Why convert a tube-bending machine from hydraulic to electric?
Tube-bending machines have been driven by hydraulics for the past 80 years. Operators know how to get the best out of their machines, so why switch to electric cylinders? There are some disadvantages to going electric, but the fundamental reason to consider making the switch is simple: You can make better parts. By Brian Sondergeld
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New servo drive system simplifies motion control for machine builders
With its Sinamics S210 converter designed specifically for use with the newly developed Simotics S-1FK2 motors, Siemens is offering a new and innovative servo drive system in an initial offering from 50 to 750 W. The converters come with integrated safety functions and enable rapid engineering via motion technology objects in Simatic S7-1500 controllers. They are connected to higher-level controllers via Profinet and are quickly and easily programmed by automatic motor parameterization and one-button tuning. Typical uses for this new drive system include packaging machines; handling applications such as pick and place, wood, and plastics processing; as well as life sciences and digital printing.
Efficient, powerful, compact: Hypoid PMDC gearmotors
More efficient than comparable worm-gear models, Bodine's new hypoid gearmotors can deliver up to 1,535 lb-in. (173 Nm) torque while using 40% to 60% less energy than a same-size worm gearmotor. Side-by-side tests have shown that hypoid gearmotors can run as much as 15% cooler than worm-gear gearboxes, resulting in lower power consumption and longer lubricant life. The hollow-shaft design eliminates expensive shaft couplings and mounting hardware. Hardened steel gears ensure long life and maximum performance. The initial product launch includes 60 standard models with gear ratios from 5:1 to 240:1.
New flexible, food-grade soft gripper handles tricky pick-and-place jobs
Automation just got easier for food and beverage and other "clean" applications. The flexible, electric OnRobot Soft Gripper uses three interchangeable silicon-molded cups in star and four-finger configurations to pick up almost any small object under 2.2 kg with a delicate, precise touch. One great feature is that no external air supply is needed.
Read the full article and see how it works.
Ideal for boost mode: Disc Magnet stepper motor + encoder
High resolution meets impressive speed when a FAULHABER Disc Magnet stepper motor is combined with a high-quality IE3 magnetic encoder. With an extended length of about 13 mm, this new combination offers high positioning resolution up to 1,024 lines per revolution together with extremely fast acceleration capabilities in a short and light package. It is ideal for boost-mode operation. Typical applications are found in the textile, semiconductor, and medical industries.
Smarter retail logistics with self-driving robot retrieval
Small motors and motion controllers from FAULHABER are what make the TORU picker robot so versatile. With an eye on the relentlessly growing sector of online retail, logistics and material-handling companies are eager for ways to increase efficiency, particularly through automation and digitalization. For the handling operations inside the self-driving logistics robot, TORU relies on FAULHABER motion systems with integrated motion control.
Read the full article.
Explosion-proof DC brush motors
The Kollmorgen EP series of explosion-proof, SCR-rated, permanent magnet direct current (PMDC) brush motors meets the requirements of Division 1 and 2, Class I (Group C, D), Class II (Groups E, F), and Class III environments. The EP motors are equipped with standard NEMA 56C face mounting with removable base and Class H insulation. They are UL recognized and meet CSA standards. Available in several voltages (12, 24, 90, 180 VDC) and power ranges (1/4 to 3/4 HP) operating at 1,750 rpm.
Budget-friendly SmartMotor servos
Moog Animatics recently introduced the Class 5 S-Style SmartMotor servos in frame sizes NEMA 23 and 34 (the SM23165S and SM34165S, respectively). This fully featured and integrated motor line is built around an IP65-sealed, value-added, budget-friendly design that combines some of the best features from the Class 5 D-style and M-style motors, including: field-proven, D-style components; robust, industry-standard M connectors; a compact D-style footprint; and DE power as standard. This line is easily programmed and available with optional brake (ideal for vertical applications) and high-torque versions. These motors have full Class 5 controls, which means they can handle the full complement of complex Class 5 operations such as gearing and camming, stand-alone, multi-axis coordinated motion, and more.
Introducing the long-reach C12XL 6-axis robot
Packed with next-gen technology, the C12XL 6-Axis robot with SlimLine design is the newest addition to Epson's popular C-Series. Featuring a 1,400-mm reach and up to 12-kg payload, the C12XL is ideal for a variety of applications including packaging, load/unload, material handling, and more. Powered by proprietary Epson gyro sensors, the powerful servo system allows for low residual vibration and minimizes overshoot with smooth end-of-arm motion.
Direct drive linear motor with integrated encoder and temperature sensor
The new, patented SDLM-019-070-01-01 direct drive linear motor with integrated position and temperature sensors is the latest addition to the series of zero-backlash, zero-cogging, high-acceleration, high-speed, high-resolution, long-life motors from Moticont. Also known as an electric cylinder, this compact direct drive linear motor is just 0.75 in. (19.1 mm) in diameter and 2.75 in. (69.9 mm) long. Protected inside the motor housing, the linear optical quadrature encoder is directly connected to the shaft for the greatest possible accuracy. Highest throughputs are achieved by this motor when operating at peak efficiency, monitoring the data from the internal temperature sensor.
50,000 lb of force: Tolomatic expands hydraulic-class electric actuator range
Tolomatic's expanded extreme-force electric actuator family now includes the RSX128 actuator, rated up to 50,000 lb of force (222.4 kN). Ideal for replacing hydraulic cylinders and designed for 100 percent duty cycle, the RSX actuator features Tolomatic's precision-ground planetary roller screws for long, consistent operating life in challenging environments. Applications include assembly, metal fabrication (pressing, punching, clamping), automotive manufacturing, timber processing, motion simulators, and more.
Depend on FAULHABER drives for critical medical applications
Surgical robotics systems offer an overwhelming advantage over traditional methods: improved precision and speed, faster patient healing, and a reduced margin of error. For minimally invasive procedures requiring this level of precision, performance and quality, the engineers of surgical robotics systems rely on FAULHABER brushless dc motors.
Brakes for automated guided vehicles
Today's latest automated guided vehicles (AGVs) require highly responsive braking and holding power while minimizing battery usage. The Miki Pulley BXR-LE brake is a power-off engaged brake that will hold the AGV in place when not in use. When the AGV must navigate the production floor, the brake is energized, which disengages the rotor disc and allows free rotation of the AGV drive wheels. The BXR-LE brake uses 24 VDC for a split second to overcome compression spring inertia to open the brake, then consumes only 7 VDC by utilizing the BEM power control module. This saves battery power and minimizes the number of battery recharging operations needed to keep the AGV in continuous operation.
Tolomatic develops open-source, low-cost ventilator actuation prototypes for COVID-19 patients
Tolomatic has applied its linear motion expertise to develop prototypes of a new type of ventilator that uses an electric linear actuator to automate a non-invasive, positive-pressure resuscitator known as an Ambu bag. The company is looking for partners to develop this equipment to help fight COVID-19.
Learn more and see how the Tolomatic designs work.
New motion platform offers four degrees of freedom
The new Z3TM from ETEL is a compact motion platform that provides a surface with four degrees of freedom into a stacked architecture and is an alternative to piezoelectric solutions. It was designed in response to the needs of advanced wafer positioning in the semiconductor industry, but can also be used in a variety of industries such as medical, pharmaceutical, and general inspection. The Z3TM platform uses a combination of three flexures and a rotary module to provide rotary, Z-axis, and two oblique axis motions to a plate that can be anchored to a supporting table for multiaxial motion solutions.
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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