This 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.
Motion Control Devices
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; www.portescap.com
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; www.parkermotion.com
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; www.ledex.com
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; www.lm76.com
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; www.danahermotion.com
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; www.amacoil.com
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; www.linearmotion.skf.com