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.
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.
maxon motor is excited to announce the acquisition of British gear motor manufacturer Parvalux Electric Motors Ltd. This expands maxon’s product portfolio and introduces new capabilities within the medical technology and industrial automation fields, amongst others.
maxon motor acquired the British-based Parvalux Electric Motors Ltd. Parvalux has been in operation for more than 70 years and offers brushed DC motors, AC motors and gearheads. Covering three production sites across the UK and with more than 185 employees, Parvalux generated revenues of £23 million annually with exports reaching approximately 40% worldwide.
The new technologies available to maxon include AC motors, worm gearboxes and DC drives with power ranges up to 1.5 kW. maxon is also better placed to serve the industry (robotics and transport systems) and medical technology (stair lifts, electric wheelchairs, etc.) markets.
In turn Parvalux benefits from maxon’s global sales network for its continued growth, and plans to expand the business’s workforce. The management board of Parvalux remains unchanged and an agreement to keep the price of the acquisition will remain confidential.
Another alignment between maxon and Parvalux was their vision to provide highly customised solutions tailored to individual customer requisites. maxon’s strategy of long-term sustainable growth is evident in this partnership. “We want to be a long-term market leader in the drives market and offer our customers the best service possible,” says maxon CEO Eugen Elmiger. Chairman of the board of directors Dr. Karl-Walter Braun adds: “I’m confident that Parvalux will contribute to this goal with its know-how and high quality products, and that the company will prove to be an outstanding addition to the maxon world.”
For more information please 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.
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.
The maxon academy have released a new two part technical report into the energy efficiency of small DC motors, micro drives and subsystems.
The maxon motor academy headed by Dr Urs Kafader provides acclaimed technical reports, educational textbooks and technical training on all aspects of DC motor drive systems and associated control devices. The latest technical document authored by maxon motor technical trainer Jan Braun focuses on energy efficiency and highlights how motor efficiency requirements have affected the design of many products. Application examples and selection processes are given throughout. Topics include motors operating in the no-load range, motors operated at standstill, control, load mechanics, pulse width modulation and motor chokes. In an increasingly battery powered and greener world high efficiency design and the correct selection of components are becoming more and more important. maxon motor strives to further educate not only its own engineers but also the designers of the future. Contact maxon motor Australia for a full copy of the technical report and other resources that are available from the maxon academy. Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.
Norwegian company Petro-Marker, developed a device that is able to collect data up to 5,000 meters underneath the seabed. The technology scans the bottom of the ocean in great detail providing information as to the location and size of oil reservoirs.
1,000 metres below the sea the environment is harsh, ice cold and very dark with no natural light. An ROV has strong floodlights that identify tri-pod objects anchored to the bottom of the seabed. These are receiver stations for electromagnetic waves transmitted into the seafloor, giving feedback on the seabed itself and finding resource deposits.
When oil companies want to find out whether drilling at depth is worth the cost, they often rely on Controlled Source Electro Magnetic (CSEM) technology. This technology utilises the differences in the electrical resistance of different bottom layers to provide signs of the location and size of oil fields. The CSEM technology uses a very strong power source to generate an electro-magnetic field, as well as several receivers to record the fields. These tripod receivers are placed on the sandy bottom and pick up electromagnetic signals that have been changed by the layers through which they passed.
In 2016 Petro-Marker placed 25 new tripods in the North Sea. What sets this technology apart is a new measuring method that uses a vertical transmitter and receiver to find resources. This enables a much more detailed resolution and data measurement up to 5,000 meters beneath the seafloor.
The tripods are about 4 meters high and made from a combination of glass fibre and special foams. Due to the sensitive electronics, metal parts cannot be used. This far below the surface, the pressure is extreme, and the salt water is hostile. At the center of the tripods (receivers), the antennas are aligned as vertically as possible on the seabed.
The system uses a maxon controller (EPOS) and a compensator. The units are encased in plastic to protect them from salt-water corrosion. Several modifications were required to meet the requirements of this application: An EC-i 40 motor, GP 42 planetary gearhead and compensator that were all customised. A dual seal, that imitates typical submarine technology, ensures the system is able to resist the enormous water pressure. The control electronics of the underwater drive are housed in a pressure-neutral glass ball that is able to resist the pressures of up to 600 bar – one of the challenges of this extreme application.
For more information or to speak to one of our Sales Engineers call tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
maxon motor’s new motion controller for DC motors is very small indeed. Just 17g and 39mmx54mm the position controller can also control both brushed DC motors and brushless DC motors (BLDC motors).
Available on request is the newest version of the successful EPOS DC motor control modules, the EPOS4 24/1.5. The tiny dimensions of the controller belie it’s capabilities. It retains the full motion control capabilities of much larger controllers including RS232, USB, CanOpen and EtherCAT communications onboard or via adaptor modules. Feedback from the DC or BLDC motor is achieved using either hall sensors, incremental encoders or absolute encoders. It can be used with current / torque control, closed loop speed control and position control. Designed primarily for use on 12V or 24V systems the controller is based on a very high PWM frequency of 100kHz for adaption with highly dynamic ironless and coreless DC motors that have low inductance levels. Current limiting, overcurrent, over temperature, under voltage, overvoltage and short cct protective functions are all included as standard. Free setup software for auto configuration and tuning of motors is supplied along with programming examples for PC, PLC, Labview and Linux environments. IEC61800-5-2 based Safe Torque Off (STO) also makes the controller suitable for use in critical applications such as manufacturing processes and collaborative robotics.
For further information or for application assistance contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
New motors and configuration features available at the touch of a button.
Maxon have added more options to the configuration tool allowing for greater flexibility of DC motor combinations – choose from different motors, add encoders or change gearhead types and reduction.
A new “change” mode has been added that allows replacement in a configuration, for example a brushed DC motor (DCX) can be swapped to a brushless DC motor (ECX). Change the motor windings, bearings and commutation on an existing part number, as well, change the type and reduction in a gearhead. Once your configuration is complete you can buy, add to your wish list, download the specification or create the CAD data.
The guaranteed 11 day turnaround from configuration to manufacture still stands. Visit www.maxonmotor.com.au to take a look at the updates. For application assistance contact maxon motor Australia on +61 2 9457 7477.
Maxon brushless DC motors, gearheads and encoders are at work in a laser system for CT-guided procedures.
Doctors rely upon high-resolution CT images, for example, to guide biopsies, make diagnoses or for pain relief therapies. After identifying an area for biopsy, surgeons ascertain how to reach the area, where to place the needle tip, what angle to follow and how to minimise damage to healthy tissue. To combat these issues with pin-point technology, a German company designed an automated laser-guided system consisting of a ceiling mounted arc-shaped rail on which a motorised laser positioning unit is affixed. The laser guides the entry point, depth and angle for a needle that is 0.7mm thin.
A brushless maxon DC motor combination, selected for the small size and reliability of operation, meticulously drives the unit on the arc’s rail, which holds the rotary laser. The brushless flat EC motor with a diameter of 45mm is fitted with a planetary gearhead and MR Encoder. Two more brushless maxon DC motors control the rotation of the laser mirrors, the EC-max 16 fitted with a GP 16A planetary gearhead and MR encoder. These brushless DC motors allow for exact positioning of the laser beam and are controlled using three EPOS2 Modules.
For more information on medical application technology speak to a maxon motor Engineer on Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
The EC 45 flat brushless flat motor Ø45 mm, GS45 planetary gearhead and EPOS2 Module 36/2 © maxon motor
The number of worldwide medical patents filed in 2015 was more than twelve-thousand. The term “innovation” certainly applies to this industry.
In the field of medical technology, surgeon’s tools and machines are becoming smaller. Robotic assistance is commonplace in prostate surgeries. Minimally invasive surgery, surgical tools that can reach sensitive and in-depth parts of the brain once considered too high-risk, are being explored. Machines that aid faster patient recovery times and robots that assist in rehabilitation. Maxon motors are at the forefront of medical technology, working along-side Universities, start-ups and multi-national corporations. Medical applications that have maxon DC motor technology and expertise include the da Vinci Robot, wheelchairs that can climb stairs, aortic pumps for heart patients, implantable dosage systems, robotic exoskeletons, surgical tools and prosthetics.
For more information on DC motors in medical applications speak to a Sales Engineer from our Sydney office Tel. +61 2 9457 7477 or visit http://medical.maxonmotor.com.au for more medical application examples.
For more stories visit maxon motor’s driven magazine available on-line at maxonmotor.com.au © maxon motor