Aaron Dietrich from Tolomatic runs through the main specifying considerations for electric actuators, citing their high performance, adaptability, low total cost of ownership, and easy integration. But what about accuracy and repeatability? Should you go with a rod-style actuator or a screw type? What kind of force should you expect if you are considering converting from hydraulic to electric actuation? Tolomatic also offers an extensive ebook to help with your decision-making if you need it. Click here to learn more.
Cost-optimized BLDC motors for series production
With the DBL36, Nanotec now offers a brushless DC motor that is designed for large quantities. This motor is available in three lengths with a rated power of 7.5 W (size S), 18 W (size M), and 33 W (size L). These electronically commuted 3-phase motors are equipped with three Hall sensors that provide information on the rotor position. They are characterized by very high efficiency and, thanks to their precision ball bearings, smooth running characteristics. The rated speed is 4,800 rpm for sizes S and M and 4,500 rpm for size L; its rated voltage is 24 V. With a rated torque of 1.5 to 7 Ncm and a diameter of 36 mm, the DBL36 is an extremely economical solution for a wide range of applications. The winding can be adapted to other rated speeds and voltages in series production. Click here to learn more.
Centralized control supports dynamic machine functionality with maximum efficiency
The AMKASYN centralized control and drive portfolio from AMK Automation includes KE/KW servo converters, KE/KW controller cards, the A Series motion controller, and AMKAMAC I/O. The portfolio supports dynamic machine functions with maximum efficiency. The AMKASYN KE/KW servo motors combine an extremely compact design with a cost-effective modular structure that provides several flexible combination options for machine builders. With a choice of cooling systems, single- and multi-axis solutions, and choice of controller cards, this system is ideal for highly dynamic positioning tasks requiring maximum energy efficiency. Click here to learn more.
Gain more torque -- motor has integrated cooling
The slim-design G3718V whisper torque motor from Lin Engineering incorporates a heat-sink design within the stator laminations to allow for passive cooling. When your motor operates cooler, you can increase power to gain more torque without overheating, or you can save energy and still perform at an optimal performance. At only 22.8 mm long, this motor produces 25 oz-in. of torque. Click here to learn more.
Mini voice coil motor has high force-to-size ratio
Smaller in diameter than a quarter, the miniature linear voice coil motor (LVCM-019-016-02) from Moticont has a high force-to-size ratio. It produces 8.9 oz. (2.5 N) of continuous force and 28.0 oz. (7.8 N) of peak force in a compact 0.750-in. (19.1-mm) diameter x 0.94-in. (23.8-mm) long envelope (at mid stroke). This high-speed motor has zero cogging and features high accuracy and high repeatability when operated in a closed loop as a DC servo motor. Ideal applications include: pick-and-place; testing; laser steering; mirror positioning; scanning; oscillation; switching; and hand-held medical, dental, or industrial applications. Click here to learn more.
Advanced Motor Tech: Precision motion for X-ray optics
Despite their potential danger, X-rays are one of the most powerful instruments and resources utilized in medical diagnostics to help medical professionals restore health by identifying the correct prognosis. When it comes to achieving the best imaging with the lowest X-ray exposure, lenses made by Optec are almost inevitably involved. Their aperture, focus, filters, and zoom are moved by FAULHABER motors. Read the full article.
How hexapods advance production processes
Hexapods, six-legged parallel-kinematic machines, are quickly gaining ground in a broad range of industrial automation applications after "learning" how to directly communicate with PLC or CNC controllers via fieldbus interfaces. They are used in such varied processes as aligning the smallest optical components in silicon photonics to positioning entire body parts for automotive production, and the intrinsic hexapod features contribute to a wealth of new possibilities in robotics. PI (Physik Instrumente) gives a comprehensive rundown on the state-of-the-art in hexapod tech. Read the full article.
World's highest force voice coil actuator
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.
Snake-inspired robot uses Japanese kirigami to move
Bioinspired soft actuator crawls without rigid parts.
By Leah Burrows, Harvard University
Who needs legs? With their sleek bodies, snakes can slither up to 14 mph, squeeze into tight spaces, scale trees, and swim. How do they do it? It's all in the scales. As a snake moves, its scales grip the ground and propel the body forward -- similar to how crampons help hikers establish footholds in slippery ice. This so-called friction-assisted locomotion is possible because of the shape and positioning of snake scales.
Now, a team of researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has developed a soft robot that uses those same principles of locomotion to crawl without any rigid components. The soft robotic scales are made using kirigami -- an ancient Japanese paper craft that relies on cuts, rather than origami folds, to change the properties of a material. As the robot stretches, the flat kirigami surface is transformed into a 3D-textured surface, which grips the ground just like snake skin.
This soft robot is made using kirigami -- an ancient Japanese paper craft that relies on cuts, rather than origami folds, to change the properties of a material. As the robot stretches, the kirigami is transformed into a 3D-textured surface, which grips the ground just like snake skin. [Image courtesy: Ahmad Rafsanjani/Harvard SEAS]
"There has been a lot of research in recent years into how to fabricate these kinds of morphable, stretchable structures," said Ahmad Rafsanjani, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. "We have shown that kirigami principles can be integrated into soft robots to achieve locomotion in a way that is simpler, faster, and cheaper than most previous techniques."
The researchers started with a simple, flat plastic sheet. Using a laser cutter, they embedded an array of centimeter-scale cuts, experimenting with different shapes and sizes. Once cut, the researchers wrapped the sheet around a tube-like elastomer actuator, which expands and contracts with air like a balloon.
When the actuator expands, the kirigami cuts pop-out, forming a rough surface that grips the ground. When the actuator deflates, the cuts fold flat, propelling the crawler forward.
VIDEO: Harvard researchers built a fully untethered, soft robot with integrated on-board control, sensing, actuation, and power supply. [Courtesy: Ahmad Rafsanjani/Harvard SEAS]
The researchers built a fully untethered robot, with its integrated on-board control, sensing, actuation, and power supply packed into a tiny tail. They tested it crawling throughout Harvard's campus.
The team experimented with various-shaped cuts, including triangular, circular, and trapezoidal. They found that trapezoidal cuts -- which most closely resemble the shape of snake scales -- gave the robot a longer stride.
"We show that the locomotive properties of these kirigami-skins can be harnessed by properly balancing the cut geometry and the actuation protocol," said Rafsanjani. "Moving forward, these components can be further optimized to improve the response of the system."
"We believe that our kirigami-based strategy opens avenues for the design of a new class of soft crawlers," said Katia Bertoldi, the William and Ami Kuan Danoff Professor of Applied Mechanics and senior author of the paper. "These all-terrain soft robots could one day travel across difficult environments for exploration, inspection, monitoring, and search-and-rescue missions or perform complex, laparoscopic medical procedures."
Bertoldi is also an Associate Faculty of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.
This research was co-authored by Yuerou Zhang, Bangyuan Liu, and Shmuel M. Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Applied Physics at SEAS. It was supported by the National Science Foundation.