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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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).
Argonne diamond-like coating shows surprising potential to improve actuator, bearing, and gear reliability in wind power
By Scott Jones, Argonne National Laboratory
Despite the rigors of scientific inquiry and the methodical approaches of the world's most talented researchers, sometimes science has a surprise in store.
Such was the case when a group of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Akron discovered that a particular form of carbon coating not necessarily designed for wind turbines may indeed prove a boon to the wind industry -- a serendipitous finding that was recently highlighted in the journal Tribology International.
Prolonging the life of these components could greatly reduce the cost of wind power, the fastest growing source of energy in the world, thereby making it an even more attractive energy source.
Researchers from Argonne's Surface and Lubrication Interaction, Discovery and Engineering initiative developed a novel "diamond-like" coating that could prove of great benefit when used to coat equipment for wind turbines, like the bearing in this photo. Pictured from left: Levent Eryilmaz, Giovanni Ramirez, Ali Erdemir, and Aaron Greco.
Due to the strenuous environment inherent in wind turbine drivetrains, key components such as actuators, bearings, and gears are prone to failure, meaning turbines require regular maintenance that helps drive up the price of wind energy. Prolonging the life of these components could greatly reduce the cost of wind power, the fastest growing source of energy in the world, thereby making it an even more attractive energy source.
These failures are often due to a phenomenon known as micropitting in which the repeated rolling and sliding cycles in the gears and bearings of turbines lead to cracks on the surface of drivetrain components. Further contact only exacerbates the cracking once it begins, chipping away at the metal and increasing the severity of the existing cracks until costly maintenance is necessary or, even worse, the drivetrain fails.
Enter Argonne's Tribology and Thermal-Mechanics Section and its Surface and Lubrication Interaction, Discovery and Engineering (SLIDE) initiative, which investigates how lubricants and materials interact and develops novel lubrication and coating concepts that reduce friction, and therefore micropitting, prolonging component life across a range of energy technologies.
And sometimes they get a little lucky. Such was the case when SLIDE researchers applied this "diamond-like" (some of the carbon-to-carbon bonding in the coating is similar to that of diamonds) coating to wind turbine components, which was not the intended use.
"We felt that if it was working under other sliding conditions, it might work in wind turbine drivetrains as well," said SLIDE's Ali Erdemir, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow. "Initially, our expectations were low, as we thought the coating would wear out due to the high stresses inherent in wind turbines, but that didn't happen."
So far the coating, named N3FC, has proven its worth through more than 100 million testing cycles with no appreciable micropitting. Erdemir admits that they don't know exactly how far it could go, as it has surpassed the time limit of SLIDE's benchtop micropitting test rig. If the coating performs similarly under real-world conditions, it could mean huge savings in terms of maintenance and prevention of failure in wind turbines nationwide -- to the tune of millions of dollars, said Erdemir.
But first, he added, they need to learn exactly why it works.
"We don't yet understand the exact mechanism," said Erdemir. "The general belief is that component wear life extension requires a much harder coating, as more hardness reduces wear. But in this case the coating has less hardness than the base steel, so conventional thought doesn't apply."
The team is now eager to work with companies and see how N3FC performs in the field. Until then, they will stay busy trying to discover the mechanism behind this surprising scientific development. "We would love to get to the bottom of this and design even better coatings," said Erdemir.
The team is also testing the coating in sealing applications for compressors. As a low-friction surface coating, it may also prove beneficial in natural gas and hydrogen environments. "It appears to have multiple capabilities in terms of performance," said Erdemir.
While much of the work was done in Argonne's tribology laboratory, Raman spectroscopy (which uses monochromatic light, usually from a laser) was performed at the laboratory's Center for Nanoscale Materials, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.
The research was funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (Vehicles Technologies Office and Wind and Hydropower Technologies Office).
Team members include Argonne researchers Giovanni Ramirez, Osman Eryilmaz, and Aaron Greco, as well as Gary Doll of the University of Akron and Harpal Singh of both Argonne and the University of Akron.
Published May 2016
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