Bishop-Wisecarver invented and patented DualVee Motion Technology® more than 40 years ago to provide a solution for harsh environment applications where existing technologies were ineffective. DualVee® also proved excellent for long length, smooth motion, and low noise requirements. Today, Bishop-Wisecarver remains the recognized expert and the most trusted name in guide wheel technology, with the widest range of guide wheel-based linear motion products in the world. Discover the benefits of Bishop-Wisecarver Guide Wheel Technology.
New rodless pneumatic cylinder supports compact machine design
Aventics now offers a new product for applications where the basic variants just won’t do the trick, but high-performance cylinders are too powerful. The new RTC-SB slide bearing version rounds off the pneumatics specialist’s RTC range of rodless cylinders. At the heart of the RTC-SB (slide bearing) is its oval piston shape. In relation to its size, it offers a very high load capacity. As a result, engineers can draft even more compact machine designs. Equipped with a lubrication-free slide bearing, the cylinder is maintenance-free and resistant to water, chemicals, and dirt. The slide play is optimally adjusted at the factory. Max speed is 6.5 m/sec (21.3 ft/sec). Maximum stroke is around 6,000 mm (21.6 ft). Learn more.
Revolutionary new high-pressure electric pump system
High Pressure Equipment Co. (HiP), a subsidiary of Graco, introduces the eTensifer pump, the first-of-its-kind high-pressure electric pump system. The plug-and-play pump simply plugs into a wall outlet -- no need for an air compressor like other high-pressure pumps on the market. The portable, lightweight (only 46 lb) eTensifier will deliver hydraulic/liquid pressures to 36,500 psi with a smoother flow rate from zero to full pressure and a quiet electric motor. SmartControl™ technology allows for two operational modes: a traditional pressure knob for standard jobs and an industry-first pressure test mode. Another first is the ProConnect™ quick-connect system that allows users to switch out the Sprague pump lower. Learn more.
World's smallest stepper motor is a big win
MICROMO presents the FAULHABER FDM 0620 series stepper motor. Measuring just 6 mm in diameter and 9.7 mm in length, including all components and connections, and with a 0.25-mNm holding torque rating, the FDM 0620 stepper motor series is small enough to fit in the most compact spaces for limitless applications. This micro stepper motor is also now available for purchase online with and without leadscrew options. Click here to learn more.
Small brush DC motors drive handheld biopsy system
When developing an automated, handheld system capable of harvesting multiple samples with a single insertion to reduce patient tissue trauma and sampling time, this medical device manufacturer turned to MICROMO for compact and high-efficiency FAULHABER® brush DC motors. Read the full article.
Compact angle sensor for robotics and other applications
See the robotics video demonstrating ease of programming and robotics application of certain angle sensors from Novotechnik. Novotechnik’s Vert-X 1600 Series of angle sensors (shown here) features easy mounting in tight spaces with a 16 mm diameter body. The sensors measure 0 to 360° with linearity ≤ ±0.3%, 14-bit resolution and repeatability to 0.1°. A variety of analog and digital output options are available. View the video.
Zero-backlash servo rotary indexing table
The Sankyo Automation RollerDrive Reducer is a precision gear reducer that uses a zero-backlash roller gear mechanism. The unit is constructed from an input shaft and a turret (output shaft) that is assembled with roller followers. The roller followers are preloaded against a screw-like input shaft to eliminate backlash. Sankyo servo indexing tables offer a constant lead cam with a servo motor drive for programmable motion and provide fast, highly accurate motion, with the added capability to move medium to heavy loads. The RU Series servo indexing table is available in 11 different sizes and varying ratios. Click here to learn more.
Plug-in motor controller for fast integration
Nanotec has introduced a new controller specifically for integration into devices: the NP5 plug-in motor controller, which is suitable for both brushless DC motors and stepper motors. A PCI Express connector allows for fast and easy integration into a customer-specific board, offering a compact and affordable solution that reduces wiring effort, particularly for multi-axis applications. The NP5 controller can control motors with a rated current up to 6 A via FOC, Hall sensors, or sensorless control. In addition to position, speed, and torque control, operating modes with cyclical set value specification are also available for interpolated multi-axis operation. Nanotec offers the free Plug & Drive Studio software for parameterization and programming. Click here to learn more.
Low-profile rotary air bearing stages achieve superior accuracy with virtually unlimited life
The new A-635/A-637 PIglide low-profile rotary air bearing stages from PI (Physik Instrumente) have no rolling or sliding elements and deliver frictionless, non-contact motion, resulting in negligible reversal error and better wobble eccentricity and velocity stability -- ideal prerequisites for high-end industrial applications such as inspection, metrology, calibration, and scanning, including cleanroom environments. Featuring 3-phase, low-cogging slotless torque motors with velocity to 500 rpm and optical encoders, these stages provide outstanding resolution, repeatability, and absolute accuracy. Click here to learn more. Watch PI’s Air Bearing Design & Manufacturing Operation Video.
Where would I get an exoskeleton joint actuator?
maxon motor is now offering a complete joint actuation unit consisting of a pancake brushless DC motor (EC90 flat) with inertia optimized rotor, internal high-resolution 4096 MILE Encoder, planetary gearhead with absolute encoder, and EPOS4 position controller with CAN and RS232 interface. Fitting the 17-bit SSI absolute encoder directly at the joint rotation to a degree will negate the effect of gearhead backlash, giving designers increased positioning accuracy. The unit will deliver 54 Nm of continuous torque and 120 Nm on a 20% duty cycle. The system can be operated on supplies between 10 VDC and 50 VDC, and the actuation speed is up to 22 rpm. Learn more.
Programmable electric moving coil servo actuator
Introducing the 35-mm diameter CBL35C electric cylinder from SMAC. With its built-in controller, the CBL35C controls force, position, and velocity and features simple installation. Ideal for applications with limited space but requiring accurate control, the CBL35C provides significantly longer life, programmability, high speed, accuracy, and energy efficiency while remaining price-competitive. It also enables the direct replacement of existing pneumatic cylinders and retrofits without any machine modifications required. Click here to learn more.
Zero downtime available for FANUC robots
The Robot LINKi Zero Down Time (ZDT) service is now available to all automotive and non-automotive manufacturers who purchase FANUC robots. Launched in 2015 in collaboration with Cisco, ZDT is a predictive analytic service that automatically monitors robot health status and upcoming maintenance requirements. It eliminates the need for manual analysis and tracking, avoiding unexpected breakdowns during production. Today, over 16,000 robots in the automotive industry are operating with ZDT, which is available for all FANUC R-30iB Plus robots as well as R-30iA and R-30iB robots with the latest software version. Click here to learn more.
Selecting pneumatic or electric actuators
For some automation applications, it can be difficult to decide if a pneumatic or electric motor-driven actuator is best. Obviously, cost can be a big factor when choosing between the two, with pneumatic actuators typically costing less. So why should you pay more for an electric rodless actuator? Rollon says the answer boils down to higher levels of stiffness, as well as dynamic speed and motor control. Read the full article.
Top 5 challenges of motion control design
As motion control solutions -- from angle encoders to direct drive motors -- become even more ubiquitous in industrial situations, engineers face evolving demands and opportunities. From lowering the cost of advanced technologies to improving functional safety in automated environments, here are the top five challenges and opportunities in today’s motion control design industry as seen by engineers from HEIDENHAIN. Read the full article.
XY stage gives high resolution and repeatability
The XYR-03-01 Motorized Alignment Stage from Optimal Engineering Systems (OES) is a high-resolution, high-repeatability XY-Theta (3-axis) stage for applications such as angular glass cutting and grinding, wafer alignment, semiconductor handling, and laser cutting and drilling. The linear resolution of the X and Y axis is 5µ (non-micro-step) or 0.125µ (20 micro-steps per step motor driver in use), the repeatability is 1.5µ, and positional accuracy is 5µ. The 1-mm per-turn lead screws and preloaded V-groove and crossed roller bearings add to the high precision and stiffness of the XYR-03-01 alignment stage. Click here to learn more.
Little Mars helicopter will fly on NASA's next Red Planet rover mission, may prove to be valuable scout
NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars.
The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency's Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.
Started in August 2013 as a technology development project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Mars Helicopter had to prove that big things could come in small packages. The result of the team's four years of design, testing, and redesign weighs in at little under 4 lb (1.8 kg). Its fuselage is about the size of a softball, and its twin, counter-rotating blades will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at almost 3,000 rpm -- about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth.
"Exploring the Red Planet with NASA's Mars Helicopter exemplifies a successful marriage of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future," said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency headquarters in Washington. "After the Wright Brothers proved 117 years ago that powered, sustained, and controlled flight was possible here on Earth, another group of American pioneers may prove the same can be done on another world."
VIDEO: The Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration that will travel to the Red Planet with the Mars 2020 rover. It will attempt controlled flight in Mars' thin atmosphere, which may enable more ambitious missions in the future.
The helicopter also contains built-in capabilities needed for operation on Mars, including solar cells to charge its lithium-ion batteries, and a heating mechanism to keep it warm through the cold Martian nights. But before the helicopter can fly above Mars it has to get there. It will do so attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover.
"The altitude record for a helicopter flying here on Earth is about 40,000 feet. The atmosphere of Mars is only one percent that of Earth, so when our helicopter is on the Martian surface, it's already at the Earth equivalent of 100,000 feet up," said Mimi Aung, Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL. "To make it fly at that low atmospheric density, we had to scrutinize everything, make it as light as possible, while being as strong and as powerful as it can possibly be."
Once the rover is on the planet's surface, a suitable location will be found to deploy the helicopter down from the vehicle and place it onto the ground. The rover then will be driven away from the helicopter to a safe distance from which it will relay commands. After its batteries are charged and myriad tests are performed, controllers on Earth will command the Mars Helicopter to take its first autonomous flight into history.
"We don't have a pilot, and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time," said Aung. "Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the ground and then fly the mission on its own."
The full 30-day flight test campaign will include up to five flights of incrementally farther flight distances, up to a few hundred meters, and longer durations as long as 90 sec, over a period. On its first flight, the helicopter will make a short vertical climb to 10 ft (3 m), where it will hover for about 30 sec.
As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk, high-reward project. If it does not work, the Mars 2020 mission will not be impacted. If it does work, helicopters may have a real future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel.
"The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers," said Zurbuchen. "We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit. With the added dimension of a bird's-eye view from a 'marscopter,' we can only imagine what future missions will achieve."
Mars 2020 will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.
The rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. Scientists will use the instruments aboard the rover to identify and collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in sealed tubes, and leave them on the planet's surface for potential return to Earth on a future Mars mission.
The Mars 2020 Project at JPL in Pasadena, CA, manages rover development for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.