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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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.
How to select gearmotors for conveyor applications
If you need to find a gearmotor for your belt-driven conveyor application, Bodine Electric has you covered. This informative and thorough post provides step-by-step instructions for sizing and selection -- complete with examples. Learn about reflected acceleration torque, reflected breakaway torque, and a whole lot more. Also learn the basic set of questions to answer to determine what type of motor will work best.
Read the Bodine blog.
Marathon stainless steel and jet pump motors from AutomationDirect
New Marathon Powerwash SXT washdown duty motors are designed for use in food and beverage processing and other washdown environments. The all stainless steel, totally enclosed motors are available in single and three-phase. C-face with rigid base (footed) and C-face footless mounting options are available. Jet pump motors are commonly used in commercial and industrial water treatment and processing applications to power centrifugal and hydraulic pumps. Marathon jet pump motors are available in single and three-phase, and in TEFC and Open Drip Proof (ODP) designs. The ODP design allows air to circulate through the motor windings for cooling, but prevents drops of liquid from falling into the motor. The increased air flow means lower operating temperatures and increased efficiency when compared to TEFC or TENV motors.
Emergency braking in power outages, long holding power
Miki Pulley's BXW Spring Actuated Electromag-netic Brakes utilize internal compression springs to provide power-off, fail-safe braking. The primary moving part in this robust but simple brake design is the armature plate. When actuated, the brake compression springs push the armature plate into the friction disc when power is disengaged. This feature provides fail-safe braking and allows the brake to maintain position over long periods of time, thus preventing machinery from "coasting" when powered off. Brakes are ideal for small and large applications, including use with servo motors. Additional features: quiet operation, high holding torque, space savings, long service life, stable and reliable braking power, and manual release mechanisms.
First subsea actuator to have advantages of both electro-mechanical and electro-hydraulic systems
The Subsea Valve Actuator (SVA) from Rexroth is an electro-mechanical actuator with hydrostatic drive designed to complete the range of traditional hydraulic and all-electric subsea actuators for subsea control and production systems. It achieves the same safety performance as hydraulic actuators, but with much better reliability. It also provides a simple electric interface similar to those in all-electric actuators (without umbilicals for hydraulic fluid power). The SVA is compatible with Industry 4.0 technology and includes integrated sensors for monitoring position, pressure, temperature, and more. Operates up to a depth of 3,000 m.
BAE Systems demonstrates first integration of unmanned surface vessel with a U.K. Royal Navy warship
At a time of increased threat to international shipping, BAE Systems has demonstrated, for the first time, how Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) can be fully integrated with the U.K.'s operational Royal Navy warships to extend their reach beyond the horizon and reduce sailors' exposure to danger.
An unmanned Pacific 24 Rigid Inflatable Boat (P24 RIB) was integrated with the combat system of HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, in a series of waterborne demonstrations in London's Docklands at DSEI 2019, the international defense and security event (Sept. 10-13).
The 7.8-m-long P24 RIB has a speed of 38 knots and can operate for up to 45 hr at patrol speed or 100 nautical miles in pursuit mode, while being controlled remotely or operating autonomously. Its integration with an active warship has potential applications across a range of missions, including anti-piracy operations, border control, intelligence gathering, maritime security, and force protection.
At the show, technologists from BAE Systems, in collaboration with the Royal Navy, Dstl, and autonomous systems supplier L3Harris, demonstrated the potential to make naval missions faster, easier, and safer by carrying out high-speed exercises that mimicked real-world scenarios such as force protection, threat intercept, and chase missions.
The P24 RIB, designed and built by BAE Systems, is the standard sea boat for the Royal Navy and is used widely across its surface fleet. It is also used extensively by the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Ministry of Defense Police, and by allied navies and overseas security forces. The new autonomous capability has the potential to be retrofitted to existing P24 RIBs.
A key part of proving the technology for future operational use has been to ensure a secure connection between the combat management and sensor system on board the warship and the off-board systems on the RIB.
Early trials of the technology have been conducted in collaboration with the Royal Navy's new autonomy and lethality accelerator program, Navy X.
"This is much more than an Unmanned Surface Vessel demonstration for the Royal Navy," said Cdr Sean Trevethan, Royal Navy Fleet Robotics Officer. "What we are doing is the first step in exploiting system architecture in a complex warship to integrate an unmanned system into the ship. This ensures the system and its payload fully contribute to the warfighting capability of the ship.
"Ultimately, this will change the way we fight -- through integrated command and control -- and lead to development of new tactics, techniques, and procedures. The P24 RIB is well known to the Royal Navy and has a lot of potential in terms of its payload and deployment as an unmanned system. The Royal Navy is excited at the prospect of developing this capability."
The version of the autonomous P24 RIB on show at DSEI has been modified for optional unmanned operation and fitted with additional sensors and effectors including a high-resolution optical and thermal camera and Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) system, capable of emitting warning messages at distance. It is also equipped with automated navigational decision-making technologies, freeing up operators to focus on mission-critical information from afar.
The P24 has pre-programmed intelligent behaviors to position itself appropriately in relation to a potential threat. However, its planned weapons system, developed by MSI Systems with BAE Systems, remains firmly under a human operator's control, ensuring that while the vessel can operate and navigate autonomously, there will always be a highly trained operator making the final decision on engagement and targeting.
The demonstrations highlight the collaborative effort of industry working alongside Dstl partners in supporting the future of the Royal Navy, and the advancement of technology in providing non-lethal and lethal advantage to the U.K.'s military forces.
First introduced on an experimental basis in 2015 and trialed as part of the Royal Navy's Unmanned Warrior exercise in 2016, BAE Systems is working with the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense to continue a series of capability demonstrations, including NATO trials, designed to further test the integration of the technology with existing warship combat management systems trials and its planned weapons systems.
"For the past four years, we have been working in collaboration to develop this 'first of its kind' technology," said Mike Woods, Chief Technologist for BAE Systems' Maritime Services business. It will provide "a crucial advantage where it counts."
Source: BAE Systems
Published September 2019
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