maxon Australia sponsors Fort St. High School at RoboCup Junior Competition

The 2018 Junior RoboCup Competition was a success for the teams from Fort St High School and maxon were proud to be on board.

maxon motor Australia were delighted to sponsor Fort St. High School in this year’s Robocup Junior competition. The team competed in two divisions; Rescue, where robots navigate an obstacle course to locate and rescue a victim, and Soccer, where four robots contest each other in a game of soccer.

Fort St. High School have extensively used maxon DC motors particularly the DCX 19S and A-Max motors, selected for their excellent power-torque ratio. The A-Max motors proved useful in Open Rescue, being used as part of a claw mechanism due to the high torque and thus grip. The DCX19S were used in the Open Soccer robots.

At the NSW State Competition, the School teams achieved excellent placings:

  • 2nd Open Rescue: Mars Rover
  • Rescue Innovation Award: Mars Rover
  • Rescue Innovation Award: PATANEtial Nationals

And at Nationals (Melbourne) the School received the Award for Best Robot Design for Open Rescue: Mars Rover.

maxon is proud of the achievements of all of the students that entered the competition and recognises the hard work and dedication from the teams and teachers, and all supporters who help to invest in the engineers of the future.

For more information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

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maxon motor Australia welcomes new expert

With a focus on research and motor controller integration, Dr Carlos Bacigalupo has joined maxon motor’s Sydney office.

Maxon motor Sydney is delighted to announce the addition of Dr Carlos Bacigalupo to their team. His responsibilities as Head of Research and Development include the expansion of maxon’s software and robotic systems with a particular focus on the integration with existing systems.

Today’s requirements are more complex for motors. Diagnostics, networking or functional safety are becoming increasingly relevant. The advanced customisation and integration of maxon’s controllers offer broader functionality and flexibility of use.

For over 25 years, maxon motor has offered a complete controller portfolio covering simple current and speed control to highly dynamic and motor-integrated controllers. There is also a focus on the area of motion and dynamic control for both, brushed and brushless DC motors.

Dr Bacigalupo’s professional background includes international business development, software engineering, project management and scientific research. He has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Buenos Aires, a combined Honours Degree in Advanced Science from the University of Bristol and Macquarie University, and a PhD in Astrophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney. He joins maxon from his most recent position in the Astronomical Instrumentation Industry. He has been involved in the development of world class astronomical instruments for over 10 years. Some of his projects include the HERMES spectrograph, currently observing over a million stars using the largest optical telescope in Australia, the automation of the Macquarie University observatory and the development of the controlling software of the Taipan instrument aimed to increase the precision of the measured rate of expansion of the Universe.

For further information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. + 61 2 9457 7477.

Australian invention virtual reality fire-fighting system is first of its kind in the world

The FLAIM Trainer™ is a VR system designed to train firefighters. Maxon motor Australia and Dr Karl Walter-Braun tested the FLAIM Trainer at maxon’s Sydney premises. Maxon DC motors are part of the haptic feedback technology creating a realistic kick-back when the fire hose is “turned on”.

Creating real time scenarios to train firefighters is dangerous, expensive, difficult to reproduce, time consuming and not environmentally friendly. But these are necessary to prepare firefighters for the situations they face. To mitigate the risk of these factors, Dr James Mullins, a volunteer fire fighter and a fundamental part of the team within the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI) at Deakin University, developed the FLAIM Trainer™. This world first invention is an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) system comprising of 14kgs of breathing apparatus including a head mounted VR headset, personal protective clothing with heat generation components, a hose-line with branch/ nozzle and a patented haptics feedback system. Incorporated in the FLAIM Trainer™ is hitoe, a wearable, bio-sensing nano-fibre vest which tracks electrocardiogram readings and transmits these signals to provide real time fitness analysis of the wearer during the exercise. This intimate feedback of the wearer’s reaction to the unstable environment widens the applications reach across emergency services, disaster training, upskilling and education options.

Maxon motor Australia have been working with Dr Mullins to develop the haptic feedback system. Two maxon DC motors are used in the FLAIM Trainer™ system. The DC motors are a compact size providing high power and low torpidity. At their annual board meeting, Dr Karl Walter-Braun and Sales Director Felix Herger from maxon HQ in Switzerland, along with Australian Managing Director Brett Motum and new R&D Robotics Software Integration expert at maxon Australia, Dr Carlos Bacigalupo, got to trial the system with a visit from Dr Mullins. Also fortunate to try out the equipment were some local Berowra NSW Fire Brigade and RFS members. The impressive technology got the thumbs up with the benefit of the system instantaneously recognised by those who’ve experienced on the ground real life situations that the FLAIM Trainer™ simulates. The system is garnering global accolades cementing Australia as a real player in the haptics arena.

For more information on the FLAIM Trainer™ visit the website https://www.flaimsystems.com/ or for information on the DC motors in the application call maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Brushless DC motor with integrated controller

Unique 5 wire Brushless DC motor with integrated BLDC controller provides a new and more conveniently packaged solution.

New from maxon motor is a brushless DC motor that takes a turn away from the Swiss motor company’s traditional designs. The EC-I 30IE motor features a five wire connection to simplify implementation and still give a wide functionality. An independent set speed value connection allows for a greater motor operating speed range over the common two wire approach to integrated brushless motor control. Additional features are a disable, direction and speed monitor output. It is an enclosed design that does not require any airflow through the body for cooling which makes it suitable for harsh environments typical of various industries such as food, packaging, manufacturing, mining & deep sea drilling and aerospace. Despite the internal motor control board the motor has still been designed with a shaft on both ends of the body for orientation convenience and is still part of the modular construction program allowing the addition of ceramic planetary gearheads (reduction gearboxes). The motor is 30mm diameter and 41mm long including the control unit. It has four quadrant control meaning it can control dynamic acceleration and deceleration in both directions. The controlled top speed is 6000rpm from a 24V supply and the 20W power rating indicates a high power density ratio.

For more information contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Micro DC motor perfectly adapted

This very small DC micromotor has morphed into a perfect application solution. It is in fact, a brushed DC motor, planetary gearhead and magnetic encoder customised to suit the application.

Being only 10mm diameter it requires close inspection to notice the unique changes that have been made to the motor solution. Through extensive and vigorous testing the design engineers for the end application have individually examined and “tweaked” almost every feature. The first prototypes delivered used a standard maxon RE10 motor and GP10 planetary gearhead. It was found that the extremely space constrained location where the motor is mounted required the assembly technicians to tightly bend the cables where they exited the digital encoder. This caused strain on the solder terminations of the encoder PCB. maxon quickly implemented the customers following request for a resin to be applied at the cable exit to assist with strain relief. This assisted to an extent by making the motor design more robust however it was what is commonly referred to as a “band-aid solution”. Further testing revealed the true cause of the cable strain came about because of an unspecified cable exit angle with relation to the customer fitted custom front flange for the motor. Also further exacerbated by the screw on mounting assembly between the motor and gearhead that allowed for various angle of orientation that were torque dependent. This in a small number of occasions caused the cable to interfere with other components in the machine. A solution offered by maxon motor Australia was that at the point of motor fabrication, the front motor mounting flange and customer drive element be laser welded in place. This is difficult enough to achieve given the motors micro dimensions but additional drastic changes had to be made to facilitate the customisation. This being a completely redesigned gearbox with a stainless steel construction to enable welding of the flange to the motor body. A special jig was constructed to hold the motor and encoder cable exit in specific orientation with the front flange whilst welding takes place to ensure consistent part relationship. Thus, over time maxon motor have morphed a standard catalogue motor and gearhead into a perfectly suited custom solution.

Contact maxon motor Australia at their Sydney office on Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

New functionality from maxon’s EPOS4 Compact DC motor positioning controller

Unlocking new opportunities for a range of applications, Maxon’s EPOS4 Compact series motor controller can now be incorporated into EtherCAT networks.

Maxons compact controllers now speak another language: the new EtherCAT models comply with the CoE standard (CAN application layer over EtherCAT) and can be easily integrated into existing EtherCAT networks.

The new, intelligent motion controllers with realtime communication offer a simple, plug-and-play solution for controlling brushed DC and brushless EC motors with peak currents of up to 30A. With their modular design, they are particularly suited to applications with single or multi-axis systems in small devices and machines as well as robotics.

Also available is an extensive range of accessories to make the connection and integration process as seamless and easy to use as possible. Besides the intuitive “EPOS Studio” software, Windows DLL and Linux Shared Objects Libraries are also freely available for incorporating the controllers into a variety of master systems. As well, a detailed range of product documents are readily available.

The versatile EtherCAT controllers are available immediately in two power versions: 50V/8A and 50V/15A. Other variants in the Compact series (EPOS4 Compact 24/1.5 EtherCAT & EPOS4 Compact 50/5 EtherCAT) will be available by the end of 2018.

For more information about maxon‘s EPOS controllers visit epos.maxonmotor.com or contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Let light shine down on Opportunity.

Almost one year to this day 15 years ago, NASA Rover Opportunity embarked on its journey to Mars.

NASA Engineers have been trying to reach the Opportunity Rover in recent weeks, however due to a heavy and persistent sandstorm they haven’t been able to make contact. It’s assumed the batteries have fallen below 24V causing the machine to enter into standby mode. It needs sunlight to recharge the batteries to “wake up” the computer and resume communications.

Opportunity’s six wheels are driven by maxon DC motors. There are 35 drive systems with diameters of 20mm and 25mm for the rover. The maxon motors in the wheels, for example, did more than 78 million revolutions each, under extreme environmental conditions and temperature fluctuations from -120 to +25ºC. The practicalities and knowledge from this successful project are being transferred across developments of new motors that will soon fly to Mars on forthcoming missions by NASA and ESA. “Opportunity has braved many minor and major sand storms over the years and has always managed to recover its energy. We have no doubt that our motors will also run without trouble afterwards,” says maxon CEO Eugen Elmiger.

For more information on DC motors to suit harsh environment applications please contact maxon motor tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

A robot that hops.

maxon brushless frameless DC motors are used in a semi-autonomous prototype that can hop upstairs.

A robot that can balance and move on two wheels is being developed by a team of students at ETH Zurich. Named the Ascento, it is a bi-pedal robot that adapts to different environments and terrains with the explicit purpose to hop upstairs. Similar to a Sedgeway the centre of gravity is above the axis thus the robot can balance on two wheels and move, as long as it is powered by a controlled device. Equipped with sensors the Ascento can 3D scan a room and calculate the required height and length of jumps to take. Powered by two maxon EC 90 flat brushless frameless DC motors in the wheels, the motors give high torque and precise control that allow a jumping and balancing action, such as that of landing on a narrow step. maxon deliver the rotor and stator separately without an output shaft. This gives the researchers the flexibility to integrate the DC motors into the application and joint structure without compromising on space. Each motor is driven by a compact EPOS4 module motor controller. The potential for the prototype is in building inspections that are at risk of collapse or on fire, for example.

For more information on brushless frameless DC motors for robotic joint applications please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

2017: a year of record growth for the maxon motor group

Global DC motor and drive specialist maxon motor has recorded growth across innovation, markets, revenue and production in 2017.

Sachseln/Obwalden (Switzerland) – The maxon motor group accomplished record revenues in 2017reporting a rise by 8.6% to CHF 459 million (up from CHF 422.5 million in the previous year). All markets contributed to the growth. Cash flow increased to just under CHF 50 million (up from 41.7 million). The number of employees globally increased to 2577. At a 40% revenue share, medical technology continues to be the strongest sector, followed by industrial automation at 28%. With R&D investments of CHF 34 million and more than 360 employees in our R&D sites worldwide, maxon has succeeded in bringing more than 20 new motors and gearheads to market and expand the company’s position as a leading manufacturer of high-quality drive components and systems. maxon looks to the future with confidence.

The impetus of growth behind maxon is mainly from the innovative precision DC motors and drives with high efficiency as well as the matching electronics for controlling complex motion sequences. The company produces in Sachseln/CH, Sexau/GER, Veszprém/HU, Cheonan/South Korea, and soon at its new factory in Taunton near Boston/USA. In addition to the sites above, R&D facilities are also located in China, France, and the Netherlands.

Growth in all markets worldwide

The biggest market in Europe is Germany, followed by Switzerland and the UK. Italy and the Iberian peninsula also grew markedly. After some years of stagnation, a strong growth has also picked up in the US. In Asia, maxon achieved new records in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. In China, maxon has seen double-digit growth over the past years. “The revenue increase by 100 million over four years has posed a great challenge to us as a company in regard to quality and service. Owing to our highly trained employees, we have been able to master this challenge successfully,” says majority shareholder Karl-Walter Braun.

20 + new products released in 2017 alone

One in seven maxon employees works in research and development. As a result of these steadily expanding capabilities, maxon launched more than 20 new electric motors, gearheads, encoders and controllers in the past year. In aerospace, the motors work at temperatures as low as -130°C, while ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter space probe has to withstand temperatures of more than 350°C on its flight toward the sun. In 2020, high-performance maxon motors will be used in two rover missions by ESA and NASA, after having run for more than 15 years in the hostile Mars environment despite a scheduled service life of only a few weeks.

“Our ‘Mission 2020’ strategy for growth, which we launched years ago with the goal of achieving forward integration of drive systems, is showing some initial success,” says Eugen Elmiger, CEO of maxon motor group. “For example, we’ve been able to secure a large order for pump systems to reduce nitrous gas emissions in Diesel cars in the highly competitive automotive market. We also drove forward the development of complete surgical power tools, as well as micro-pump systems used in minimal invasive cardiac surgery.” Eugen Elmiger also expects healthy growth for the user-friendly and efficient high-performance multi-axis controllers made by zub, a company acquired by maxon last year.

Looking ahead: a strong start

The first months of the new year were characterised by strong growth across the group. Pending orders and revenues exceed the figures of the previous year. Due to the overall economic development, the company expects growth to slow down somewhat in the second half of the year. “We will approach further expansion with the necessary caution,” says Karl-Walter Braun.

For further information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Ambulance E-bikes in a remote African village

In first world countries we take for granted how easy a journey can be to access emergency health care. In a small town in Mozambique, Health Organisation SolidarMed has teamed up with maxon motor to retrofit two Ambulance bikes with maxon’s BIKEDRIVE.

Across dirt roads in a remote town in Northern Africa, pushbikes with special trailers are what is used to transport pregnant women and other patients to the closest health centre. Ambassador for SolidarMed and Olympic Mountain Bike Champion, Nino Schurter, visited the town and tested the bike trailers “I’m an elite athlete, but even I would find it hard to pull the heavy trailer with the patient on it” he said. Maxon motor is supporting SolidarMeds E-bike Ambulance project with two BIKEDRIVE retrofitting kits. The kits are fitted to prototypes that will be tested & developed over two years, and evaluated at the end of 2019. If the project is a success, SolidarMed is looking to expand the E-bike Ambulance project across the entire region.

For further information on maxon’s BIKEDRIVE visit www.maxonbikedrive.com/ or call +61 2 9457 7477.

For more information on SolidarMed’s project in Mozambique, please visit www.solidarmed.ch/en/countries/mocambique

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