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maxon motor joins Emirates Team New Zealand as Official Supplier

Current Defenders of the America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand, will be competing in the 36th America’s Cup Match in Auckland from 6-21 March 2021. maxon motors’ technical assistance will be a key factor towards success.

maxon motor is delighted to announce that it will be an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup Defence, including the America’s Cup World Series events and Christmas Race. Three times winner of the America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand were the first non-American competitor to successfully Defend the trophy. Their vigorous defence of the 36th Americas Cup will be assisted with the support of maxon DC motors.  The America’s Cup AC75 Class Rule allows the use of electric motors to operate hydraulic valves, drive clutches, rudders and foils. Teams may also use motors for driving simulator platforms and numerous test jigs.

maxon motor Australia Managing Director, Brett Motum, has been working with key members of the Emirates Team New Zealand’s design and engineering team. “The motors selected have high power density and they are configured to operate under extreme conditions. The DC motors are also at the forefront of technology like the nation of New Zealand, they are also small but powerful. The Emirates Team New Zealand designers and engineers cannot afford any compromise in their vision and maxon motor is excited to assist Emirates Team New Zealand to realise their full potential.

Emirates Team New Zealand Design Engineer, Luke McAllum said “In our search for a compact, and powerful electric DC motor, maxon motors stood out head and shoulders from its competitors. During the initial specification and feasibility studies the team at maxon motor Australia have been outstanding and very knowledgeable. We are looking forward to an exciting and innovative collaboration over the next two years developing key components on the race boat in our quest to defend the Americas Cup.”     

For more information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. + 61 2 9457 7477 and visit the Emirates Team New Zealand site.

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maxon motor unveil new online support center

The Swiss drive specialist have expanded their after sales support. Search for answers within Technical support, Product knowledge, Sales support and Tutorials.

To assist our customers understand the DC drive systems within their applications, maxon motor have created an online center. This offers support not just for the maxon product itself but takes into account the application and system environment. If there is an error state present or a component not behaving as expected, there might be an endless number of possible root causes…

Real-time support is available worldwide by contacting your local maxon motor subsidiary. The center is focused on easy navigation for faster solutions to your questions.

To visit the support centee click on https://support.maxonmotor.com/hc/en-us or for assistance Australia-wide contact +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon DC motors venture deep beneath the surface of Mars.

Landing on Mars on 26 November 2018 was NASA’s InSight mission to Mars. The InSight probe is used in the analysis of the formation of rocky planets, involving driving a measuring probe five meters deep into the ground. maxon engineers pulled out all the stops to make their motor fit for the job.

The robotic InSight probe landed on Mars on November 26. If all goes according to plan, the stationary lander will proceed to carry out various measurements over a period of two years and provide important insights into Mars and the formation of Earth. The mission is being conducted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA.

Motor rams penetrometer 5 meters deep into the ground

DC motors from the Obwalden-based drive specialist maxon motor are also on board. A compact motor-gearhead combination with a diameter of 22 millimeters is used in the HP3 probe developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It is designed to determine the temperature profile of the planet. Specifically, the maxon drive is located in a rod-shaped penetrometer, nicknamed “the Mole” by the developers. This penetrometer is autonomously driven five meters into the ground. To achieve this, the motor tensions a spring with each revolution. The spring then releases with great force, executing a powerful downward punch. In this way, the “Mole” gradually burrows downwards – over a period of several weeks, pulling along a cable that is equipped with sensors to help the researchers determine the thermal state of the interior of Mars and draw conclusions about its origin. Since Mars is a rocky planet like Earth, the scientific results may also help gain a better understanding of our own planet.

Special solution for more than 400 g

Mars is not a very friendly environment for technology. Nonetheless, more than a hundred maxon drives have already proven their worth on the Red Planet. The current InSight mission, however, posed additional challenges for the Swiss engineers. To efficiently drive the penetrometer into the ground, the DC motor needs to withstand forces in excess of 400 g – and more than 100,000 times. It took a number of variations and failed tests to find the right solution. The result is a standard DCX 22 motor, greatly modified with additional welding rings, bearing welds and specially shortened brushes. The utilised GP 22 HD gearhead, on the other hand, only needed Mars-specific lubrication.

Say hello to an old acquaintance

The InSight probe is powered by two solar panels for the duration of its mission. To save costs, JPL repurposed designs from the successful Phoenix mission, using a maxon DC motor developed some time ago to extend the solar panels. This type of motor, an RE 25, has ensured that NASA’s Opportunity rover has been active on Mars for more than 14 years (even if it is currently in deep sleep due to a sandstorm). Thus, two generations of maxon drives come together in the InSight robot probe to jointly contribute to the mission’s success.

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

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.

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.

Unlocking the secrets of the spine.

Research and development into the spinal cord has taken an unconventional approach at The Swiss Institute of Technology.

Our brain is the central processing unit of our motor skills and functions. But it does not control our physical movements alone. The contribution that our spinal cord makes to our physical actions has driven two investigative questions from a team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne – How do these motor circuits work and what is the underlying control mechanisms for the movement of vertebrates? To better understand the secrets of the spinal cord, they have a dedicated Lab, called the Biorobotics Laboratory or Biorob for short. Here, they build robots to better understand mobility in living beings, drawing inspiration from many different animals where motor control happens mostly in the spinal cord. From this they built a robot called the Pleurobot, based on a Salamander. Powered by 27 maxon brushless frameless DC motors the robot can move on land and in water seamlessly mimicking the actions of the amphibian. Primarily its use is to assist with understanding how the nervous system in a spinal chord operates and will assist research in the neurosciences and biomechanical fields contributing to neuroprosthetics and paraplegia therapies.

For further information contact maxon motor Australia Tel. +61 2 9457 7477 or visit the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s BioRob Page – Pleurobot.

Nature inspiring robotics

For many, many years nature has inspired engineers in evolving and enhancing technology to create powerful and proficient robots. Here are some examples of current creative developments.

Birds, Dogs, Snakes and Elephants are just some of the animals inspiring mechatronic engineers to design state of the art robots. Here maxon takes a closer look.

The bionic bird A French company has developed a bionic bird toy that can be controlled with a smartphone. A lightweight 9 grams, the bird can achieve speeds of up to 20 km/h and has a range covering more than 100 metres. The bird presents an alternative to propeller drones.

bionic bird

ANYmal Engineers at ETH Zurich developed a four-legged robot that was made for very harsh conditions and can move autonomously. Since its inception in 2009, ANYmal has evolved into machine that can conquer inclines, run, jump and press elevator buttons. Using laser sensors and cameras, the robot continuously creates a map of its terrain, knows where it is and navigates through the changing landscape. Weighing around 30 kg it can carry a payload up to 10kg and run for 2 hours on a fully charged battery. The future use for the ANYmal is expected for inspections, rescue operations or the entertainment industry.

anymal

The underwater snake

A modular underwater robot snake has been developed for use in inspections, maintenance and repair work reaching distances and places that conventional underwater robots are unable to reach. The robot is flexible and has moving connecting parts with the option of mounting tools. Inside the connecting modules are maxon brushless DC motors with customised gearheads. The underwater robot has been in constant development for 10 years with the current model reliant on a cable. Future versions include keeping the robot on the bottom of the ocean indefinitely at a docking station from where it can launch into action when needed.

underwater snake

SnakeBot

This robot was named so because it moves like a snake. With a diameter of 6cm it can fit into narrow spaces making it suitable for inspection in unstable environments such as after earthquakes. With independent modules the SnakeBot can also climb up plant legs and posts. There are approx.. 20 maxon EC20 flat brushless motors in the snake, selected for both their high torque and ability to withstand short periods of overload.

snakebot

BionicMotionRobot

This robot is modelled on an octopus’s tentacles and elephant’s trunk. With skin made of innovative fibre technology this robot offers flexible movement that can bend in three different directions at the same time. The robot is pneumatic and lightweight with 12 degrees of freedom and can carry up to three kilos of payload.

octophant

For further information on any of these examples please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Design considerations for an exoskeleton for children

Developing Exoskeletons for children present their own engineering challenges simply because children are still growing.

Exoskeletons were largely developed for people that have sustained paralysis or suffer muscular dystrophy. For adults who have stopped growing there is no risk of outgrowing the exoskeleton. However for children their growth and ability present a multitude of challenges for design engineers. An exoskeleton that fits a six-year old perfectly may be much too small by the time the child turns seven. For a child with spinal muscular atrophy an exoskeleton is designed to recognise users are not completely paralysed but are able to move their legs to a certain extent. Sensors within the frame detect weak leg movements and respond immediately to provide support. As a result, the child is able control the exoskeleton directly with the legs.

Spanish company, Marsi Bionics, manufactures exoskeletons mainly for adults but have developed two exoskeletons for children, the Atlas 2020 and Atlas 2030. Weighing approximately 14 kgs it is made for children from 3 years up who have a neuromuscular disease. The exoskeleton can be adapted to various leg lengths and hip widths, so that it also fits teenagers up to about 14 years of age. The “Atlas 2030 is an upgrade of Atlas 2020”, explains Elena García, creator and co-founder of Marsi Bionics. “The main difference is that Atlas 2020 is intended for use in hospitals for gait training and rehabilitation, while Atlas 2030 is designed for use in private homes as an integral part of the patient’s everyday life. Both devices are ready for industrial production and until then, Atlas 2020 will continue to be used in hospitals for clinical research.”

maxon motor have five drive systems in each leg of the children’s exoskeleton. Brushless flat EC45 motors deliver very high torque in a compact design, coupled with inductive MILE encoders that act as sensors. The motors are controlled by servo controllers from maxon’s ESCON series.  “EC flat motors provide the best power-to-weight and power-to-volume ratio”, explained Elena García. “This is a variable of paramount importance, as gait exoskeletons require high power but a very low weight and volume.” The exoskeletons will be made available commercially once CE certification marks have been received.

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

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