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Motorising an Automated Guided Vehicle.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are most often used in industrial applications to transport heavy materials around warehouses or factories. It is critical AGVs don’t fail. The choice of motorisation is key.

If you’re thinking about motorising an AGV we have five fundamental points to bear in mind and introduce maxon’s IDX drive.

  1. Choose compact motorisation

Compactness is an important factor in warehouses both in the machinery used and the storage solutions themselves. Customer demands have increased and 24-hour delivery is becoming the norm. As things stand, warehouses can no longer afford to be far from major delivery areas. The price per m2 on the outskirts of a town is not the same as it is in the middle of the countryside, so logistics firms are opting for high-rack storage solutions. This means they need ergonomic robots that can move vertically and reach required heights. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have a compact AGV if the motor is bulky, therefore it is essential to choose compact motorisation. Drives must also be able to fit into restricted spaces, as they are sometimes integrated into existing trucks. A small footprint is a major issue for applications in logistics.

  1. Focus on true plug-and-play solutions

Essentially, robots were designed to help humans, and motorising an AGV is no exception. maxon’s IDX compact drives have all possible connectivity options as standard and are adjustable to suit individual needs. When you plug the IDX drive in, it works immediately, because they are delivered pre-programmed – a true plug-and-play solution.

When you place an order for an IDX motor, you define all the parameters you need through our online configurator. How the product communicates, what cables are needed, the electronics you choose, the motor power, whether or not you want a brake, etc. You can program everything online in just a few clicks. That way, the motor is configured to suit you and is delivered ready to use.

Motors with integrated electronics can be managed remotely because they are connected. The communication buses used can communicate both with the EtherCAT and CANopen systems, and in the future with IoT networks, too. Robots can therefore be programmed by computer and controlled remotely, which makes maintenance much simpler. This means you can work at one time on your entire fleet of AGVs, to run diagnostics or carry out an update, for example.

  1. Prioritise safety

AGVs operate in close proximity to operators, staff and other AGVs. It is therefore necessary to maintain safe human/ machine interaction, encompassing all of the safety measures. Robots have movement and optical sensors allowing them to detect the presence of humans and avoid any risk of collision. This safety-oriented approach applies also to motorisation. To avoid any danger from overheating, for instance, IDX drives have two integrated temperature sensors, one inside the motor and the other within the electronics. If there is a problem, the motor is secured immediately, without waiting until the whole envelope has overheated. Most motors on the market lack this responsiveness because they have sensors only for the electronics. The motorisation of AGVs can be a technical challenge. To meet customer needs, maxon has designed an exceptionally compact motor, with performance 25% better than its competitors, while keeping pricing competitive.

  1. Base the design on modularity

Not all AGVs do the same job. Some will carry loads of 1 tonne or more, while others will lift loads of around 100kg; some will travel in a straight line, while others will have an integrated steering function.

Motorisation requirements vary with each application, and that is why it’s essential to have a modular solution as a base. It’s imperative to choose the type of motor, power rating, electronics, connectivity, type of communication, the protection rating of the motor, and whether or not a brake or an encoder is required.

All these parameters can be easily configured online. Maxon’s innovative configuration tool is unique in the market; customers benefit from highly organised production that can develop a drive solution to match requirements in just 19 days.

  1. Opt for fast delivery

Today, responsiveness is fundamental and expected as standard. maxon is well aware of the challenges in the AGV sector and guarantees delivery of IDX solutions in 19 days.

Irrespective of how you use your AGV, with maxon’s capabilities and tooling, you can be sure you will have the right motorisation. Find out more about maxon’s IDX compact drive.

maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Robotically assisted neurosurgery.

A new article from maxon motor UK reports on an application using a brushless DC motor for brain surgery with some truly strange inspiration.

Nature inspires many technological innovations and this application is an extreme example. Containing a maxon brushless DC motor and position control unit, biomedical engineers were inspired by the egg laying process of wasps to develop a steerable needle.

Enabling deep brain access without harming vulnerable sections in the insertion path, the flexible surgical tool is segmented with an interlocking mechanism and can change directions using a bevel tip that is programmable via the maxon brushless motor position controller.

The full news article can be found on the maxon motor UK website.

For medical tool application or general assistance with brushless DC motors contact maxon motor Australia Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

The bionic model.

Rebekah Marine walked the runway at New York Fashion Week. What’s so inspiring is that Rebekah was the first to do so wearing her prosthetic i-limb.

It’s not every day you see a model with a bionic arm sashay down the runway at New York Fashion Week. But that’s exactly what Rebekah Marine, 28, did. Born without a right forearm she has refused to let this hold her back. Challenging stereotypes and proudly wearing her prosthetic, the i-limb quantum, Rebekah also publicly appeals for more tolerance in the modelling industry.

The groundbreaking limb was made by British Manufacturer Touch Bionics. The strong, powerful yet smooth movements in the prosthetic feature maxon DC motors and planetary gearheads. It is the first and only upper-limb prosthesis that enables the user to change grips by performing a simple gesture. This control is automated and allows for the change between the grip by moving the i-limb quantum in one of 4 pre-programmed directions.

For more information please contact Tel. + 61 2 9457 7477.

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The I-limb quantum, by Touch Bionics.

DC servo gearmotor customised for underwater ROV use.

A dedicated DC motor design for the tight application requirements of an underwater ROV application.

The example servo motor and gearhead solution shown here has been optimised for very specific application requirements for an underwater robot. Low speed under pressure was required for the fine manipulation of devices external to the remote operating vehicle, resulting in a high planetary gearhead reduction ratio selection of 936:1. However for extremely low speed operation it is often the case that the reduction ratio does not slow down the motor speed enough. To overcome this next hurdle a 60V DC winding has been specified even though the system voltage is 24V. From here the speed controller further reduces the motor speed. End result; 0.001 revolutions per minute. (or 1.44 revolutions per day). Even though the entire case bearing shaft and keyway are made from stainless steel the shaft has also been customised with a 50mm length and a keyway isolated to the tip as much as possible to allow clear space for shaft labyrinth seals that provide additional protection. Laser etching of the custom parameters and the customers details on the body of the motor assists with identification long into the future. The complete DC servomotor and planetary gearhead incorporating the customisations was produced in under two weeks.

Contact maxon motor Australia for further information or application assistance. Ph. +61 2 9457 7477.

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DC servo gearmotor customised for underwater ROV © maxon motor

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