January 26, 2021 Volume 17 Issue 04

Motion Control News & Products

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Stepping motor driver with resistorless current sensing

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corp. has added the TB67S539FTG to its lineup of stepping motor driver IC series that support constant current control for office automation, commercial, and industrial equipment. The driver incorporates Toshiba's latest DMOSFET device, which allows it to realize a motor output voltage rating of 40 V and a motor output current rating of 2.0 A. The use of a current detector for constant current motor control eliminates the need for an external current sense resistor.
Learn more.


Engineer's Toolbox: All about smart hybrid actuators

Hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision and moved repeatedly over long travel ranges, or when a target position needs to be reached with nanometer precision. PI gives in-depth illustrations of the different drive concepts in action using incredible motion tech being built into the world's largest terrestrial telescope on a 3,000-m-high mountain in Chile.
Read the full article.


Boost productivity with OnRobot's all-electric VGC10 vacuum gripper

OnRobot's versatile VGC10 vacuum gripper enabled Sydney, Australia-based injection molding experts Designed Mouldings to boost productivity and reduce cycle times through automation of key assembly processes. The low-cost, all-electric VGC10 easily completes 20,000 product runs in 24 hours -- three times faster than manual labor -- freeing workers to focus on higher-value tasks. And with no external air supply to worry about, the VGC10 supported easy deployment with excellent results.
Learn how.


Roller-type LM guide for ultra-heavy loads

THK's model HRX is the company's roller-type linear motion (LM) guide. It features ultra-high rigidity in addition to the ability to handle ultra-heavy loads. On the HRX, each row of rollers is arranged at an angle of 45 degrees. This ensures the LM block receives an equal load rating (high rigidity) in all directions. Made for the development of high-precision, energy-saving, high-speed machines with long service lives.
Learn more.


New GSL strain wave robotic gearboxes

GAM has released the new GSL series of strain wave gearboxes, which provide zero backlash and high torque in a small gearbox for robotic and motion control applications. The GSL gearbox uses harmonic gearing for a very compact design that easily integrates into applications requiring high ratios and high precision in a small form factor. The GSL series is available in frame sizes 14 to 40 and reduction ratios 50:1 to 160:1.
Learn more.


App Note: Mini linear actuator with Linfinity nut

When a customer was trying to fit a motorized linear actuator that needed to move a couple pounds into a small space that could not accommodate a conventional off-the-shelf-type solution, Lin Engineering's team got to work. The novel solution included an actuator system using a 106 motor, a lead screw, a self-lubricating LinFinity nut to remove backlash and provide maintenance-free performance, and a right-size encoder to provide the feedback the system needed.
Read the Lin Engineering application story.


New servo drive for high-power robotic applications

The mini-sized FE100-50-RM FlexPro RS485/RS232 servo drive from ADVANCED Motion Controls is capable of outputting 50 A continuous current rms and 100 A peak current, providing the torque necessary to drive motors in larger mobile robots. The servo drive has a wide input voltage range of 20-90 DC, allowing it to power mobile robots all day -- even as the battery levels drop. Despite the drive's small size, it can outperform larger-sized digital servo drives and still be integrated into tight spaces. While slightly larger than the micro-sized models, two mini-sized FlexPro drives can still fit on a standard business card.
Learn more.


Drop-in motor solutions for robotics, automation, medical

SDP/SI now offers the NH1-D Frameless Brushless Motor series for smaller machines that require precision and high efficiency. Rated for continuous operation, they are an ideal solution for many applications including the replacement of heavier, traditional motors by eliminating components, reducing torsional losses, decreasing weight, system inertia, and size envelope, while providing maximum speed control.
Learn more.


Cobots hit the classrooms with federal, state, industry recognition

Two major recognitions of Universal Robots' education programs from the U.S. federal Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and the State of Ohio's Department of Education pave the way for schools and industry to further leverage cobots, offering employability in robotics careers while upskilling the existing workforce.
Read the full article.


SCHUNK ADHESO gripper wins New Product of the Year Award at 2021 ASSEMBLY Show

The ADHESO gripper from SCHUNK uses no external power supply to activate its grabbing force. It is not a traditional vacuum system and does not use magnets. It just "sticks" by pressing to the piece. What makes this gripper -- which has no "fingers" that users can see -- look like it's performing magic?
Read the full article.


Is this the world's most precise small six-axis robot?

Mecademic, a Canadian robotics manufacturer, says it builds the world's smallest, most precise, and easy-to-use industrial robotic arm -- the Meca500. This six-axis robot can handle payloads up to 500 g with an unmatched accuracy of 0.005 mm. It excels in the precise and repetitive manipulation of small parts and tools in a variety of industries. It's a plug-and-work automation component that integrates with any PC or PLC, doesn't require a proprietary language to learn, and is affordable and easy to use. Plus, it features a unique integrated controller in its base.
Learn more.


Autonomous mobile robots do heavier lifting

ROEQ has launched two new top modules and accompanying accessories designed to boost the payload and lifting capabilities of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from industry leader Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). Capable of handling total payloads of up to 1,500 kg (3,307 lb), the new ROEQ top module TMS-C1500 combined with the new S-Cart1500W shelf cart greatly increases the payload capabilities of MiR's MiR500, MiR600, MiR1000, and MiR1350 AMRs. Eliminating the need for a docking station, the TMS-C1500 can pick up and drop off the shelf cart in free space and with precision. The AMR is never left idling, and it can simply drop off the cart and immediately go and pick up a new one. ROEQ has also launched the top module TML200 with a stroke of 40 mm that can lift and transport crates, pallets, racks, and ROEQ shelf carts.
Learn more and see these units work.


Inductive vs. optical vs. magnetic encoders: How to choose

It makes sense that when there isn't a need to spend on a high-end optical encoder, the most common thought is to look directly to magnetic encoders. According to HEIDENHAIN, sometimes that's the right move, but when using an inductive encoder is an available option, your search shouldn't be limited to magnetic or optical. Confused? You won't be after reading this informative HEIDENHAIN blog.
Read the full article.


How to avoid premature linear screw actuator failure

At their core, electric linear screw actuators deploy mechanical technology such as ball bearings, ball screws, and roller screws that have a finite life. These components do not last forever -- even though that is the expectation of some customers. But how long will an actuator really last? Tolomatic engineers provide a way to calculate, estimate, and size the electric linear screw actuator to achieve the desired life for your application.
Read this informative Tolomatic blog.


Actuator selection: External motor or internal servo motor?

There are key differences between traditional (external motor) and integrated (internal servo motor) actuators. Each technology offers performance advantages depending on the application type and requirements. Knowing how to compare the two will help engineers design machines that meet their requirements.
Full details in this Tolomatic white paper (no registration required).


Novel camera-based system for automated drone landings on a fixed spot uses Raspberry Pi components

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones have gained tremendous popularity, which has broadened the scope of their use. Over time, "remote pilot" drones have been replaced by "autonomous" drones for applications in various fields. One such application is their usage in rescue missions following a natural or man-made disaster. However, this often requires the drones to be able to land safely on uneven terrain -- which can be very difficult to execute.

"While it is desirable to automate the landing using a depth camera that can gauge terrain unevenness and find suitable landing spots, a framework serving as a useful base needs to be developed first," says Dr. Chinthaka Premachandra from Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) in Japan, whose research group studies potential applications of camera-based quadrocopter drones.

Accordingly, Dr. Premachandra and his team set out to design an automatic landing system. They have detailed their approach in their latest study published in IEEE Access. To keep things simple, they upgraded a standard radio control (RC)-based drone with necessary hardware and software and equipped it with a simple 2D camera for the detection of a symbolized landing pad.

"The challenges in our project were two-fold. On the one hand, we needed a robust and cost-effective image-processing algorithm to provide position feedback to the controller. On the other, we required a fail-safe switch logic that would allow the pilot to abort the autonomous mode whenever required, preventing accidents during tests," says Premachandra.

Eventually, the team came up with a design that comprised the following components: a commercial flight controller (for attitude control), a Raspberry Pi 3B+ (for autonomous position control), a wide-angle modified Raspberry Pi v1.3 camera (for horizontal feedback), a servo gimbal (for camera usage control), a Time-of-Flight (ToF) module (as feedback sensor for the drone height), a multiplexer (for switching between manual and auto modes), an "anti-windup" PID controller (for height control), and two PD controllers (for horizontal movement control).

A standard radio control-based drone was upgraded with necessary hardware and software and equipped with a simple 2D camera for the detection of a symbolized landing pad. [Credit: Malik Demirhan and Chinthaka Premachandra in "Development of an Automated Camera-Based Drone Landing System," published in IEEE Access by IEEE Xplore, under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0]

 

 

 

 

In addition, they implemented an image-processing algorithm that detected a distinctive landing symbol (in the shape of "H") in real time and converted the image pixels into physical coordinates, which generated a horizontal feedback. Interestingly, they found that introducing an adaptive "region of interest" helped speed up the computation of the camera's vertical distance to the landing symbol, greatly reducing the computing time -- from 12 to 14 milliseconds to a mere 3 milliseconds.

Following detection, the system accomplished the landing process in two steps: flying toward the landing spot and hovering over it while maintaining the height, and then actually landing vertically. Both these steps were automated and therefore controlled by the Raspberry Pi module.

While examining the landing, the research team noticed a disturbance in landing behavior, which they attributed to an aerodynamic lift acting on the quadrocopter. However, this problem could be overcome by boosting the gain of the PID controller. In general, performance during the landing process indicated a properly functioning autonomous system.

With these results, Dr. Premachandra and his team look forward to upgrading their system with a depth camera and thus enabling drones to find even more applications pertaining to daily life. "Our study was primarily motivated by the application of drones in rescue missions, but it shows that drones can, in the future, find use in indoor operations such as indoor transportation and inspection, which can reduce a lot of manual labor," says Premachandra.

Source: Shibaura Institute of Technology

Published January 2021

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