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A mechatronic orthosis glove, for restoring mobility to the hand after an accident or stroke.

A specially developed glove with maxon DC motors provides strength and mobility to the wearer.

Two medical engineers have created a glove that restores mobility to the wearer’s fingers. The mechatronic orthosis, called the exomotion® hand one, is in its testing phase and available soon to the market. The exomotion® hand one is worn like a glove and consists of custom-fitted exo-finger mechanics, a supporting forearm splint, a sensor, a control unit, and four miniature drives that provide the power to open or close the wearer’s fingers. Six types of grip are available, restoring freedom of movement that may have  been lost as a result of accident, stroke or degenerative disease.

The hand orthosis was developed by Dominik Hepp and Tobias Knobloch, both medical engineers. They first met in university, where they both focused on this issue and founded start-up company HKK Bionics, in 2017. The two men hope to close a gap with their development: “We offer patients with fully or partially paralysed hands an aid than helps them to perform everyday tasks on their own again,” explains Dominik Hepp. Simple tasks like cooking, carrying shopping bags and opening packages will soon become part of the wearer’s daily routine again. “With an aid that is suitable for everyday use, these people can regain a degree of independence in their daily lives.”

The development of engineering medical prototypes is not without its challenges. The orthosis is intended to be worn all day long therefore it needed to be robust, high-performing and lightweight. After developing the initial prototype, the main focus was on making everything smaller, including finding suitable new components. “That was a real challenge, since we couldn’t accept any compromise in terms of stability or performance,” says Dominik Hepp. To solve this problem, the two designers collaborated with suppliers to develop special components. At the core of the hand orthosis are four customised EC motors from maxon. These requirement was not only small in size and powerful, also the DC motors had to guarantee years of service with hundreds of thousands of operating cycles. The brushless micromotors deliver the necessary grip strength and are controlled via sensors that respond to still-intact muscles, a principle that is also found in prosthetic arms.

2019 is a year of practical trials for HKK Bionics, as the product goes through extensive testing before it is approved and becomes available on the market. “We want to make the exomotion® hand one accessible to as many patients as possible. That’s why we are pursuing collaborative partnerships with selected medical supply stores while expanding our network to include doctors and therapists,” explains Dominik Hepp. For the two young businessmen, this is an exciting challenge at the interface between technology and human beings. “It’s great to see that with our experience, plenty of creativity, and some tinkering around, we can contribute to improving the quality of patients’ lives.”

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

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Mechatronic systems for small collaborative robots

Designing in the right DC motor and mechatronic drive system for a small precision device can incite challenges on many levels.

With the development and increase of collaborative robots, there has become a need for a wide variety of grippers and end effectors in general. One of the more challenging applications is for automated gauging and measurement of small parts. Such a device must provide high-resolution positioning with resolutions as low as 2.5 micrometers that can be continually available to decision-making software in automation applications. This is why New Scale Robotics (NSR), a Division of New Scale Technologies decided to design and manufacture one of their latest grippers.

Built for the smallest collaborative robots, the NSR-PG-10-20, Precision Parallel Gripper, is a mechatronic system that integrates motor, sensors, precision bearing guides, drive, and control electronics, along with embedded firmware for automation, into one device. During the design process, NSR decided that the gripper had to offer plug-and-play integration that could be installed in minutes to Universal Robotics (UR) line of small cobots. The NSR-PG-10-20 offers users the smallest size and mass with the highest precision. All power and control circuitry is located through the robot tool port and slip rings so that no external cable or electronics boards are required. To install the gripper, simply mount it to the UR robot tool flange and connect the single cable to the UR tool I/O port. Motion commands are received through the robot’s 8-pin tool I/O interface. No external wires or separate electronics are needed, which allows for full 360-degree or infinite rotation of the UR robot wrist joint without cable interference.

The Precision Parallel Gripper incorporates an internal absolute position sensor specifically for automated metrology applications offering high precision for intricate small part handling, measurement, sorting, and assembly. The grippers had to provide fast, precise movements repeatedly over a long life cycle.

Precision Motion Control

During the design process, NSR researched the needs of their Precision Parallel Gripper and selected the EC-20 Flat brushless DC motor (BLDC) designed and manufactured by maxon. This motor offers up to five winding types as well as built-in encoders. Multiple power outputs are available, and the motors provide high stability and quiet operation. The motors were primarily selected because of their extremely small mass of only 15 grams as well as their high continuous torque of 3.75 mN-m. The motors’ excellent torque-to-mass ratio means that the NSR-PG-10-20 can achieve an adjustable gripping force of ±3 to 10 N while using a modest gear ratio of 16:1. The gripper incorporates a symmetric timing belt drive with a range of 20 mm. Plus, the operational voltage, current, and torque were a good match with the internal robot power supply.

The brushless DC rotary motor drives gear reduction to a timing belt that converts rotation to linear motion. A separate angle sensor is used to measure the motor shaft angle, while separate digital electronics are used to generate the three-phase drive current needed for operation. This mechanism provides the linear motion necessary to open and close the gripper fingers used to grab and release small parts. Gripper fingers are able to grip from the outside or inside of the part depending on the application. Through the use of the embedded sensor mentioned above, the linear part measurement resolution of the gripper is 2.5 micrometers. The open/close speed of the gripper is 20 mm/second and the open/close range is 20 mm.

According to David Henderson, CEO of NSR, “The tricky parts of the design were maintaining the small size, height, and low mass of the gripper while providing closed-loop position and velocity characteristics. It was also a challenge to find a low power and current motor that allowed us to use the internal power on the robot.” maxon’s EC-20 Flat allowed NSR the leverage they needed to deliver the product their customers most needed — and still be easy to install and operate. The mechanical integration was the easiest part. The company used an EC-20 Flat without an angle sensor and instead provided their own external angle sensor for commutation. “In the future, we expect to extend our product range to include grippers with higher gripping forces — and correspondingly higher mass and power motors — longer gripping ranges, and embedded force sensors to improve force control,” Mr. Henderson said.

The gripper is equipped with interchangeable fingers. The NSR-PG ships with factory fingers installed so that users can get right to work. The gripper also provides teachable finger positions when used with Universal Robotics’ UR3, UR5, UR10 robots as well as the company’s latest line of eSeries Robots, the UR3e, UR5e, and UR10e robots. Manually move fingers to the desired position and set them using the teach pendant — a process familiar to anyone who has used a UR robot in teach mode. Position is repeatable to 0.01 mm. By setting finger open and close positions that match a user’s workpiece allows the user to minimise the finger motion (stroke) for each operation, saving time and energy. Overall, the NSR-PG-10-20 allows the user to automate repetitive, labor-intensive measurement and quality control tasks so that the UR cobot becomes a powerful tool for metrology applications.

Finding the right DC motor for such specific applications can be a daunting task. Having the availability of the latest technology in the smallest packaged DC motor has allowed NSR to fulfill their customer needs. maxon’s EC-20 Flat DC motor was a key component in the design and manufacture of the NSR-PG-10-20 Precision Parallel Gripper.

For more information: newscalerobotics.com or contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Engineering, robotics and a great cup of coffee.

Where motion is the key to a great cup of coffee, duplicating the precision and reliability of the motion of a person’s hand, wrist, and elbow requires a unique robotic design.

Coffee lovers are passionate about their cup of coffee. Providing a consistent and reliable cup from a coffee shop often takes a lot of time in training your baristas. Gaining that same precision motion control combined with speed and reliability was the utmost challenge for Poursteady’s Chief Engineer, Stuart Heys, who has always loved a good challenge. maxon spoke to Maximilian Babe, Poursteady’s Jack of all trades and current manufacturing manager about the final products.

Poursteady manufactures two different models. The PS1 five-station machine and the PS1-3c three-station machine. Each Poursteady machine automatically produces the perfect pour-over coffee based on the barista’s precise needs. “We wanted to design a tool that the baristas wanted to use, one that would give them the perfect cup of coffee every time while they made sure the grind was just right and that the customer was being well taken care of.” To do this, Stuart and the Poursteady team needed components that were not only accurate, but highly reliable, and offered long life. “Our machines have literally made millions of cups of coffee without a breakdown.”

The idea was for the machine to only automate the steps in making perfect pour-overs that made sense. This means that the recipes are variable depending on what the baristas choose to program into the machine. Hundreds of formulas can be stored and can be perfectly repeated with the push of a single button. Water is measured to the gram.

The robotic system provides the shapes and sizes of the spirals that are poured. Precise motion in multiple directions along with precise timing of each step is tracked and executed by the machine — using the Technosoft VX Intelligent Drive — for up to five cups at a time. Each cup can have a different sequence based on its program. Any combination of pour and motion is possible. This not only allows baristas to do other work and help customers in another way, it reduces the training the coffee shop owner needs to provide. And, it allows the shop to make more cups of coffee in less time, getting through a line of customers faster and more efficiently.

Stuart is a robotics engineer, and he used industrial automation components rated and tested for years of continuous use. Both machines use the same motion control components. Using two maxon DC motors and three belts, the machine is able to manipulate the pour spout any way it chooses. The 3c machine is around 24 inches long, which is much narrower than an espresso machine. One belt runs the full length of the X axis of the brewer. It attaches to a gear and pulley design where a second belt runs from the pulley to the motor shaft, all inside the cage of the system. The Y axis is connected directly to a motor that sits outside the cage and pivots back and forth dependent on the controller signal programmed into the unit.

The combination of motions from the design allows a user to program the unit for any type of flow — simply back and forth along one axis or a wobble along one or two axes, or a circular pattern that can be adjusted for width as well as shape.

The DC motors used in the PS1 and PS1-3c include maxon’s 30 Watt, EC45 Flat motor for the X axis and the EC32 Flat motor for the Y (or tilt) axis. The motors are electronically commutated, thus enabling extremely long motor life, since there are simply no mechanical brushes to wear out. Hall effect sensors are built into some DC motors in order to provide feedback to the control electronics. The motors offer good heat dissipation and high overload capability. Both the EC45 flat and EC32 flat DC motors have a stainless-steel housing, vary widely in diameter, and offer different shaft lengths as well. The motors can be used at any speeds needed to accommodate the application. The dynamic load of the nozzle that is always moving during the pour sequence, is light and requires little torque. Precision of the operation is what’s important, and Poursteady acquires that through the use of a closed loop control system.

“We are not the experts on how a particular shop, or barista, should prepare their coffee. With the Poursteady machine the flexibility is there for the user,” Maximilian explained. Whatever coffee, roast, and dripper preferred can be set and saved in a recipe file. If a user finds they can’t get the perfect pattern on their unit, Poursteady will help provide a custom pour pattern for them.

The next goal for the company is to provide a way to make a one-minute cup of pour-over coffee. This would allow a barista to make over 100 cups of coffee per hour with a single operator and therefore reduce customer wait time, allowing for a better barista-customer experience overall.

For more information, visit Poursteady or to learn more about the DC motor and drive system capabilities please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon collaborate in a world first: mining on the moon

maxon Group Australia are excited to announce their collaboration with innovative Australian space company, Space Industries, to develop new mining technologies on the moon.

It’s not every day you receive an inquiry to help build a rover that will mine the surface of the moon. When maxon was contacted by Space Industries CEO, Joshua Letcher, with this exact query, a remarkable collaboration was born.

Specialising in the development of lunar and space mining vehicles, subsystems and systems for space systems, in a world-first, Space Industries are designing and developing revolutionary technology: a rover to mine elements on the lunar surface. “Space Industries are leading the way in space mining by focusing on gas production to produce resources that will sustain life on the Moon and other planets, along with producing Helium-3 for use in Medical and Energy industries on Earth” said Letcher. Soon to be located at Australia’s only dedicated Space Precinct at Perth Airport in WA, Space Industries have strategically positioned themselves amongst other leading global companies involved in civil engineering and research & development within the sector.

It was maxon’s long-standing involvement working with agencies such as NASA, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and European Space Agency, amongst others, that prompted Joshua Letcher to call maxon. maxon DC motors, drives systems and sensor technologies have already been used to drive several Mars rovers and withstood the conditions there. The DC motors resist brutal temperature changes, dust, dirt and storms. They are also built to survive a dynamic entry, descent and landing sequence as well as the harsh daily conditions on the moon. maxon Managing Director, Brett Motum, said “we are thrilled to be a part of not only an Australian first, but a world-first, invention that is going to redefine the term sustainable energy, open up exciting possibilities within the medical and energy sectors and of course, put Australia on the global Space map”.

It’s this type of application that sits at the heart of maxon – working with companies who share the same passion for innovation, technology and development of pioneering inventions. Particularly those that help to shape the future of this planet and perhaps even sustain life on the moon.

For further information please contact maxon Group Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477 or Space Industries moon@spaceindustries.com.au

Only the top of the ranks to sail the futuristic AC75 boat

The AC75 is one of the most futuristic sailing boats in history and could be the fastest monohull ever by the time America’s Cup racing wraps up in 2021.

Its extreme design is pushing the engineers and designers to the limits of current technology, but the 36th America’s Cup is not just a technology race.

The AC75 will be challenging and demanding to sail, with decisive race manoeuvres difficult to execute, making the demand on the sailors greater than ever before. To achieve the maximum performance, an America’s Cup sailor needs to be among the best.

It’s no coincidence then that collectively, America’s Cup teams won 11 medals in the last  3 months. World races such as the European Championships, the World Cup Series and iconic Olympic regattas like the Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

One of Challenger of Record’s key sailors Francesco “Checco” Bruni  won the Moth European Championship in Portugal at the end of May, with new team member Ruggero Tita, earning the bronze medal in the Nacras during last week’s World Cup Series Final in Marseille.

Giles Scott, INEOS Team UK tactician and Britain’s brightest Olympic sailing hope, is the 2019 Finn European Champion and also won the Silver at Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma di Mallorca in April.

The Defender has a few golden boys as well. Andy Maloney and Josh Junior collected five medals between them from three regattas, confirming themselves at the top of the Finn Class. On top of winning in Marseille, Maloney was first in Palma and second at the European Championships, while Junior was third in Palma and second in France. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke also got their winning form back on track coming first at the 49er European Championship in Weymouth in May, after a 3rd at Genoa’s World Cup earlier in April.

More medals are surely to come as a full racing schedule lays ahead for the America’s Cup sailors who are squeezing in a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Campaign alongside their America’s Cup commitments.

The Cup is less than 640 days away and there no time to rest… Let’s keep racing.

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

Excitement heightens as America’s Cup teams and fans anticipate first ever AC75 launch.

It is always a big deal in any America’s Cup cycle when the first tranche of AC Class yachts is revealed.

Fans and teams alike pore over every photograph and video they can get their hands on to analyse what each of the teams’ design departments have come up with.

That eager anticipation is ratcheted up several levels however when the teams are given the much rarer opportunity to design to a completely new America’s Cup class rule – as is the case for the 36th edition of the America’s Cup with the advent of the 75-foot foiling monohull AC75 Class Rule.

Even more exciting and challenging is the fact that designing and building a foiling monohull of that size has never ever been done before. It is an utterly new concept – and that means the designers are out on their own, breaking new ground with precious little, if any, relevant data available to refer back to.

It is now a tantalising prospect that four teams – the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (Challenger of Record), NYYC American Magic, and INEOS TEAM UK – could all launch their first AC75 yachts in the next few weeks.

The fifth America’s Cup team – Stars + Stripes Team USA – is yet to complete the build of its AC75, but the team hopes to have the boat on the water later this year.

So what can we expect to learn from this upcoming first round of AC75 launches?

As is always the case with the America’s Cup, the teams have been tight-lipped about the direction they have taken with the first of the two AC75s they are allowed to build under the terms laid down in the Protocol for the 36th America’s Cup.

But the Head of Design at Emirates Team New Zealand, Dan Bernasconi – who helped mastermind the AC75 design rule in the first place – said he was confident the boats would be thrilling for the fans to watch as well as extremely demanding for the crews to learn how to sail at optimum performance.

“We wanted to develop a class of yacht which was going to be exciting but also really challenging to sail,” Bernasconi said. “We will find out when we launch and actually get out on the water, but we think the new boat is going to achieve those aims really well.”

According to Bernasconi, until the teams reveal their boats nobody has any idea what they will each look like – but he expects there to be some big differences.

“It’s pretty interesting because the design rule is quite open,” he said. “There is a lot of openness in the hull design – the shape of hull and the layout of the deck – and also in the mainsail configuration and the foil wings and the flaps mechanism.

“So there will likely be quite a big variation between our yacht and everyone else’s yachts. In fact I think they will all be quite different – so there is a huge amount of interest from all the designers in different areas to see what other teams have come up with.”

Martin Fischer – co-design coordinator at Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team – was also involved in coming up with the AC75 class rule. He says designing to a totally new America’s Cup class rule has added an extra level of excitement to the process for the designers at the Italian syndicate.

“The opportunity to design an America’s Cup boat to a brand-new rule is very rare – typically something that happens only every 10 or 15 years,” Fischer said.

“Everybody in the team here is really excited to get the chance to work on designing to this new class rule. I think every designer who has been given this opportunity will be really excited, like we are.”

Fischer says the task of producing from scratch one of the first ever 75-foot single-hull yachts has required he and his team to take several steps into the unknown along the way to launching their first iteration of the design.

“We are definitely getting into new territory with these new boats,” he said. “A foiling monohull of this size has never been designed and built before – so there are many, many unknowns.

“There is lots of pressure on the design team because there is no experience from previous boats. Obviously we have the experience from the AC50 catamarans – but there’s never been a boat like the AC75 before.”

“That means you have to turn over every stone and look at every aspect carefully, because around every corner there could be something unexpected. You definitely don’t want to get a nasty surprise once the boat is launched and that adds to the level of pressure on us as designers.”

NYYC American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said he and his team were revelling in the challenge of bringing the large-scale foiling monohull concept to life, along with the pressure of delivering a competitive design.

“It’s always great to be on the leading side of design and development and it’s always something that our group have prided ourselves in,” Hutchinson said. “We are in a competition, and we want to win. With that goal comes pressure to deliver.

What differences there might be between the teams’ first AC75 designs, Hutchinson said he was waiting to find out like everyone else.

“We will have to see once the boats hit the water,” he said. “All of the design teams are of the highest standard, so it is an exciting time for everyone.”

Sir Ben Ainslie, team Principal and skipper at the British INEOS TEAM UK syndicate, said he expected there to be huge interest when the first AC75s are launched.

 

“This is an entirely new concept of boat so there has been a lot of anticipation about how it will sail and how it will perform at this scale,” Ainslie said. “We have seen the test boats out there over the last 12 months or so, but to get the real deal – 75-foot foiling monohulls out there means there will be a lot of interest.”

Ainslie described the planned launch and first sail of the British AC75 as a milestone moment for the team – especially given that the first opportunity for the teams to race against each other will be in April 2020 at the America’s Cup World Series regatta in Cagliari, Sardinia.

“Certainly as a team there has been a huge amount of work and effort that has gone into designing and building this boat,” He said. “It will be a real thrill to get it out sailing for the first time and to get it up on the foils and see how it manoeuvres.”

The five-time Olympic medal-winning yachtsman said he expected the new boats to be stunning to watch and a real handful for the crews – despite being made up of some of the best sailors in the world – to master.

“I think this boat will turn heads for sure,” he said. “I’m expecting it to be the most exciting boat that I have ever sailed – a 75-foot foiling monohull. The predicted speeds of these boats are really quite phenomenal, and it is going to be a huge challenge and a huge adrenaline rush to sail them well.”

The team that will have to wait a bit longer to feel the rush of flying the AC75 is the second American challenger- Stars + Stripes Team USA, led by Mike Buckley.

“Our plan is to launch our AC75 later this year, but the exact date is still to be determined,” Buckley said. “The other teams’ anticipated launch dates are a little bit prior to that, and we will definitely have boots on the ground, and we’ll be trying to learn as much as we can while our boat is under construction.

“The most exciting day for me is the day when we put this AC75 in the water and make sure she floats. Then we will take a deep breath and say: ‘well we have a boat that floats – now let’s make sure we have a boat that flies”.

“There will be a lot of hard work on the back end of that, Buckley said. “Every day we will be trying to get a little bit better and keeping the fire burning in the team. We will be hungry and we will be pushing, like everybody else.

Although the precise timing of when individual teams might splash their AC75s for the first time is a closely guarded secret, it is likely that they will conduct one or more unannounced ‘private’ test sails, potentially followed by a more public official launch or naming ceremony.

For now that’s going to keep sailing fans around the world guessing as they eagerly await the first glimpses of what the AC75s will look like.

The good news though, is that under the rules of this cycle of the America’s Cup the teams are not allowed to shroud their boats with skirts or covers, meaning there should be plenty for us all – the fans and the teams – to discuss when the photos and videos are finally made public.

maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron announces key dates for 150th celebrations

maxon Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow their progress on their journey as Defenders in the 36th America’s Cup campaign in March 2021.

A plethora of events will be held throughout 2021 to mark the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s 150 years, which also coincides with Auckland hosting the 36th America’s Cup.

Throughout the clubs amazing 150 year history it has led the world of yachting in many respects, being the only club to win, lose and then win back the world’s oldest sporting trophy – The America’s Cup.  It has trained many world champions in various disciplines of the sport.  The largest sporting club in New Zealand also runs a variety of volunteer programs that will be essential to the delivery of what will be a bumper 2021.

Visitors and locals alike can be assured of an exciting and diverse calendar including J Class racing, superyacht regattas, as well as offshore and New Zealand based races.

RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young is thrilled with the events secured in the calendar so far, and with the other events that are close to being added to the 150th year calendar.

“We have already added some really great events, and pencilled in some others, throughout the America’s Cup period and for the duration of the year that we believe our membership base and the entire country can really get behind.”

Kicking the sesquicentenary celebrations off with a race to Kawau Island on New Year’s Eve 2020 which will be followed by the Kawau New Year’s Day Regatta, and then by a Kawau to Great Barrier Cruise from the 3rd – 6th of January.

The Squadron has also secured two offshore races for their 150th year. The first is a race from Sydney to Auckland in conjunction with the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, starting on the 1st of February. The second is a race from Auckland to Southport Yacht Club in Queensland, starting on the 1st of June.

In what is one of the most anticipated additions to the calendar, the Squadron is hopeful of a number of J Class Yachts coming to New Zealand with planned sailing in the Bay of Islands in February, and in Auckland 1st to 6th of March.  There is strong interest from the class already with entries now open for them to commit to these events.

The J Class yachts will be a spectacular sight and will add a great deal of excitement for the general public and especially for avid sailing fans during the America’s Cup period.  The J Class yachts are 40-45 metres long and have a crew of 30 plus professional sailors on board. They were used in the America’s cup during the 1930’s period.

There will be an abundance of Superyachts joining in the celebrations, with a Superyacht regatta locked in for the 25th – 27th February that the RNZYS is organising in Auckland, which will likely be the biggest that has ever been seen on New Zealand waters.

These visitors will inject millions into the local economy, creating jobs along the way.  The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will ensure they have plenty to do whilst in New Zealand to support this.  For visiting superyachts the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron also offers full logistical support to ensure their time in New Zealand is as stress free as possible. They simply contact superyachtsupport@rnzys.org.nz to have anything required arranged.

Dates are to be confirmed for the America’s Cup Christmas Regatta and the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series in January /February 2021.

The biggest event of the year is the 36th America’s Cup match which will see its opening weekend in Auckland on March 6th and 7th 2021.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager, Destination Steve Armitage says 2021 is going to be an unprecedented year for the region.

“Auckland is gearing up to host a mega year of events starting with the 36th America’s Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons 150th and finishing with APEC Leaders’ Week. There will also be a diverse array of international sporting events such as the Women’s Rugby and Cricket World Cups, World Softball Championships, the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, along with the exciting annual events calendar,” he says.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the world here and showing off Auckland’s stunning natural attributes, culture and city sophistication.”

There are also two more globally recognized events that are in the pipeline, as RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young explains – “We have formally invited the 52 Super Series fleet to join us from Europe for an official 52 Super Series regatta, as well as the 12m fleet to join us from Europe and USA to celebrate our big year with us. Whilst shipping is a considerable cost for both of these fleets to get to NZ, we are hopeful that Kiwis will get to see them both racing here in 2021.”

Writer and sailing historian Ivor Wilkins is currently putting together a beautiful coffee table style book that will chronicle the entire 150 year history of the RNZYS, as well as including the 150th year celebrations, which will be released on the 2nd of October 2021. The Squadron is also in the works to have a special commemorative coin, and other precious memorabilia that will be available for all to purchase and cherish.

“The team at the RNZYS are very busy working behind the scenes to get all of the planned events fixed in the calendar.  Entries are now open for the major events, so stay tuned for more dates and details to be announced in the coming weeks.” – RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young.

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

Source: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, 19 June 2019

Update: Emirates Team New Zealand

maxon Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow their progress on their journey as Defenders in the 36th America’s Cup campaign in March 2021.

America’s Cup cheat sheet – two years on.

Emirates Team New Zealand June 28, 2019.

SOURCE: Newsroom – Suzanne McFadden

It’s exactly two years since Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup in Bermuda, and a lot of water has flowed under Te Wero Bridge, in Auckland’s Viaduct, since then.

A radical foiling monohull has been conceived, and is now coming to life in boatyards around the world. Battles over bases have been lost, and won. Teams have come, teams have gone.

But if you’ve lost touch with the goings-on of the 36th America’s Cup, we’ve called on the assistance of Team NZ veteran Kevin Shoebridge, to help remedy that; so you can now sound up to speed with your yachting mates at the water cooler. SportsRoom presents The 2021 America’s Cup cheat sheet: two years gone, less than two to go.

THE DEFENDER

Team NZ are running like a “well-oiled machine”, says Shoebridge, the team’s COO. But that’s what you’d expect from an outfit whose genesis goes back beyond 1995, and who hit the ground running from the moment they came home with the Auld Mug.

Their team now numbers 120 (with a few bodies more to come), and are fully ensconced in their two HQs – their spectacular main base in the Viaduct Events Centre, and the boat building yard in Albany.

Of those, 42 people are in the boatyard, building the first of their two AC75 extreme racing machines (it’s the first time in Team NZ’s history that they’ve built their own boats).

The building process is well on track for the initial boat to be launched in late August, although Shoebridge admits it’s taken slightly longer than Team NZ envisaged.

They now have their mast, made at Southern Spars in Auckland’s west, and are awaiting the delivery from Italy of the massive foil arms (that look like the legs of a Jesus Christ lizard running across water) which support the boat when it’s flying.

The team are at 95 per cent capacity, with the last of the sailing crew to still be named. So far, there’s a core crew of eight (11 sailors will be on board the AC75), with the rest of the grinders – to be named this week – bringing it up to around 14. Yes, grinders are back in; cyclors are out (watch the grinding trials in the video above).

“The core sailing team – the likes of Glenn Ashby, Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Ray Davies – have been intricately involved in the design process of the boat; you can’t design a boat without your sailors,” Shoebridge says.

While they wait for the boat to touch down on the Waitemata Harbour, the sailors are racing around the world. Burling and Tuke are off this week to a 49er regatta in Germany, preparing to defend their Olympic title in Tokyo next year; Ashby is racing the G32 foiling multihulls world champs in Portugal; Andy Maloney and Josh Junior have just finished a successful European season in their Olympic Finn dinghies.

Unlike the three established challenger teams, Team NZ decided not to build a test boat – a scaled-down foiling monohull – opting to “sail” their boat on a simulator, as they did with major success before Bermuda.

“The simulator side of things has given us some really good insights into what the boat’s performances will be. Some of the numbers we are seeing at the moment are quite in excess of the 50-foot catamarans we used last time, both upwind and downwind,” Ashby told Stuff.

So the sailing team are itching to finally get back on the Hauraki Gulf.

“It feels like it’s time to get out there again. Time to split off from the infrastructure and the event, and finally focus on the sailing,” Shoebridge says.

They won’t have long to wait now.

THE CHALLENGERS

As it stands, five teams are still in the running to race in the Prada Cup, the America’s Cup challenger series, in January 2021. But in a week’s time, the number of challengers could be slashed to three.

There’s no danger of losing the trio of challenging heavyweights – Italy’s Luna Rossa, Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK, and American Magic from the hallowed New York Yacht Club.

But two of the three late challengers that were accepted, Stars + Stripes USA and DutchSail, have until July 1 to confirm their commitment to the Cup. It’s no secret both teams have struggled to find the financial backing needed to get a new campaign on the water.

“We’re trying to be as supportive as we can to get these two teams across the line, because we all want them to succeed,” Shoebridge says. “The issue is that, sooner or later, they’re going to run out of time to build a boat and be in Cagliari next April to race in the first World Series event.”

Teams must race in that first event if they’re to compete in the 2021 challenger trials in Auckland.

The Stars + Stripes team, out of Long Beach, California, have had a recent change in management, and launched a public appeal for funding. A campaign big on diversity and inclusion, their boat is about halfway through construction, thanks to buying the Team NZ design package.

The first-ever campaign from the Netherlands is still endeavouring to form partnerships with Dutch tech and marine companies, but say that behind the scenes, “everything is really progressing”. They don’t intend to launch their sole boat, Salamander, until next March – at least six months after everyone else.

“They [Stars + Stripes and DutchSail] are doing everything they can to be here, and that deserves our support,” Shoebridge says. “That’s why over the last six months we’ve tried to encourage them by helping design their boats, which we see as an absolute no-brainer. It gives them something to sell, and prove they can be competitive from day one.”

The third late entry, Malta Altus Challenge, withdrew last month. The campaign out of Malta, backed by an Italian real estate mogul, and made up mostly of the old Swedish Artemis team, couldn’t pull enough money together.

THE BOAT

While the four top teams plough on with building their new AC75 foiling monohulls, the three established challengers are out testing their scaled-down versions – which, interestingly, are all very different in shape and size.

American Magic are sailing “The Mule” – an 11.5m monohull modified with foils – off their winter sailing base on Pensacola Bay in Florida. The 38-footer is the longest surrogate boat allowed under the Cup Protocol (teams can only launch two AC75s, which are 22.8m long).

And although they’ve capsized it, they’ve also been crowing about sailing ‘dry laps’, without the hull touching the water.

Ineos Team UK’s test boat, “T5”, is smaller at 8.5 m – scaled at 40 percent of the AC75. The two-crew boat has been sailing off Portsmouth for a year now as part of their design development for the Cup boat.

Just last week, Luna Rossa put their test boat into the waters of Cagliari – the team’s base in Sardinia – for the first time, and in true America’s Cup fashion, they’re revealing little about it.

But rest assured, Team NZ has been watching all three boats very closely. Especially since they haven’t built one themselves.

“We decided not to go down that route,” Shoebridge says. “In the initial plan, there was a World Series event in October this year, and we wanted to put all our focus into building our first AC75.

“It would have been nice to have a smaller boat to iron out a few of the bugs, but we’re going straight to full scale.”

But there’s still a “very good likelihood” that Team NZ will build a smaller boat for testing ideas – because it’s quicker, cheaper and more efficient.  And they will need something to develop things on while their brand new AC75 heads to Europe in February and will be away racing for six months.

It won’t be long now till we see the AC75s edging out of their boatyards for the very first time.

Under the protocol, the boats could be launched any time from April 1. But a hold-up with the design of the boat’s foil arms – a one-design component provided to every team – has slowed up everyone’s boat building phase.

When the original carbon foil arm failed a stress test in Italy, all of the teams came together to design a stronger version.  “Now [we’ve] got a solution everyone is happy with. Of course, it’s slightly heavier and more conservative, but it’s reliable,” Shoebridge says.

He’s guessing the British boat will be the first in the water in early August. Only the Italians have announced their launch date – August 25. Team NZ will be around that time too – they’re fourth in line to receive their foil arms.

“It’s going to be fascinating when we see these boats launched. They might all be similar, but they could be completely different. As the second generation comes around, you’ll probably see the boats coming closer together in design,” Shoebridge says.

When we see the AC75s line up against each other for the first time next April, Shoebridge warns we shouldn’t get too concerned about what happens on the water. “There’s a long way to go from the first generation to where you could end up.”

When the boats compete in that Cagliari World Series, the second boats will already be half-built. All of the teams’ second boats are likely to be on the water in the New Zealand spring of 2020, with most teams probably settling here in September.

THE EVENT

The first of the America’s Cup World Series events, raced between the challengers and the defender, was originally scheduled for Cagliari this October, but has been postponed until April 2020.

Part of the reason was the hold-up of the one-design foil arms; another part was to allow the late challengers to have AC75s ready to compete. But the date shift also gives teams more time on the water working out how to master these new beasts.

“The fact is our first AC75 goes onto a ship next February and takes 52 days to get to Europe; then we won’t see it back in Auckland for another six months,” Shoebridge says.

There will be three, possibly four, World Series events next year – with regattas likely in the UK, the US, and maybe one in New Zealand.

That’s all before the Christmas Cup, in December 2020, contested on the Hauraki Gulf racecourses pegged out for the 2021 America’s Cup. That will be the last time the challengers and defender compete together.

The company running the entire event in Auckland, America’s Cup Event Ltd (ACE), is operating from the second floor of the Viaduct Events Centre, with former Team NZ director Tina Symmans as chair.

THE VILLAGE

From the yellow meeting room inside Team NZ’s sprawling base on Halsey Wharf, Shoebridge looks west to the Harbour Bridge.

“You look out this window and see work on the bases for the Brits and American Magic on Wynyard Point,” he says.

The flattened base pads, where silos once stood, should be handed over in early August to those two challengers, who will construct their own buildings.

“Then you look out those windows,” he says, pointing to the east, “and there’s construction on Hobson Wharf, and the breakwaters and marinas”.

The Wynyard Edge Alliance (WEA), the organisation formed by the government and Auckland Council to deliver the infrastructure, is in full flight.

The dull banging of a pile driver is continuous, as 84 piles are installed for the Hobson Wharf extension, where Luna Rossa’s base will stand. A completed breakwater alongside the wharf will help still the waters around the Viaduct Harbour, and more are under construction. The entrance to the channel has been dredged – so far over 60,000 cubic metres of “material” has been dug out and disposed of outside the harbour.

“This America’s Cup village is going to be a very cool environment, that we’re super-proud of,” Shoebridge says.

Team NZ are in the Viaduct Events Centre for the “foreseeable future” – maybe until they lose their grip on the silverware. Although this wasn’t Team NZ’s original choice of base – finally fixed after six months of tense negotiations between the team, Government and council – Shoebridge concedes “it’s the best base we’ve ever had”.

There will be more public engagement with the team than ever before. People will be able to easily see New Zealand’s boats being craned in and out of the shed each day, and large screens on the side of the base will broadcast live racing. The Team NZ merchandise shop is already open and humming on the ground floor.

The team are all together on the top floor, keeping the open plan environment that worked so well for them in their old cramped space on Beaumont St in the last campaign. Just with more leg room.

There’s already a hive of activity at the northern end of the building, transformed into a working boat yard, although the boats have yet to arrive.

“The docks are in, the dredging is done,” Shoebridge says. “As soon as we have the boat here, we’re ready to sail.”

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