April 07, 2020 Volume 16 Issue 13

Motion Control News & Products

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Overhung load adaptors provide load support and contamination protection

Overhung load adaptors (OHLA) provide both overhung radial and axial load support to protect electrified mobile equipment motors from heavy application loads, extending the lifetime of the motor and alleviating the cost of downtime both from maintenance costs and loss of production. They seal out dirt, grime, and other contaminants too. Zero-Max OHLAs are available in an extensive offering of standard models (including Extra-Duty options) for typical applications or customized designs.
Learn more.

Why choose electric for linear actuators?

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.
Get this informative e-book. (No registration required)

New AC hypoid inverter-duty gearmotors

Bodine Electric Company introduces 12 new AC inverter-duty hypoid hollow shaft gearmotors. These type 42R-25H2 and 42R-30H3 drives combine an all-new AC inverter-duty, 230/460-VAC motor with two hypoid gearheads. When used with an AC inverter (VFD) control, these units deliver maintenance-free and reliable high-torque output. They are ideal for conveyors, gates, packaging, and other industrial automation equipment that demands both high torque and low power consumption from the driving gearmotor.
Learn more.

Next-gen warehouse automation: Siemens, Universal Robots, and Zivid partner up

Universal Robots, Siemens, and Zivid have created a new solution combining UR's cobot arms with Siemens' SIMATIC Robot Pick AI software and Zivid's 3D sensors to create a deep-learning picking solution for warehouse automation and intra-logistics fulfillment. It works regardless of object shape, size, opacity, or transparency and is a significant leap in solving the complex challenges faced by the logistics and e-commerce sectors.
Read the full article.

Innovative DuoDrive gear and motor unit is UL/CSA certified

The DuoDrive integrated gear unit and motor from NORD DRIVE-SYSTEMS is a compact, high-efficiency solution engineered for users in the fields of intralogistics, pharmaceutical, and the food and beverage industries. This drive combines a IE5+ synchronous motor and single-stage helical gear unit into one compact housing with a smooth, easy-to-clean surface. It has a system efficiency up to 92% and is available in two case sizes with a power range of 0.5 to 4.0 hp.
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BLDC flat motor with high output torque and speed reduction

Portescap's 60ECF brushless DC slotted flat motor is the newest frame size to join its flat motor portfolio. This 60-mm BLDC motor features a 38.2-mm body length and an outer-rotor slotted configuration with an open-body design, allowing it to deliver improved heat management in a compact package. Combined with Portescap gearheads, it delivers extremely high output torque and speed reduction. Available in both sensored and sensorless options. A great choice for applications such as electric grippers and exoskeletons, eVTOLs, and surgical robots.
Learn more and view all the specs.

Application story: Complete gearbox and coupling assembly for actuator system

Learn how GAM engineers not only sized and selected the appropriate gear reducers and couplings required to drive two ball screws in unison using a single motor, but how they also designed the mounting adapters necessary to complete the system. One-stop shopping eliminated unnecessary components and resulted in a 15% reduction in system cost.
Read this informative GAM blog.

Next-gen motor for pump and fan applications

The next evolution of the award-winning Aircore EC motor from Infinitum is a high-efficiency system designed to power commercial and industrial applications such as HVAC fans, pumps, and data centers with less energy consumption, reduced emissions, and reduced waste. It features an integrated variable frequency drive and delivers upward of 93% system efficiency, as well as class-leading power and torque density in a low-footprint package that is 20% lighter than the previous version. Four sizes available.
Learn more.

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.

DIY medical devices and protective gear fuel battle against COVID-19

Georgia Tech is helping meet the need for face shields for healthcare workers.



By John Toon, Georgia Tech University

It's a race against time that some participants liken to Apollo 13, the stricken NASA spacecraft for which engineers improvised an air purification system from available parts to get three astronauts back from the moon.

In this case, however, the race is to improvise ventilators, face shields, respirators, surgical gowns, disinfectant wipes, and other healthcare gear to help the hundreds of thousands of people expected to swamp hospitals with waves of critical COVID-19 illness over the next several weeks. The demand for ventilators alone could be four times more than already overwhelmed hospitals can provide.

Using 3D-printed parts, plastic-lined tablecloths intended for birthday parties, laser-cut gears, and similar substitutions, a research team from universities on two continents is racing to develop "do-it-yourself" healthcare gear that can be assembled where it's needed from components available locally. Team members figure they have about two weeks to get the designs right and share them with anyone who can help with the needs.

"We're trying to figure out how to get these things to scale in the time we have," said Shannon Yee, an associate professor in Georgia Tech's George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering who's working on the ventilator issue with a half-dozen colleagues at Georgia Tech and other universities. "We are looking at producing things very quickly, and this is where having contacts with mature manufacturing sources is going to help."

Georgia Tech has established a Rapid Response website to identify needs for personal protective equipment and potential collaborations.

Supplying face shields to the medical community
The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech serves as a bridge between healthcare needs and the broad technical know-how at Georgia Tech, and Georgia Tech researchers are talking regularly with hospital systems to discuss their needs. So far, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, face shields, respirator masks, and ventilators have been identified as critical needs. Using resources of the Flowers Invention Studio -- such as 3D printing -- the group has already produced 1,000 face shields and is preparing to fabricate thousands more in the form of kits that hospitals can assemble.

"With the significant challenges on our supply chain, we need strategies to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare staff," said Dr. Charles Brown, CEO of Physician Enterprise at Piedmont Healthcare. "We have mechanisms in place to develop ideas and are working with Georgia Tech and the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) to advance them to what we can use."

Georgia Tech faculty members, students, and GCMI worked on multiple face shield designs, talking with clinicians at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare, and Piedmont to evaluate and iterate. The result was two different designs intended for specific uses in hospital facilities, where face shields protect clinicians from splashes and help extend the life of soft respirators intended to filter out virus particles.

To scale up fabrication beyond the Georgia Tech campus, the team focused on simple designs that could be shared with and produced by individuals with access to a makerspace -- and major manufacturers with injection molding capabilities. The team plans to make the designs available for anyone with laser cutting or 3D-printing capabilities.

"Initially we were just thinking about meeting the needs of Atlanta, but cities everywhere need them," said Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering who specializes in "frugal science" -- creating inexpensive lab devices. "We have created great models that can be used to create a pipeline of instructions that others can use. The face shields will set the stage for other device models as they become available."

To help meet the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, Georgia Tech has designed and is producing face shields. Shown is a laser cutting machine used to create frames for the shields.





"The Georgia Tech mechanical engineering team is working to modify open source face shield designs so they can be manufactured in high volumes for the rapid response environment that COVID-19 requires," said Christopher Saldana, an associate professor in the Woodruff School. "Our team has modified these designs using a range of product and process optimization methods, including removing certain features and standardizing tool use. By working on cross-functional and cross-disciplinary teams and directly involving healthcare practitioners and high-volume manufacturers, we will be able to respond to this effort at the scale and speed required."

The supply chain challenge
The team's Rapid Response website will both quantify the needs for face shields and solicit supplies of materials. Because the world's supply chains are unable to ship conventional PPE components, they are looking for alternatives that may not now be part of that production.

The challenge is that everyone is scrambling to find equipment and materials in an international supply chain that has already been depleted by months-long demands from countries that dealt with the virus earlier: China, Italy, and South Korea. As the healthcare demands ramp up in the United States, hospitals will have to be more creative in meeting the needs that their traditional sources may not be able to supply.

"If we can't get them from commercial or government sources, we're going to have to make them ourselves," said Michael O'Toole, Executive Director of Quality Improvement at Piedmont and a Georgia Tech engineering graduate.

VIDEO: Faculty and students at Georgia Tech have designed a quick and easy way to manufacture face shields.

With significant efforts going into design of locally sourced equipment, expertise on medical device prototyping and approval is needed. That is coming from a network of alumni and local companies and GCMI, a Georgia Tech-affiliated organization that works with device manufacturers around the world to translate designs into devices that can be manufactured quickly and cost effectively.

"The goal right now is to develop solutions that can be sourced locally and that we can produce now," said Tiffany Wilson, GCMI's CEO. "We are working with Georgia Tech and others on how we can suggest modifying the designs to optimize them for the current environment. We are helping make sure designs are clinically validated with an eye toward scalability."

Research on Possible Solutions for Other Shortages
While the face shield is the most mature project the team is developing, researchers are also looking at other needs of the medical community. Among them are ventilators, disinfecting wipes, and respirators.

An example of an Apollo 13 project may be ventilators that are used to help critically ill patients breathe. Traditional equipment makers are working as fast as they can, but that may not be fast enough. To achieve a globally scalable makeshift ventilator will require minimizing the number of parts and thinking about mechanical simplicity, Yee said.

Leon Williams, head of the Center for Competitive Creative Design at Cranfield University, is working with Georgia Tech researchers to create a makeshift ventilator based on the bag-valve-mask (BVM) -- also known as an Ambu bag -- a hand-held mechanical resuscitation device already available at hospitals.

Through a system of laser-cut gears and other components, the preliminary concept would use a simple 3-V motor to compress the bag and push air into the lungs of a critically ill patient. Among the challenges is extending the lifetime of the bags, which are not designed for long-term use.

As with face shields, the group expects to make its plans widely available for other groups to iterate and produce. "There is a lot of activity here that is going to move this forward," said Devesh Ranjan, associate chair for research in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, who is coordinating several of the Georgia Tech Rapid-Response projects on campus.

Another identified need is for disinfecting wipes, which seem like a simple enough product: a nonwoven material and a solution based on either alcohol or bleach. The material and solutions seem to be available; the problem is locating the industrial-sized containers to hold them.

"We've been looking for containers for the wipes commercially," said Graham. "What we are finding is that the issue is the containers, but we are looking at other solutions." He's working with David Sholl, chair of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, to identify potential suppliers.

Respirators, swabs, and gowns
Protecting healthcare workers from the coronavirus requires a special type of respirator, soft face masks that remove virus particles from the air. Because the virus particles are so small, hundreds of nanometers in diameter, that protection requires high-efficiency filtration materials that, until recently, were mostly manufactured in China.

"The filters are not being produced at the rates that are needed, so we have been thinking about what we can put together that approximates an N95 filter that's needed to protect healthcare workers," said Ryan Lively, an associate professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. "We need to make something that can be produced out of homemade goods, then verify that it can do the filtering needed."

Lively has been experimenting with alternatives, such as high-efficiency filtration materials manufactured for HVAC systems that could be sewn inside a fabric pouch. "There are journal papers out there showing filtration materials that are not as good as N95 are still effective at increasing rejection of the virus particles," he said.

If these work as needed, Lively could produce limited numbers in his lab. "We have estimated that we can produce 700 masks per week using the pilot line that we have for research and repurposing it for cranking out hydrophobic fiber media," he said. "That won't solve the problem, but it will help meet a very critical need."

The swabs used for COVID-19 testing are also in short supply, as are gowns designed to protect healthcare workers. Carson Meredith, director of the Renewable Bioproducts Institute, is tracking down alternative sources from among the many manufacturers who are members of the Georgia Tech interdisciplinary research institute.

"The idea is to take a basic material intended for a different function and transform it into the products that we need," he said. One example is a material manufactured for party tablecloths -- plastic on one side to prevent spills from going through, and paper on the other for festive designs. "We're looking at whether the machinery that produces those can be rapidly turned into making a temporary gown."

The research team meets by phone daily to update each other on what's been done and to share ideas. They follow international Slack channels to know what other similar groups are doing across the U.S. and the world.

They know their prototype production equipment can't meet the world's needs, so they're sharing plans with others who may have capabilities. Ultimately, major manufacturers will catch up, but that could take months -- perhaps too long for the expected COVID-19 infection curve.

"The best thing we can do is share that information broadly to try to come up with solutions that use parts that can be sourced locally," Yee said, referring to the ventilator project. "Simple solutions using motors that people can get anywhere, structures that can be 3D-printed, and materials that can be hand-cut with saws may get us through this."

Published April 2020

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