Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for January 2001


In this issue:



Chip sets 'manage' motor control design

If you need more help in designing drives for electric motors-ac induction as well as brushless dc types-look into Accelerator architecture chip sets from International Rectifier Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.). The new architecture 'partitions' inverter functions to act as an intelligent 'power management peripheral' to the DSP or microprocessor controlling the overall motion system. Benefits promised to users are higher speed range (by a factor of 10), more torque precision ( Jan. 10, 2001 Daily News .

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How to keep tabs on encoder quality

Quality of feedback information from an encoder (e.g., output levels and pulses per time) depends on maintaining the phase shift between the two quadrature signals as close as possible to the ideal 90

Lynn Electronics Corp. (Charlotte, N.C.) offers a practical solution with its Quadrater Encoder Tester, a tool that plugs into the encoder and measures worst-case phase shift of rotary or linear quadrature encoders. A single-digit LED display-from 0 to 9-indicates phase-shift magnitude, with an '8' or a '9' corresponding to proper encoder operation. The digital tool also displays several other encoder quality and diagnostic indicators. Priced at $550 in quantities of five to 10, Quadrater is available in 5 or 12 V dc versions. More details can be found in Jan. 19, 2001 Daily News . Contact Tel: 704/369-0093.


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Ready for remote web-based motor testing/development?

Not a remote computer simulation approach, this virtual engineering laboratory (VE-Lab) brings designers and developers of electric motor and power systems into the world of 'collaborative testing and experimentation' via the Internet. Developed by Electro Standards Laboratories (ESL, Cranston, R.I.), the system runs in real time over the Internet using standard web browsers. VE-Lab is innovative in that it permits full interactive control of actual system hardware, according to ESL. VE-Lab system boasts time delays of several seconds or less when using a dialup line for Internet access. High-speed Internet connections, such as ISDN, cable, or DSL will further enhance system performance.

The graphical user interface (GUI) handles local user input and displays data from the project or experiment, while a remote site GUI offers real-time data graphs, process statistics, control buttons, and a real-time video link. Remote users can interactively monitor and control the experiment, as well as obtain detailed data files for further analysis.

'This system allows geographically distributed team members interactive control of system hardware.and allows collaborative development, implementation, testing, and verification based on true experimental results,' says Dr. Raymond Sepe, Jr., vp of research & development for ESL. For more information, contact ESL at Tel: 401/943-1164.


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More multi-axis motion controller choices

Kollmorgen (Radford, Va.) has recently expanded its ServoStar MC multi-axis motion controller family with a stand-alone model and a PCI PC-card version. You can install the latter version in an industrial PC, using the equivalent of two just adjacent ISA/PCI bus slots. ServoStar MC controls up to 16 coordinated motion axes using SERCOS drive amplifiers. Features include Ethernet port, two serial ports, PC-104 expansion, and DeviceNet/Profibus options. A software package (Microsoft Windows driver and Basic Move Development Studio) is available to develop, edit, and debug user programs. The Motion Developer's Kit gives users connectivity to PLCs and operator interfaces.

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Enhanced monitoring of motors and rotating equipment

This preventive maintenance module offers added features for failure protection of large motors, speed reducers, and gearboxes. Allen-Bradley EZLINK Plus monitoring module from Rockwell Automation (Mequon, Wis.) works with A-B 'Control-Matched Variable Speed Motors,' but can be mounted on other makes of motors, as well. While EZLINK Plus monitors speed (continuously), temperature (at 16 msec intervals), and vibrations (at 10 minute intervals), it also allows you to customize the unit with three extra discrete status inputs. These could be oil level, air pressure, or motor winding temperature indicators. Simplified wiring and monitoring via DeviceNet and online data delivery for trending and alarming are other new features of the module.

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Companies in motion

Announced in mid-December 2000, MTS Systems Corp. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) has bought the assets and technology for all motor drive products from SemiPower Systems Inc. (Hillsboro, Ore). This includes SemiPower's 'Blok' products family (DriveBlok, IndexBlok, SpindleBlok, etc.)-a technology that offers an essentially complete electric drive in a very compact package for ac induction motors and permanent magnet brushless motors through 20 hp size. The acquisition becomes part of MTS Automation Division.

Also in December, SAF Drives & Automation (Kitchener, Ont., Canada) became a member of Rockwell Automation 's (Mequon, Wis.) 'Solution Provider Program.' The partnership is intended to expand Rockwell Automation's customer support in the metals and bulk materials handling sectors, drawing on SAF's expertise in ac and dc drive systems, along with integration of controllers, machine interfaces, and related components.

Kollmorgen Seidel , (Düsseldorf, Germany; Radford, Va.), a Danaher motion control business unit, has integrated its servo drives with PC-based motion controllers from Nyquist Industrial Control (Eindhoven, Netherlands). Nyquist developed KS3000 FireWire-Servo Drive connection module, a plug-in unit that links its NYCe3000 motion controllers with Seidel's ServoStar 600 digital drives. The result is a unified 'smart drive.' KS3000 was shown for the first time at the SPS/IPC/Drives 2000 show in Germany, in late November 2000.

As of Oct. 23, 2000 Yaskawa Electric Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) and Siemens AG (Munich, Germany) have formed a 50-50 joint venture to build machine tool market share in Japan and Korea. The new entity-Yaskawa-Siemens Numerical Control (YSNC)-is headquartered near Tokyo. YSNC's initial target markets will be high-end CNC applications using PC-based Yaskawa-Siemens 840DI Series controllers newly developed with technologies from both companies.

High-performance servo drives (K-series) to complement 840DI Series were specifically developed by Yaskawa. The joint venture is sure to draw the attention of Fanuc, which has been a major 'force' in the region's machine tool market. YSNC products may be marketed in the U.S. because each parent company has substantial presence here; namely, Yaskawa Electric America (Waukegan, Ill.) and Siemens Energy & Automation (Apharetta, Ga.).

Dana Motors and Controls Division (Ann Arbor, Mich.)-part of Dana Corp.'s Motors and Electronic Systems Group-and Buehler Motor (Cary, N.C.; Nürnberg, Germany) have allied to develop and supply 'advanced automotive motor module technologies.' Miranda Kuchinski, Dana M&CD marketing communication manager calls the action 'a strategic alliance and development partnership between the two companies.' Buehler brings to the table expertise in dc fractional horsepower (and geared fractional hp) motors, miniature precision gear assemblies, and high-volume manufacturing-to add to Dana's strength in switched-reluctance and dc motor/control products. The benefit to Buehler is synergy from Dana's presence in automotive markets.


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Education, seminars

Looking for more knowledge or brushing up on technical skills? Here's a couple of training possibilities for you.

'Working with Servos, plus Motor Basics' seminars-presented by Bull's Eye Marketing Inc., Industrial Controls Consulting Div. (ICC, Fond du Lac, Wis.)-pick up steam with three presentations in April and one in May. These three-day seminars (last day optional) are intended mainly for engineers seeking an understanding of servo system fundamentals, problems associated with applications, and electric motors used in motion control.

Seminar presenters are Thomas Bullock, ICC president; George Younkin, ICC staff consultant; and Daniel Jones, president of Incremotion Associates (Thousand Oaks, Calf.), all of whom are veterans in the topic areas. Specific presentation dates and places are:

April 4-6, 2001 (Los Angeles, Calif. area) at Hilton Ontario Airport Hotel

April 23-25 (Cincinnati, O. area) at King's Island Resort

April 25-27 (Cleveland, O. area) at Radisson S.W. in Middleburg Heights

May 16-18 (Chicago, Ill. area) at Ramada Inn in Elgin.

A four-page brochure is available from Tom Bullock. Tel: 920/929-6544.

Not too early to think about it, ISA 2001 Technical Conference and Exhibition, September 10-13 in Houston, Tex. will incorporate motion control presentations in the conference program. ISA -Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society-and the Association of International Motion Engineers (AIME) will jointly organize the event called 'The Applied Motion Control Symposium.' Presentations range from recent advances in motion control to applications and system implementation. Sample topics include control techniques; adaptive and robust control; fuzzy/neural network control applications; fault diagnosis; advanced systems; robot actuators and controls; comparison of drive solutions; and advances in communication.


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Control Engineering in December and January

Year-end coverage wound up with an Application Update on custom CNC production of engraved control panels. In the Products and Software section, applicable items included Schneider Electric's (North Andover, Mass.) new Lexium multi-purpose servo drive; hollow-shaft incremental encoders without bearings to limit speed from Hübner/SIEI America (Berlin, Germany; Charlotte, N.C.), and an actuator for process control valves from Fisher Controls (Marshalltown, Ia.), based on a brushless servo motor.

My feature article on ' Integrated Motor-Drives ' (ac induction motor and drive combined in one package) updated the developing technology that goes along with distributed solutions. The number of products and manufacturers is growing, 20 of which were covered in the main article and an ' Online Extra ' article. The largest model now available (in Europe) is rated 22 kW or nearly 30 hp. Users' experiences with these integrated products are welcome for future use.

Year 2001 continues the integrated solutions theme. Chuck Lewin, chairman of Performance Motion Devices Inc. (Lexington, Mass.), explores ' Distributed Motion Control ' as an option, in a January article. My follow-up online article looks at what some other suppliers are doing and also other aspects of 'distributing intelligence' to motion systems in the manufacturing enterprise. Eight product suppliers are covered in the two articles.

Smooth microstepping with a four-axis motor control system from Testra Corp. (Tempe. Ariz.) is a January Products and Software section feature.


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Take a support/service survey

What are your experiences with post-sale support and service in your product or regional area? From February 4 to 25, Control Engineering will add a prominent link to its web site that will connect you to our survey. Please invest a few minutes of your time to give us feedback. Results will be reported in the June 2001 issue.


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