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maxon Australia inspiring future engineers.

Head of R&D and Astrophysicist, Dr Carlos Bacigalupo, presented Q&A to children at a Northern Sydney primary school.

Corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of maxon Australia’s business. Beyond DC motors and drive systems, maxon recognises the importance of giving back to the community and the opportunity to inspire the future engineers, astrophysicists and designers of tomorrow. An engaging and lively Q&A session was held at a Primary School on Sydney’s leafy Upper North Shore on 13 August. Dr Bacigalupo was asked questions such as what are wormholes? How did the moon get made? Will Earth ever hit the sun? Will the sun ever die? What does the moon feel like?

The future engineers showed a particular interest in the scale of the Universe and there was a lot to talk about! maxon Australia has contributed to the software development of the TAIPAN instrument aimed to measure the expansion rate of the Universe to unprecedented precision. This world class instrument also relies on maxon DC motors to perform high precision measurements of the motion of distant galaxies. The audience enthusiastically learned about the successful, and sometimes not so successful, milestones of the development process.

For Dr Bacigalupo, answering the more than 400 questions extracted from not only his knowledge of planets and all things space but also from maxon’s involvement in the Aerospace industry, including the Mars Rovers and various aerospace applications.

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

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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.

Parvalux motor for use in the industrial automation industry.

With a long service life and reputation for reliability, this brushed DC motor is perfect for use in demanding industrial applications.

Parvalux’s PM50-25-GB0 family of brushed DC motors offer 30-100 W power, 12-220V, a speed rating of 1,500-8,000 RPM and are IP44/54 rated. The standard options can be modified to suit individual applications such as shaft variations, brakes, encoders, output flange options, various cable lengths, paint finishes and terminal boxes. These geared motors are found in a diverse range of industrial applications such as packaging machines, hoists, conveyor belts, automatic shutters and printing equipment. Reliability and service are critical in industrial applications thus Parvalux has a dedicated service, spares and repairs unit based centrally in Birmingham, UK. Parvalux became a part of the maxon group in December 2018.  For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Changes to the maxon pancake motor gives more torque

maxon have modified their EC90 flat DC motor.

The EC90 flat (pancake) 400W DC motor has been upgraded to allow a continuous current of 14.9 A. The re-design of the connector to a mega-fit version is suitable for up to 23 A current and the cable cross-section changes from AWG 16 to AWG 14. The open rotor supports cooling during operation, which allows for greater continuous torques.

The flat design of the brushless EC flat motors makes them the perfect solution for many applications, particularly those requiring high torque and control electronics. The considered, simple design makes it possible to largely automate the manufacturing and this is reflected in the DC motors economical price.

maxons brushless EC90 pancake motors range from 9.2mm to 90mm, 0.2 to 90w. For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Parvalux AC motors with dual worm gearheads.

New to the maxon motor Group, Parvalux bring unique combinations of AC motors fitted with multiple gearheads and sensors.

The SD series from Parvalux offers 240V AC solutions with the ability to mount multiple gearheads in the orientation to best suit the application. Combinations of inline planetary gearheads and right angle worm gearboxes not only offer flexibility of the shaft orientation for tight space constraints but also large variations in reduction ratio. This greatly increases the versatility of AC motors running in a fixed speed application. Made in the UK with high quality and backed up by the maxon group global sales and support network. The motors are available in single phase and three phase. The power range is from 315W to 8W and selection can be made between die cast zinc alloy or cast iron. Breaks, sensors, IEC flanges and foot mounts are all possible.

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

We are maxon

From July 1, 2019 maxon dropped the word “motor” from its name.

maxon is evolving from a manufacturer of motors and components into a specialist for precision drive sys-tems. Known simply as maxon from 1 July, the company is changing its corporate structure to position it-self as a powerful group with a worldwide presence and the capability to respond to specific local de-mands. With a focus on five core markets – medical technology, aerospace, industrial automation, trans-portation & e-mobility and robotics. maxon drives are used wherever the requirements are particularly high, for example, in NASA’s Mars rovers, surgical power tools, humanoid robots and in precision industrial applications. maxon’s expertise beyond drive technology consists of mechatronics, battery management systems and software & cloud services. At maxon Australia, a fully integrated service is on offer with the introduction of Dr Carlos Bacigalupo who is an expert in controller integration, system analysis and configuration assistance.

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

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.

maxon supplies automatic filter changer for super telescope

maxon has been selected to supply the optical filter changer system for what will soon be the largest wide field telescope in the world. The project, involving five French research laboratories, requires motors and controllers capable of working to an accuracy of 1/10th of a millimetre.

With its 8.4-meter mirror and 3.2 gigapixel camera (making it the biggest digital camera in the world), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a project that is defined by superlatives. Its mission? To extend the boundaries of the visible universe but also to tirelessly survey and map the universe for the next 10 years from the observatory on the summit of Cerro Pachón in Chile.

The LSST: the product of expertise from all over the world

To achieve its mission, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will photograph the entire sky several times each week, allowing it to catalogue changes and measure the movement of the celestial bodies. Its astronomical surveys will contribute to studies designed to elucidate the structure and evolution of the Solar System and Milky Way. The findings will also be applied in various research projects dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

Coordinated by the USA, the project has a budget of some USD 675 million (approximately EUR 600 million). Almost twenty countries will contribute to analysis of results with inputs from research laboratories from all around the world. Alongside the United States and Chile, France is playing an active part in the construction of the telescope through the French National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3).

Precision engineering in the service of astronomy

The telescope is installed on the 2,680 meter-high summit of Cerro Pachón, a site chosen for its very low levels of atmospheric and luminous interference. It is housed in a dome that is 30 meters in diameter and 17 meters high. The dome is fully motorised, so that the telescope can be rotated to successively point in all possible directions.

The telescope itself consists of three main elements. The first of these is the mount with which the telescope is precisely positioned in preparation for observations. Then there is the optical element, which is made up of three curved, aspherical mirrors, the largest of which has a diameter of more than 8 meters. Finally, there is the digital camera, which is one of the project’s centrepieces.

This camera is built around a 3.2 billion pixel digital sensor that is chilled to -100°C. This is sensitive to a particularly broad range of light, from near ultraviolet to near infrared, so that photometric measurements can be carried out across the entire spectrum. Finally, the camera incorporates a system of optic filters that enable users to select the fraction of the light spectrum that they wish to observe.

Fast-action optical filter changer

All astronomical survey telescopes incorporate a filter changer but most of the systems currently in use are too slow to meet the ambitious performance requirements of the LSST, demanding changeover 15 times faster than that of other instruments of a similar size.

A team of five French laboratories therefore collaborated in the development of a robotic system capable of placing a new filter over the imaging camera in only a few minutes. In meeting this challenge, the team had to deal with major technical constraints, starting with the integration of the automatic filter changer, as all of its components had to be housed in the body of the camera. And there it must remain perfectly stable, even in the event of a strong earthquake.

The team designed a device capable of handling the extremely costly filters – each with a diameter of 75 cm and weighing almost 40 kg – with an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre. The centre piece of the device is a carousel that can be loaded with up to five filters and present one of them for use in less than 20 seconds. In addition, there is an automatic mechanism for loading/unloading a filter onto the camera and another mechanism for loading filters within the camera. Together, these three elements go to make up the automatic filter changer.

Compactness, reliability, support

It is in this context that the French National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (LPNHE) sought expert support from MDP – maxon France. The online configurator and associated technical documentation posted on the maxon website served as a starting point for identifying the initial components suitable for integration in the system.

In the course of further exchanges, the suitability of solutions from MDP – maxon France was validated, and the use of the same supplier for the motor/controller combination meant that there would be no compatibility issues. For example, the carousel and the automatic filter changer use maxon EC40/GP42 and RE40/GP52C drive motors along with an EPOS2 70/10 modular digital positioning controller.

Among the various criteria adopted by the teams working on the LSST were the compactness of the components, motors, gearheads and controllers – an essential factor as these had to integrated in the heart of the camera – combined with complete reliability. Indeed, the filter changer must be able to function continuously, with maintenance limited to a period of 2 weeks every 2 years when operation of the telescope is interrupted for re-aluminisation of its mirrors.

Multi-faceted collaboration

The demanding nature of the work carried out on the optical filter changer reflects the ambition of the project and gives some idea of the extent of collaboration required among the various stakeholders in the LSST. For its part, maxon is delighted that its online configurator, its motors, and its electronic systems have contributed to the successful realisation of such a technical and scientific challenge!.

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

Multi axis brushless DC motor position controller system

From two to eighty axis – maxon motor release a revised, versatile multi axis motor position system.

Need an eighty axis position control system? Well let’s face it, not everyone does. Though more often than not, in today’s increasingly sophisticated world of motion systems three and four axis systems are required. The trouble for motion control suppliers is being able to meet customer demands for motor position control systems with seemingly infinitely variable requirements.

Three axis controller systems in the past were very common but when you needed to control four motors there were two servoamplifiers paid for but not used. What made this industry standard even more inefficient was that inside the box for these motion controllers was simply three separate motor control units connected on a Bus system. This describes the problem that maxon multi axis system has solved.

Developed as an eleven axis motherboard with snap-apart individual drive segments. The exact number of motor axis can be easily configured simply by separating the required number of drives and jumping both the power and communications along the board. It is an incredibly simple though effective solution that has now been tested and proven in every combination. The most notable application is an eighty axis motor control system for a complex food handling production line.

Technical features include: CANopen control, Interpolation Position Mode, 6 digital inputs and 2 analogue inputs per axis, current regulation and a wide voltage input.

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

Outrunner or Inrunner BLDC motor?

New BLDC design has the advantages of both outrunner and inrunner brushless DC motors.

Outrunner motors offer many advantages, the biggest of them being the maximised distance from the shaft centre to the flux gap of the motor creating a larger lever arm effect from the torque production location to the axis. The larger diameter of outrunner motors therefore gives typically very good torque characteristics. There are also disadvantages of BLDC outrunner motors. The externally rotating rotor and static internal stator is a particular concern in any equipment that is operating near people or in harsh environments. This new design offers an “internal external rotor” that is contained in a aluminium or optional sealed stainless steel motor housing. There are other additional advantages for the new design. The design contains a unique internally mounted 4096cpt incremental encoder and can be assembled with high torque ceramic planetary gearheads, producing a positioning drive system with a slow motion high torque focus. Applications in process control, valve actuation and industrial machinery are particularly suitable for this new motor.

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

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