mechatronic-design

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Virtually perfected 

Picture a classic four-bar mechanism. With a basic spreadsheet, some knowledge of complex numbers, and input information, you might plot output acceleration and speed in a couple hours. But what if geometry changes, or the full three-dimensional situation needs analysis? Here, kinematics software makes building models infinitely easier. Increased connectivity is even allowing the placement of specific component profiles into models, and VRML and OpenHSF web viewing. And if our supposed one-degree-of-freedom system might actually be deforming under load, finite element analysis (FEA) can make our model highly realistic....

Multiturn absolute encoders 

resemble any absolute encoder where light shines through an etched disc that has a combination of ON and OFF signals. The disk indicates shaft position by encoding a unique binary word that matches the amount of rotation. However, multiturn encoders not only determine shaft position, but also how many times the shaft rotates 360....

New Tools for Industrial Automation 

Opto 22, Temecula, CA., has launched a new thrust aimed at making automation products easier to understand and cheaper to buy. The SNAP PAC System launch includes new automation hardware and software, developed with ease-of-use in mind. ...

Motion control on a budget 

Pneumatic linear slides combine aircylinder power with an engineered guide to move loads along a precise path. They're used in everything from simple pressing operations to multiaxis robots. Today, equipment designers can choose from a wide array of linear slides from a host of manufacturers...

One controller does it all  

For more than 40 years, CNCs have been synonymous with high-precision machine tools. And the prime goal of CNCs has been ensuring the cutting head precisely follows a programmed toolpath. On the other hand, there is also an increasing demand for production machines to operate as fast as possible using PLC process signals. This, combined with morecomplex demands on individual machines, is blurring the previously clear definition of "classic" CNC machines....

Motion control and Optical encoders 

Optical rotary encoders are the most widely used way to transform mechanical rotary motion into electrical signals. There are three basic configurations for optical encoders: incremental, absolute, and multiturn absolute encoders...

Linear encoder does more with less 

There are a growing number of applications, especially in the photonic and semiconductor industries, that need fast and accurate motion-control systems using high-quality signals with periods of 4 microns for reliable interpolation. High speeds are usually attained by using high accelerations and low-mass components. And this is increasing the demand for small and lightweight encoders....

Lean on me 

The introduction of the Personal Transporter (PT) in 2001 by Segway Inc. created great excitement. It was the product that everyone wanted to try...

Servo On A Chip 

There is an incentive to control motor speed in a widening array of applications. Technological advances have now made it possible to devise a single integrated circuit that can handle the details of ac servocontrol, including manipulation of feedback from position encoders. These chips provide closed-loop current and velocity control in highperformance servodrives and sensorless systems. Such chips, designated IRMCK201 and IRMCK203, are implemented in 100 and 80-pin QFP packages, respectively, and require only an inexpensive crystal resonator to feed a 33-MHz clock. ...

Servos adapt to their loads 

A manufacturer of turn-key material-delivery systems for the packaging industry uses a special kind of "nonlinear-controlled" servomotors to boost throughput and extend machine flexibility. ...

Servosystem switches cartons with ease and speed 

The Veronica vertical cartoner by Ultra Packaging Inc., Bensenville, Ill., features 50 different carton presets....

Simulating for Mechatronics 

Though the term mechatronics was coined back in 1969, it is still tough to find easy-to-use electromechanical design tools that enable design optimization across engineering disciplines. Few machine designers today have the resources to createa virtual prototype simulation that captures the dynamic interplay between mechanical, electrical, and controlsystem components. At the same time, the design process has only become more complex with the wider adoption of modern electronic controls and servodrives. ...

Keeping cool 

The term "dc fan" today normally refers to the type of fan that uses a biphase, brushlessdc (BLDC) motor. These fans are widely found in chip cooling or chassis ventilation...

Six-axis saw turns out truss components 

The power saws traditionally used to cut roof-truss components have up to 20 axes of motion, waste time between setups, and generate tons of scrap. Engineers at Alpine Engineering Products, Grand Prairie, Tex. (www.alpeng.com), have developed a simpler and more-productive saw dedicated to making truss components. The new Alpine Linear Saw is basically a six-axis CNC machine with a control system engineered by Minarik Corp., Plano, Tex....

Snake-oil specs spell trouble for motor sizing 

When sizing and selecting small dc motors, various approaches can be used to determine electrical ratings and motor constants. Picking the wrong approach or using the wrongmotor constant, however, can lead to a mediocre motion system. The data also can make comparisons between different manufacturers' motors grossly inaccurate. One way to ensure a robust motor-control system on the first pass would be to study all manufacturers' dc motor parameters, ratings, and tolerancing methods, and analyze their electrical and thermal effects. ...

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