May 23, 2023 Volume 19 Issue 20

Motion Control News & Products

Designfax weekly eMagazine

Subscribe Today!
image of Designfax newsletter


View Archives


Manufacturing Center
Product Spotlight

Modern Applications News
Metalworking Ideas For
Today's Job Shops

Tooling and Production
Strategies for large
metalworking plants

OnRobot doubles payload capacity of its grippers

OnRobot's new 2FG14 and 3FG25 electrical grippers for heavy-duty, collaborative applications are now launching along with the new machine tending solution AutoPilot powered by D:PLOY, developed in collaboration with Ellison Technologies. The new three-fingered 3FG25 gripper provides users with 25 kg (55.1 lb) of payload power in a compact, all-electric, lightweight form, unlocking the potential of the latest cobots. Ideal for CNC machine tending, the 2FG14 is a lightweight parallel-finger gripper with a payload of 14 kg (30.8 lb). It doubles the payload and gripping force of OnRobot's popular 2FG7 gripper while also providing 30% more total stroke.
Learn more.

Linear guide system corrects misalignments

Bishop-Wisecarver's UtiliTrak® linear guide system includes vee rails for precision and open rails for misalignment float to provide smooth and accurate motion on inaccurate structures. Because precise parallelism is difficult to achieve, it is not uncommon for mounting surfaces to be slightly out of parallel. UtiliTrak's design compensates for mounting errors and does not require absolute parallelism for accurate operation. Genius.
Learn more.

Universal Robots emerges as preferred robotics platform for AI solutions at Automate 2024

At North America's largest automation show (Chicago, May 6-9), cobot pioneer Universal Robots will redefine the frontiers of physical AI, showcasing how the "ChatGPT moment for robots" has arrived in a wide range of applications. Automate attendees will also experience how Universal Robots' newest cobot models, the UR20 and UR30, automate tasks with increased payload, reach, and torque.
Learn more.

Multi-stage mini vacuum pumps: Max performance

Designed to meet the demanding needs of industrial users, the CMS M series mini vacuum pump from COVAL combines robustness, performance, and modularity, offering an optimum solution for applications requiring high suction flow rates, such as gripping porous parts, emptying tanks, or material handling when integrated into vacuum grippers. Thanks to their ultra-compact design and optimized multi-stage Venturi system, these pumps guarantee powerful suction flows up to 19.42 SCFM, while reducing compressed air consumption in a compact footprint.
Learn more.

Choosing a stepper motor: PM or hybrid?

Lin Engineering stepper motors are widely used in various applications that require precise control of motion, such as in robotics, 3D printing, CNC machines, and medical equipment. There are two main types of stepper motors: permanent magnet (PM) and hybrid. Learn the differences, advantages, and when to use one type or the other.
Read this informative Lin Engineering article.

Top Product: Integrated servo system is 20% smaller than standalone unit

Applied Motion Products has introduced the MDX+ series, a family of low-voltage servo systems that integrate a servo drive, motor, and encoder into one package. This all-in-one drive unit is an ideal solution for manufacturers in logistics, AGV, medical, semiconductor, the solar industries, and many others.
Read the full article.

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.
Learn more.

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.

10-month voyage proves new solar cell material survives -- and thrives -- in space

An image of the perovskite samples inside the MISSE Platform installed on the exterior of the International Space Station. [Credit: NASA]



By Ellen Bausback, NASA's Glenn Research Center

Dr. Lyndsey McMillon-Brown was hoping to see anything but mustard yellow.

When the NASA research electrical engineer clicked open the photo of a small sample -- a swatch of film no bigger than a sticky note -- she let out a cheer. The film was still dark black after spending 10 months on the International Space Station, proving her team's innovative solar cell material is suitable for possible use on future space missions.

McMillon-Brown's space station-tested sample was part of the first spaceflight demonstration led by NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland to explore if this new material -- called perovskite -- is durable and can survive the harsh environment of space. The dark color she saw was an early indication the demonstration had been successful.

Dark black meant the perovskite film was in its most efficient form for absorbing light, while yellow would have meant the crystalline material had degraded into lead iodide, which isn't useful for solar cells.

"We didn't know when we sent it exactly what to expect," McMillon-Brown said. "It was kind of like opening a door and not knowing what is going to be on the other side."

If humanity is to establish a long-term presence on the Moon and Mars, astronauts will need reliable power sources to sustain their habitats and science instruments. NASA researchers think perovskite could be used in solar cells that are thinner, cheaper, lighter, and more flexible than those currently made of silicon or group III and V elements on the periodic table.

NASA Glenn's perovskite sample can be seen as it was integrated into the MISSE platform at Aegis in Houston, TX, prior to launch to the International Space Station. [Credit: NASA]





Although perovskites had been put through the experimental paces on Earth, flying in space meant the material could be pummeled by vacuum, extreme temperatures, radiation, and light stressors simultaneously.

"There is no ground analog, no machine that will do all of those crazy things to it at the same time quite like the International Space Station," McMillon-Brown said.

The 1-in. by 1-in. flight sample was created in a lab in early 2019. Once the thin film met strict safety requirements, it rocketed off to the space station in March 2020 as a part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE). Astronauts performed a spacewalk to open the suitcase-like MISSE platform and attach it to the outside of the space station, exposing the perovskite and other experiments to the extreme conditions of space.

After hurtling around in orbit and plunging in and out of direct sunlight for nearly a year, the film returned to Earth in January 2021. The sample was analyzed by partners at the University of California Merced, led by Professor Sayantani Ghosh, where scientists studied what happened to it and compared it to a control sample that stayed on the ground. Partners at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory also contributed to the post-flight analysis.

Researchers had two key takeaways.

First, temperature swings during orbit constantly shrank and expanded the sample, putting stress on it and changing how it interacted with light. However, they discovered something surprising: When the space-traveling perovskite was bathed in light back on Earth, its built-up stress relaxed, and its sunlight-absorbing qualities were restored, unlike the control sample, which degraded when exposed to the same conditions.

This is a valuable quality, McMillon-Brown says, because it means perovskite solar cells could be used in space during long-duration missions.

"We don't know exactly what about the space environment gave our film this superpower," she said.

The other takeaway was that temperatures in space influenced how perovskite's crystals were arranged, changing how they absorbed light -- for the better.

"The fact that the one in space holds a favorable arrangement for longer and can work at much lower temperatures is also a strong benefit for this material," McMillon-Brown said.

Up next, McMillon-Brown and her team are isolating what specific parts of the space environment transformed the perovskite. They'll also be combing through results from complete perovskite solar cell experiments that have flown on the space station in the time since the first sample was returned.

"A lot of people doubted that these materials could ever be strong enough to deal with the harsh environment of space," McMillon-Brown said. "Not only do they survive, but in some ways, they thrived. I love thinking of the applications of our research and that we're going to be able to meet the power needs of missions that are not feasible with current solar technologies."

Published May 2023

Rate this article

[10-month voyage proves new solar cell material survives -- and thrives -- in space]

Very interesting, with information I can use
Interesting, with information I may use
Interesting, but not applicable to my operation
Not interesting or inaccurate

E-mail Address (required):


Type the number:

Copyright © 2023 by Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction Prohibited.
View our terms of use and privacy policy