Critical medical applications demand top-quality motion
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 reliability, the engineers of surgical robotics systems depend on FAULHABER motion systems. Read the full article.
Pick, measure, and sort small parts with one robotic workstation
New Scale Robotics has introduced its Q-Span Automated Small-Part Measurement Systems for quality control (QC) teams in high-mix, small-batch manufacturing environments. Q-Span Systems combine robotic pick-and-place with automated measurement of small parts. They easily integrate into existing workflows in the QC lab or on the production floor, and automate the tedious manual process of measuring parts with digital calipers. Learn more.
Universal Robots develops interface for Siemens engineering portal
Integrating Universal Robots' collaborative robots into complex machines and manufacturing environments will soon be a process machine builders and systems integrators can handle seamlessly through one of the world's leading automation platforms: Siemens' TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) portal. Read the full article.
Voice coil stages and actuators for precise motion
Because of their small dimensions, voice coil motors are often integrated in compact stages, actuators, and fast tip/tilt mirror platforms. These devices are driven by an electromagnetic motor consisting of a moving coil winding and a fixed magnet (the opposite is also possible). By precisely controlling the electric current in the coil, the magnetic force (Lorenz force) -- and thus, acceleration, velocity, and position -- can be varied very accurately. Learn all about voice coil stages and actuators from PI.
Compact, low-noise gearboxes for high loads
With the GP56-N series, the Nanotec product line now also includes low-noise planetary gearboxes for brushless DC motors and stepper motors with flange size 56 and 60 mm. They are ideally suited for applications in medical devices and building automation. The helical toothing allows the teeth to mesh gradually, which results in a smoother transmission of forces so that vibrations and noise are reduced. Planetary gears and the ring gear consist of a high-quality, low-wear plastic, making the new gearboxes quieter than conventional, straight-geared metal gearboxes. Available in one- and two-stage versions in nine different reductions and varying output torques. Learn more.
Gearless speed reducers with traction drive tech
Stock Drive Products / Sterling Instrument (SDP/SI) has introduced new speed reducers with traction drive technology. Featuring a gearless drive, these speed reducers are highly efficient and feature only six moving parts. They use engineered traction fluid to cool and lubricate, and they generate less heat than conventional drives. Years of development and testing have been invested in this new technology, resulting in a product featuring infinite ratios up to a ratio of 5:1, dramatic reduction of motor torque ripple, low vibration and noise level, and significantly less maintenance than a conventional gearbox. Learn more.
Exploring Mars with miniature motors
When developing the high-resolution Panoramic Camera on the ExoMars Rover, engineers looked for motors that were extremely compact and could also deliver reliable and precise positioning for the camera-focusing mechanism. FAULHABER Stepper motors were selected for the job, as they precisely position objects with a resolution of 1280 steps per revolution without the need for a separate feedback system, and are more rugged and sturdy than conventional servo motors. Read the full article.
MAHLE developing highly efficient magnet-free motor for electric vehicles
German automotive industry supplier MAHLE is currently developing a new, highly efficient magnet-free electric motor that does not require rare-earth elements and costs less to produce. The company says the motor's efficiency level has only been achieved by Formula E racing cars so far. Read the full article.
Distributed drive system designed for conveyor applications
With its new Sinamics G115D, Siemens is introducing a compact and powerful drive system specifically designed for horizontal conveyor applications. The IP-rated system comprises the motor, drive, and gearbox in one unit and is offered in two versions: wall mounted and motor mounted. It is suitable for applications in intra-logistics and airports, as well as in the automotive and food and beverage industries. Learn more.
FANUC tabletop robot now in 10 model variations
FANUC America has just introduced the LR Mate 200iD/14L, the 10th model variation of its popular LR Mate series of tabletop industrial robots. Since the LR Mate series was launched nearly 30 years ago, it has become one of FANUC's biggest sellers, with over 70,000 units installed across the globe. The LR Mate 200iD/14L allows the highest payload of the LR Mate series, handling parts weighing up to 14 kg in the automotive, e-commerce and warehousing, food and beverage, medical device, pharmaceutical, and many other industries. Find the right LR Mate for your application.
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.
Neat. Guide any major industrial robot easily with Robeye visual guidance system
Recognition Robotics offers its complete Robeye visual guidance system that includes all the components needed to guide any major industrial robot. This industry-proven technology with potential for hundreds of applications is currently running production in multiple automotive OEMs. Benefits include quick-and-easy setup, simplified line feeding (for things like pre-centering tooling, conveyors, high-precision racks and rack stands), reduced production time, increased flexibility, and no CAD data or calibration required for new tasks. Just connect, teach, and recognize -- all in less than five minutes. The Robeye Espresso Starter Kit includes everything you need to get underway. Learn more about the system. Learn about Robeye in De-racking Applications.
Mini brushless DC motor with integrated driver
Portescap's new 22ECP miniature brushless DC motor includes an integrated driver to optimize motor performance and simplify installation. The 22-mm-diameter motor is just 35 mm in length and delivers 50% more continuous torque than comparable brushless slotless mini motors -- without compromising smoothness of operation or motor lifespan. It's a high-performance, economic two-pole motor designed to deliver a balance between speed and torque. Applications include respiratory and ventilation devices, infusion pumps, mini industrial pumps, medical hand tools, clinical diagnostics, and valve actuation. Learn more.
New Cobot Welder is programmable with smartphone app
The new Cobot Welder from Hirebotics is a major leap forward in easy-to-use welding automation that combines industrial-grade robot welding functionality with consumer-level ease-of-use and a phenomenal price point -- especially for small and medium-size businesses. The Cobot Welder's app programmability decreases the time required to teach a new part by 60%. A Hirebotics/Universal Robots launch event will be held April 28. Read the full article.
Improved low-backlash Slip-Ease clutches
SDP/SI offers a new, low-backlash variant of its existing line of multi-plate in-line slip clutches. Both versions feature an all-mechanical design, which makes them considerably cheaper than electromechanical alternatives. These clutches are commonly used for overload protection to prevent injury and machine failure, but have a wide variety of other applications such as tension control and positioning retention hinges like the ones in reclining chairs. The slip plates are layered with friction pads in between, and an adjusting nut sets the slip torque by squeezing the plates together. The outer plates are tabbed to fit into the output housing and the inner plates are connected to the input hub, so the two ends disengage from one another upon slipping. View the video.
Volvo Cars says tests of its flywheel technology confirm up to 25 percent fuel savings
Volvo Car Group says that it has completed extensive testing of its kinetic flywheel technology on public roads, and the results confirm that this is a light, cheap, and very eco-efficient solution.
"The testing of this complete experimental system for kinetic energy recovery was carried out during 2012. The results show that this technology, combined with a four-cylinder turbo engine, has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 percent compared with a six-cylinder turbo engine at a comparable performance level," says Derek Crabb, vice president of Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group. "Giving the driver an extra 80 horsepower, it makes a car with a four-cylinder engine accelerate like one with a six-cylinder unit."
The complete experimental system for kinetic energy recovery (called KERS) is fitted to the rear axle. During retardation, the braking energy causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60,000 rpm.
The experimental system, known as Flywheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), is fitted to the rear axle. During retardation, the braking energy causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60,000 revs per minute. When the car starts moving off again, the flywheel's rotation is transferred to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission.
The combustion engine that drives the front wheels is switched off as soon as braking begins. The energy in the flywheel can then be used to accelerate the vehicle when it is time to move off again or to power the vehicle once it reaches cruising speed.
City traffic is where the tech is most effective
"The flywheel's stored energy is sufficient to power the car for short periods," says Crabb. "This has a major impact on fuel consumption. Our calculations indicate that it will be possible to turn off the combustion engine about half the time when driving according to the official New European Driving Cycle."
Since the flywheel is activated by braking, and the duration of the energy storage (that is to say, the length of time the flywheel spins) is limited, the technology is at its most effective during driving featuring repeated stops and starts. In other words, the fuel savings will be greatest when driving in busy urban traffic and during active driving.
If the energy in the flywheel is combined with the combustion engine's full capacity, it will give the car an extra 80 hp and, thanks to the swift torque build-up, this translates into rapid acceleration, cutting Volvo's 0 to 100 km/h figures by seconds. The experimental car, a Volvo S60, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 sec.
Carbon fiber one key
Flywheel propulsion assistance was tested in a Volvo 260 back in the 1980s, and flywheels made of steel have been evaluated by various manufacturers in recent times. However, since a unit made of steel is large and heavy and has rather limited rotational capacity, it is not really a viable option.
The flywheel that Volvo Cars used in the experimental system is made of carbon fiber. It weighs about 6 kg (13.2 lb) and has a diameter of 20 cm (7.9 in.). The carbon fiber wheel spins in a vacuum to minimize frictional losses.
"We are the first manufacturer that has applied flywheel technology to the rear axle of a car fitted with a combustion engine driving the front wheels," says Crabb. "The next step after completing these successful tests is to evaluate how the technology can be implemented in our upcoming car models."