H2W Technologies has developed the world’s highest force commercially available non-commutated DC linear actuator, otherwise known as a direct drive voice coil actuator. The model NCC08-75-3000-3X is capable of generating a continuous force of 300 lb (1330 N) and a peak force of 900 lb (4000 N) at a duty cycle of 10% (i.e., 1 sec on and 9 sec off). A moving mass of just under 8 lb (3.6 kg) allows for a maximum theoretical continuous acceleration of nearly 38 Gs. Click here to learn more.
Reduce motion control application development time
ACS Motion Control has launched a new version of its SPiiPlus Application Development Kit (ADK) Suite motion control software with new simulation and motion machine interface (MMI) tools. The SPiiPlus ADK Suite Version 2.50 provides enhanced diagnostics capabilities to minimize setup, tuning, and programming time for motion control applications. With updated ACSPL+ functions, variables, and commands, Version 2.50 enables the implementation of both highly complex motion-time-event sequences with accurate positioning and timing, and simpler tasks such as point-to-point control. The ACS simulator tool models an ideal closed-loop servo system. Click here to learn more.
Sprague pumps, boosters, and power units now available from High Pressure Equipment
High Pressure Equipment Co. (HiP), a subsidiary of Graco Inc., has added Sprague hydraulic pumps, gas boosters, and power units to their family of products. Sprague air-driven power products have been providing high-pressure solutions to the oil and gas, process chemical, utility, aviation, and industrial markets for more than 60 years. The first Sprague air-operated pump was developed in 1947 and, other than minor modifications, is the same classic design today. HiP will manufacture all Sprague power products in their ISO 9001-certified Erie, PA, headquarters plant. Learn about Sprague Air-Driven Hydraulic Pumps. Learn about Sprague Air-Driven Gas Boosters. Learn about Sprague Air-Driven Power Units.
Fast and compact direct-drive micro-positioning stages
Precision motion and nanoposi-tioning leader PI (Physik Instrumente) delivers a family of compact linear and rotary stages driven by ceramic direct-drive motors. The patented ultrasonic motors provide smooth motion with high resolution and a high dynamic range. The self-clamping motor principle locks the stage into place, devoid of creep, once a target position has been reached. This intrinsic brake-like behavior comes at no extra cost and provides advantages that are not available with classic electro-magnetic drive technologies. Two linear stages with 18-mm and 22-mm travel are available, as well as an XY stage providing 22 mm x 22 mm. Several encoder options are standard. Applications include medical devices, optical instrumentation, photonics alignment, and super-resolution microscopy. View the specs, datasheet, and more. Read tech article about ultrasonic motors.
Selection tips for rodless electromechanical and electric rod actuators
When you specify a linear actuator, some basic decisions come first. Do you go with electric or fluid-powered? Do you need the push/pull of an electric rod actuator or the load-carrying action of a rodless electromechanical actuator? Aaron Dietrich from Tolomatic may have your answer. Dietrich has compiled some very good tips for selecting these actuator types. Learn about selecting linear actuators.
Software: Robot control systems
Han’s Robot, a subsidiary of global Chinese manufacturer Han’s Laser, has licensed Energid’s Actin premier control software for its new line of cost-effective collaborative robots (“cobots”), called Elfins. Actin is an easy-to-use robot control and simulation framework that offers robot manufacturers faster time to market, reduced software development costs, and powerful control with real-time adaptive motion. Han’s Robot was able to leverage powerful collaborative features including collision avoidance, simplified task-based programming, interactive control, and the ability to extend, customize, and rebrand any of the components for advanced product differentiation. Energid provides robotic control systems for a wide range of global customers. Click here to learn more.
New Catalog: Custom engineered precision motion systems
Motion and precision positioning systems expert PI (Physik Instrumente) has released a new catalog outlining its capabilities for engineered motion and automation solutions for high-tech industries such as photonics, precision optics, semiconductor, and medical engineering. Customers have saved considerable time and resources by requesting free advice from PI’s engineering teams around the world, who draw upon thousands of standard products ranging from electromagnetic to piezoceramic motors, digital and analog controllers, serial and parallel kinematic motion systems, capacitive, inductive and optical nano-precision sensors, and guiding systems that span from flexures to magnetic levitation and air bearings. Get your catalog today.
New planetary PMDC gearmotors from Bodine
Bodine Electric Company introduces the new type 24A4-60P planetary gearmotor. This integral gearmotor combines Bodine's high-performance type 24A PMDC motor with the all-new 60P (60-mm) planetary gearhead. It is ideal for applications that require higher torque than conventional helical/spur gearheads of a similar size can provide, and where a very low-backlash gearhead is not required. Typical applications include conveyors, pumps, packaging, industrial automation, and a wide range of solar- or battery-powered equipment. Click here to learn more.
Extreme force electric linear actuator controls lumber drying
The lumber processing industry demands rugged, strong, reliable, and accurate equipment in all its operations. Conditions can be harsh. Hydraulic cylinders have been the go-to, but they have limitations, such as inconsistent control, leaks, temperature sensitivity, maintenance requirements, and lack of feedback. Now there are electric rod actuators powered by roller screws that can meet the requirements of these high-force applications. Read the Tolomatic blog.
Medium-load hexapod 6-axis motion platform
With the usability of 6-axis hexapods increasing in research and industry applications, PI introduces a new medium-load 6-axis precision motion platform, the H-825 hexapod. The H-825 provides a self-locking load capacity up to 30 kg (66 lb). The motion range is up to 55 mm (linear) and up to 38 degrees (rotation). High system precision is guaranteed by absolute encoders and an actuator resolution of 8 nanometers -- with excellent position repeatability of +/-0.1 µm and +/-2 µrad, respectively. The parallel-kinematic design of the hexapod makes it smaller and stiffer than traditional 6-axis positioning systems while providing a higher dynamic range. Features long-lifetime brushless servo motors. >Read technical articles and applications of PI hexapods >Watch Hexapod System Videos >Specifications, Datasheet, More Information
Wheel drive assemblies for electric vehicles
WheelMax Steering Drives from Allied Motion Technologies are fully integrated, electrically powered traction wheels with on-board steering systems for electric vehicles. Each WheelMax Steering Drive combines a traction wheel with tire, epicyclic gearbox, robust steering gear and bearing system, and two rugged PMDC brush motors, one for traction and one for steering power. The complete assembly is compact, easy to mount, and requires little to no maintenance. WheelMax Steering Drives handle loads up to 227 kg (500 lb) and provide 14 Nm (120 lb-in.) continuous torque at speeds up to 5 km/hr (3 mph). Applications include AGVs, autonomous robotic material handlers, pushers and tuggers, powered utility carts, and hospital patient handlers, among many others. Click here to learn more.
Micro Solutions: Myoelectric robotic prosthesis hand
The Bebionic myoelectric hand prosthesis was recently developed to help with daily life challenges. Powerful and compact FAULHABER dc motors ensure that the prosthesis can grip without any problems, quickly and firmly, and maintain a constant gripping force. Two electrodes integrated into the prosthesis shaft detect the myoelectric signals and forward them to the control electronics. These signals are amplified and used to activate the 5 small electric motors. Read the full article.
New frameless brushless servo motor kits
The new frameless motor kits from Maxon consist of only a rotor and stator -- no bearings or motor shaft. With outer diameters of only 43 mm to 90 mm, these pancake servo motor kits are extremely compact. Available in size ranges from 30 W to 260 W, these EC (electronically commutated) frameless slotted motors feature low-voltage windings, high pole pair count, and are shipped as BLDC motor kits with the rotor and stator delivered separately without bearings and motor shaft. The flat design, high torque output, and hollow-shaft construction provide plenty of space for cable glands, allowing for a high level of integration into OEM applications such as collaborative and mobile robots, AGVs, exoskeletons, and embedded robotic applications. Click here to learn more.
New DENSO robot product catalog
DENSO Robotics -- the world's largest manufacturer and user of small assembly robots -- has announced its new product catalog featuring a wide range of compact, high-speed industrial robots that have reaches of 350 mm to 1,300 mm, payload capacities as high as 20 kg, and repeatability to within +/-0.015 mm. The 52-page publication, which is offered in an interactive online version or as a download, features detailed descriptions, specifications, and schematics of DENSO’s entire lineup of four-axis SCARA and five- and six-axis articulated robots, robot controllers, and programming software. Click here to learn more.
New precision linear motor stage family with magnetic direct drive and absolute encoders
Motion and nanoposi-tioning industry leader PI further expands its PIMag series of high-dynamics linear motor stages with a family of 18, the V-508 -- a new series of compact linear positioning stages with high-force 3-phase linear motors and crossed roller guides. This line features high velocity, high duty cycle, and three travel ranges. A variety of incremental and absolute measuring linear encoders are available. PI’s ultra-precise linear motor stages are well-suited for industry and research. Applications include metrology, testing, positioning, scanning, precision automation, micro-assembly, biotechnology, delay-lines, laser beam control, optics, lens testing, and photonics alignment. Specifications, datasheet, more information > Read tech article, "Performance of Direct-Drive Linear Motor Stages in Precision Positioning Applications" >
DARPA turns its unmanned anti-submarine ship prototype over to Navy for further development
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) will continue developing DARPA's revolutionary prototype vehicle called Sea Hunter as the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV).
DARPA has successfully completed its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program and has officially transferred the technology demonstration vessel, christened Sea Hunter, to the Office of Naval Research (ONR). ONR will continue developing the revolutionary prototype vehicle -- the first of what could ultimately become an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel -- as the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV). One feature that makes the vessel a standout is that it is able to traverse thousands of kilometers over open seas for months at a time -- without a single crew member aboard.
ACTUV is a 130-ft twin-screw trimaran, designed for enhanced stability in all kinds of weather. It has a number of unusual features, because it does not need to accommodate people. For example, interior spaces are accessible for maintenance but aren't designed to support a permanent crew.
"It has enough range and endurance that it can get anywhere in the world from U.S. territory," said Scott Littlefield, program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, at the vessel's christening event in 2016. "There are two diesel engines; one port, one starboard. Two shafts, two reduction gears, so two completely separate propulsion trains." Its max speed is 27 knots.
VIDEO: ACTUV construction time lapse.
But of broader technical significance is that ACTUV embodies breakthroughs in autonomous navigational capabilities with the potential to change the nature of U.S. maritime operations. Through at-sea testing on a surrogate vessel, ACTUV's autonomy suite has proven capable of operating the ship in compliance with maritime laws and conventions for safe navigation -- including International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, or COLREGS. ACTUV accomplishes this feat through advanced software and hardware that serve as automated lookouts, enabling the ship to operate safely near manned maritime vessels in all weather and traffic conditions, day or night. ACTUV is designed to normally operate under sparse remote supervisory control but can also serve as a remotely piloted vessel, should the mission or specific circumstances require it. In either case, it would operate at a fraction of the cost of manned vessels that are today deployed for similar missions
"ACTUV's move from DARPA to ONR marks a significant milestone in developing large-scale USV technology and autonomy capabilities," said Alexander Walan, a program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office (TTO). "Our collaboration with ONR has brought closer to reality a future fleet in which both manned warships and capable large unmanned vessels complement each other to accomplish diverse, evolving missions."
ACTUV Prototype Vessel during on-water tests in Portland, OR, in 2016.
The Sea Hunter was developed as an unmanned vessel optimized to track quiet diesel electric submarines. The program is structured around three primary goals:
Explore the performance potential of a surface platform conceived from concept to field demonstration under the premise that a human is never intended to step aboard at any point in its operating cycle. As a result, a new design paradigm emerges with reduced constraints on conventional naval architecture elements such as layout, accessibility, crew support systems, and reserve buoyancy. The objective is to generate a vessel design that exceeds state-of-the art platform performance to provide propulsive overmatch against diesel electric submarines at a fraction of their size and cost.
Advance unmanned maritime system autonomy to enable independently deploying systems capable of missions spanning thousands of kilometers of range and months of endurance under a sparse remote supervisory control model. This includes autonomous compliance with maritime laws and conventions for safe navigation, autonomous system management for operational reliability, and autonomous interactions with an intelligent adversary.
Demonstrate the capability of the ACTUV system to use its unique characteristics to employ non-conventional sensor technologies that achieve robust continuous track of the quietest submarine targets over their entire operating envelope.
While the Sea Hunter (ACTUV) program has been focused on demonstrating the anti-submarine tracking capability in this configuration, the core platform and autonomy technologies are broadly extendable to underpin a wide range of missions and configurations for future unmanned naval vessels.
"ACTUV represents a new vision of naval surface warfare that trades small numbers of very capable, high-value assets for large numbers of commoditized, simpler platforms that are more capable in the aggregate," said Fred Kennedy, TTO director. "The U.S. military has talked about the strategic importance of replacing 'king' and 'queen' pieces on the maritime chessboard with lots of 'pawns,' and ACTUV is a first step toward doing exactly that."
The agencies' collaboration started in September 2014, when DARPA and ONR agreed to jointly fund an extended test phase of an ACTUV prototype. An April 2016 christening ceremony marked the vessel's formal transition from a DARPA-led design and construction project to a new stage of open-water testing conducted jointly with ONR in San Diego, CA.
In October 2016, DARPA and ONR began at-sea testing of Sea Hunter's sensing and autonomy suites. Between February and September 2017, the vessel passed three progressively challenging tests to integrate the suites and use them to comply with International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) in operationally realistic scenarios.
DARPA and ONR also conducted tests to prove a key element of the ACTUV/MDUSV design: the flexibility to handle diverse missions by switching among modular payloads. Sea Hunter had a successful joint test in September 2016 with DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort. In August 2017, the vessel conducted at-sea tests with a mine countermeasures (MCM) payload.
ONR plans additional at-sea tests to further develop ACTUV/MDUSV technologies, including automating payload and sensor data processing, rapidly developing new mission-specific autonomous behaviors, and exploring autonomous coordination among multiple USVs. Pending test results, MDUSV could transition to U.S. Navy operations by the end of 2018.