May 03, 2016 Volume 12 Issue 17

Motion Control News & Products

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Telescoping linear actuators for space-constrained applications

Rollon's new TLS telescoping linear actuators enable long stroke lengths with minimal closed lengths, which is especially good for applications with minimal vertical clearance. These actuators integrate seamlessly into multi-axis systems and are available in two- or three-stage versions. Equipped with a built-in automated lubrication system, the TLS Series features a synchronized drive system, requiring only a single motor to achieve motion. Four sizes (100, 230, 280, and 360) with up to 3,000-mm stroke length.
Learn more.


Competitively priced long-stroke parallel gripper

The DHPL from Festo is a new generation of pneumatic long-stroke grippers that offers a host of advantages for high-load and high-torque applications. It is interchangeable with competitive long-stroke grippers and provides the added benefits of lighter weight, higher precision, and no maintenance. It is ideal for gripping larger items, including stacking boxes, gripping shaped parts, and keeping bags open. It has high repetition accuracy due to three rugged guide rods and a rack-and-pinion design.
Learn more.


Extend your range of motion: Controllers for mini motors

FAULHABER has added another extremely compact Motion Controller without housing to its product range. The new MC3603 controller is ideal for integration in equipment manufacturing and medical tech applications. With 36 V and 3 A (peak current 9 A), it covers the power range up to 100 W and is suitable for DC motors with encoder, brushless drives, or linear motors.
Learn more.


When is a frameless brushless DC motor the right choice?

Frameless BLDC motors fit easily into small, compact machines that require high precision, high torque, and high efficiency, such as robotic applications where a mix of low weight and inertia is critical. Learn from the experts at SDP/SI how these motors can replace heavier, less efficient hydraulic components by decreasing operating and maintenance costs. These motors are also more environmentally friendly than others.
View the video.


Tiny and smart: Step motor with closed-loop control

Nanotec's new PD1-C step motor features an integrated controller and absolute encoder with closed-loop control. With a flange size of merely 28 mm (NEMA 11), this compact motor reaches a max holding torque of 18 Ncm and a peak current of 3 A. Three motor versions are available: IP20 protection, IP65 protection, and a motor with open housing that can be modified with custom connectors. Ideal for applications with space constraints, effectively reducing both wiring complexity and installation costs.
Learn more.


Closed loop steppers drive new motion control applications

According to the motion experts at Performance Motion Devices, when it comes to step motors, the drive technique called closed loop stepper is making everything old new again and driving a burst of interest in the use of two-phase step motors. It's "winning back machine designers who may have relegated step motors to the category of low cost but low performance."
Read this informative Performance Motion Devices article.


Intelligent compact drives with extended fieldbus options

The intelligent PD6 compact drives from Nanotec are now available with Profinet and EtherNet/IP. They combine motor, controller, and encoder in a space-saving package. With its 80-mm flange and a rated power of 942 W, the PD6-EB is the most powerful brushless DC motor of this product family. The stepper motor version has an 86-mm flange (NEMA 34) and a holding torque up to 10 Nm. Features include acceleration feed forward and jerk-limited ramps. Reduced installation time and wiring make the PD6 series a highly profitable choice for machine tools, packaging machines, or conveyor belts.
Learn more.


FAULHABER IEP3 incremental encoder: Impressive accuracy through latest chip tech

With a diameter of just 8 mm, FAULHABER's new IEP3 incremental encoder is lightweight and compact yet still offers a resolution up to 10,000 lines per revolution -- made possible by the latest chip technology with high interpolation. The chip ensures a high positional accuracy of 0.3° m as well as high repeatability thanks to accuracy compensation. Application areas include telescopes, microscopes, lasers, and cameras; semiconductor production; robotics; and prosthetics.
Learn more.


Compact wheel drive for automated guided vehicles

Nanotec has introduced the WD42 compact wheel drive, a very short drive unit for automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and service robots. Each unit consists of a powerful BLDC motor, a high-torque planetary gearbox, a magnetic encoder, and an exchangeable wheel. All components are integrated directly at the wheel, which makes the drive only 103 mm long and reduces the number of moving parts and connections.
Learn more.


Bottom tapped rails available for quick ship

Bottom tapped rails are useful for mounting from the bottom of a base, as well as when contamination protection is required -- eliminating the need for bolt-hole caps. See the available models from THK, including standard and radial LM guides and standard and radial caged ball. All units are available for quick shipping.
Learn more.


Hybrid actuation system reduces energy consumption, simplifies designs

Learn how a leading manufacturer of household cleaning products solved its downtime problems due to an overloaded ball screw in its production-line electromechanical automated plastic cap dumping function. A Hybrid Actuation System (HAS) did the trick, combining the controllability of traditional electromechanical actuators with the power density, longer life, and failsafe conditions commonly found on traditional hydraulic systems.
Read this informative Parker blog.


Machine tending solution now compatible with any CNC machine

The Robotiq Machine Tending Solution has made automation accessible to businesses of all sizes, overturning the belief that automation is too complicated. The company says their part-feeding solutions can provide up to a 30% production runtime increase -- without communication cards, expensive wiring, custom programming, or permanent modifications.
Learn how to boost your CNC productivity.


How to implement redundancy in stepper motors

Some of the recent research activities in the area of electric motor drives for safety-critical applications (such as aerospace and nuclear power plants) are focused on looking at various fault-tolerant motor and drive topologies. After discussing different solutions, this article focuses on a miniature permanent magnet (PM) stepper motor design that provides increased redundancy.
Read this informative Faulhaber article.


Why choose electric for linear actuators? When precision, multiple positions, repeatability, or position feedback is important

Tolomatic has been delivering a new type of linear motion technology that is giving hydraulics a run for its money. Learn the benefits of electric linear motion systems, the iceberg principle showing total cost of ownership, critical parameters of sizing, and conversion tips.
Read this informative e-book. (No registration required)


New mini gearhead for robotics, semiconductor fab

Harmonic Drive is proud to announce the release of its CSF-2XH mini gearhead designed for servo and stepper motors. Available with an output shaft or flange, these gearheads are offered in four sizes with gear ratios of 30:1 to 100:1 and peak torque of .5 to 28 Nm. These mini strain wave gears are ideal for applications such as semiconductor manufacturing and robotics. Available through Electromate.
Learn more.


Roof racks are a big drag on car fuel economy according to Berkeley Lab

Both loaded and unloaded roof racks create drag, reducing your vehicle's efficiency. [Credits: istock.com/Sisoje (left), flickr.com/Chris Young 43 (right)]

 

 

As you get ready to hit the road this summer, with the kids loaded inside and the bikes strapped to the roof of your car, you may want to stop and consider that the roof rack on your car may be costing you as much as 25 percent more in gas.

In the first study of its kind, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researcher Alan Meier, working with Yuche Chen of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, have estimated the fuel consumption penalty of this popular and fast-growing vehicle add-on. They found that in 2015, roof racks nationwide were responsible for 0.8 percent of light-duty vehicle fuel consumption, or 100 million gallons of gasoline.

Their study was published recently in the journal Energy Policy in a paper titled "Fuel consumption impacts of auto roof racks." In addition to projecting the fuel consumption penalty into 2040, at which time usage of roof racks is estimated to increase by about 200 percent in the United States, they also calculated how effective various policy and technology measures would be at mitigating the penalty.

"I've always been intrigued by energy consumption that was somehow overlooked or ignored because, for example, it wasn't in the test procedure," Meier said. "In this case, the fuel consumption of vehicles with after-market accessories isn't captured in the test procedure."

Use of roof racks requires vehicles to expend more energy due to aerodynamic drag. While there have been studies of their impact on individual vehicles -- depending on the configuration, the fuel consumption penalty can be as high as 25 percent on passenger cars -- this is the first study to estimate impacts at the national level. Moreover, use of roof racks is projected to increase given national travel trends.

"A national perspective is still needed to justify policy actions," the authors write. "For comparison, the additional fuel consumption caused by roof racks is about six times larger than anticipated fuel savings from fuel cell vehicles and 40 percent of anticipated fuel savings from battery electric vehicles in 2040."

Meier and Chen used a bottom-up approach to collect data, including using online forums and crowdsourcing as data collection sources. For example, roof rack usage rate estimates were based on nationwide highway video surveys conducted by the authors and workers recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk.

"It was a way of doing a national survey on the cheap," Meier said. "We considered using some other sources, like toll booths, but we found the quality wasn't good enough to figure out what was on the roofs."

They also created an energy inventory model that included rack usage rates, vehicle stock, vehicle miles traveled through 2040, and vehicle-level roof rack fuel consumption penalties. They considered roof racks both loaded and unloaded. (See photos.)

The researchers then conducted a sensitivity analysis to understand how the national fuel consumption penalty would change with varying inputs, for example, whether vehicles are driven on the highway or not and whether racks are loaded or not. They found that unloaded cross roof racks (with crosspieces, as pictured) driven on the highway was the scenario that made the biggest difference; this is because the total miles traveled with unloaded racks is four to eight times higher than that for loaded racks.

"These results suggest that some fuel-saving policies should focus on reducing the number of vehicles driving with empty racks," the researchers write.

So next they analyzed the impact of possible policy, technology, and behavior changes. For example, manufacturers have found that it is possible to make roof racks with greatly improved aerodynamics. A policy to require energy labeling of roof racks could spur greater changes, the researchers note.

Even greater energy savings would come from removing roof racks when not in use. Meier notes that they could be designed so as to be easier to remove. The researchers estimated that a government policy to minimize unloaded roof racks (admittedly extreme) in combination with more energy-efficient designs would result in cumulative savings of the equivalent of 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline over the next 26 years.

Chen conducted research as a graduate student at UC Davis, and Meier conducted some of this research while at the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center.

Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Published May 2016

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