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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For further information on any of these examples please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
Brushless flat DC motor with hollow bore for air and light transmission.
Today we exhibit a new motor development featuring a Brushless DC (BLDC) flat motor. Flat motors are also commonly referred to as pancake motors. This unit has a body length of just 38mm and an output power of over 157W and 6000rpm at the shaft in the application. The average motor power rating for the series across 6 variants is 100W. The overall motor diameter is 68mm and it can be supplied with or without protective covers for IP rating. The motor is available with an internal encoder with resolutions up to 16,384qc per revolution making it suitable as a rotary stage of robotic joint actuator. The unique feature though is the motors hollow shaft. This is to enable customers to pass light or air through the bore of the motor. Air transmission is a common requirement for packaging and placement machinery and light or fibre is a common requirement for film and camera gimbal applications. This motor was also manufactured with the customers shaft length and bore specifications in combination with a custom rear shaft extension at the rear from the motor rotor.
Contact maxon motor Australia for motor specifications or assistance with a custom solution Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
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.
First maxon motor of its kind. Brushless DC motor with hall sensors, absolute encoder and incremental outputs
For fine motor position control across multiple generation brushless motor controller models, maxon motor Australia has supplied the first of its kind maxon EC-max brushless DC motor with three modes of feedback.
The new micromotor encoder 16 Easy Absolute 16mm x 9mm offers high resolution motor feedback from a tiny package. Additionally it offers 4,096 counts per turn incremental outputs with line driver channels and an index pulse. The Absolute output is available in the choice of Binary BiSS-C or Gray Symmetric SSI. The encoders use an interpolated hall sensor angle measurement system to generate the incremental quadrature output signals according to EIA-422 with 20mA maximum current draw and ESD protections built in. The angle value zero of the encoder is factory aligned with the BLDC motor zero point and the encoder is welded in place on the rear flange of the motor. When fitted with a multi pole brushless DC motor the encoder can still show the angle values zero once per mechanical turn and the angle zero is identical to the index position. The motor itself also contains three hall sensors for commutation purposes. An adaptor is available to convert the single ended clock and data signals of the absolute encoder into TIA/EIA RS422 compliant differential clock and data lines.
For special configurations of this unique feedback solution with other maxon motor types contact maxon motor Australia Sydney office on +61 2 9457 7477.
Maxon motor have developed their most powerful DC motor positioning controller to date.
With a maximum power output of 2.1kW maxon are pleased to announce the release of the EPOS4 70/15 DC motor positioning controller. The CANopen controller with an EtherCAT option is presented in a robust metal housing. Suitable for both brushless and brushed DC motors the positioning controller is a cut above the rest due to its ease of operation and broad operative scope. The various digital and analogue connections can be configured and the unit is suitable for use with a wide variety of feedback systems. It can also be integrated into various master systems. This new product and many more will be showcased at the Hannover Messe in Germany from 23-27 April. For more information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
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.
Created by Year 12 students from Brisbane are soccer-playing machines that achieved first place at famed international competition, RoboCup.
Brisbane Boy’s College (BBC) has a dedicated robotics program with teams participating in regional, state, national, Asia-Pacific and international Robotic competitions. In 2017, five participants from BBC formed a team and visited Nagoya, Japan for the annual RoboCup competition. And they beat the best of the best with their soccer-playing robot.
Weighing just over 1 kg, the robots had to be remotely operated meaning everything had to be programmed and no human touch was allowed. To win the world superteam champions lightweight category for under-19s, the boys’ robots acted as either goalie or striker against, and with, machines from other countries. The Chinese team had the fastest robots and received the highest score for gameplay but Australia won on accuracy and coding. Maxon DCX motors and gearheads are in the wheels of the robot. Maxon motor Australia is a proud supporter of BBC.
Team captain and ex-soccer player, Lachlan Grant, said the programming and circuit board building was extremely complex, and it was nice to see their win make news for the school, traditionally renowned for rugby and tennis. Master in Charge Colin Noy said the boys’ skills were so good the school gets former students, now at university, to coach instead of teachers. “In fact, one European university lecturer attending the championships told us the programming level of our students was higher than most of his Masters students,” Mr Noy said.
“Our robots were to the most responsive and most accurate in the competition.”
To watch the BBC robots at play click on this YouTube link. For more information on DC motors in robotic applications contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
At the international RoboCup, maxon motors featured in robots playing soccer and in mock recovery operations.
At the end of July 2017, more than 3,000 participants from 42 countries participated in the annual RoboCup competition held in Nagoya, Japan.
maxon had inbuilt motors and controllers in a rescue robot developed by the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences that placed seventh out of 20 competitors. Scoring high marks for the light design and system approach, the robot contained several DC motor, gearbox and encoder combinations. Using the EC-4 pole brushless motor with 200W power as a base, the motor operated the chains propelling the robot forward. The camera arm of the robot also contained eight maxon DEC 50/5 modules on circuit boards and four 70/10 ESCON controllers for the gripper arm. The machines acted in a simulated disaster scenario carrying out rescue operations and were evaluated based on their performance.
At the other end of the contest was the Soccer finale, with the two competing robots both containing maxon drives. The University of Bonn developed an 18kg, 135 cm robot supported by an exoskeleton that was 3D printed called “NimbRo”. Maxon DC motors were integrated into an actuator drive system developed by a South Korean company. The competitor’s robot, named “Sweaty” and developed by Offenburg University, contained 24 maxon DC motors and gearheads. 18 of these drives were fitted with an overload motor controller and a further two were fitted with an evaporative cooling system to prevent overheating. This cooling system is similar to the way humans sweat hence the name “Sweaty”. NimbRo won 11-1.
For more information on DC motors to develop robotic applications contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.