives and eliminate any need for constantly running compressors, hoses, and other components.
Click here to learn more.


Precision linear motion drive with thrust capacity to 800 lb

The Precision Motion Drive System from Amacoil/Uhing is a Uhing Model RG rolling ring linear drive integrated with a motion controller for precision linear motion applications. The Precision Motion Drive is fully programmable and meets application requirements for precision winding/spooling, pick-and-place machines, X-Y coordinate tool movement, metrology equipment, and other machinery providing fast, accurate positioning and reciprocating linear motion. Depending on the size of the RG drive nut in the system, the Precision Motion Drive System provides from 7 to 800 lb of axial thrust.
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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 medical, commercial, and industrial instruments. These rotary stages are ideal for beam steering and mirror positioning applications where precise, point-to-point positioning or dynamic scanning up to 100 Hz is needed. Applications include medical instruments such as surgical lasers and fluorescence microscopes, industrial systems for 3D measurements and remote sensing, optical communications systems, and obstacle detection and tracking systems for robots and drones (UAVs).
Learn more.


New UR e-Series cobots feature unique sensing, safety, and precision tools

Universal Robots pioneered the collaborative robot and continues to evolve its ground-breaking, automation technology with the introduction of its new flagship line of e-Series cobots. The new UR3e, UR5e, and UR10e robot arms will launch in North America at IMTS in Chicago, Sept. 10-15, at Universal Robots' IMTS booth N-236861. With a new built-in, tool-centric force/torque sensor, the e-Series is ready to take on popular collaborative robot applications that require force control right out of the box such as sanding, buffing, polishing, and deburring, where force-feedback is paramount in order to obtain uniform results. Additionally, the force/torque sensor can be used to measure mass and perform inspection processes or precisely detect contact.
Learn more.


What design engineers need to know about voice coil actuator technology

Looking to develop a product that requires highly reliable, highly repeatable, and highly controllable motions? Take a look at voice coil actuator technology. VCAs are very simple yet extremely robust and precise. Sensata Technologies has published a new white paper (What Design Engineers Need to Know about VCA Technology) that covers the current state of Voice Coil Technologies for a variety of linear motion applications. Good info here.
Get the white paper. No registration required.


US Digital releases new MD3 microstepping motor driver

The MD3 Programmable Microstepping Motor Driver is capable of driving motors from NEMA size 14 to 42. The MD3 accepts 9 to 50 VDC power inputs and is rated for currents up to 7A continuous duty. In addition to digital input controls, the MD3 can be configured and controlled using the open MODBUS RTU protocol over a RS485 bus. A GUI application is supplied that allows many settings to be changed including the number of microsteps per full step, acceleration/deceleration rates, speed, and current cutback.
Learn more.


New power-off brakes for parking brake applications

The MPC is a power-off brake module with an output shaft. The unit mounts directly onto a NEMA C-Face servo or stepper motor, and the output can also be coupled to a NEMA C-Face gear reducer. This brake is designed to decelerate or hold an inertial load when the voltage is turned off. When voltage is applied, the friction disc is released, and the brake is free of torque. This power-off brake is best suited for parking brake applications used to hold a load in position, and is ideal for creating brake motor packages for small servo and stepper NEMA 17 or NEMA 23 frame motors. Available from Servo2Go.
Learn more.


New planetary BLDC gearmotors: High torque and compact design

Bodine Electric Company introduces the new type 22B4-60P planetary gearmotor. This integral gearmotor combines Bodine's high-performance type 22B brushless DC motor with the new 60P (60-mm) planetary gearhead. It is ideal for applications that require higher torque than conventional helical/spur gearheads of a similar size can provide, and where a very low backlash gearhead is not required. Typical applications include conveyors, pumps, packaging, industrial automation, and a wide range of solar- or battery-powered equipment.
Learn more.


Compact brushless DC servo motor with integrated controller

Nanotec has developed the compact PD2-C-IP, a brushless DC servo motor with integrated controller and 42-mm flange size for use in harsh environmental conditions (class IP65). The PD2-C-IP is available as a brushless DC motor, with an operating voltage of 12 V to 48 V and a rated power of 105 W, and as a stepper motor with a nominal torque up to 0.5 Nm. Due to the field-oriented control based on an integrated encoder, both motors are controlled in the same way and differ only in their working point. Each motor is available in a USB or CANopen version. They offer effective and economical drive solutions when high precision and maximum benefit are required.
Click here to learn more.


DriveWare 7.4.2 released with stepper motor support

DriveWare is ADVANCED Motion Controls' no-cost software tool that allows users to set drive limits, tune the control loops, configure various types of feedback, auto-commutate, analyze signals over a built-in multi-channel oscilloscope, and more. Because of its powerful capabilities and user-friendly interface, DriveWare is the best way to commission and configure the company's DigiFlex Performance series drives. The biggest update to DriveWare 7.4.2 is the expanded support for stepper motors -- making it easy to configure closed-loop steppers while streamlined algorithms make autocommutation 75% faster. DigiFlex Performance servo drives can operate two-phase and three-phase steppers in addition to rotary and linear permanent magnet, brushed, and brushless servo motors.
Click here to learn more.


Plug-and-play motion system in a box

Rollon Corp. has launched Motion Box, a new pre-engineered Cartesian robot system designed to deliver users six different motion profiles that can be set up and running in a couple of hours. Motion Box covers everything from the human-machine interface (HMI) to the output of reliable motion. Even the cable management is included. The initial system setup is already complete, so end users can get parts moving in a reliable and repeatable manner. Motion Box incorporates the Q-Motion Controller from Mitsubishi Electric, which features four-axis motion control, energy-efficient drivers, integrated I/O and network access, and a clean, efficient HMI setup.
Learn more.


High-torque rotary voice coil actuators

H2W Technologies has developed several high-torque rotary voice coil actuators, otherwise known as a limited angle torque motors (LATs). The model TWR-015-346-2RC was designed to allow for a low moving mass (68 grams per coil) and inertia, as well as dual independent coils to allow for two independent motion profiles or couple the coils together to double the torque output. This rotary voice coil actuator can generate a continuous torque of 185 in.-oz (1.29 Nm) and a peak torque of 555 in.-oz (3.88 Nm) at a duty cycle of 10% (i.e., 1 sec on and 9 sec off) in each coil on a 4-in. (102-mm) rotation arm. By coupling the coils, the continuous torque doubles. Applications include driving a gimbal axis in scanning applications and providing stabilizing torques for image stabilization.
Click here to learn more.


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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