Exoskeleton joint actuator

maxon motor have developed the Exoskeleton Drive GEN.1 for use in hip and knee exoskeletons.

The global Exoskeleton market is growing in both market share and technological developments at a rapid rate each year. Maxon motor have several global customers we have worked with to develop brushless DC motor solutions for use in robotic limbs.

Available from the beginning of October 2017 is a complete joint actuation unit consisting of a pancake brushless DC motor (EC90 flat) with inertia optimised rotor, Internal high resolution 4096 MILE Encoder, planetary gearhead with absolute encoder and EPOS4 position controller with CAN and RS232 interface. Fitting the 17bit SSI absolute encoder directly at the joint rotation to a degree will negate the effect of gearhead backlash giving designers increased positioning accuracy. The unit will deliver 54Nm of continuous torque and 120Nm on a 20% duty cycle. The system can be operated on supplies between 10 and 50V DC and the actuation speed is up to 22rpm. Drawings and pricing are now available contact maxon motor Australia for further information.

Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

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New Autoclavable brushless DC motor range and sterilisation cycles.

There are many different benchmarks in the marketplace for the sterilisation capabilities of devices. maxon motor explain the cycle and testing process for Autoclavable brushless DC motors.

maxon motor develop brushless DC motors that can be sterilised for medical and dental applications. Recently released is the new ECX range of motors with sterilisation capability on 13,16,19 and 22mm diameter versions. The new range of motors complement the existing 4 pole sterilisable 30mm brushless 150W motor and offer high speed capability up to 120,000rpm. maxon motor test the brushless motors to either 1000 autoclave cycles or 2000 cycles depending on the product. For motors with hall sensors fitted the motor is typically cycled through 1000 autoclave cycles and without hall sensors 2000 cycles. Gearheads are available with additional shaft seals. With the additional seal they are tested to 2000 cycles and without, 1000 cycles. Another new product that offers a completely sterilisable positioning system for the first time is an encoder rated and tested for 1000 cycles.

The maxon motor internal autoclave testing is carried out with the autoclave with a vacuum phase. The motors are unpacked and mounted without any additional protection. Three vacuum cycles are made at the beginning to ensure the internals of the motor become damp. The sterilisation atmosphere is built up with steam which remains constant for 18 minutes at 134˚C, 100% humidity and 2.3 bar of pressure. The unit is then cooled to 70˚C and dried. Each individual autoclave cycles takes approximately 1 hour. After 100 cycles the motors are removed from the autoclave and visually checked and motor operation is checked. Following this the motor is then removed after 250 cycles and visually checked in addition to data acquisition of the running data, motor noise, vibration and electrical strength test at up to 500V DC. Typical batch test cycles are conducted with 10 pcs and the tests are repeated with design changes. Internal testing of the motors to 2000 cycles takes approximately six months.

Contact maxon motor Australia for assistance with Autoclavable brushless DC motor options Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

A DC motor kit supplied in parts for robotic joint applications.

Maxon’s brushless frameless DC motors are designed for applications with space and weight constraints.

DC motors don’t always fit seamlessly into applications. Particularly in robotic joints, the space and weight constraints can take off the shelf DC motors past their threshold. These motors must also offer high torque yet be lightweight to meet the needs of the application’s dynamic movements. For this growing market, maxon motor developed a brushless flat motor as a frameless kit. The rotor and stator are provided separately, without bearings and motor shaft and connected when these components are put together. This offering brings the best of both worlds: high torque density with the smallest dimension possible. With outer diameters of only 43 to 90 mm, the brushless frameless flat motors are particularly compact. Designed as external rotor motors, they offer plenty of space inside for cable glands. For easy control these are delivered with Hall sensors.

The benefit of the brushless frameless motor kits are low cogging torque, high overload capacity, high torques through the multi-pole external rotor, space for cable glands, supplied equipped with Hall sensors and thermal sensors, and speaking from our own experience; higher levels of integration into robotic joint applications.

For more information on robotic applications or maxons brushless frameless motor kit, please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Brushless DC motor – pushing it to the limit

When prototyping for applications with extreme requirements for brushless DC motors, fast condition monitoring is critical.

Motor applications with limited space available and comparatively large power requirements can push a motor very close to burning out. In theory, it is possible to use temperature calculations for the motor winding with the help of thermal resistance rating from the motor data sheets, ambient temperatures, heat sinking details and housing characteristics. This is always considered first and then tolerances and safety margins are considered. Following this thermal modelling software and imaging can be evaluated. However some applications push a motor so close to the edge, that only real product prototype testing can be relied upon. Simply installing motors and testing how hard you can push them can also be a costly exercise and does not give enough reliable data. Actual winding temperature sensing on the motor is a solution maxon motor offer for these extreme cases. By inserting sensors through ports in the magnetic return stack and in direct contact with the winding, maxon motor can give customers a device that monitors winding temperatures without the thermal time constant delays experienced when measuring winding resistance and using housing thermal time constants.

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

Exploring hidden depths under the seabed.

Norwegian company Petro-Marker, developed a device that is able to collect data up to 5,000 meters underneath the seabed. The technology scans the bottom of the ocean in great detail providing information as to the location and size of oil reservoirs.

1,000 metres below the sea the environment is harsh, ice cold and very dark with no natural light. An ROV has strong floodlights that identify tri-pod objects anchored to the bottom of the seabed. These are receiver stations for electromagnetic waves transmitted into the seafloor, giving feedback on the seabed itself and finding resource deposits.

When oil companies want to find out whether drilling at depth is worth the cost, they often rely on Controlled Source Electro Magnetic (CSEM) technology. This technology utilises the differences in the electrical resistance of different bottom layers to provide signs of the location and size of oil fields. The CSEM technology uses a very strong power source to generate an electro-magnetic field, as well as several receivers to record the fields. These tripod receivers are placed on the sandy bottom and pick up electromagnetic signals that have been changed by the layers through which they passed.

In 2016 Petro-Marker placed 25 new tripods in the North Sea. What sets this technology apart is a new measuring method that uses a vertical transmitter and receiver to find resources. This enables a much more detailed resolution and data measurement up to 5,000 meters beneath the seafloor.

The tripods are about 4 meters high and made from a combination of glass fibre and special foams. Due to the sensitive electronics, metal parts cannot be used. This far below the surface, the pressure is extreme, and the salt water is hostile. At the center of the tripods (receivers), the antennas are aligned as vertically as possible on the seabed.

The system uses a maxon controller (EPOS) and a compensator. The units are encased in plastic to protect them from salt-water corrosion. Several modifications were required to meet the requirements of this application: An EC-i 40 motor, GP 42 planetary gearhead and compensator that were all customised. A dual seal, that imitates typical submarine technology, ensures the system is able to resist the enormous water pressure. The control electronics of the underwater drive are housed in a pressure-neutral glass ball that is able to resist the pressures of up to 600 bar – one of the challenges of this extreme application.

For more information or to speak to one of our Sales Engineers call tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Roboy 2.0

A complete relaunch of the tendon controlled soft Robot, Roboy, is planned for 2018.

Reported here in 2013, Roboy was the first-of-its-kind Humanoid Robot developed by the University of Zurich. What set Roboy apart was the tendon-operated “soft” robotic features. As a main project partner, maxon motor supplied 48 brushless DC motors, gearheads and controllers that enable Roboy to move in a precise manner. Roboy now lives permanently at the Technical University in Munich where development is focused on enhancing A I. This is where the concept of Roboy 2.0 was born, utilising Roboy as a foundation to create robots that not only move like people but will think like people. At this stage Roboy is unable to stand or walk. Roboy 2.0 will be a complete relaunch and the new version will be able to stand, thanks to development of the legs and components like software, DC motors and technology, it is hoped that by 2018 Roboy 2.0 will stand on his own two feet and interact with us.

For more information please contact +61 2 9457 7477.

Play foosball against a robot!

A robot operates the opposing player rods on a Foosball table and has won against human players.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) has developed a foosball table with autonomously operated robotic rods. The table has a transparent playing surface with a camera that locates the ball by taking up to 300 images per second. These images are immediately evaluated and sent to control the rods, which are powered by maxon EC-4 pole DC brushless motors with gearheads and motor controllers. The rods stop the ball and aim for the goals. The students aim to make the robot even more intelligent by programming the robot to analyse opponents players, find gaps in the defence and predict the ball’s trajectory.

For more information on DC motor technology please contact maxon motor Australia on tel. 61 2 9457 7477.

Custom DC motor for maximum power density

New brushed DC motor design from maxon motor.

maxon motor Australia have configured a combination of brushed DC motor, planetary gearhead and digital incremental encoder with completely customised features for a prominent medical manufacturer and have produced it in 11 working days.

An interactive 3D model of the entire assembled combination showing all modifications and final production part numbers can now be generated within an hour of specification request along with data sheets showing the working points of the application. The new process eliminates large amounts of traditional internal procedures, with the robotic production line and parts procurement all linked together with the new design tool. The new motor pictured below shows a unique stepped planetary gearhead that uses a 26mm diameter on the high speed input stage and a 32mm on the high torque output stage. Focusing the wear and strength attributes by placing components specific to their role also increases the motors power density. In order to allow for the full use of shaft length that is tailored for the application, a new process of laser welding the inner race of the output bearing directly to the shaft material has been used over the traditional methods of c-clips and shaft collars. This is also naturally stronger than glue and press fit methods. The motor is capable of producing over 10,000rpm and the gearhead up to 12Nm with ratios to 1526:1. Zero cogging and linear characteristics combined with new encoder resolutions up to a staggering 65,536cpt open new position control possibilities for automation, tool and robotics applications.

Contact maxon motor Australia for assistance. Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

More DC motors on Mars in the 2020 Rover

Maxon motor have supplied DC motor and gearhead combinations for NASA’s fifth Rover mission – the 2020 Mars Rover.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is building a Rover that will travel to Mars in 2020. The purpose of this operation is to collect dozens of soil samples, seal them and leave them on Mars for future pick-up. Nine brushless (flat) pancake DC motors and gearhead combinations from maxon’s standard range – that have been heavily customised to withstand the harsh conditions on Mars – are used in the sample handling arm, specifically developed for this mission.

The sample handling arm moves the containers from station to station within the sampling system. Additional DC motors are also in the Rover and assist with obtaining the samples and sealing the containers. Maxon’s brushless DC motors and gearheads need to survive the powerful entry, descent and landing sequence as well as the harsh daily conditions on Mars with sandstorms and temperatures ranging from -130 to +70ºC.

From the outside, the Mars 2020 rover looks similar to its precursor Curiosity, that is still operating on Mars. The 2020 mission will have several new instruments on board to deliver unique new data. A key objective will be to search Mars for bio-signatures. Another instrument on board will test whether it’s possible to generate oxygen from the atmosphere for possible future human visits. However, the most significant innovation is the ability to take rock samples in several locations and prepare them for return to Earth.

For assistance on customised DC motor technology for applications in harsh environments please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Maxon motor posts record revenues.

Throughout 2016 maxon invested significantly in expanding its facilities, bringing a large number of new technologies & innovations to market and expanded on their market leading position.

Sachseln/Switzerland – The maxon motor group further increased its revenues in 2016. Compared with the previous year, revenues grew by 5% to a new record level of CHF 422.5 million (from CHF 402.5 million in the previous year). The number of employees rose to 2,500 and for the first time in company history, maxon employs more people abroad than in Switzerland. The highest revenues were achieved in medical technology (43% market share), followed by industrial automation & robotics (26%) and aerospace industries (6.5%). Investment in R&D rose to CHF 28.5 million in 2016 (up from 27.1 million).

Maxon is increasingly becoming a specialist in mechatronics and systems, launching the first fully sterilisable drive system this year. Drive combination units consisting of brushless DC motor, gearhead and sensor are designed to withstand 1000 autoclave cycles. Maxon’s new DC motor controllers also stand up to extreme ambient conditions. The electronics are protected against contaminants and corrosion by a polymer coating. In addition, the device is highly resistant against vibrations and shocks.

For the e-bike market, maxon motor developed a new S-Peledec motor with a 500 Wh battery and intuitive operation for urban applications. The bike reaches speeds of up to 45 km/h and the device stands out because it can convert any regular bicycle into an e-bike. maxon is also active in the field of autonomous delivery robots. This is a market where the energy-efficient and lightweight drive systems by maxon are in particularly high demand.

For more information on DC motors and accessories please contact maxon motor Australia tel +61 2 9457 7477.

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