January 05, 2021 Volume 17 Issue 01

Motion Control News & Products

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OnRobot launches advanced magnetic gripper for safe and precise cobot applications

OnRobot has launched the MG10, a versatile, high-performance, easy-to-use magnetic gripper for material handling, assembly, and machine tending applications in manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace environments. The gripper is fully compatible with all major robot brands.
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What motor torque constant to use for drive type: Theory and application

Calculating motor torque from available drive current can be confusing due to many different drive types and the multiple ways current is specified. This informative online paper from Celera Motion provides the key formulas for torque constant and motor current from the fundamental principles of three-phase motor theory. It also walks through the many ways torque can be calculated. This information applies to a brushless motor (BLAC or permanent magnet synchronous machines) configuration.
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Easy-integration compact Z-Theta motion platform

The easily integrated Z-Theta motion platform from Haydon Kerk Pittman offers linear and rotary point-to-point motion in a compact footprint. This modular, "bolt-in" package features the patented ScrewRail linear actuator, which combines guidance and linear transmission in a slender co-axial profile. The unique dual-motion integration with a pair of stepper motors adds rotary (theta) motion that reduces motion system size by 50% to 80% and provides as much as a 60% overall cost reduction when compared to traditional design approaches. This setup can be customized with a variety of lead screw resolutions, free-wheeling and anti-backlash nuts, stepper motor options, and optical encoder line counts.
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Good beer. Zero packaging accidents.

The Danish division of Carlsberg, one of the leading brewery groups in the world, has significantly improved staff safety and taken steps toward achieving zero accidents since integrating Universal Robots cobots into its Fredericia-based factory. The company invested in two cobots, the space-friendly UR3 and the powerful UR10, to tackle carrying packaging cartons from the pallet to the magazine -- a monotonous and strenuous task that often left staff with repetitive strain or severe cuts. Working in tandem, the cobots can handle up to 500 packaging cartons per hour. Now the company has purchased four additional cobots to further automate its production lines.
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Precise motion for optics and thermal imaging

From scanning buildings for heating and cooling "leaks," to scanning people at the airport for possible fever, thermal imaging systems play a critical role in many industries. Thermal cameras rely on many of the same motorized components as standard cameras: they require focusing, zooming, aperture adjustments, and quick-moving shutters. Inside these advanced optics systems, micro brush DC motors from FAULHABER help cameras capture precise images and temperature readings in a fraction of a second.
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SureStep stepper motor linear actuators

Automation-Direct has added stepper motor linear actuators to its SureStep line of stepper motion control products. These linear actuators are NEMA 17 or 23 frame stepper motors with a stainless steel lead-screw extension of the rotor. In conjunction with the provided screw nut, these units translate motor torque into linear thrust. They can provide up to 193 lb of thrust, or speeds up to 18 in./sec. Eight standard leads (travel per rev) are offered, with screw lengths of 6, 9, or 12 in. They start at under 100 bucks.
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Mini actuator with built-in servo drive

The FHA-C Mini Series of extremely compact actuators from Harmonic Drive delivers high torque with exceptional accuracy and repeatability. An integrated servo drive version utilizing CANopen communication is now available. This product eliminates the need for an external drive and greatly improves wiring while retaining high-positional accuracy and torsional stiffness in a compact housing. Dual absolute encoders included. This new mini actuator is ideal for use in robotics.
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Mechatronic solution packages from Bosch Rexroth

The Smart Function Kit is a new Smart MechatroniX solution platform from Bosch Rexroth that offers quick and intuitive commissioning and configuration for a range of processes such as joining, pressing, and handling. This modular toolbox consists of an electromechanical cylinder, a force sensor, a motor, a servo drive, and a motion controller, plus a software package that enables easy commissioning and operation as well as comprehensive process analysis. Available soon is a Smart Function Kit for handling tasks and a Smart Flex Effector, which is a compensation module with an active measuring function in six degrees of freedom.
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Precision micro stage for high-volume applications

The M3-LS-U2-10 Linear Smart Stage from New Scale Technologies is a direct-drive precision piezoelectric micro stage with embedded controller designed for integration into compact devices. Applications include instruments for DNA sequencing, wearable medical devices, instruments for point-of-care diagnostics, devices for telemedicine, handheld imaging systems, and laser beam steering. The stage has high stiffness with no gears or backlash, low acoustic noise, and no high voltage. It can be powered by batteries or any low-cost DC supply and is suitable for use in near-patient instruments and wearable devices.
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Ball rail systems and ball screw assemblies: 20,000 km without relubrication

Good news for mechanical engineers and users: the ball rail systems BSHP and ball screw assemblies BASA from Bosch Rexroth now achieve lubrication intervals that are up to four times longer. In more and more applications, they can even be used maintenance-free over the entire service life of a component. Low-maintenance or maintenance-free linear motion tech minimizes operating costs and protects the environment. Recent tests show the lubrication intervals for BSHP ball rail systems are 2x improved and can cover up to 20,000 km before the first relubrication. BASA ball screw assemblies achieve up to 200 million revolutions with the basic factory lubrication, a 4x improvement.
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Depend on FAULHABER drives for critical medical applications

Surgical robotics systems offer an overwhelming advantage over traditional methods: improved precision and speed, faster patient healing, and a reduced margin of error. For minimally invasive procedures requiring this level of precision, performance and quality, the OEM engineers of surgical robotics systems rely on FAULHABER brushless dc motors.
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Virtual Expo: Automating machine tending tasks with cobots Feb. 23-24

Universal Robots -- the originator of the collaborative robot -- is hosting the first-ever virtual expo focused on automating machine tending tasks with cobots. The two-day Machine Tending Expo event Feb. 23-24 aims to help manufacturers looking to deploy cobots to tend machines such as CNC, press brakes, injection molding, or 3D printers. In live demos, keynotes, and interactive booth sessions with exhibiting partners, Universal Robots offers solutions on how to implement cobots seamlessly, tackle the labor shortage, and improve crucial machine uptime.
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Flat motors with integrated encoder

The extremely compact DFA68 and DFA90 series brushless DC motors from Nanotec are now available with integrated encoder. They are particularly suitable for applications that require precise positioning in confined spaces. External rotor BLDC motors are shorter than internal rotor motors and have a lower torque ripple. The DFA90-E with a diameter of 90 mm has a rated power of 168 W at 2,000 rpm. The smaller DFA68-E with a diameter of 68 mm achieves 106 W at 3,500 rpm.
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Mechatronics made easier: Mechanical + drive

Nidec Motion Control (motors) and SDP/SI (mechanical components) have partnered to create a one-stop shop for low-voltage standard DC motors and controllers plus mechanical components for industrial automation, robotics, medical technology, safety and security, agriculture, food and beverage, vending, and more. Offerings will include pre-assemblies and kitting, from digital controllers to custom mechanical transmission solutions.
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Micro-sized high-power servo drives

The FM060-25-CM is part of a new breed of micro-sized high-power servo drives available from ADVANCED Motion Controls (50.8 mm x 25.4 mm with a height of 22.1 mm -- three units can fit within the footprint of a standard business card). Rated to output 25A continuous and 50A peak, this fully featured digital servo drive is small enough to fit in the tightest locations. It is ideally suited for mobile and portable applications such as mobile robotics, automated mobile robots (AMRs), AGVs, material handling, warehouse automation, lab automation, and more. Two lower current options (5A and 10A) are also available.
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Air Force Research Lab improving processes for fabricating aircraft engine inlet ducts

Air Force Research Lab improving processes for fabricating aircraft engine inlet ducts

The Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie is an experimental stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicle designed and built by Kratos Defense & Security Solutions for the United States Air Force Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator program, under the USAF Research Laboratory's Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology project portfolio. [Photo: AFRL]

 

 

 

 

By Donna Lindner, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

Aircraft engine inlet ducts provide the engine compressor with a constant supply of air to prevent the compressor from stalling. Since the inlet is directly exposed to the impacting airflow, it must create as little drag as possible. The smallest gap in airflow supply can cause major engine problems as well as significant efficiency losses.

Part of the Air Force 2030 Science and Technology strategy includes the deployment of low-cost Unmanned Aerial Systems in mass to assist in future near-peer engagements. In order to realize this vision, new manufacturing strategies need to be identified that can support the rapid manufacturing of high-quality aerospace components at costs that are lower than what are currently available using legacy manufacturing processes.

If the inlet duct is to retain its function of providing sufficient air with minimum turbulence, it must be clean and flawless.

The Air Force Research Laboratory's Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division and the contractor team of Cornerstone Research Group, A&P Technology, and Spintech LLC conducted research to quantify the benefits of replacing legacy manufacturing processes with novel processes for the fabrication of an 11-ft-long, S-shaped engine inlet duct.

An 11-ft-long unmanned aircraft system inlet duct preform is shown prior to resin infusion. [Photo: AFRL]

 

 

The legacy fabrication process for the inlet duct consists of composite material preimpregnated with a synthetic resin, applied by hand, to a multi-piece steel mandrel. The mandrel is packaged and placed in an autoclave for processing. An autoclave is essentially a heated pressure vessel that supplies heat to activate resin curing and pressure to ensure there is minimal absorbency in the fully cured composite part.

The approach replaces the hand-applied composite prepreg with an automated overbraid process that applies dry fiber to a mandrel. The very heavy multi-piece steel mandrel was replaced with a light-weight, single-piece shape-memory polymer (SMP) mandrel, and the dry braided carbon fiber was processed with a low-cost epoxy resin using a vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding process.

One of the primary goals of this program is to understand part cost and production time benefits from introducing the new tooling and processing solutions.

The team completed element analysis finalization of the overbraid architecture, fabrication of a shape-memory polymer forming tool, and construction of the SMP mandrel that will serve as the tool during the preform overbraid process.

Because of inlet duct geometrical complexity, multiple iterations will be necessary to optimize the overbraid machine settings and thus minimize composite material wrinkling. A total of four inlet ducts will be fabricated, and legacy part cost and production time will be compared to the new design.

"We believe that the introduction of a reusable shape-memory polymer mandrel together with the automated overbraid process and an oven-based VARTM composite cure will lead to significant cost and cycle time reductions," said Craig Neslen, manufacturing lead for the Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology Initiative in the Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division. "Quantifying the manufacturing benefits and validating structural integrity will be critical to establishing a positive business case and convincing designers and manufacturers that the new materials and processes should be incorporated into future low-cost engine inlet duct designs."

The final inlet duct will be delivered to the government for further integration into the Aerospace System's Directorate's complementary airframe design and manufacturing program. Personnel at the Aerospace Vehicles Division will conduct static ground testing of the integrated braided fuselage and inlet duct structure.

"While we have yet to define all of the implications of attrition tolerance on design criteria and the resulting manufacturing materials and processes utilized, we do have a baseline with threshold requirements for strength and stiffness which we will assess via full-scale airframe ground tests," said Ray Fisher, aerospace engineer in the Aerospace Vehicles Division.

Published June 2020

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