In France’s Bordeaux region, robots autonomously eliminate grass and weeds between the vines, making pesticides unnecessary. To enable the robots to navigate the hilly terrain, the developers looked to the Mars rovers for answers.
The wine region around Saint-Emilion in France is world famous and steeped in tradition. Winemaking here goes back to the Roman age. These days, robots help with the laborious care of the vines. The Vitirover, developed by the eponymous company in Saint-Emilion, is one of these robots. It is a fully autonomous lawnmower powered by solar energy. About twenty of these robotic mowers are in use in the vineyards. This year, Vitirover will deliver 200 more robots, for example for use along railway tracks or in photovoltaics plants. The main benefit of the robot is that it is environmentally friendly and helps to make organic wine. The use of the robot in the vineyards makes pesticides like glyphosate unnecessary. In addition, the robot protects the soil by avoiding the compaction that may be caused by tractors or horses.
The development of the robot, which is able to mow more than two hectares of land, wasn’t an easy task. As it turned out, the unstable soil in the vineyards is quite similar to the surface of Mars. This is why, when drafting the first design specifications, Vitirover collaborated with the European Space Agency (ESA) to review the designs of all of the robots that were developed for Mars missions. “This really helped us, because we couldn’t find any terrestrial robots that came as close to our specifications,” says Xavier David Beaulieu, CTO at Vitirover. He started the company in 2010, together with Arnaud de la Fouchardière. After taking over the Château Coutet winery in Saint-Emilion, he faced the challenge of controlling the growth of grass and weeds between the vines.
The robot negotiates rocky, often steep terrain and is exposed to mechanical stresses every 12 seconds, on average. The requirements for its motorisation were accordingly high. The mechatronic solutions are the result of a partnership spanning more than eight years between Vitirover and MDP (maxon France). The robot is driven by four DC motors, one per wheel. They are brushed DCX 22 L drives that offer maximum power density in a very small installation space. They are highly efficient, which is important in battery operation. Combined with a GP 32 C gearhead, this solution enables the mower to absorb the load on the wheels and deliver the torque required for traction. “In terms of the drive, the problem of the radial load on the wheel axle wasn’t an easy one to solve. However, in the end we did it,” says Xavier David Beaulieu.
The greatest challenge however was elsewhere, namely the three blades that are driven by DCX 32 L series DC motors. The high load tended to damage the ball bearings of the motors, which led to failures. The engineers at maxon finally developed an aluminium bell housing for sustainable protection. Kevin Schwartz, in charge of the Vitirover project at MDP: “Our role is not limited to delivering electric motors. Instead, we supply complete solutions that fulfill the needs of the customer.”
For further information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
maxon Group Australia are excited to announce their collaboration with innovative Australian space company, Space Industries, to develop new mining technologies on the moon.
It’s not every day you receive an inquiry to help build a rover that will mine the surface of the moon. When maxon was contacted by Space Industries CEO, Joshua Letcher, with this exact query, a remarkable collaboration was born.
Specialising in the development of lunar and space mining vehicles, subsystems and systems for space systems, in a world-first, Space Industries are designing and developing revolutionary technology: a rover to mine elements on the lunar surface. “Space Industries are leading the way in space mining by focusing on gas production to produce resources that will sustain life on the Moon and other planets, along with producing Helium-3 for use in Medical and Energy industries on Earth” said Letcher. Soon to be located at Australia’s only dedicated Space Precinct at Perth Airport in WA, Space Industries have strategically positioned themselves amongst other leading global companies involved in civil engineering and research & development within the sector.
It was maxon’s long-standing involvement working with agencies such as NASA, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and European Space Agency, amongst others, that prompted Joshua Letcher to call maxon. maxon DC motors, drives systems and sensor technologies have already been used to drive several Mars rovers and withstood the conditions there. The DC motors resist brutal temperature changes, dust, dirt and storms. They are also built to survive a dynamic entry, descent and landing sequence as well as the harsh daily conditions on the moon. maxon Managing Director, Brett Motum, said “we are thrilled to be a part of not only an Australian first, but a world-first, invention that is going to redefine the term sustainable energy, open up exciting possibilities within the medical and energy sectors and of course, put Australia on the global Space map”.
It’s this type of application that sits at the heart of maxon – working with companies who share the same passion for innovation, technology and development of pioneering inventions. Particularly those that help to shape the future of this planet and perhaps even sustain life on the moon.
For further information please contact maxon Group Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477 or Space Industries email@example.com
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.
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.
In 2020 the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA will send their rovers to Mars. Here’s a comparison of the two machines.
Both rovers are being deployed to Mars in June/July 2020 to looks for signs of life and take soil samples.
Maxon DC motors feature in both the rovers and here we take a look at the difference between the two rovers.
NASA Mars 2020
Mission start: June/July 2020 aboard Rocket Atlas V-541.
There are nine maxon DC brushless motor and drive systems that help collect the soil samples. The EC 32 flat and EC 20 flat motors fitted with planetary gearhead and customised in commission with NASA/ JPL.
Mission start: June/July 2020 aboard Rocket Proton.
More than 50 actuators from maxon assist with the wheel drive, sample distribution and camera movements. There are 17 different configurations of brushed and brushless DC motors including the DCX 10, DCX 22 and EC 40 combined with gearheads, brakes and encoders.
For more information on maxon’s Aerospace capabilities please contact +61 2 9457 7477.
Brushless motors from maxon motor are again being used by NASA for the Mars 2020 rover.
For critical tasks you need the best quality. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory have selected nine brushless flat motors from maxon motor for the rover which they intend will take soil samples and seal them in containers for future transport to Earth. Various motion applications are performed. Sample tube holding, the robotic arm, container handling, sample gathering and container sealing. 32mm diameter and 20mm diameter flat brushless motors have been combined with heavy duty 22mm planetary gearheads and modified specifically for the Mars mission in close collaboration with JPL for the difficult conditions experienced with descent, landing, sandstorms and the -130 to +70 degree temperatures.
For information on DC motors and gearheads used in applications operating in harsh environments please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
Welcome to a new year full of exciting technological innovation. maxon motor will again lead the technology push for the most efficient, powerful and dynamic DC motors, gearboxes and controllers.
maxon motor continued to grow in 2016 achieving new records, the maxon motor factory is better, faster and more organised than ever before and all production sites are being expanded. A renewed global focus and streamlining will increase our organisations efficiency with more access to experts in specific application areas. With our increase in capacity and knowledge we will produce more and more complete systems and highly complex sub-assemblies offering further benefits to our customers.
We are eagerly awaiting the Hannover Messe in Germany where maxon motor will present over 18 new products in the 2017/18 program as well as new products launched on the maxon online configuration platform.
I wish all our Australian and New Zealand customers a prosperous year and look forward to helping you succeed.
Managing Director, maxon motor Australia
Tel. +61 2 9457 7477
A year of highlights: maxons involvement in technology and innovation throughout 2016.
For more information please contact maxon motor Australia on tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
|maxon introduced MARS (Maxon Advanced Robotics & Systems) a new facility dedicated solely to DC motors in mechatronics drive systems|
|300V brushless DC motor for use submerged in oil and designed specifically for Australia’s increasing ROV and subsea market http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_300V_Brushless_DC_motor_Australia|
|maxon released the very popular ROV Thruster Range, with modified control units available for use in water. Including subsea motors, gearheads, thrusters and compensators http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_ROV_Thruster_subsea_motors|
|Brushless frameless flat motors (pancake motors) are available on request in a frameless form. Suitable for high torque and low speed applications http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_Brushless_Frameless_DC_motors_from_maxon_motor_Australia|
|A tiny brushless flat DC motor with a diameter of 10mm that achieves speeds of up to 22,000rpm was used in a Space application http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_Very_small_brushless_DC_flat_motor|
|maxon Australia delivered a company first – a right angle spiroid and planetary inline gearhead fitted either end of a brushless DC motor http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDREL_Brushless_DC_motor_with_two_2_gearheads|
|Sydney’s Iconic Harbour Bridge received a climbing robot that inspects areas of the Bridge for disrepair or damage http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIAREL_maxon_DC_Motors_in_climbing_robot_Sydney_Harbour_Bridge_Australia|
|A new DC motor position controller was released. With tiny dimensions of 60mm x 62mm and able to drive both brushed and brushless DC motors up to 1500W with 98% efficiency http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_New_DC_motor_Position_Controller|
|The new catalogue was released in May with an unparralled number of new DC motors, gearheads and controllers available http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/maxon_launches_unparalleled_number_of_new_DC_drive_systems|
|A custom long ball screw linear actuator, driven by a DC servo motor and gearhead, showed maxon motor’s ability to provide tailored solutions http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_DC_servo_linear_actuation|
|The first ECX DC motor was delivered to an Australian University. The motor has extremely low noise at very high speeds http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MR_New_line_of_high_speed_brushless_DC_motors|
|Doctors are able to assess a patient up to 1,000km away thanks to an Australian University and robotics haptic technology http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDIARELEASE_DC_motors_in_robots_as_an_extension_of_doctors_arm|
|An ROV that takes live video and underwater pictures and streams them directly to your smartphone, tablet or laptop http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/MEDREL_ROVs_with_maxon_DC_motors_controlled_from_your_smartphone|
|Australia’s defence industry received a robust right angle DC servo gear motor, for a very demanding application http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/medias/sys_master/root/8820826144798/MEDIARELEASE-Custom-DC-gear-motor-solution.pdf|
|An ROV fitted with maxon DC motors found the largest submarine built in WWII, lying 190 metres below the ocean. These special DC motor combinations can reach depths up (down!) to 6,000m http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_maxon_DC_drives_exploring_depths_up_to_6000m|
|An Israeli company, ReWalk Robotics, developed an Exo-skeleton specifically helping quadriplegic people to walk again. Maxon motors control the movement of the hips and knees http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_maxon_DC_motors_in_Exoskeleton|
|drive.tech a new site for innovation by maxon motor was announced! http://drive.tech/|
|maxon announces a system that tracks and records every component manufactured in maxon DC servo motors http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_DC_servo_motors_tracked|
|Try before you buy: the maxon motor BIKEDRIVE rental facility opens in Giswil, Obwalden http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_maxon_BIKEDRIVE_test_facility|
|New sizes of DC motor and Planetary Gearheads available for configuration through maxon’s online tool http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_new_sizes_of_DC_motor_configurable_online|
|A unique DC motor and gearhead combination was developed for an Australian customer providing solutions for robotic rehabilitation http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_DC-motor-with-right-angle-gear-and-planetary-gear|
|For use in subsea applications, maxon’s MT-30 thruster is pressure tolerant up to 6,000 meters with oil compensation. The propeller is modified for low noise operation. Other features include: Maximum bollard thrust of 10kgs, Voltage of 27 and weighs slightly over 900gms http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE_maxon_thruster_with_DC_motors|
|A surgical robot gives surgeons the ability to perform microsurgery from thousands of kilometres away, with an added sense of touch http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE-HeroSurg-Robot-with-maxon-DC-motors|
|maxon motor updated their subsea thruster – three sizes received updated performance levels, being the 20, 30 and 40mm diameter units http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/PRESSRELEASE-Brushless-DC-Subsea-thruster-update|
|maxon motor added sterilisable brushless DC motors and gearheads to their online configurator http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/More-to-choose-from-with-maxons-online-custom-design-tool|
|maxon released driven, their bi-annual magazine that focused on developments in the medical industry http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/DC-motors-in-medical-technology|
|Maxon release two new varieties of brushless DC motor – the ECX SPEED 16 and ECX SPEED High-Power DC motors http://www.maxonmotor.com.au/maxon/view/news/New-high-speed-brushless-DC-motors-from-maxon|
Maxon motor built models of the Mars Rovers Sojourner, Opportunity and ExoMars for a Space exhibit at the Swiss Museum of Transport.
The Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne is updating their Space exhibition. With maxon motor trainee help, the exhibit features complete 1:1 scale models of the Mars Rovers Sojourner, Opportunity and ExoMars. The models have moving parts including the camera head and drilling units. Visitors at the Swiss Museum can get an up-close look at the outer space technology and even take a selfie with a Mars Rover.
Maxon motor manufactured 35 DC motors and drives in the real Opportunity Rover that survived 10+ years on Mars. As well, at their headquarters in Sachseln, maxon assembled parts of the ExoMars Rover including modules that drive the vehicle and are responsible for the steering. The ExoMars is due for launch in 2020.
For similar stories to this you can view maxon’s driven magazine online, or for information on outer space technology please contact maxon motor Australia on Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
For more stories similar to this one visit maxon motor’s driven magazine available on-line at maxonmotor.com.au © maxon motor