December 11, 2012 Volume 08 Issue 46

Motion Control News & Products

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Linear robots are now even more versatile

Bosch Rexroth has expanded its portfolio of linear robots (eight different axis combinations with 68 sizes!) for various applications in factory automation. The much wider range of working areas and loads makes the Cartesian subsystems also suitable for applications like battery handling or intralogistics. Predefined axis combinations make for quick and easy sizing and selection. Configure and finalize online and order as preassembled subsystems -- optionally with controllers. Each multi-axis system is also available as a Smart Function Kit for handling or dispensing. Preinstalled software allows for fast commissioning and intuitive programming.
Learn more about Bosch Rexroth smart mechatronic systems.


Selecting linear actuators for robotics

Nick Novotny over at Nook Industries has put together a handy and very useful short guide on selecting linear actuators for robotic applications. Besides addressing the primary considerations, he also explains motor types, linear actuator types, modularity, and advantages and disadvantages.
Read this informative Nook Industries blog.


5 key considerations for selecting a propulsion motor

Josh Jennings, mobile servo motor and drive applications engineer for Parker Hannifin's Hydraulic Pump and Power Systems Division, runs through the key factors to consider for a vehicle electrification project, including how the motor is cooled, its speed range, flexibility, efficiency, and reliability. Solid basic information.
Read the full Parker blog.


New mini planetary gearmotors

New PH Series Mini Planetary Gearmotors from Applied Motion Products are used with small step motors in NEMA 8, 11, and 14 frame sizes. These gearmotors are used in applications where space is critical. Small motors usually don't produce enough torque for demanding applications. Mini Planetary Gearmotors are an ideal solution. They offer an increase in torque and better inertia matching without breaking the budget.
Learn more and see all the options offered by Electromate.


New cobot welders with extended range unveiled at FABTECH 2022

Universal Robots has grown its welding application segment more than 80% this year as partners develop new capabilities for the pioneering cobot welders. At FABTECH last week, Universal Robots' booth showcased new solutions from Vectis Automation and Hirebotics, enabling the weldment of larger and more complex parts. Attendees also experienced Precision Cobotics' automated MECCO laser-marking solution with Apera AI bin picking, laser welding with Cobot Systems, metal deburring with Kane Robotics, along with the new UR20 cobot in a machine-tending application.
Learn about the new welding options and other UR FABTECH releases.


New! Multi-axis gantry attachment kits extend your working envelope

Multi-axis linear actuator assemblies from Bishop-Wisecarver extend the working envelope of automated motion systems and provide for more complex motion. ECO60 Gantry Kits create reliable and easy-to-assemble connections between ECO60 Linear Actuators. Benefits include: saving design time without sacrificing design freedom, easy ordering with single-part-number kits, and fast and simple assembly and installation. All multi-axis kits are made from aluminum with black anodize and stainless-steel hardware.
Learn more.


Robots handle post processing for metal AM parts and components

The NetShape Robot from Rivelin Robotics provides an automated solution for metal support removal and targeted finishing to meet the standards of mission-critical industries. Driven by the powerful NetShape control software, both machine learning and traditional deterministic control theory are used to optimize the quality and repeatability of the work. The result is an automated support-removal solution that reduces defects by 90%, exhibits a 10-fold reduction in operational costs, and eliminates human risk and variability.
Learn more.


Flat external rotor with encoder

The DF45 brushless DC motors from Nanotec are now available with an integrated encoder. The new flat motors with a diameter of only 45 mm are ideal for applications that require precise positioning in confined spaces such as AGV wheel drives, access control systems, and door drives. The two-channel encoder has a resolution of 1,024 CPR and provides additional Hall signals for commutation. The difference in length between the standard motor and the encoder version is only 2 mm, as the encoder has been completely integrated. The DF45-E has a rated power of 65 W at a rated speed of 4,840 rpm. Custom windings or shafts are also available.
Learn more.


The influence of operating speed on step motor selection

According to the engineers at Lin Engineering, "Frequently, when it comes to step motor selection, users will select a motor with the highest holding torque rating, assuming that it will give them optimal performance. However, it is an improper practice to select a motor based on holding torque alone. In fact, the step motor with the highest holding torque in many situations can prove to be a poor choice -- especially when trying to maximize torque at a desired operating speed."
Read this informative Lin Engineering article.


Extra-Duty Overhung Load Adaptors

Zero-Max has announced three entirely new Extra-Duty Overhung Load Adaptor (OHLA) models (350, 650, 950). The new designs feature a number of carefully chosen upgrades including spherical bearings, enhanced sealing technology, stronger shafts, and a longer profile delivering increased operating life, heavy load capacities, and higher speed ratings. They provide a solid, permanent mounting surface, eliminating premature motor or pump failure due to axial and radial overhung loads on a motor or pump shaft.
Learn more.


Heavy duty: Electric actuators open 3-ton bunker doors

Converting a 1960s nuclear-proof bunker into a museum is full of challenges, one of which was to repurpose 3-ton, all-metal nuclear-safe doors as fire doors. But how do you open and close such massive doors safely? Luckily, Thomson Industries' Electrak HD electric linear actuators were up for the challenge.
Read the full article.


Complete factory automation solutions from Bosch Rexroth

Bosch Rexroth is showcasing complete factory automation solutions that boost consumer packaged goods (CPG) productivity at PACK EXPO INTERNATIONAL 2022 this week (Oct. 23-26). Demonstrations include open control systems, plug-and-play smart mechatronics, autonomous mobile robots, cobots, flexible conveyors, and more. The main focal point is a live multi-tech demo that integrates several automation technologies: a lightweight, maneuverable Kassow Robot picks up product from a moving VarioFlow plus conveyor to place it on a pallet, and when the pallet is full Rexroth's MP1000R AMR moves the product to a storage location using Rexroth's ROKIT Locator software.
Learn about all the technologies featured.


Why are there different servo drive form factors?

Servo drives come in all shapes and sizes -- just ask the engineers over at Advanced Motion Controls. Oftentimes, a key part of deciding which servo drive to use for your application is deciding which form factor to use, which raises the question: What exactly is a form factor, and why are there so many of them? Learn about types, benefits, and applications.
Read this informative Advanced Motion Controls article.


Top Tech Tips: How to specify electric rod-style actuators for optimal performance, reliability, and efficiency

Andy Zaske, Vice President, Tolomatic, provides his Top 10 Tips for specifying electric rod-style actuators, which have a higher initial cost, more advanced design, and more predictable performance compared to fluid power cylinders. This is a really thorough presentation filled with useful information.
Read the full article.


Pro Tip: What is the clearance/thrust relationship in induction motors?

A linear induction motor has a primary or coil assembly and a secondary or reaction plate. In this pro tip, engineers from H2W Technologies explain why machine and systems designers should pay particular attention to the clearance gap between these two components -- especially since an epoxy, varnish, or case enclosure may be involved.
Read the full article.


'Vortex surfing' could prove revolutionary for long-haul U.S. Air Force fliers

By Roger Drinnon, Air Mobility Command Public Affairs, U.S. Air Force

Migrating birds, NASCAR drivers, and Tour de France bicyclists already get it. And now the Air Force is thinking about flying gas-guzzling cargo aircraft in formation -- "dragging" off one another -- on long-haul flights across the oceans.

The view from a C-17 cockpit while trailing behind another C-17 during the first tests of "vortex surfing" at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, in October. Early indications from the tests promise a reduction of fuel consumption by up to 10%. [Image courtesy: U.S. Air Force]

 

 

 

 

Flight tests with C-17s "vortex surfing" at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, Sept. 6 and Oct. 2, have demonstrated potentially large savings of fuel and money by doing what geese do naturally. Tests show that flying in formation might be smarter than flying alone for Airmen, and not just for birds.

As one effort in the Air Force drive to reduce its overall fuel consumption, vortex surfing may be the wave of the future.

"The concept, formally known as Surfing Aircraft Vortices for Energy, or $AVE, involves two or more aircraft flying together for a reduced drag effect like what you see with a flock of geese," said Dr. Donald Erbschloe, the Air Mobility Command chief scientist.

A series of test flights involving two aircraft at a time allowed the trailing aircraft to "surf" the vortex of the lead aircraft, positioning itself in the updraft to get additional lift without burning extra fuel.

Early indications from the tests promise a reduction of fuel consumption by up to 10% for the duration of a flight. Over long distances and with even a small fraction of Air Mobility Command's average of more than 80,000 flights a year, the fuel and cost savings could reach into the millions of dollars, experts say.

Next up: The Air Force Research Laboratory will analyze the data from for possible applications to other aircraft on a variety of missions.

Dr. Erbschloe said larger air mobility aircraft like the C-17 can fly in formations that are potentially easy to maintain and that do not require the planes to be exceptionally close together.

"The test flights were flown at longitudinal separations of 4,000 or greater," said William Blake, one of the key developers of $AVE at the AFRL.

According to AFRL officials, modified C-17 formation flight system software enabled precise auto-pilot and auto-throttle systems to ensure the trailing aircraft achieved and maintained proper flight position without active assistance from pilots.

"The autopilot held the position extremely well -- even close to the vortex," said Capt. Zachary Schaffer, an aircraft commander on one of the test flights. "The flight conditions were very safe; this was as hands-off as any current formation flying we do."

Other pilots found differing levels of ride quality and discovered some flight test points might be difficult for long-endurance flights.

"The key will be finding the right balance of quality for improving fuel efficiency and ride," said Maj. Eric Bippert, another aircraft commander on one of the test flights.

Bippert said being a part of the test program with so many talented engineers was a remarkable experience, and the concept could eventually impact global air transportation, overall.

"AMC has done really well with fuel efficiency at the operational level," said Erbschloe. "The command has worked to gain efficiencies from the 'low-hanging fruit' such as optimizing flight routing, reducing weight where possible, and by not carrying excess fuel. $AVE offers significant efficiency gains, if employed in concert with these initiatives."

He said early indications show the tests meet AMC criteria of the concept regarding safety and minimization of aircrew and aircraft strain while also being operationally sensible with a viable return on investment.

"AMC consumes 20 percent of the fuel used by the overall federal government, so we're constantly looking for pragmatic ways to improve our fuel efficiency," said Erbschloe.

"Assured energy advantage for our Air Force is only possible through revolutionary energy initiatives like $AVE," said Dr. Mark Maybury, Air Force chief scientist, upon hearing the results of the tests.

The $AVE concept was previously highlighted in the 2011 Energy Horizons study, sponsored by the Secretary of the Air Force and chaired by Maybury.

The tests were the culmination of an ongoing, combined effort between AMC, the AFRL, the 412th Test Wing, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Boeing Company, and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

(Holly Jordan, Air Force Research Laboratory, contributed to this report.)

Published December 2012

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