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Brushless DC motor with integrated controller

Unique 5 wire Brushless DC motor with integrated BLDC controller provides a new and more conveniently packaged solution.

New from maxon motor is a brushless DC motor that takes a turn away from the Swiss motor company’s traditional designs. The EC-I 30IE motor features a five wire connection to simplify implementation and still give a wide functionality. An independent set speed value connection allows for a greater motor operating speed range over the common two wire approach to integrated brushless motor control. Additional features are a disable, direction and speed monitor output. It is an enclosed design that does not require any airflow through the body for cooling which makes it suitable for harsh environments typical of various industries such as food, packaging, manufacturing, mining & deep sea drilling and aerospace. Despite the internal motor control board the motor has still been designed with a shaft on both ends of the body for orientation convenience and is still part of the modular construction program allowing the addition of ceramic planetary gearheads (reduction gearboxes). The motor is 30mm diameter and 41mm long including the control unit. It has four quadrant control meaning it can control dynamic acceleration and deceleration in both directions. The controlled top speed is 6000rpm from a 24V supply and the 20W power rating indicates a high power density ratio.

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

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Micro DC motor perfectly adapted

This very small DC micromotor has morphed into a perfect application solution. It is in fact, a brushed DC motor, planetary gearhead and magnetic encoder customised to suit the application.

Being only 10mm diameter it requires close inspection to notice the unique changes that have been made to the motor solution. Through extensive and vigorous testing the design engineers for the end application have individually examined and “tweaked” almost every feature. The first prototypes delivered used a standard maxon RE10 motor and GP10 planetary gearhead. It was found that the extremely space constrained location where the motor is mounted required the assembly technicians to tightly bend the cables where they exited the digital encoder. This caused strain on the solder terminations of the encoder PCB. maxon quickly implemented the customers following request for a resin to be applied at the cable exit to assist with strain relief. This assisted to an extent by making the motor design more robust however it was what is commonly referred to as a “band-aid solution”. Further testing revealed the true cause of the cable strain came about because of an unspecified cable exit angle with relation to the customer fitted custom front flange for the motor. Also further exacerbated by the screw on mounting assembly between the motor and gearhead that allowed for various angle of orientation that were torque dependent. This in a small number of occasions caused the cable to interfere with other components in the machine. A solution offered by maxon motor Australia was that at the point of motor fabrication, the front motor mounting flange and customer drive element be laser welded in place. This is difficult enough to achieve given the motors micro dimensions but additional drastic changes had to be made to facilitate the customisation. This being a completely redesigned gearbox with a stainless steel construction to enable welding of the flange to the motor body. A special jig was constructed to hold the motor and encoder cable exit in specific orientation with the front flange whilst welding takes place to ensure consistent part relationship. Thus, over time maxon motor have morphed a standard catalogue motor and gearhead into a perfectly suited custom solution.

Contact maxon motor Australia at their Sydney office on Ph: +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.

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.

Inspired by nature. Created by engineering. Powered by maxon.

Biology and engineering have been combined to create the world’s first prosthetic foot with propulsion powered from a maxon DC motor.

Our calf muscles provide the essential power, control and stability for walking. Those who’ve had below the knee amputation tire very quickly walking on a prosthetic foot. Step in Hugh Herr, Professor at MIT Boston who developed The Empower bionic prosthetic foot along with the Ottobock Group, a world-leading supplier of prostheses. Hugh himself is a double transtibial amputee resulting from a mountaineering accident. Hugh and his team drew inspiration from nature to create The Empower combining both biology and engineering together.

The Empower is a third generation newly developed bionic foot. A research team spent 16 months to make walking feel more natural by using a carbon spring which transfers energy directly to the foot. A powerful maxon DC motor refines the energy pulse delivered by the spring and provides the missing power of a calf muscle, step by step with each toe push-off. Several sensors “tell” the prostheses which phase of movement the foot is in, at any given time, so that it can perform the corresponding action. This allows for short sprints, which were previously deemed impossible, as well as walking on uneven ground and up inclines. What’s more, the greater the load on the prostheses, the greater its energy output becomes, just like a natural foot. The DC motor providing the propulsion is maxon’s EC-4pole 30. Selected for its powerhouse features and high output per unit of volume and weight it provides an ideal ratio between size, weight and power – a key factor in developing prosthetics.

For more information on prostheses and robot assisted rehabilitation please contact maxon motor Australia tel.+ 61 2 9457 7477.

A new prosthetic bionic hand

Prosthetics are a significant engineering challenge because of their conflicting DC motor design goals: high torque, high speed, compact size and the DC motors need to be as energy efficient as possible.

German company Vincent Systems have created a bionic hand prosthesis that is the first commercially available prosthetic delivering haptic feedback about grip strength to its wearer. This is achieved with short pulses of vibration. If the hand were to vibrate evenly, a person becomes familiar to the sensation and eventually stops paying attention to it.

What sets this prostheses apart is that each finger can individually open up. This opens up numerous situations for the wearer such as being able to ride a bike, tie shoelaces, hold a raw egg or open a door. 12 grip patterns are available that can be activated via muscle contractions. Weighing about the same as a human hand it’s available in a version small enough for children, with the youngest wearer being eight years old.

Each individual finger is actively driven by a DC motor, and the thumb is driven by two DC motors. Maxon have up to six brushed DC motors in the hand: DCX 10 DC motors with modified GP 10A planetary gearheads. The drive systems were selected for their compact size and highest energy density currently available from maxon. Plus the drives needed to be durable and function faultlessly for approximately five years while being exposed to diverse and heavy strain every day.

It was important to CEO and founder of Vincent Systems, Stefan Schulz, that patients wouldn’t need their healthy hand to help. “A prosthetic hand should help its wearer and not demand the attention of the good hand.”

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

 

New maxon motor catalogue

maxon motor have released the 2018/19 catalogue. Entitled “High precision drives and systems” the new catalogue theme is based on maxon motors focus on building complete drive systems including DC motors, gearheads, sensors and controllers.

maxon motor will continue to be the world’s leading supplier of high precision brushed and brushless DC motors and gearheads but also have expanded into cross-platform system solutions from a single source. In addition to the new capabilities expansion maxon have released a large range of new products. These include: A new square format 16mm brushless DC motor, 13mm and 16mm ECX high speed brushless motors, the new ECi-30 low cost high torque BLDC motor, an entire range of frameless brushless motors that are particularly suitable for wheel hub applications and robotic joint actuation, new encoders and various new motor control units. The first torque levels from a direct drive maxon motor at 1Nm have been achieved with the new 260W flat motor that is less than 40mm long and a series of motors with a hollow bore are handy for applications that require a passage for cables, air or light. Print versions and online e-paper versions have been released.

For customised solutions contact maxon motor Australia Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

Tailor made brushless DC servomotor and planetary gearbox.

This small brushless DC motor displays the advanced miniature and micro motor manufacturing techniques of maxon motor. So small are the details it is hard to capture the modifications and quality. The example pictured is a 10mm diameter DC motor and planetary gearbox fitted with an encoder for speed and position control.

What’s new? Sure there are a lot of small DC motors available now days however it’s in the detail that defines the difference between motors. Pictured is maxon motors newest planetary gearhead range that has been selected because of its stainless steel construction. The body and flange of the gearbox are one piece allowing the design engineers to not only create a mounting flange specific to the mounting footprint available in the application, it also allows maxon motor to orientate the gearhead flange with the motor cable exit. Enabling a shorter cable and neater cable looms. Laser welding of the motor flange is also a technology that is used to affix a customer specific drive pinion to the shaft. This gives the strongest possible power transmission coupling in these miniature sizes. maxon motor provide its customers with complete drawings and models for appraisal before samples are manufactured even for non-standard DC motor and gearhead assemblies like the shown example.

The new 10mm gearhead can supply torque levels up to 200mNm and can operate with input speeds up to 15,000rpm. Standard supply is with stainless steel ball bearings, it has efficiencies as high as 90% and weight as low as 6.7g.

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

Powerful zero backlash servo gear motor.

Brushless DC (BLDC) servomotor, zero backlash gearhead, holding brake and high resolution encoder combination drive offers high torque levels without compromising positioning accuracy.

This servo motor and gearhead combination recently released by maxon motor Australia can produce 364Nm with a peak torque rating at the output of 686Nm. Fitted with both an encoder and a holding brake inside the IP rated motor’s rear enclosure the combination can move heavy loads into position and make sure they stay there. The high acceleration of the brushless DC motor with top grade Neodymium magnets enables a zero to 2600rpm speed change in under 4ms. Being both brushless DC and also slotless gives the motor zero cogging or position detent for smooth position transitions and low speed performance. The solid construction and sealed nature of the motor drive components makes it suitable for mining, food, process control and manufacturing environments. Customisation of the motor and gearhead features is possible and both 24 and 48V DC supplies can be used. The unit is compatible with standard Servoamplifier and position controllers from maxon motor.

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

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