Latest Production Tech: Sensors, Actuators and Robot Upgrades
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on April 16, 2018 | | 924 views

Belden Universal Pick and Place Upgrade

Fueled by industry demand, from both end users and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Belden Universal has released design upgrades to its universal joints for pick and place (Delta) robots. Based on a hybrid design, the redesigned stainless-steel component combines the high torque capacity of a pin and block joint with a needle bearing’s ability to operate nonstop at high speeds with low friction.

Pick and place upgrade. (Image courtesy of Belden Universal.)
Pick and place upgrade. (Image courtesy of Belden Universal.)

The redesign focused on the center section of the joint, which uses precision needle-roller bearings that have larger outside diameters to support applications with larger payloads and higher torque requirements. Adjustment to the yoke’s ear, which produced a 55-degree angle, assists with precision orientation and positioning of robotic arms.

For more information, visit Belden Universal’s website.

Nanotec NP5 Plug-in Motor Controller

Nanotec introduced the NP5 plug-in motor controller, which uses a PCI Express connector for integration into a customer-specific board to reduce wiring effort. It can control motors with a rated current up to 6A via FOC, Hall sensors or sensor-less control. The controller has six digital inputs and outputs, two A/D converters, two encoder inputs and one brake output.

Nanotec’s NP5 plug-in motor controller. (Image courtesy of Nanotec.)
Nanotec’s NP5 plug-in motor controller. (Image courtesy of Nanotec.)

Nanotec offers free Plug & Drive Studio software, which allows the NP5 to be connected to a higher-level controller via SPI, EtherCAT, Modbus RTU or CANopen. The controller also can be programmed in the NanoJ V2 programming language, which allows subtasks to be executed directly in the controller. In addition to position, speed and torque control, operating modes with cyclical set value specification are available for interpolated multi-axis operation.

For more information, visit Nanotec’s website.

SMAC MGR6 Series Micro Gripper

SMAC Moving Coil Actuators announced its new MGR6 Series Micro Gripper, which is geared toward small parts assembly. The device’s low-moving mass and two independent gripper fingers make it ideal for light, controlled forces—programmable down to as low as 2.5 grams of force—and as an end effector on third-party robots. It incorporates programmable speeds, positions and forces with data feedback.

SMAC Moving Coil Actuators MGR6 Series Micro Gripper. (Image courtesy of SMAC.)
SMAC Moving Coil Actuators MGR6 Series Micro Gripper. (Image courtesy of SMAC.)

The lightweight MGR6—with dimensions of 55x47.5x24mm—has been proven capable of handling parts that are often too small for humans to manipulate, such as semiconductor components, lenses, stents/catheters and electronics.

For more information, visit SMAC’s website.

Otek Solid State Analog Meter

Otek unveiled its smartly dumbed-down Solid State Analog Meter, which will eventually replace any analog signal-driven meter in form, fit and function. It currently only replaces any ANSI 4-inch switchboard analog meter, but will eventually be available for 4-20 and 10-50mA current loops, AC and DC volts, amps, hertz and watts, frequency, and other signals capable of producing 5 milliwatts or more.

Otek Solid State Analog Meter. (Image courtesy of Otek.)
Otek Solid State Analog Meter. (Image courtesy of Otek.)

The all-hardware SSAM has no needle, magnet, rotor or bobbins, and is completely signal powered. Microprocessors were replaced with CMOS Logic and merged with LED light technology to enable custom colors. The meter has 101 LEDs.

For more information, visit Otek’s website.

Aerotech ECO Linear Stage Series

Aerotech’s ECO Linear Stage series offers rugged, high-performance, low-cost direct-drive linear motors, rotary servomotors or stepping motors in 44 models with travels ranging from 50mm to 800mm. The series includes ECO-LM direct-drive linear motor stages optimized with noncontact linear encoders, and ECO-SL NEMA 23 stepper motor and brushless servomotor options.

Aerotech ECO Linear Stage series. (Image courtesy of Aerotech.)
Aerotech ECO Linear Stage series. (Image courtesy of Aerotech.)

The ECO-LM stages are available in 17 models with travels ranging from 100mm to 800mm and speeds up to 2m/s. The stages have precision noncontact encoders that enable incremental motion to 10nm with micrometer-level repeatability. Other options include a HALAR factory calibration to improve positioning accuracy to ±1.5µm and configurable cable management solutions for single and multi-axis systems.

The ECO-SL stages are available in 27 models with travels ranging from 50mm to 800mm and speeds up to 300mm/s. The stages include NEMA 23 stepper motor and brushless servomotor options, and standard features and options that allow adaptability to specific applications, including encoder options for electrical resolutions ranging from 0.5µm down to sub-nm, a holding brake for vertical applications, and a motor fold-back kit for space-constrained applications.

For more information, visit Aerotech’s website.


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