Motion control on the go

New products editor Patti Pool asked a few motion control vendors what they think are the trends in motion control devices. Find out what she learned in this month's Product Roundup.

By Patti Pool, Contributing Editor, New Products

Patti PoolThis month’s roundup focuses on the more purely mechanical and eletromechanical aspects of motion control components. It’s a reminder that, while engineers are taking advantage of wireless technologies, MEMS sensors, intelligent feedback systems, adaptive tuning and other technologies to increase efficiency and communication capabilities in their machines, their final mechanical elements must still perform flawlessly. I asked a few motion control vendors what they think are the trends in motion control devices.

Robert Caddick, Dahaner Motion’s global marketing and communications director, says, “Industry trends continue toward integrating components into product sets with plug-and-play capability. This trend will grow through 2007 with demand coming from the need to decrease machine component count and maintenance costs, while increasing performance and reliability. In addition, customers want a partner with a global manufacturing footprint, rapid customization, and prototyping capabilities, which drives quick lead times and empowers customers to commission their machines faster.”

Dave Beckstoffer, Portescap’s product manager, adds that, “When it comes to specifying components, there’s no question that OEM machine builders and device manufacturers are very interested in simplifying their supply chain by partnering with a single source supplier that offers a breadth and depth of available technology, as well as global operations and manufacturing to satisfy regional application needs.”

Motion control has become one of the hottest technologies in manufacturing. While users are sometimes slow to adapt to new technologies, corporate edicts for reducing costs will encourage project engineers to take a chance on the technologies as long as they have the full support of the partnering supplier.

Product Roundup:
Motion Control Devices

Fast Positioning
26DAM Series digital linear actuators provide linear force up to 120 oz (33 N), linear step resolution of 0.001 in., 0.002 in. and 0.004 in., and 3.4 W of power for fast response times. The actuators are available in captive and non-captive versions with unipolar or bipolar coil construction. Portescap; 610/235-5499;

Positioning Tables
402XE and 403XE linear positioning tables are available in a complete package with motor and limit sensors included. For customization, the tables can be ordered with mounting for other motors to meet specific application requirements. Both use a U-channel body design creating a rigid structure and allowing for integration of bearing and ball screw nut. Parker Electromechanical Automation Div.; 724/861-8200;

Quiet as a Mouse
MagShift solenoids have no impact among their moving parts. In power-on mode, noise will measure below 40 dBA, including end-of-travel stop. When the unit reaches end-of-travel position, there is no impact force, which eliminates vibration and minimizes noise. Their construction eliminates residual magnetism that can impede performance and allows the same assembly to be configured as a push or pull solenoid for system flexibility. Saia-Burgess; 937/454-2345;

Linear Slides and Table Assemblies
Self-lubricating linear slides and table assemblies integrate into new and existing applications requiring smooth motion, low noise, and/or washdown capabilities. Slide rails and carriages are available in 0.5625, 0.75, and 0.875-in. heights and 7, 13, 19, 25 and 31-in. lengths. The Teflon composite bearing material withstands loads to 1,000 psi and has a maximum velocity of 80 in./sec. Load bearing surfaces are at 45º angles to the mounting surface and force of the load. LM76; 413/525-4166;

Electronic Indexer Solution
Electronic indexer solution allows OEMs to build a machine faster, and lets end users assemble small parts with reduced scrap and improved yield. It offers repeatability of ±1.2 arc-sec, with no backlash and system accuracy to ±26 arc-sec. The indexer product set can rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise to achieve the shortest cycle time and increase throughput. Danaher Motion; 866/993-2624;

Linear Motion Assembly
Reciprocating linear motion assembly enables automatic increase or decrease of the travel distance on-the-fly without requiring programming or electronic controls. Actuated as the drive moves, a mechanism on the assembly ratchets the end stops farther apart or closer together in specific increments that are set using a dial. Amacoil; 610/485-8300;

Cat Quick
Modular Cat electromechanical linear actuators use standard internal and external components (such as motors, screws, and attachments). These actuators offer high dynamic load capacities to 4,000 N. Stroke lengths range 50-700 mm and speeds can reach 174 mm/sec (no load) to 150 mm/sec (full load). Users can specify standard or special stroke lengths, AC or DC motors, friction clutch gears, cables, and front and rear attachments. SKF Linear Motion and Precision Technologies, 800/541-3624;

Take a Brake
Power-off Magnetic Brake (PMB) series power-off DC, spring-set brakes are available in nine standard frame sizes ranging 30-120. They have a torque range 45-4,250 lb-in (5-480 Nm), in diameters 3.30-11.89 in. (84-302 mm). Operating voltages of 24/90/190 Vdc are standard. An adjustment collar allows brake torque to be varied. Fully potted coils meet minimum requirements for class “F” insulation, and a splined hub with anti-rattle feature promotes quiet operation. Thomson-Deltran/Danaher; 866/993-2624;

Cantilever Alone
DGEA cantilever electric linear actuator comes in two mounting configurations in sizes 18, 25, and 40 mm. The motor is mounted parallel to the actuator with the integrated right-angle gearbox, eliminating obstructions and installation space. It has speeds to 3 m/sec, repeatability of ±0.05 mm, and stroke lengths to 1,000 mm. Festo; 800/99-festo;

I, Robo
RCP2-RSW robo cylinder is IP65-rated, 45-mm wide, with a horizontal load capacity of 40 kg (19 kg vertical). RCP2-RMW is 64-mm wide with a horizontal load capacity of 55 kg (26 kg vertical). Both have strokes of 50-300 mm; speeds can be changed during slider/rod movement; and positioning repeatability is ±0.02 mm. IAI America; 800/944-0333,

High Rigidity
Models SNR/SNS 85 are the most rigid of the LM Guide series. Curvature is nearly identical to the ball radius, so ball contact area under load is increased as is load capacity. In rapid traversing, no differential slip occurs for accurate positioning. In low-speed heavy cutting, favorable differential slip occurs due to increased frictional resistance, increasing the guide’s damping capacity. THK America; 847/310-1111;

Rack-and-Pinion Steering
Linear actuator system has positioning accuracy below 12 µm for high-end machine-building applications. Constant, high rigidity is achieved over the complete travel distance. Applications include printing, packaging, food processing, machining and medical industries. Alpha Gear Drives; 630/540-5341;

Fast Travels
RGS Rapid Guide Screw travels at more than 60 in./sec. (3 mph) over distances to 8 ft. It has an aluminum guide and carriage, stainless-steel lead screw and a wear-compensating, anti-back­­lash driven carriage. Applications include high-speed printing, scanning and engraving, actuation and positioning transportation applications, pick-and-place mechan­isms and most automated equipment. Kerk Motion Products; 603/465-7227;

Let It Slide
Linear slides catalog includes pick-and-place units, thrusters, and thin-parts placers. A quick-reference guide for product selection and comprehensive engineering data simplify sizing and options selection, while assuring that application performance requirements can be met. A range of sizes for lightweight to heavy-duty applications includes guide shaft diameters of ¼ to 1½ in., strokes to more than 30 in., and cylinder bores 5/16 to 4 in. Fabco Air; 352/373-3578;

Guide and Slide
G Series guided cylinder has bore sizes 25-50 mm, strokes to 19.5 ft, and 100,000 in.-lb of torque. Three different carriages are available. NSK sliders have built-in clearance between the precision balls to allow for low-level contamination. Kevlar reinforced inner and outer strip seals allow for minimal external air leakage. A double-seal bearing with scraper is optional. Numatics; 615/771-1200;

Actuator Economy
EMY2 electric-guided slide table actuator uses just two PLC outputs—one for move left, another for move right, and both for move center. It also provides four status outputs and five LEDs for at-a-glance visual indication. The actuator can handle payloads to 70 lbs, with stroke lengths 50-1,000 mm. The motor and control box can be positioned on the left or right side of the actuator, facing up or down. SMC; 714/669-0941;

Linear Sliding
Linear positioning slides have peak force ranges from 86-1,200 N and stroke ranges of 100 mm to 2 m, and provide accelerations to 5 G and velocities to 5 m/sec. Digital servo amplifiers use serial encoder feedback to automatically recognize which linear servo motor is connected on power-up. Yaskawa Electric; 800/yaskawa;

Actuator Feedback
Absolute position feedback linear actuator sensor provides analog feedback to the controller or PLC to determine actual load position. The option is available for the company’s BC3 pneumatic and B3S electric series actuators, and can be ordered in incremental stroke lengths from 2-156 in. An analog signal of 0–10 Vdc or ±10 Vdc can be selected. Tolomatic; 800/328-2174;

Pneumatic Cylinders/Actuators Catalog 
SC-Master catalog offers 700 pages of technical and ordering information for 23 industrial pneumatic cylinder and actuator product lines including steel tie rods, ISO-VDMA profile and tie rods, Octagon ISO mini, Series M mini, mini-slides, shuttle units, modular handling systems, grippers, and rotary actuators and modules. Right angle flow controls are included as accessories. Bosch Rexroth; 630/654-0170;

Slip Sliding Away
MDrivePlus linear slides have speeds to more than 60 in/sec with standard linear slide leads of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 and 1.0 in. travel per revolution. The slide has a precision aluminum guide and wear-compensating, anti-backlash driven carriage with precision rolled stainless steel lead screw. Slots accommodate sensor bracket mounting on the slide, with provisions for mounting a flag on the carriage. An optional sensor flag kit simplifies mounting a common optical sensor. Intelligent Motion Systems; 860/295-6102;

Dedicated Automation
Hydraulic and pneumatic linear actuators catalog includes individual pneumatic robotic modules and sections for jigs, fixtures, general-purpose tooling, and other forms of dedicated automation applications. Modules include grippers, slides and rotators with mounting to standard flanges in one to six-axis motion combinations. Mack Corp.; 928/526-1120;