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A new docking system for space rendezvous

The European Space Agency (ESA) is working on a new system to enable easy docking between two spacecraft. maxon developed two special drive systems for this purpose.

Even though it’s been done many times before, the docking manoeuvre between two objects in space is always a delicate and potentially dangerous procedure. The speed is extremely high (about 28,000 km/h in case of the ISS), and corrections are difficult. For example, when the two objects are about to meet, manoeuvring thrusters can no longer be used, since their exhaust plumes can cause damage. To prevent harm, cargo transporters are caught by a robotic arm installed in the International Space Station (ISS) and berthed manually. Manned spacecraft on the other hand dock directly in a computer-controlled process.

This type of docking manoeuvre is going to become easier and safer in the future, so the European Space Agency (ESA) has commissioned its industry partners to design a new docking system called IBDM (International Berthing and Docking Mechanism). This conforms to the International Docking System Standard (IDSS), a standard on which the leading space agencies worldwide have agreed. The system will therefore be compatible with the ISS and most other spacecraft. The mechanism’s first missions will be with the Dream Chaser, a craft that looks like a compact version of the Space Shuttle and will soon perform cargo flights to the ISS. The craft is being developed by the Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Docking energy is absorbed

The IBDM is an androgynous coupling system. This means that the connector is identical on both sides. It consist of a hard inner ring (Hard Capture System) and a soft outer ring (Soft Capture System) that has six degrees of freedom and force sensors. The outer ring first absorbs the docking energy. Then the final airtight connection is made and secured by mechanical hooks which pull the two spacecraft tightly together.

SENER is in charge of developing and installing the Hard Capture System. The company is currently working on the qualification model, which is due for testing in 2020. “Then the IBDM needs to be used as quickly as possible on a supply flight for the ISS,” says SENER’s Gabriel Ybarra. One of the next steps would be to use it in NASA’s Lunar Space Station, which is planned to go into orbit around the moon and could serve as a launch point for manned missions to Mars in the future.

Dual systems for maximum safety

This is a challenging project for the engineers at SENER: “We first needed to fully understand all the requirements set by ESA and NASA and figure out how to fulfill these requirements. And especially with regard to safety, because the docking mechanism can also cope with manned flights.” As well as being lightweight and delivering the required torque, the electrical drives that are used must also be extremely reliable. This is why SENER has been working with the drive specialist maxon for several years.

maxon’s engineers have developed two drives for SENER that can be used to execute a huge variety of functions. This first drive consists of two brushless EC-4pole motors and a GPX UP gearhead. Twelve of these actuators power the locking hooks in the IBDM docking mechanism. The second drive combines a flat motor with a planetary gearhead. It is used in eleven places, to manage the plug-in connections and the retaining eyes, as well as other ancillary functions.

As the IBDM docking mechanism is a flight-critical application, redundant drive systems are required. The backup must function even if the primary drive fails. This is often solved by means of a backup motor that can take over in an emergency. This is the approach used for the locking hook actuator. For the other drive system however, the maxon engineers found a different, unconventional solution: an additional stator is used instead of an extra motor. The flat motor therefore has two stators and hence two windings, each of which is capable of independently driving the rotor – an ingenuous solution, which guarantees safety while saving space.

Gabriel Ybarra praises the collaboration with maxon: “The team understands our requirements and is very quick with design modifications.” Moreover, both partners have a passion for mechatronic systems. “It feels great to be involved in the entire cycle, from design to production and testing. This makes it extremely interesting. And when the system moves for the first time, it’s like watching your children take their first steps.”

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

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MND New Zealand announced as official charity of Emirates Team New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand are to partner with MND New Zealand (the Motor Neurone Disease Association of New Zealand) as the official charity of the Team for the 36th America’s Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand June 18, 2019.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) causes the muscles that enable us to move, speak, swallow and breathe to gradually stop working. New Zealand has the highest known rate of MND in the world, with an average of 2 people diagnosed each week and well over 300 people living with the condition.

Emirates Team New Zealand have first-hand experience witnessing the devastation of MND through team mate and former Emirates Team New Zealand Director and current Director of America’s Cup Event Ltd (ACE) Greg Horton.

“Greg has been and continues to be an undeniable inspiration to the team while fighting MND” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton.

“Whilst the disease is having a devastating effect on him physically he has always remained so strong and optimistic despite his personal hardship, he contributed to our success in winning the Cup in Bermuda, and he still manages to undertake his vital role towards the planning for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.”

Greg is also a member of the National Council of the not-for-profit charity MND New Zealand which supports people living with MND, their family and carers and health professionals to enable them to have the best quality of life possible.

“MND New Zealand is a vital part of the support network for those with MND and their families.   Emirates Team New Zealand put its hand up early after my diagnosis with team members offering support to me and my family in any way possible, and it is great to formalise a broader support basis today with Emirates Team New Zealand coming on board as our charity partner.” explained Horton.

MND New Zealand General Manager Carl Sunderland says it is a huge honour to be the Official Charity of Emirates Team New Zealand.

“We rely almost completely on the generosity of the New Zealand community to continue to provide free, personalised support to people living with MND, their carers and families and this partnership will help raise awareness of this devastating disease and the vital work we do.”

MND New Zealand also proudly funds vital research at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland and supports the latest genetics study led by Dr. Emma Scotter.

“MND New Zealand. Together with the Royal Society of NZ and several generous kiwi organisations and families, fund our research into the causes and possible cures of MND. Although the brain tissues of New Zealanders who die from MND show the expected signs of the disease, our research has uncovered a higher rate of MND in New Zealand than in the rest of the world. Our next step is a nationwide genetics study, also supported by MND New Zealand, to determine if our high rates relate to unique genetic factors in New Zealanders.” Said Dr Scotter.

As part of its support for MND New Zealand, Emirates Team New Zealand is giving MND New Zealand a full immersion day at Emirates Team New Zealand as an auction item to be auctioned off at The Grocery Charity Ball in September.

“Through Greg you can see the amazing work MND New Zealand do for the 300+ New Zealanders that are living with MND so we are really proud to be supporting them and everything they do” concluded Grant Dalton.

To make a donation to help MND New Zealand, please go to www.mnd.org.nz

For further information on DC motors for use in underwater and extreme environments please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Update on the InSight rover on Mars

maxon DC motors are currently on Mars, helping collect vital information on the Red Planet.

On November 26, 2018 NASA’s InSight rover touched down on Mars. maxon DC motors went straight into action to unfold the two solar panels, securing the energy supply that operates the all-important probe. There are two main instruments onboard InSight, a seismometer to measure potential quakes on Mars and a heat sensor designed to drill down five meters into the ground. The sensor was developed by German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). Its rod digs into the hard soil using a hammer mechanism, driven by a DCX motor from maxon. The rate of boring down strongly depends on the composition of the soil, which hasn’t been ideal, the rod hit an obstruction in the very first hammering cycle. However, the engineers at DLR are confident these complexities can be overcome and that the sensor will reach the projected depth.

To efficiently drive the penetrometer into the ground, the DC motor needed 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 GP 22 HD gearhead, on the other hand, only needed Mars-specific lubrication.

InSight’s mission is to carry out several measurements over a period of two years and provide insights into Mars and the formation of Earth. The mission is being conducted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA.

For more information on DC motors and gearheads that withstand exceptionally harsh environments, strong vibrations and extreme temperatures contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Getting ready for CYBATHLON 2020

maxon is a Presenting Partner at the second CYBATHLON event in Zurich.

Due to take place on May 2nd and 3rd, 2020, the CYBATHLON is an exciting event run by ETH Zurich where people with physical disabilities compete against each other, overcoming everyday obstacles and showcasing state-of-the-art technical assistance systems. The competition presents new challenges (eg. the wheelchair circuit now includes opening a door with the aid of a robotic arm) and spans six disciplines:

  1. virtual racing using thought control
  2. bicycle racing with electrical muscle stimulation (FES)
  3. dexterity challenges with prosthetic arms
  4. obstacle course with prosthetic legs
  5. obstacle course with robotic exoskeletons
  6. obstacle course for powered wheelchairs.

maxon supported CYBATHLON in 2016 as a Partner. Among other contributions, the trainees of the company built a height-adjustable podium. maxon were keen to join the second event this time as a Presenting Partner. CEO Eugen Elmiger says: “We believe that excellent engineers with a curiosity for new things can make the world a better place. This is why maxon has supported this right from the start.” The company is involved in many of the participating teams, offering support with discounted drives and know-how through its Young Engineers Program. For more information please see https://drive.tech

Nearly all availability across the six disciplines has been taken, with two thirds of the teams coming from universities. The teams are currently in the development and testing stage setting their sights on successfully overcoming the obstacle course in a year’s time. Tickets are available now, for more information please visit www.cybathlon.com.

For more information on robotic technical assistance systems, such as DC motor and drive systems for prosthetics, exoskeletons or wheelchairs please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Geared motor for use in large transport wipers.

A robust geared motor up to 220V DC and 230V AC for vehicles across the transport, marine, rail and haulage industries.

The new VIPER3 motor from Parvalux is a high power and reliable geared DC and AC motor solution that has been designed and built to withstand the unrelenting environments that transport sectors face. With IP Protection options ranging from IP42 to IP56, its proven to work constantly in hostile environments. The VIPER3 can comfortably operate when confronted with dust, liquid, high & low temperatures and broad variances in humidity. This design is tailored to vehicles across the rail, marine, haulage and transport sectors. The system can be found on many of the world’s fastest trains and even powers the wipers on the world’s largest passenger ship.

For applications with space constraints the VIPER3 measures at 280 x 126 x 145mm and comes with multiple mounting options allowing it to be easily installed. This, combined with internal wiring and an enclosed commutation brush design, makes this self-contained, IP54 rated, geared motor the ideal solution for use in a large wiper system. The large brush design reduces wear on the brushes in higher speed modes ensuring the VIPER3 works continuously and reliably. A one piece worm spindle, the use of composite materials and a larger diameter gear reduce the wear on the system compared to competitor offerings.

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

maxon motor acquired British-based Parvalux Electric Motors Ltd in December 2018. Parvalux has been in operation for more than 70 years, covering three production sites across the UK with more than 185 employees. The new technologies available to maxon include AC motors, worm gearboxes and DC drives with power ranges up to 1.5 kW.

HP to drive peak performance for Emirates Team New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand 16 April, 2019.

HP today announced its strengthened collaboration with Emirates Team New Zealand, rejoining for the 36th America’s Cup campaign as an Official Sponsor.

The new level of support will see HP’s logo grace the foils of the boat, while ushering in another three years of innovation through HP technology for Emirates Team New Zealand.

“As the Official PC and Print Technology Supplier for AC35 in Bermuda, HP played an integral part in helping the design team model and simulate the revolutionary foiling catamaran designs. Now we’re taking our support a step further by becoming an Official Sponsor of Emirates Team New Zealand,” says Grant Hopkins, Managing Director of HP New Zealand.

“We’ve worked continuously with HP technology since 2014,” says Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand. “HP’s technical support and expertise has always been excellent. We’re excited to have their commitment behind us as we focus on winning the next America’s Cup.”

HP technology is used throughout the team, but particularly by the thirty engineers who make up the design team. HP workstations have enabled the engineers to work on structural analysis, fluid dynamics, software development, simulation and mechatronics – all integral to refining sailing performance ahead of race day.

“Although the AC campaign is three years long, development timescales are very short, and we will have to cycle through several generations of design to be competitive. We need powerful machines to provide overnight analysis of candidate designs, and fast processors to enable us to simulate the boat in real-time in our simulator,” says Dan Bernasconi, Head of Design for Emirates Team New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand will also be working with HP on emerging solutions in 3D printing, a new category HP is bringing to the NZ market. HP 3D print technology will help the team innovate at speed, by enabling parts to be printed and tested quickly using extremely durable and lightweight materials.

HP wide format print technology is used by Emirates Team New Zealand to print graphics on sails, buildings and other large surfaces, as well as the plans used by the boat builders to construct detailed designs.

“Our relationship with Emirates Team New Zealand is a true partnership. The HP local team take great pride in providing specialist technical advice to make sure Emirates Team New Zealand can forge ahead with their cup bid. Our company ethos of innovation, sustainability and fostering a growth culture are paralleled with the values of Emirates Team New Zealand, and we’re really excited to be back on-board with the team in a bigger capacity for the 2021 cup,” says Hopkins.

For further information on DC motors for use in underwater and extreme environments please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

New products available at maxon

Getting to know the range of AC geared motors from Parvalux.

At the end of 2018 maxon motor acquired Parvalux thus expanding the group’s portfolio with AC motors, worm gearboxes, and DC drives in the power range of up to 1.5kW. The alliance between the two companies enabled maxon to take another step towards becoming a provider of complete systems and Parvalux benefiting from maxon’s global sales network for its continued growth.

Parvalux products are found across hundreds of applications but they are particularly well known in transport, healthcare, mobility, leisure and across various industrial applications.

Particular specifications of the AC motor range include power ranges of 8 Watts to 315 KW, single and Three Phase power options, Parvalux and IEC Frames, asynchronous and synchronous single and two speed versions, IE2 and IE3 versions; all with the availability of die cast zinc alloy, aluminium and cast iron housing materials.

For further information on the AC range of Parvalux products visit https://www.parvalux.com/products/ac-products

For application assistance please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

New management structure at maxon

The mechatronic drive specialist has restructured its management boards to focus on global operations.

A truly global focus is the future direction of maxon motor. A newly created group management board and local management board at HQ in Sachseln will help to bring this together.

Maxon’s existing management board will be known as the group management board and will steer the 2,800 employees within the maxon group to focus on expanding sales, technology development and management of production sites. The local management board at HQ has been revamped. Daniel von Wyl, who headed the maxon medical unit for many years, is taking over as the local managing director at Sachseln.

There are two personnel changes in the group leadership: On January 1, 2019, Björn Axelsson joined the team. He assumes the newly created role of Group Human Resources Officer. COO Peter Grütter has been with maxon since 2013 and is leaving the group leadership to take up a different focus within maxon. Among other responsibilities, he will handle the integration of the British electric motor manufacturer Parvalux with approximately 180 employees, which was acquired by maxon at the end of 2018. Additionally,  he is in charge of developing the newly opened maxon production site in Taunton (USA).

Eugen Elmiger remains the CEO of the maxon group. He says: “We are glad that we have been able to convince Björn Axelsson to join the maxon team. In the newly created position of Group Human Resources Officer, he will play a critical role in moving our company forward. I would also like to thank Peter Grütter for his great commitment over the last five years, and I wish him the best of success in his new role.”

Members of the global maxon management:

  • Eugen Elmiger – Group CEO
  • Norbert Bitzi – Group CFO
  • Ulrich Claessen – Group Research & Development
  • Martin Zimmermann – Group Sales
  • Björn Axelsson – Group Human Resources

Members of the local Swiss management board:

  • Daniel von Wyl – managing director maxon motor ag, Sachseln
  • Roger Lagodny – head of accounting and controlling
  • Dominik Stockmann – head of development: motors & encoders
  • Patrik Gnos – head of development: motion control
  • Stefan Preier – head of human resources
  • Jürg Schneiter – head of production.

Geschäftsleitung_mmag_2019_450px.jpg

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

Coastguard, Communities throughout New Zealand and America’s Cup to benefit from Lotteries Fund

The Royal New Zealand Coastguard is set to benefit from the Lottery Fund for Community Benefit related to the 2021 America’s Cup to the tune of $9.8 million.

The fund will see a fleet of 26 boats, 24 Rayglass RIBs (rigid-inflatable boats) and two Salthouse powerboats, being built for the on-water operations running the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA.

At the conclusion of the America’s Cup Match in March 2021 the fleet will be distributed to Coastguard units throughout the country benefiting the safety of boaties around New Zealand’s vast coastline, major rivers and lakes.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said, “We are delighted this grant from the lottery fund will ultimately benefit Coastguard. They are the unsung heroes of our waters around the country and the timing of the delivery to Coastguard after the America’s Cup is ideal due to the combined fact that we will have no immediate use for the fleet post racing in 2021 but more importantly, a number of the Coastguard boats are due to be decommissioned in the same year.”

The Royal New Zealand Coastguard is staffed by volunteers stationed at 63 units around the country with 82 vessels in its current fleet. Coastguards rescue vessels operate in challenging conditions and although carefully maintained, have a limited working life so by 2021, many will be nearing the end of their operational life.

Coastguard CEO Patrick Holmes said the boats will help Coastguard continue its life-saving work on the water.

“As a charity, fundraising is a big part of what we do to replace boats in our fleet and for the ongoing training of our volunteers, which is vital when it comes to assisting people on the water,” Mr Holmes said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that will be cherished not only by our volunteers but by the public for many years to come.” Lotto New Zealand Chief Executive Chris Lyman offered his congratulations to Coastguard New Zealand, and is looking forward to following the impact these vessels will have in communities all around New Zealand.

“The positive impact these vessels will have on New Zealand communities cannot be underestimated, with each one helping Coastguard save countless lives at sea each year,” says Mr Lyman.

“Lotto NZ exists to generate funding for New Zealand communities and we’re proud that profits generated from our games support initiatives like this that make a real difference in local communities.” Lotto New Zealand’s profits are distributed back into Kiwi communities via the Lottery Grants Board, providing a major source of funding for sport and recreation, arts and culture, environment and heritage and community projects throughout New Zealand.

All of the boats will be constructed in New Zealand, benefiting the wider marine industry, and will be utilised for course marshalling, umpire boats, media and photo boats, as well as Emirates Team New Zealand chase boats to support the on-water operations of the new AC75 race boats. Following the New Zealand hosted America’s Cup in 2003, five Rayglass boats used to support the event were gifted to Coastguard- two vessels are still in operation in Great Barrier and Auckland but overdue for retirement.

Lotto New Zealand’s profits are distributed back into Kiwi communities via the Lottery Grants Board, providing a major source of funding for sport and recreation, arts and culture, environment and heritage, and community projects throughout New Zealand.

The boats to be used by America’s Cup Event Limited will have a logo in recognition of the Lottery contribution to the event and Coastguard.

Emirates Team New Zealand 15 January, 2019.

For further information on DC motors for use in underwater and extreme environments please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Defender and Challenger of Record progress AC36 planning

Source America’s Cup – The plans for the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada are progressing, with clearer guidelines now set for the future.

Following on from meetings held in Auckland last week between the Defender and Challenger of Record, an agreement has been reached to resolve a series of issues in the best interest of the event.

Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of the Prada Group and Chairman of the Challenger of Record met with the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in Auckland and an agreement was reached to resolve a number of pending issues, some of which were already before the Arbitration Panel.

Together they have agreed all current outstanding issues including a mutually agreed settlement to the America’s Cup Arbitration case filed on the 12th of February 2019 regarding the dispute on the validity of late entries. Under the settlement agreement an amendment to the Protocol allowing the deferred payment of the late entry fee has been agreed and the validity of the three late entry challenges accepted.

The settlement therefore clears the way for the Defender and Challenger of Record to continue to work progressively on planning the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada as well as all associated events between now and the end of the event in March 2021.

“We welcomed Mr. Bertelli and his team to Auckland and appreciated his positive engagement to the event. We share an overarching desire for this event in 2021, as well as all lead up events, to be remembered as the best America’s Cup ever,” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton.

“It is no secret there have been some outstanding issues that needed to be resolved, but the fact that Mr. Bertelli took the time to personally come down to Auckland is testament of the mutual respect between us, which bodes well for the event in general. The path is therefore now clear for the late entries to continue building their respective campaigns to try to participate and the Defender and Challenger of Record will give whatever support they can.”

Mr Bertelli and Grant Dalton also met with the Hon David Parker and Mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff to discuss the plans for the event and presented Mr. Bertelli’s vision for the America’s Cup village which were well received, details of which will be released in due course.

“It was an honour and a pleasure to meet the Hon David Parker MP and Mayor Goff, to share the Challenger of Record’s vision for the Event Village of 36th America’s Cup. This time spent in Auckland was very important for me to understand how to best integrate our event with the New Zealand culture and with its unique waterfront. It sends a strong signal of friendship and cooperation for the months to come,” said Patrizio Bertelli.

Download Amendment 03 to the Protocol of the 36th America’s Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand March 5th, 2019.

For further information on DC motors for use in underwater and extreme environments please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

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