December 24, 2019 Volume 15 Issue 49

Motion Control News & Products

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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.


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.


Less space junk: Rensselaer research team working with NASA on robot that can refuel satellites

Many technologies that are essential for daily life -- from communications to GPS navigation to weather forecasting -- rely on the thousands of satellites that are orbiting Earth. When those satellites run out of gas and stop working, there's not much that can currently be done to fix them.

"When a satellite runs out of fuel, and you don't have a way to refuel it, that satellite stops working," said John Wen, professor and head of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). "When that happens, a new satellite is launched to replace the existing satellite."

It's a costly, time-consuming, and increasingly problematic reality as broken-down satellites become part of the growing population of space debris. A team of researchers at RPI, led by Wen, are working with NASA on a solution: a robot that can capture a satellite in space and pull it in to dock, where it would refuel.

"Our part of the research is to specifically look at transporting a massive satellite, which is way beyond the capacity of this robot arm on Earth under gravity," Wen said.

The robotic arm is being built for NASA by Maxar Technologies to be 7 ft long. It is thin, so that it can operate as efficiently as possible in space. It has gears and joints that will allow it to handle a large satellite. But these components also introduce flexibility, Wen said, which adds another layer of complexity.

The researchers at Rensselaer are working with NASA to develop complex algorithms that will control the arm's movement, enabling it to accurately transport and dock a satellite to a berthing station for refueling.


VIDEO: RPI project aims to help refuel satellites in space.

Wen compares the problem to the difficultly of dragging a massive bus along the ice in a hockey rink. Much like the slick ice, the lack of gravity mitigates the challenge of moving a heavy object, but it doesn't necessarily make the task of carefully controlling its movements much easier.

"There will be no human in space to intervene," Wen said. "It's all relying on the ground operator. So, we have to do extensive simulation both in software as well as in hardware to make sure this operation is safe."

Those simulations are being done, both computationally and physically, in the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems Lab at Rensselaer. For physical simulations, the team uses an air-bearing setup (an air hockey table, essentially) where a small satellite model can float along the surface, simulating a zero-gravity environment. A smaller robotic arm models the movement that will need to take place in space.

"It is really great to be working with NASA on a project where there's a chance that what we're developing is actually going to be used in space," said Kimberly Oakes, a doctoral student in electrical engineering. "That's an opportunity you don't get a lot in the research field."

Wen's team is working with the Satellite Servicing Projects Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, as they develop a suite of technologies needed to refuel a satellite in orbit. Beyond that, Wen sees other applications for this work.

"It's getting increasingly difficult to fly heavy payloads into orbit, so when we talk about a lunar mission, Mars mission, et cetera, increasingly the assembly will have to be done in space," Wen said. "The robotic technology we're working on now will be the foundation of such work in the future."

Source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Published December 2019

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