March 24, 2020 Volume 16 Issue 12

Motion Control News & Products

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Customize your geared stepper motors online

Lin Engineering's hybrid stepper motors matched with High Precision Planetary Gearboxes are the perfect solution for applications that require higher torque. Their gearboxes are designed and manufactured in-house and offer low backlash and high efficiency. They are available in multiple popular gear ratios including 5:1, 10:1, 20:1, and 50:1.
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Solenoids vs. voice coil actuators

What are the differences between solenoids and voice coil actuators? Engineers at Moticont have the answers in a new blog entry. Both of these devices are electromechanical units capable of accomplishing similar tasks. Learn the major differences between the two so you can select the correct device type for your application.
Read the Moticont blog.


New PressFit encoders for small motors

With the introduction of the evolutionary PressFit rotary encoders from HEIDENHAIN, small-motor manufacturers finally have a better solution for incorporating automated mounting for feedback devices. This new ExI 11xx encoder series features a unique compact design that allows fast and simple mounting by press-fitting into a motor housing while still allowing surrounding space for cables and seals. PressFit encoders are made for integration into motors with a flange size as small as 40 mm x 40 mm or an axis height of only 20 mm.
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4-axis motion controller for highly dynamic applications

The CM-CPB3-44 EtherCAT controller from Nanotec controls four brushless DC or stepper motors with a rated power of up to 150 W per axis. Feedback on the motor position is provided by Hall sensors or incremental or SSI encoders. Each axis is equipped with four digital inputs, two outputs, one analog input, and one output for a safety brake. Field-oriented torque, speed, and position control, combined with other features such as acceleration feed forward and jerk-limited ramps, ensure optimum dynamic performance and cycle time.
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Robot-ready frameless servo motors

The new TBM2G series of frameless servo motors from Kollmorgen introduce new features that simplify the design of collaborative, surgical, aerospace and defense, and other robots while delivering high-performance torque in a lighter, more compact package. These next-gen motors enable robots with lower joint weight, higher load-carrying capacity, improved energy efficiency, lower thermal rise, and faster, smoother movements. Sized for a perfect fit with readily available strain wave systems.
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Mini motors and drive systems on-demand webinars: Chock full of informative details!

Faulhaber has made available a library of on-demand webinars about its miniature motors and drive systems. Each presentation is full of product details, technology overviews, selection help, design tips and tricks, and application examples. Topics include: stepper motors, brushless motors, DC motors, linear motors, encoders, gearheads, motion controllers, and more. Filled with useful information!
View the Faulhaber webinar library page.


High-speed linear VCA with built-in encoder

Moticont has added a high-speed, high-acceleration/-deceleration, non-cogging, high-resolution, high force-to-size electric cylinder to its extensive product line of linear voice coil actuators (VCAs). The new SDLM-051-095-01-01 Linear DC Actuator features high repeatability, 1.25-micron resolution, and a continuous force of 33.9 N (7.6 lb). A linear encoder mounted internally provides the feedback for very high accuracy and repeatability.
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Guide to machine shop automation

We know that collaborative automation starts with your specific needs: your shop, your employees, your products. OnRobot can help you find the easiest and most cost-effective way to get started with automation. Download our free ebook to learn how to transform your machine shop with automation.
1. Download your ebook.
2. Learn how to build your own robotic machine tending application.


Mini medical motor with way more torque

Portescap's 22ECP35-2A brushless motor with integrated driver is the company's latest addition to its Ultra EC mini brushless DC motor line. This compact, 22-mm diameter motor is available in a length of 35 mm and offers almost 50% more continuous torque over similar motors without compromising on smooth operation and long life. The integrated motor drive is a good fit for applications such as respiratory and ventilation devices, infusion pumps, miniature industrial pumps, medical hand tools, and valve actuation.
Learn more.


Miniature linear guides simplify mounting in tight spaces

IKO's new LWLF2 linear motion rolling guide addresses the demand for device miniaturization with a compact, lightweight design that makes mounting easy in tight spaces. With an ultra-small 2.5-mm height dimension, it is designed with tapped rails for bottom mounting and stability. The LWLF2 guide is structured with two rows of balls that make contact with the raceway at four points to provide high stability and accuracy -- even in applications with varying load direction or complexity. Applications include robotics and grippers, semiconductor fabrication, life science, and aerospace.
Learn more.


Motors for the robotics industry

Lin Engineering has been supporting the robotics industry for more than 30 years by designing and manufacturing a wide variety of motion control products that include hybrid step motors, PM steppers, linear actuators, BLDC motors, servo motors, frameless BLDC motors, and slotless BLDC motors. Applications include manufacturing robots, delta robots, collaborative robots, and more.
See all Lin Engineering has to offer.


NEMA 24 stepper motor with best-in-class power density

Permanent magnets between the stator teeth make Nanotec's SCB6018 with 60-mm flange a smooth-running -- yet powerful -- stepper. FluxFocus technology guides the entire magnetic flux into the stator teeth. This prevents flux leakage and provides more torque across all speeds. This motor generates a holding torque up to 3.6 Nm. Combined with a closed-loop controller, the SCB6018 is ideal for use in valves and textile or other applications that require rapid acceleration over a short distance.
Learn more.


In-wheel motor unit upgraded to carry 500 lb

If you are a developer of mobile robots and the like, it may be worth your while to check out ElectroCraft. The motor and motion solutions provider has expanded its award-winning MobilePower wheel drive family with the MPW86, which features a high-torque-density brushless DC motor with a heavy-duty integrated planetary gearbox mounted inside the hub of a lightweight aluminum wheel with custom tread. The MPW Wheel Drive combines optimum performance with high efficiency, quiet operation, and long life -- and now it can handle heavier loads.
Read the full article.


SMART SYSTEM belt-driven linear actuators

Rollon has updated its SMART SYSTEM lineup of belt-driven linear actuators with a rugged new design that supports heavy loads and ensures low-maintenance operation in automated manufacturing, packaging machines, and food and beverage equipment. The actuators have a self-sustaining anodized aluminum frame and a steel-reinforced driving belt, and they are engineered to provide stiffness for greater load capacity. Symmetrical heads on both ends of the actuators allow users to assemble the gearbox in one of four different positions. The SMART SYSTEM also simplifies creating multi-axis systems.
Learn more.


New Twin profile Rail Stage actuator improves accuracy in XYZ motion systems

The new Twin profile Rail Stage (TRS) actuator from Tolomatic improves accuracy and increases production uptime on XYZ linear motion systems with two- or three-axis configurations. Applications include machining centers, collaborative robot movement, drilling, cutting, pick-and-place, material handling, and more.
Read the full article.


Three national labs achieve record magnetic field for accelerator focusing magnet

This new magnet -- about as long as a semitruck trailer and weighing 9 tons -- was built by teams at Berkeley Lab, Fermilab, and Brookhaven Lab for the High-Luminosity LHC upgrade project. [Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab]

 

 

 

 

In a multiyear effort involving three U.S. national laboratories, researchers have successfully built and tested a powerful new focusing magnet that represents a new use for niobium-tin, a superconducting material.

The 9-ton device, about as long as a semitruck trailer, set a record for the highest field strength ever recorded for an accelerator focusing magnet: 14.1 teslas. It raises the standard for magnets operating in high-energy particle colliders.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) designed, built, and tested the new magnet.

It is one of 16 they will deliver for operation in the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC) at CERN in Europe, which is an upgrade of the existing LHC -- already the world's most powerful particle accelerator. The 16 magnets, along with another eight produced by CERN, will focus beams of protons to a tiny spot as they approach collision inside two different particle detectors. The U.S.-based team will also deliver four spare magnets.

In all, the upgrade will require 130 new magnets of 11 different types, produced by more than a dozen international partners. The project will replace about three-quarters of a mile of equipment at the LHC.

Niobium-tin is the ingredient that sets these U.S.-produced magnets apart. It is a superconducting material that produces strong magnetic fields. These will be the first niobium-tin quadrupole magnets ever to operate in a particle accelerator.

Superconductivity is a state achieved by extremely cooling the magnets to a temperature hundreds of degrees below freezing. In this state, the magnets can pass electrical current with virtually no electrical resistance in order to maintain a tight focus of the particle beams.

The LHC is already the planet's most powerful particle accelerator, and its high-luminosity successor will smash together beams of protons cruising around the 17-mile ring at close to the speed of light.

The High-Luminosity LHC will pack an additional punch: With its more intense beams, it will provide 10 times the collisions that are possible at the current LHC. With more collisions there are more opportunities to uncover new physics. The new focusing magnets will help it achieve that leap in luminosity delivered to the experiments.

Berkeley Lab's work is focused on winding wires into thin cables, measuring and analyzing those cables to ensure they meet exacting requirements, testing the quality of the magnetic fields generated by the cable-formed magnet coils, assembling the magnets into support structures, and ensuring their proper alignment and uniform compactness.

Giorgio Apollinari, head of the three-lab U.S. LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project and a scientist at Fermilab, said, "We've demonstrated that this first quadrupole magnet behaves successfully and according to design, based on the multiyear development effort made possible by DOE investments in this new technology."

The magnet gets ready for a test at Brookhaven National Lab. [Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory]

 

 

Kathleen Amm, Brookhaven Lab's representative for the Accelerator Upgrade Project, said, "It's a very cutting-edge magnet, really on the edge of magnet technology."

The new magnets, with higher field strength than those of the existing LHC, can bring particle beams to a tighter focus, resulting in more collisions that generate more data.

Focus, magnets, focus
In circular colliders, two beams of particles race around a ring in opposite directions. An instant before they reach the collision point, each beam passes through a series of magnets that focus the particle beams into a tiny spot, much like a magnifying glass focusing light rays to a point. Now packed as tightly as the magnets can get them, the beams collide.

Even with the new magnets, most of the particles won't collide; they continue their paths around the ring until they get another collision opportunity at the next detector. But many particles do smash into each other. That number, and the scientific fruitfulness of that smash-up, depends on how dense the beam is. The more particles that are crowded together at the collision point, the greater the chance of collisions.

You get those tightly packed beams by sharpening the magnet's focus. One way to do that is to widen the lens.

Consider the magnifying glass example: "If you try to focus the light from the sun using a magnifying glass at a small point, you want to have a more ‘powerful' magnifying glass," said Ian Pong, a Berkeley Lab scientist who oversees cable fabrication for the U.S. labs' magnet effort. A larger lens has more light-gathering ability and stronger light-ray bending power at its outer rim than a smaller lens.

In this analogy, the size of the lens is like a magnet's aperture -- the opening of the passageway the beam takes as it barrels through the magnet's interior. If the beam is allowed to start wide before being focused, more particles will arrive at the intended focal point -- the center of the particle detector. The U.S. focusing magnet team widened the aperture to 150 mm, more than double the current LHC focusing magnet aperture of 70 mm.

A magnet-testing instrument (center) is prepared for moving through the center of a magnet assembly at Berkeley Lab. [Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab]

 

 

But a wider aperture isn't enough. There must be a strong magnetic field to actually focus the beam.

"The magnet has to squeeze the beam more powerfully than the LHC's present magnets in order to create the luminosity needed for the HL-LHC," Apollinari said.

Niobium-tin for the win
Magnet experts have been experimenting with one of those conductors, niobium-tin, for decades. Electrical current coursing through a niobium-tin superconductor can generate magnetic fields of 12 teslas -- about 250,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field at its surface -- and beyond.

But niobium-tin calls for entirely different magnet construction techniques than the ones used with niobium-titanium, because the heat treatment that makes niobium-tin superconductive also makes it brittle.

"Once they're reacted, it becomes a beautiful superconductor that can carry a lot of current, but then it also becomes brittle," Apollinari said.

"If you bend it too much, even a little bit, once it's a reacted material, it sounds like corn flakes," Amm said. "You actually hear it break." Niobium-titanium was easier to work with because it is pliable.

Over the years, scientists and engineers have figured out how to produce a niobium-tin superconductor in a form that is useful. Guaranteeing that it would hold up as an HL-LHC focusing magnet was another challenge altogether.

To meet the demand, scientists designed and constructed a muscular focusing magnet. They calculated that, at the required aperture for the upgrade project, each focusing magnet would have to generate a field of between 11.4 and 12.4 teslas. This is up more than 50 percent from the 7.5-tesla field generated by the current niobium-titanium-based LHC magnets.

"So what do you do? You need to go to a different conductor," Apollinari said.

It takes state-of-the-art physics and engineering to make the magnets
To produce large, intricate magnets that meet the demands of a collider, the group of three U.S. labs teamed up -- each with its own areas of expertise and specialized facilities -- under Fermilab's leadership.

At Berkeley Lab, the magnet-making process begins by fabricating cable from 40 spools of wire -- a copper matrix that contains niobium and tin. The machine-wound wires are rolled into thin, rectangular cables that must be defect-free and meet specifications within hundredths of a millimeter.

"Making these accelerator magnet cables is like directing 40 ballet dancers doing 5,000 pirouettes nonstop in a synchronized manner, where a single misstep would cost as much as crashing a few Tesla sportscars," Pong said.

Scientists at Fermilab and Brookhaven wind these cables into coils, taking care to avoid excessively deforming them. Then comes a three-stage, week-long heat treatment, causing a chemical reaction that makes the cables superconductive.

The magnet coils must be heated evenly, inside and out. "You have to control the temperature well. Otherwise the reaction will not give us the best performance," Pong said. "It's a bit like cooking. It's not just to achieve the temperature in one part of the coil but in the entire coil, end to end, top to bottom -- the whole thing." Researchers make the coils strong and solid by embedding them in a resin.

It takes several months to yield a coil that is ready for service as one of a focusing magnet's four poles. Together, the coils conduct the electric current that produces the magnetic field.

The magnet coils are assembled within an aluminum and steel support structure at Berkeley Lab to form a single magnet, and researchers test the magnetic fields produced by these coils and ensure that the support structure provides uniform pressure along the length of the coils.

Temporary water-pressurized metal bladders are used to provide tension to the support structure during assembly and alignment. The support structure is designed to withstand more than 20 million lb of force during operation. Researchers use models and instruments to verify that the support structure can withstand the strength of the magnetic field.

"Because these coils are very powerful when they are energized, there is a lot of force trying to push the magnet apart," Pong said. "Even if the magnet is not deforming, at the conductor level there will be a strain, to which niobium-tin performance is very sensitive. The management of the stress is very, very important for these magnets."

Alignment of the four coils within each magnet is also critical to performance. "You need very high field precision, so we have to have very high precision in how they align these to get good magnetic-field uniformity," Amm said.

The full magnet is an eight-ton structure that's about as long as a semitruck trailer. The magnets are shipped to Brookhaven for testing, then to Fermilab for installation in their cryogenic containers, followed by another round of testing before shipment to CERN.

"This will be the first use of niobium-tin in focusing accelerator magnets, so it will be pretty exciting to see such a complex and sophisticated technology get implemented into a real machine," Amm said. "These magnets are currently the highest-field focusing magnets in accelerators as they exist today."

Pong added, "Finally we are coming to it, and we really want to make sure it is a lasting success."

The many moving parts of an accelerator collaboration
Ensuring lasting success has as much to do with the operational choreography as it does with the exquisite engineering. Conducting logistics that span years and a continent requires painstaking coordination.

"For example, transportation communication: We have to make sure that things are well protected," Pong said. "Otherwise, these expensive items can be damaged, so we have to foresee issues and prevent them."

Amm, Apollinari, and Pong acknowledge that the three-lab team has met the challenges capably, operating as a well-oiled machine.

"The technologies developed at Fermilab, Brookhaven, and Berkeley helped make the original LHC a success. And now again, these technologies out of the U.S. are really helping CERN be successful," Amm said. "It's a dream team, and it's an honor to be a part of it."


VIDEO: Highlights of the magnet-making efforts to support the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider upgrade at CERN in Europe are shown here. Three U.S. Department of Energy national labs -- Berkeley Lab, Fermilab, and Brookhaven Lab -- are building superconducting magnets that can produce far stronger magnet fields than the magnets now in place at the LHC. This will enable more particle collisions and data to help us learn more about exotic particles and their properties. [Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab]

The team's achievements are made possible by many years of R&D. The U.S.-based Accelerator Upgrade Project for the HL-LHC, of which the focusing-magnet project is one aspect, began in 2016. It grew out of a 2003 predecessor, the U.S. LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP), that developed LHC-related accelerator technology. And these efforts drew upon past experience in pushing the frontiers of magnet and materials performance for a variety of applications.

From now until about 2025, the U.S. labs will continue to build the LHC magnets, from fine strands of niobium-tin to the hulking finished products. In 2022 they plan to begin delivering the magnets to CERN. Installation is planned in the following three years.

"People say that ‘touch down' is a very beautiful way to describe the landing of an airplane, because you have a huge metal object weighing hundreds of tons, descending from the sky, touching a concrete runway very gently," Pong said. "Our magnets are massive superconducting devices, focusing tiny, invisible particle beams that are flying close to the speed of light through the bore. It's quite magical."

The magic starts in 2027, when the High-Luminosity LHC comes online.

The work, Apollinari said, is "a generational passing of the baton."

"The upgrade project exemplifies what can be achieved through co-operation among the laboratories," said Associate Laboratory Director James Symons. "The U.S. contribution to the luminosity upgrade has been made possible by the very successful LARP collaboration, which developed the design concept over the past decade."

Sources: Fermi Lab, Berkeley Lab

Published March 2020

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