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Mechatronics February 9, 2022

Product advice: Smart mechatronics platforms offer new handling solutions

Intelligent mechatronics components, such as linear motion products, controllers, servo drives and operator software with easy-to-use configuration tools, are necessary to build complete, high-performance mechatronics solutions, according to a company with a Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award product.

By Richard Hansen
Mechatronics February 12, 2020

Donation made for mechatronics lab at university

Omron Foundation made a donation to California State University, Chico (Chico State) for an expanded mechatronics laboratory and classroom space.

By Omron Automation
Mechatronics October 17, 2013

EC: SINAMICS V20 Variable Frequency Drive

Motion Control - Drives: The SINAMICS V20 variable frequency drive is the cost-effective, reliable and easy-to-use ac drive for basic applications. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

Mechatronics October 17, 2013

EC: MV1000 Medium Voltage AC Drive

Motion Control - Drives: The MV1000 is a full featured medium voltage drive, providing outstanding quality, performance, flexibility and system friendliness for medium voltage applications, from 200 to 5,000 hp. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 17, 2013

EC: XT Motor Control Center

Motion Control - Drives: Eaton XT motor control centers provide 24-Vdc control power in a compact footprint, and are designed to improve uptime and enhance safety for commercial, industrial, and OEM applications. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 17, 2013

EC: Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 servo drive with Kinetix VP low-inertia servo motor

Motion Control - Drives: The single-cable Kinetix motion solution gives machine builders a proven solution for servo and induction motor control on a single development platform to reduce design time and cabinet space, and improve power density and efficiency. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 17, 2013

EC: Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 525 AC Drive

Motion Control - Drives: The compact Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 525 ac drive helps machine builders and end users simplify equipment design and operation, and speed installation and configuration. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice award winner.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 16, 2013

Medium voltage AC drive is compact, saves energy

Yaskawa's MV1000 medium voltage ac drive family use a modular, compact design for energy savings and are compatible with the 1000 series low voltage ac drive products.

Mechatronics October 8, 2013

Going green in powertrain and engine testing

Flexible test machines that regenerate energy promise to revolutionize the world of aircraft and automotive subsystem testing.

By Jason Stefanski
Mechatronics October 7, 2013

Vertical lift stages, in 2 sizes, with dc servomotor

Aerotech's MPS-SV series lift stages are offered in two sizes, the MPS50SV and MPS75SV, and feature a DC servomotor as well precision-ground ball screws for accurate geometric performance.

Mechatronics October 7, 2013

Top Control Engineering articles, September 2013

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during September 2013 included: Alarm management standard, IT vs. OT, automation upgrade help, Invensys acquires InduSoft, thermowell selection, motor shaft grounding, machinery directive help, help from IT, big structures from small interlocking pieces, human-robotic collaboration, automation justification, modular PLCs, and more.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics October 3, 2013

Self-assembling robots from MIT have simple design

Resolves problem for modular-robotics community: Small cubes with no exterior moving parts can propel themselves forward, jump on top of each other, and snap together to form arbitrary shapes. Link to video of the robots.

By Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office
Mechatronics October 1, 2013

Safe motion modules, hygienic servos, fighting robots

Kollmorgen Safety Modules (KSM) help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) deliver higher productivity by combining machine safety logic and safe motion. Servo drive advancements, stainless steel motors, and fighting robots were also shown.

Mechatronics October 1, 2013

Integrated-motor market to expand by more than 40 percent in five years

Integrated-motor market sales are projected to reach $553 million by 2017 due to a larger global market size and additional market revenues from ac brushless servo and dc brushless integrated motors.

By IMS Research (Now part of IHS Inc.)
Mechatronics September 16, 2013

Latin American low-voltage motor drive market takes uphill path to $600 million in sales in 2017

The low-voltage ac and dc motor drive market is expand to grow to $600 million by 2017 thanks to lower commodity prices and concerns about potential mining and hydroelectric projects.

By IHS Inc.
Mechatronics September 4, 2013

Foundation offering grant for electrical motor power density tests

EMERF is offering a $15,000 grant to a university or research facility to develop research concepts on improving power density and efficiency in small electric motors.

By SSMA - The Motor and Motion Association
Mechatronics August 30, 2013

North American machine vision sales rise for second straight quarter

The AIA reports North American machine vision sales rose 6% for the second quarter of 2013 with machine vision systems having the highest growth of any category.

By AIA
Mechatronics August 26, 2013

Top Control Engineering articles, July 2013

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during July 2013 included: System Integrator Giants of 2013, temperature sensor selection, future human-machine interfaces, Invensys sales talks, programming methods, top articles in June, when to automate advice, and industrial network selection, among others.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics August 22, 2013

Linear positioning drives deliver 40 N force

Nanotec Electronic's Nema 8 and Nema 14 hybrid linear positioning drives deliver a force of up to 140 N and a resolution of up to 0.01 mm.

Mechatronics August 20, 2013

Direct drive motor assemblies

Applimotion's customized direct drive motor assemblies include precision bearings, encoders, and cabling for a low-profile direct drive solution.

Mechatronics August 14, 2013

Of PLCs, control panels, and VFDs

PLCs have come a long way since the late 1960s and their applications in engineering are both innovative and seemingly endless.

By Jack Smith
Mechatronics August 12, 2013

Global motion control shipments fall in first-half 2013, optimism expressed

Global shipments for motion control products fell 6.8% for the first half of 2013, but there is still general optimism that sales will increase by the end of 2013 according to the Motion Control Association.

By Motion Control Association
Mechatronics August 6, 2013

Servo drives receive expanded IO capability

Ormec's XD indexer family expands analog I/O, adding motion control features for new applications and it also features software for complex applications.

Mechatronics August 5, 2013

Integrated linear motor stage

Aerotech’s PlanarDL-series delivers geometric performance for applications where precision is critical and it has three positioning performance options as well as anti-creep crossed-roller bearings.

Mechatronics July 24, 2013

Motion controller for end users with third-party controls

The Q170MCPU-EIP motion controller by Mitsubishi Electric is designed for end users who have third-party control system to incorporate and create Mitsubishi positioning applications via the Ethernet.

Mechatronics July 18, 2013

How to size servo motors: Advanced inertia calculations

Inside Machines: To properly select the appropriate servo motor for a motion control application, find the inertia of the load being rotated. Applications where the center of rotation is on a different axis than the center of mass can lead to some challenging inertial calculations.

By Mark Wilder
Mechatronics July 10, 2013

Servomotor line with field-replaceable encoders

Siemens' Generation II Simotics 1FK7 servomotors are field-replaceable 24-bit encoders in 10 styles as well as three inertia versions and seven shaft heights.

Mechatronics July 9, 2013

Consortium formed for semiconductor wafer fabrication challenges

Ten global companies formed the Facility 450 Consortium (F450C) and five companies formed the Global 450 Consortium (G450C) with the intention of addressing facility and infrastructure challenges of 450mm semiconductor wafer fabrication issues.

By The Global 450mm Consortium (G450C)
Mechatronics July 8, 2013

Rotating torque sensor series

The Dyno LaborSaver rotating torque sensor series from SensorData Technologies allows for dual measurement and has a wide range of measurement options.

Mechatronics July 2, 2013

Electric cylinder and closed loop servo drive

Festo's EPCO electric cylinder and CMMO-ST closed loop servo drive are designed to quickly assist in machine and product changeovers and offers the flexibility of commissioning via the Internet.

Mechatronics May 13, 2013

Software wizard provides easy embedded motion controller setup

Product Exclusive: PMD Pro-Motion software offers axis wizard and support for digital amplifiers and embedded motion development, providing easy setup of embedded motion controllers.

By Performance Motion Devices
Mechatronics May 8, 2013

Top Control Engineering articles, April 2013

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during April 2013 included the following topics: PID tuning rules, April Fool’s Day article, salary and career survey, lower PLC software costs, remote I/O, robotic innovations and safety, lambda tuning, motion control, cyber security, and energy efficiency, among others.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics May 7, 2013

Demand for DC brushless motors in automotive applications expected to grow 52 percent by 2017

DC brushless motor shipments will outpace shipments of DC brushed and stepper motors used in automotive applications from 2012 to 2017.

By IHS Inc.
Mechatronics April 30, 2013

China’s motion control market falls nearly 20 percent in 2012

Revenue from sales of motion controls in 2012 fell to $2.2 billion, down 19 percent from $2.7 billion in 2011.

By IHS Inc.
Mechatronics April 22, 2013

Stepper motion systems addendum

Cost, simplicity, and continuing innovation are keeping stepper motion technology competitive—as described in the May 2013 main article. Additional developments and perspectives on motor-drive integration, controls, component miniaturization, and stepper motion system suppliers are provided here.

By Frank J. Bartos, PE
Mechatronics April 22, 2013

Step-motor-based systems stay competitive

Motion control: Traditional stepper-motor systems represent the only motion-control technology able to operate in open loop—although the addition of position feedback to enhance performance is on the rise. Simpler controls, lower cost components, and other innovations keep stepper systems competitive with servo motion systems in numerous applications.

By Frank J. Bartos, PE
Mechatronics March 18, 2013

Motion control: Statue of Liberty rescue elevator

Application Update: At the Statue of Liberty, the new fast, efficient rescue elevator features a smooth ride to the top, ensured by a motor drive, to improve safety, emergency access, and evacuation for the crown jewel of U.S. statues and tourist destinations.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics March 4, 2013

Products used: Automaker changes gears without changing grippers

Original equipment manufacturer Moore Controls used Festo HGPLE electric grippers to help an automaker’s transmission operations eliminate costly changeovers.

By Bryan Morehouse
Mechatronics March 4, 2013

Automaker changes gears without changing grippers

When a major automaker sought a new strategy for automated transmission operations, an original equipment manufacturer put electric grippers at the cutting edge to eliminate costly changeovers.

By Bryan Morehouse
Mechatronics March 1, 2013

China market for motion-control gear slowed in 2012, but picture brightens starting this year

The overall motion-control market in China contracted 19 percent last year compared to 2011.

By IHS Inc.
Mechatronics February 26, 2013

CNC services and support

The ‘right’ technical services and support capabilities for CNCs will maximize uptime, boost profits, and reduce maintenance costs.

By Russell Pobutkiewicz
Mechatronics February 22, 2013

Solid-state cylinder switch

The SMT-8M-A solid-state cylinder switch by Festo features a supplemental on-board LED for proper field commissioning and is designed for T-slot applications on pneumatic drives.

Mechatronics February 15, 2013

Taking the complexity out of designing Smart-Grid devices

National Instruments executive says a new development platform should bring renewable energy sources to the grid much faster.

By Control Engineerig
Mechatronics February 14, 2013

The right system components are critical to maximizing the energy-saving potential of VFDs

Cabling—like other components—must be vetted for its ability to withstand the harshest operating conditions.

By Peter Cox
Mechatronics February 13, 2013

Understanding servo system application requirements

When selecting servo-based motion control systems, it’s all about the application.

By Scott Carlberg, Yaskawa America Inc.
Mechatronics February 12, 2013

Servodrive control

Cover story: Smaller, faster, higher accuracy, and easier to use are among servodrive control advances. Servodrive controls offer high accuracy and repeatability for precise applications, as shown in the cover application video and in the articles, explanations, and examples about each.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 8, 2013

Top Control Engineering articles, January 2013

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during January 2013 included the following topics: U.S.-manufacturing of medium-voltage drives, decentralized process control, a new engineering research center, 5 ways to enable the next generation workforce, automation programming, and Ethernet communications, among others.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics January 28, 2013

Open architecture digital PMSM servodrive control

Milling machine axis control system uses real-time open architecture and digital permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) control, based on a high-performance PXI platform. Updated with reader comment Feb. 5.

By Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Paweł Waszczuk
Mechatronics January 23, 2013

Motion control: Product handling, re-feeder challenges

Integrator update: Controlling the product flow in adjacent machines can be challenging. Polytron and Finesse Manufacturing address product handling and re-feeder interruptions, turning a three-legged race into a winning relay.

By David Hettesheimer, PE, PMP
Mechatronics January 14, 2013

Eaton dedicates new innovation, engineering center

Electrical reliability, efficiency, and safety were key points of emphasis during a Jan. 9 ribbon cutting, tour, and lunch for Eaton employees, media, and other selected guests at the new Menomonee Falls Innovation Center. See photo gallery and video clip, below. Updated Jan. 16.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics January 14, 2013

Top Control Engineering articles for 2012

Think Again: Control strategies, optimization, safety and security, and system integration were among top Control Engineering articles for 2012, based on online traffic. What advice here will help your 2013 be more productive?

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics December 27, 2012

Yaskawa commemorates first U.S.-manufactured MV1000 medium-voltage drives

The Kagami-Biraki sake ceremony celebrates the start of U.S. manufacturing of the Yaskawa MV1000 medium-voltage ac drives, first in that series of drives to be built in Oak Creek, Wis., with an investment in manufacturing and testing in excess of $3 million. See photo gallery from the ceremony and plant tour, below.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics December 14, 2012

CNCs offer predictive, preventive maintenance tools for motors

Fanuc's Series 30i/31i/32i-Model B CNCs offer predictive and preventive maintenance tools for motors and fans. Fanuc can judge when the fan will fail through monitoring tools, enabling maintenance personnel to repair the problem at their convenience.

Mechatronics December 13, 2012

Integrated motion servo drive with EtherNet/IP connectivity

Kinetix 5500 servo drive by Rockwell Automation joins the Kinetix 350 and Kinetix 6500 drives to provide users with more options to match motion control needs.

Mechatronics December 5, 2012

Integrated CNC controller with HMI functions

The M700V series by Mitsubishi Electric is an integrated CNC designed for metal-cutting, forming, plastics, and woodworking applications.

By Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc
Mechatronics December 4, 2012

Top Control Engineering articles, November 2012

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during November 2012 included the following topics: Leaders Under 40, best products, mobile apps, feedback controllers, machine commissioning, System Integrator Giants, fieldbus project help, level control, project management, and lean manufacturing, among others.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics November 19, 2012

Top Control Engineering articles, October 2012

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during October 2012 included the following topics: Best products, HMI, mobile apps, motors, level control, system integrators, safety, PLCs, energy efficiency, and project management, among others.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics November 12, 2012

EC: EPCO Electric Cylinder

Motion Control: The EPCO electric cylinder is a ball screw driven actuator with integrated stepper motor (closed loop / with encoder) used in light industrial applications. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics November 12, 2012

EC: IndraDrive Mi Integrated Motor-drive System with Multi-Ethernet Interface

Motion Control - Servo drives: Rexroth IndraDrive Mi with Multi-Ethernet interface is a milestone in drive engineering, combining control electronics and servo motor in one ultra-compact unit. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics November 12, 2012

EC: MR-J4 Series Servo System

Motion Control - Servo drives: The MR-J4 servo system from Mitsubishi Electric Automation combines high performance features (for maximum throughput and OEE), user-friendly, HMI functions (to accelerate set-up, reduce installation costs and improve operator safety), and energy saving features. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics November 12, 2012

EC: AM8000 Servo Motors

Motion Control: Synchronous servo motor with One Cable technology, with which the power and feedback system are combined into one standard motor cable. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics November 2, 2012

SMMA 2012 Fall Technical Conference

SMMA 2012 Fall Technical Conference is Nov. 6-8, 2012, in St. Louis, Mo. Pre-Conference options include three SMMA Motor & Motion College course and the Permanent Magnet Division (PMD) Meeting. During the conference, 28 table top exhibitors will showcase products and services.

Mechatronics October 31, 2012

Servo motor versus induction motor systems

Cover story tutorial: Choosing between permanent magnet servo motor or induction motor systems depends on application performance criteria. Consider this advice for the best fit. See more information and photos online, including comparative table.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics October 30, 2012

Motor-integrated servo drives

The Acoposmulti65m by B+R Automation is designed to unite motors, sensors, and servos into one compact unit. It comes with IP65 protection and is equipped with STO.

Mechatronics October 26, 2012

Servo amplifier has EtherCAT connectivity

The Mitsubishi Electric Automation MR-J3-xA-RJ158 is an AC servo drive that provides users connectivity to servo amplifiers through EtherCAT communication. It is designed for automotive applications and has an amplifier with a capacity that ranges from 100W to 22kW.

Mechatronics October 23, 2012

Mobile showroom demonstrates motion control solutions

Mitsubishi Electric Automation's Solutions in Motion is a mobile showroom that has interactive demonstration pods as well as an industrial, bottling-line demonstrating new products.

By Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc
Mechatronics October 22, 2012

Motor lineage, design knowledge help when choosing servo or induction motors

Webcast: In the Control Engineering RCEP Accredited webcast, “Servo vs. induction motors: Which should be considered for what applications?” information presented suggests that understanding motor lineage and motor design help with motor specification. See graphics.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics September 20, 2012

Actuator with reverse parallel motor mount

The new reverse-parallel motor mount reduces the length of the Tolomatic ERD actuator while increasing mounting flexibility and motor selection in electric actuator applications.

Mechatronics September 19, 2012

Energy management: What’s next for manufacturing?

Small changes in how energy is managed in manufacturing can add up to millions of dollars in energy-consumption savings. See below for four tips for saving energy in motion-control applications.

By Mary Burgoon
Mechatronics August 29, 2012

Industrial permanent magnet motors, and DC motor lines expanded

Baldor has expanded its permanent magnet and wound field industrial DC motors.

Mechatronics August 16, 2012

Integrated motion control programming software

B&R’s Automation Studio software programming environment integrates motion programming within the B&R Generic Motion Control platform.

By Robert Muehlfellner
Mechatronics July 27, 2012

EtherCAT box for incremental encoder connection

Beckhoff Automation's I/O module synchronously reads encoder values via high-precision EtherCAT Distributed Clocks.

Mechatronics July 18, 2012

CC Link option for field inverter

The FR-A700 inverter by Mitsubishi Electric has added a CC-Link IE Field option card that controls remote I/O and read/write functionality up to one Gbps using the industrial Ethernet protocol.

Mechatronics June 13, 2012

Servo, drive, motion controller

Product Exclusive: Mitsubishi Electric’s new MR-J4 Series Servo and Motion Controller boosts productivity with speed, safety, and performance.

By Source: Mitsubishi Electric
Mechatronics June 12, 2012

Challenges of Motor Selection and Sizing

The range of sizes, types, and configurations of electric motors can seem endless. Here are a few ideas for navigating the choices.

By Jack Smith
Mechatronics May 24, 2012

Monitor machine conditions

Control Engineering International: Machine condition monitoring can be integrated within digital control of permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM).

By Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Paweł Waszczuk
Mechatronics May 16, 2012

Efficiency needs a system approach, depends on individual applications

Energy-efficient motion control: To identify the most energy-efficient pneumatic and electric automation, a technology-neutral comparison is required. After considering different alternatives, a German automotive components supplier adopted a ready-to-install energy-efficient handling system.

By Christopher Haug
Mechatronics May 3, 2012

Technologies used in the Ulmer Automation application

Festo PositioningDrives engineering software helps with appropriate component selection and sizing to optimize mechanical drive and transmission components and motors and to prevent duplication of safety factors, reducing energy costs by as much as 70%.

By Christopher Haug
Mechatronics April 2, 2012

Machine-tool Energy Efficiency: Current Issues

Industrial Energy Management: A range of energy consumers, such as pneumatics, hydraulics and lubricant processing, influence a work center’s power profile.

By Chris Weber
Mechatronics March 27, 2012

600V ICs for energy efficient inverter motor drive applications

International Rectifier introduces the compact IRS2334SPbF and IRS2334MPbF three-phase 600V ICs.

By International Rectifier
Mechatronics March 23, 2012

Technologies resolve 3 motion integration engineering deficiencies

Motion Analyzer mechatronic design software, Integrated Architecture and Logix Control Platform from Rockwell Automation, and EtherNet/IP enabled devices help resolve motion system integration challenges with mechatronics, scalability, and automation architecture.

Mechatronics March 23, 2012

Motion system integration, 3 overlooked points

Tips and Tricks: Control Engineering asked what engineers overlook when doing motion system integration. Pay attention to mechatronics, scalability, and the advantages of using one automation architecture.

By Paul Whitney
Mechatronics March 7, 2012

Easy Motion System Integration: Practical Strategies, Tools

Inside Machines: When designing machine motion controls, remember that motion starts at the load. Applications that guide motion system integration decisions can result in a more strategic machine design for more efficient and intuitive operation.

By Tom Jensen
Mechatronics February 7, 2012

Ethernet-based servo drive for machine automation

ABB Microflex e150 servo drive is designed for the Ethernet-based machine automation market and offer encoder interfacing, motion control programming and integrated functional safety capabilities.

Mechatronics February 7, 2012

Integrated motor communicates on EtherNet/IP systems

The MDrive integrated motor by Schneider Electric is designed for EtherNet/IP systems enables the networking of products from different manufacturers without the need for special interface adaptation.

Mechatronics February 4, 2012

Industrial networks: Free membership upgrade offered

The Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA) is offering its Regular Member package for free until March 31, 2012, which is good for an entire year thereafter, the group said.

Mechatronics December 24, 2011

Servo drive with Multi-Ethernet

With a Multi-Ethernet interface the IndraDrive Mi from Bosch Rexroth simplifies the realization of varied automation structures with one type of hardware.

Mechatronics December 13, 2011

Integrated, open PLC and motion programming for packaging

IndraMotion for Packaging from Bosch Rexroth is designed to reduce the amount of engineering by implementing all PLC and motion programming tasks in the same same programming language.

Mechatronics December 13, 2011

Vision and motion hardware added to controller platform

A reconfigurable Camera Link frame grabber for embedded vision and a motion module were added to the CompactRIO controller platform from National Instruments.

Mechatronics November 29, 2011

Machine automation controller provides motion, logic, vision

Omron Industrial Automation's Sysmac NJ-Series machine automation controller is designed to provide motion, logic, and vision on one unit to simplify use and increase efficiency.

Mechatronics November 25, 2011

Motion controller for demanding applications

Galil Motion Control’s PCI BUS Econo Motion Controller, The DMC-1417, is designed to handle demanding applications.

Mechatronics November 25, 2011

NYC Tunnel Boring

Automation Integrator Case Study: Communications network, variable frequency drives, and controllers integrate miles-long underground tunneling and motion control project.

By John F. Wozniak, Chuck Lukasik
Mechatronics November 18, 2011

EC: Electric Mini Slide EGSL

Motion control: The EGSL from Festo is a ball screw-based electromechanical slide used in conjunction with servo and stepper motors in precise positioning and pressing/clamping applications. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.

Mechatronics November 9, 2011

Energy-efficient sensorless motor control, variable speed motor control

Sensorless speed control motor and variable speed motor control technology are key energy-saving technologies.

By Wu Kang
Mechatronics October 31, 2011

EEMODS ’11—efficient motor systems conference: standards, new technologies

Energy Efficiency in Motor Driven Systems (EEMODS)—a notable international conference on electric motors, drives, and numerous related systems—drew some 150 attendees from industry, academia, government, research labs, and other service organizations to Alexandria, VA (greater Washington, D.C. area) during Sept. 12-14, 2011, to discuss, debate, and promote advances in energy-efficient technologies. This part 2 of two articles covers developments in efficiency standards and newer motor technologies.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics October 31, 2011

EEMODS ’11—successful 1st U.S. staging of efficient motor systems conference

The latest edition of Energy Efficiency in Motor Driven Systems (EEMODS)—a notable international conference on electric motors, drives, and associated systems—had the objective to explain and promote commercial advances of energy-efficient systems to OEMs, energy users, and other stakeholders. This part 1 of two articles covers system issues, recommendations, and a market overview of efficient motors and drives. See graphics.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics October 11, 2011

Accreditation for WPI, first U.S. robotics engineering undergraduate degree program

Four years after the program's launch, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) said it is the only university in the nation with bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in robotics engineering.

Mechatronics October 4, 2011

Ultra compact I/O terminal for servo motor control

Beckhoff Automation introduced an ultra compact I/O terminal for servo motor control. The “revolutionary EL7201 Terminal permits direct connection of a servomotor and resolver to a 12 mm EtherCAT Terminal,” the company said. Five axes can be controlled in width of less than 2.5 inches.

Mechatronics October 3, 2011

Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011: Automation products target machine builders

Automation and controls introduced and discussed at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 last week aimed to help machine builders optimize designs, become more energy efficient, and improve safety. A sampling follows with more to come.

Mechatronics September 26, 2011

NEMA 1 inverter drives in 40 hp, 50 hp, 60 hp

Lenze SMVector NEMA 1 inverter drives ramp-up to 60 horsepower; new drives are said to be compact and cost-effective. The drives are among Lenze technologies at Pack Expo 2011, booth S5360, in Las Vegas, Nev.

Mechatronics September 14, 2011

Inside Machines: Reduce servomotor instability

Motor instability, uncontrolled and unintended motion at the motor shaft, can occur at low or high frequencies and often cause growling at higher frequencies. Effectively reduce or eliminate servo instability without increasing position errors or decreasing performance.

By Marcus Schick
Mechatronics September 12, 2011

Mechatronics a main focus at Pack Expo 2011

Bosch Rexroth is emphasizing automation technology to enable modular, safe and energy efficient packaging machinery at Pack Expo 2011 in Las Vegas. Technologies include open control motion software, an integrated motor/drive with Ethernet communications, and corrosion-resistant pneumatics.

Mechatronics August 13, 2011

CNC system used to create 9-axis rotary transfer

Italian manufacturer Sinico used NUM's CNC system to develop the 9-axis rotary for manufacturing volume batches from metal bars and tubes.

Mechatronics August 12, 2011

Wind turbine gear production accelerated by refurbishing gear shaper

Linear actuator reportedly enables gear profile changeovers in minutes instead of hours, speeding wind-turbine gear production.

Mechatronics August 10, 2011

Many participants in wind power technology

Wind power suppliers: There is a large community of manufacturers and developers whose scope of supply ranges from complete wind turbine systems to hardware and software components and to numerous auxiliary subsystems that make up a wind farm. See list, photos, links.

By Frank J. Bartos, PE
Mechatronics July 23, 2011

Variable frequency drive for ultra high-speed motors, spindles

Amtech Drives Eazy Series Variable Frequency Drive system is designed to manage electrical currents for high-speed motors and spindles.

Mechatronics July 22, 2011

Inside Machines: Winding Technology in the Drive

Winder applications that can be integrated into drive systems by setting parameters, rather than configuring and programming, provide an advantage. See photo, diagrams, table.

By Alexander Schaedlich, William Gilbert
Mechatronics July 13, 2011

Linear shaft motor stage offers nanoprecision

Nippon Pulse America released their SCR100 stage, which has a coreless direct drive motor, which allows for higher accuracy and precision.

Mechatronics July 11, 2011

Frequency inverter drive for decentralized applications, integrated positioning

Lenze Americas Plug and Drive 8400 protec frequency inverter drive is said to be quick to commission in demanding applications in the automotive, logistics, and printing industrial applications.

By BY: Lenze Americas
Mechatronics July 6, 2011

Spring applied brakes for servo, stepper motors

Inertia Dynamics released new reverse mounted spring applied brakes to help with demanding motor-braking situations.

Mechatronics July 5, 2011

Inverters feature high dynamic performance, efficiency for motion control

Lenze Americas’ high efficiency, dynamic performance 8400 inverter series boosts motion control and logistics automation control productivity.

By SOURCE: Lenze Americas
Mechatronics June 29, 2011

Moog acquires Animatics

Moog, a motion-control company, acquired Animatics, advances smart motor capabilities.

Mechatronics June 28, 2011

CNC outlook: making tracks in midrange products

Easier CNC programming is creating growth in midrange computer numerical control products, said Siemens Industry. Advanced features, once available for high-end CNC tools used for aerospace, automotive, and medical applications, provide competitive advantage to a wider range of machine tools.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics June 26, 2011

Application: Unusual CNC Design

Milling center has highly dynamic 3-axis processing with exceptional stability, high energy, efficiency, and compact dimensions, using industrial PC (IPC) and industrial Ethernet automation technologies.

By Mark Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics June 21, 2011

Smartmotor design fits numerous applications, uses

Animatics' new smartmotor is designed to bring integrated benefits in harsh environments. It is rated IP65 with optional IP67 protection.

Mechatronics June 8, 2011

Robotic legs, motion control: Advances exceed some human capabilities

Smart prosthetics, including robotic replacements for human legs, meet and exceed some human capabilities, and advanced sensor developments will soon close the control loop between humans and robotic limbs, said Dr. Hugh Herr, biomechatronics researcher and professor, MIT Media Lab. See photos. Link to video.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics June 2, 2011

Choosing the right motion control architecture

Building a controller has never been easier—or more confusing. This tutorial guide can help determine which motion control architecture to use. See tables, diagrams, and link to video.

By Chuck Lewin
Mechatronics May 24, 2011

Explosion-proof motors for extreme applications

Siemens Industry’s toughest line of hazardous duty motors feature NEMA Premium logos and are available from 1 to 300 hp.

By SOURCE: Siemens Industry
Mechatronics May 9, 2011

Quick release mechanism protects against vibration shakeout

Speed Connect from Siemens Industry Inc. protects against vibration shakeout on its Motion-Connect line of power and signal cables.

Mechatronics March 27, 2011

USB interfaced I/O card for downloading configuration options

Mesa's 7I61 is a USB interfaced version of the FPGA based Anything I/O card series. It provides 96 I/O bits of easy to access programmable user I/O.

Mechatronics March 18, 2011

Coordinated Variable-Speed System Drives

A paper machine example illustrates that large electric drive systems have special requirements, for example, special inverter packaging with a separated dc converter to save space and cost, and provide the best reliability.

By Paul Blaiklock, TMEIC GE
Mechatronics March 15, 2011

4-axis 750 W servo drive for Ethernet motion controllers

Galil adds to multi-axis drive family, the packaging of multio-axis drives with motion controllers saves cost, space, wiring.

By SOURCE: Galil Motion Control Inc.
Mechatronics March 10, 2011

Getting money back for efficiency

Aren't there tax credits and rebates if I find ways to save energy? How do I apply?

Mechatronics March 10, 2011

Yaskawa names Ogawa as CEO; Kudo retired

Masahiro Ogawa has been named Chief Executive Officer of Yaskawa America Inc. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Ill. Ogawa replaces Gen Kudo who retired.

Mechatronics March 7, 2011

Rapid design, prototyping of PID controllers

Computer models can simulate processes, allowing you to design and refine PID controller action before it is implemented and deployed.

By Arkadiy Turevskiy, Brian McKay, Doug Eastman, Paul Lambrechts; MathWorks
Mechatronics February 28, 2011

SMMA Management for Motion Control Conference

Motor and Motion Association’s Management Conference brings motion control exhibits, meetings, information to industry professionals.

Mechatronics February 23, 2011

Honorable mentions for 2011 Engineers’ Choice Awards

HONORABLE MENTIONS - click on the link for each product to learn more.

By Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 22, 2011

Linear motion control system helps Biotech Lab robot

The RoToR by Baldor Electric allowed Singer Instruments’ innovate biotech laboratory robot for pinning arrays of cells, more than 200,000 cell samples per hour.

By SOURCE: Baldor Electric Co.
Mechatronics February 16, 2011

Multi-axis conformal coating machine handles high volume throughput

Baldor Ethernet-compatible Powerlink servos simplify machine build in small packages.

By Baldor Electric Company
Mechatronics February 9, 2011

Advanced motor design: New Motors Reach New Applications

Permanent magnets, axial, transverse, and radial flux designs optimize torque, power, efficiency, size, weight, and other motor performance parameters, as explained in this February Control Engineering feature article. Reader feedback added below on Feb. 16.

By Dan Jones, Incremotion Associates
Mechatronics February 3, 2011

Retrofit brings old floor-type mill up to modern standards

NUM’s CNC technology helps bring an old-floor type horizontal boring mill up to state-of-the-art standards, areas improved include programming software, motion control system.

Mechatronics January 27, 2011

Rotary actuators with class I, division 2 option for hazardous locations

Exlar features rotary actuators with Class I, division 2 certification, suited for operating quarter turn, multi turn valves.

Mechatronics January 21, 2011

Video helps with servo motor tuning

Viewers now can learn to use the Galil Motion Control GalilTools scope to help tune a servo motor. View and measure the system step response and adjust the PID tuning parameters until optimum performance is observed.

Mechatronics January 11, 2011

Top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2010 at www.controleng.com

Link to the most-read Control Engineering articles of 2010 at www.controleng.com. Energy-efficient motor technology topics, pushed by a Dec. 19 regulatory deadline and increased sustainable engineering efforts, ranked very high. Also very popular were industrial communications technologies, wireless and Ethernet, various Tips and Tricks tutorial-type advice, as well as awards recognition. This was the topic of the January 2010 Think Again column.

Mechatronics January 8, 2011

Servo drive: cost-effective, easy to use for motion control applications

Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive from Rockwell Automation provides a solution for machines requiring less than 1.5 kW, up to 12.55 N-, of instantaneous torque.

Mechatronics December 30, 2010

Motion controller can rejuvenate your machine

Add productivity to your hydraulic machine with a new motion controller. Adding an electro-hydraulic motion controller can increase machine productivity. PLCs typically do not have instruction sets that are tailored for this function, and machine scan times can vary from scan to scan, making it difficult to deal precisely with feedback information. Old machine can add new life with a motion controller retrofit. See more photos and motion control diagram.

By Perry Yoder, Oilquip Inc.
Mechatronics December 28, 2010

Serial synchronous interface module for motion control, position sensing applications

Opto 22 Snap-SCM-SSI serial module offers a communications interface between digital encoders and Snap PAC System I/P processors or programmable automation controllers; designed for use in motion control and other tracking and identifying applications.

Mechatronics December 20, 2010

Motion software upgrade analyzes, optimizes motion control systems

The Motion Analyzer 5.000 is part of a set of Rockwell Automation mechatronic design tools intended to provide mechanical, electrical and controls engineers the ability to collaborate to digitally prototype machines. Upgrade includes user interface, Profile Editor, selection assistants.

Mechatronics December 17, 2010

Spindle motors for heavy-duty machine tool, motion control applications

Siemens Industry’s 1PH8 family of high-performance induction motor drives and servomotors provide dynamic response, smooth operation and low vibration levels

Mechatronics December 7, 2010

Soft start/soft stop motor controller

New Enclosed Altistart 22 soft start/soft stop motor controller by Schneider Electric offers advanced performance and reliability in a packaged starter.

Mechatronics December 7, 2010

Software connectivity boosts sales, adds product flexibility

Embedding enhanced communications software capability into its machinery helped a precision press manufacturer improve its product and its sales, giving its servo systems the ability to connect with customers’ components regardless of the protocols being used.

Mechatronics November 30, 2010

ABB to acquire Baldor Electric Co. in a $4.2 billion transaction

ABB and Baldor announce a recommended offer for ABB to acquire Baldor for $63.50 per share, an overall transaction value of $4.2 billion, including net debt of $1.1 billion. (See photos and links to additional analysis at bottom of story.) The move, the companies said, is in line with ABB’s strategy to lead the multibillion dollar North American industrial motors business and be a global leader for movement and control in industrial applications (industrial motion).

Mechatronics November 20, 2010

High-inertia servomotors for high, variable loads

Siemens Industry Inc. 1FK7 servomotor provides highly robust control response suitable for high- and variable-load inertia applications, such as feed and auxiliary axes on machine tools, and winders and unwinders on converting, packaging and printing equipment.

Mechatronics November 5, 2010

Pack Expo: Process to packaging control capabilities expand

At Pack Expo International 2010, Rockwell Automation offers control capabilities to help improve machine performance, flexibility, and longevity.

Mechatronics November 5, 2010

Explosion-proof linear actuators for demanding environments

Exlar’s linear actuator line has been expanded to include the EL100 explosion-proof linear actuators, rated for Class I, Div 1, Groups B, C, D and T3 hazardous environments.

Mechatronics November 2, 2010

Control Engineering-Engineers’ Choice nominees, 2011

Nominations are closed for the 2011 Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Awards. Nominees follow, by category. Subscribers may now vote once per ballot if they meet the appropriate criteria ...

Mechatronics November 1, 2010

Control Systems, HMI Change Management, Security

Change management and security concerns have increased as human-machine interfaces have become more open and expose process data and metadata. Security precautions need to provide selective availability to control functions. Standards such as OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) can help off-the-shelf products be flexible and reusable, even in demanding applications.

By Krzysztof Pietrusewicz and Mariusz Postol
Mechatronics November 1, 2010

EC: Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive

Motion Control - servo drives - Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive. The Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive from Rockwell Automation provides machine builders the ability to better match the needs of manufacturers without the complexity of traditional servo solutions. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Honorable Mention.

Mechatronics November 1, 2010

EC: Gold Whistle Intelligent Servo Drive

Motion Control - servo drives - Gold Whistle Intelligent Servo Drive from Elmo Motion Control. The Gold Whistle is an Intelligent Digital Servo Drive using the latest technology and offering the highest performance motion and network communication architecture to run Brush & Brushless Rotary and Linear Motors. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.

Mechatronics November 1, 2010

EC: DMC-41X3

Motion Control - drives: Galil Motion Control Inc., DMC-41X3. Multi-axes Ethernet-based programmable motion controller. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.

Mechatronics October 29, 2010

DC electric motors with Hall sensors

Bosch i-Business Group explores new uses for Bosch DC electric motors with hall sensors in industrial, medical, and commercial applications that require precise control of motor speed or positioning mechanisms.

Mechatronics October 11, 2010

IMTS innovations: 6-axis servo system, micro CNC, robotic cell, machine sensors, easier programming, large servos

Diverse product introductions, targeting greater machine tool efficiency, accuracy, speed, and ease of use included 6-axis servo system, micro CNC, robotic cell, machine sensors, easier programming, large servos with peak power output as high as 530 kW (710.74 hp).

Mechatronics October 11, 2010

Full-function robotic finishing solution

PerfectEdge, a complete, full function robotic solution, meets the challenges of tight tolerance chamfering, deburring or finishing processes, while offering a non-touch teach method of programming.

Mechatronics September 10, 2010

Electromagnetic Linear Encoders to the Rescue

Automated motion control beyond traditional robotic applications requires non-traditional linear encoders. Electromagnetic encoders are the answer. Control Engineering feature article; see diagrams.

By C.G. Masi for Control Engineering
Mechatronics September 9, 2010

Motion controller with Ethernet, takes encoder inputs up to 15 MHz

Enhancements to this motion controller, the latest product in a series, includes Ethernet 100Base-T, a USB 2.0 port, higher speed performance, larger program memory, and more. It can close a loop in 62 microseconds.

Mechatronics September 8, 2010

CNC machines push linear encoder limits

The bleeding edge limitation for CNC accuracy and reproducibility involves thermal expansion. One solution is to provide a second, shorter, encoder axis at right angles to the main axis. Here's how.

By C.G. Masi for Control Engineering
Mechatronics September 7, 2010

Global Perspective: Engineering Poland

2010 has been a promising year in Poland innovative automation that can increase productivity and flexibility, especially among smaller companies and with technical university partnerships.

By Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Ph.D., and Lukasz Urbanski, MSc
Mechatronics August 24, 2010

Festo Codesys controller integrates drives, pneumatics, I/O

An embedded controller uses Codesys programming to integrate control of electric drives, pneumatics and I/O connections, the Festo CPX-CEC. This is a Control Engineering August 2010 North American edition Product Exclusive.

Mechatronics August 23, 2010

Piezo motors, actuators streamline medical device performance

For the execution of precise movements with medical equipment, the latest piezoceramic motors and actuators are more compact, require lower voltage, deliver higher torque, have shorter response time, generate less heat, and are nonmagnetic and vacuum compatible, compared to conventional electromagnetic motors.

By Jim McMahon, for Physik Instrumente
Mechatronics August 23, 2010

Basic piezo technologies for motion control applications

The most common piezo actuators and motor types are “simple” piezo actuator, flexure-guided, piezo actuator, ultrasonic friction motors, piezo stepping motors, and Ultrasonic transducers. Different piezo actuators and motor types are available. The most common ones are:

By Jim McMahon, for Physik Instrumente
Mechatronics August 23, 2010

11 ways piezoelectric motors improve equipment performance

Piezoelectric Motors Help Equipment Performance: Ten reasons to consider piezoelectric motors for motion control application follow, along with one more point that many motion system or product designers might not have considered. This is an August 2010 Control Engineering Inside Machines feature article.

By Jim McMahon, for Physik Instrumente
Mechatronics August 18, 2010

Expansion: Motoman Robotics expands manufacturing in Ohio

Motoman SDA10D robot from Yaskawa (a dual-arm robot called “Dexter Bot”) wore a hard hat and turned the first shovel of dirt on a new 300,000 square foot state-of-the-art office and production facility, for the company's North and South American operations.

Mechatronics August 6, 2010

NIWeek: New high-performance servo drives, motors, use Ethernet

New products provide distributed motion solutions with EtherCAT technology and the NI LabVIEW 2010 NI SoftMotion Module. The products are designed so engineers and scientists can more easily build scalable, distributed motion control systems. They are said simplify setup and configuration for deploying custom motion applications to any NI real-time controller supporting NI EtherCAT technology, including NI CompactRIO, PXI real-time controllers and NI industrial controllers,

Mechatronics July 13, 2010

Variable frequency drives: Mitsubishi Electric Automation enhances F700-NA Series VFDs

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. released a version upgrade for the F700 VFD Series variable frequency drives. The new version incorporates many new features and functions tailored to meet the requirements of the Water Handling Industry and a new level of flexibility for application specific requirements, Mitsubishi says.

Mechatronics April 15, 2010

Chip-level motor, motion control vendors

Motor control and motion control have similarities and different objectives; motor control typically needs less precise regulation of speed and torque than motion control. See suppliers.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics April 8, 2010

Motion control: Packaging machine builder saves with servo system, controls upgrade

Siemens Simotion Shaftless Drive Standard software helps machine builder gain 50% savings on components and 30% savings on control cabinet footprint with comparable performance.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics April 7, 2010

High-torque gearhead provides longer life, higher performance

Bodine Electric gearhead offered with new 3-wire-reversible 34R frame ac induction motor.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics April 1, 2010

Control Engineering North American edition, April 2010

Click on the cover image to see the table of contents, including the salary survey cover story.

Mechatronics April 1, 2010

Customer-driven quality

Global Perspectives: Mitsubishi Electric's reputation for quality is largely directed by customer requirements. Customer visits to the company's Tokyo headquarters and Nagoya Works facilities foster the two-way communication necessary for maintaining high quality levels.

By David Greenfield, Control Engineering
Mechatronics April 1, 2010

2-axis motion control card

Industrial Automation Group of Advantech introduces the PCI-1220U, a 2-axis motion control card for stepping and pulse-type servo motors. Hardware controlled linear and circular axis interpolation ensures synchronized movement across both axes, without consuming the PC’s CPU. Other features include programmable T/S-curve acceleration/deceleration rates, constant speed control and more.

Mechatronics April 1, 2010

New Porsche Hybrid: Two 60 kW motors, no batteries

Porsche racing hybrid technology used in its new 911 GT3 R Hybrid uses electrical front axle drive with two electric motors creating 60 kW. Each motor supplements the 480-bhp four-liter flat-six cylinder engine at the rear of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Uncommon features of this hybrid vehicle, include: The car will be tested in long-distance races on the Nürburgring.

Mechatronics April 1, 2010

Sensorless Control of a Brushless DC Motor

Digital signal controllers make it possible to meet motor torque and speed demands without employing rotor position sensors.

By Daniel Torres, Microchip Technology Inc.
Mechatronics April 1, 2010

Mitsubishi Electric L Series PLC

Mitsubishi Electric L Series programmable logic controller (PLC) is the company’s newest generation of industrial control, combining advanced networking with motion and sequence control. This is an April 2010 North American edition Product Exclusive.

Mechatronics April 1, 2010

CNC machine gets integrated drive system

Machine builder sought lower stonecutting machine component costs, reduced footprint and build time, and improved performance. AIM Inc. gained those and other benefits by installing a new drive and control system.

By Earl Scruggs, Bosch Rexroth
Mechatronics April 1, 2010

FR-D700 variable frequency drive from Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric FR-D700 variable frequency drive allows adjustable speed control of an ac induction motor.

Mechatronics March 17, 2010

Baldor delivers motor energy calculator via iPhone app

BE$T software conveniently shows potential savings when single or grouped motors are changed to energy-efficient designs.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics March 12, 2010

Lexium 32 servo drive range with servo motors

Schneider Electric's Lexium 32 servo drives reduce cabinet space, simplify interoperability, and improve machine performance.

Mechatronics March 11, 2010

2-axis motion control card for stepping, pulse-type servo motors

Advantech Universal PCI Card ensures synchronized movement across both axes, without consuming the PC's CPU.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics March 11, 2010

Roboticists saved from integration workload

Maxon partnership with National Instruments results in easier robot development, ViNI robotics platform.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics March 11, 2010

Siemens low vibration motor exceeds IEEE STD 841-2009

Siemens Industry Inc. has introduced a new design concept for the low vibration version of its rugged SD100 IEEE841 motor. The frame, bearing housings, stator and rotor employ the company's most technologically advanced designs to surpass the vibration requirements of the IEEE Std 841-2009.  Separately, Siemens 1FK7 servomotors are now available in three weeks.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics March 9, 2010

SR motor anatomy: See inside switched reluctance motors

Simple electromechanical structure of switched reluctance (SR) motors offers benefits of robustness and reliability by eliminating permanent magnets, rotor bars, and more - tutorial.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E, Control Engineering
Mechatronics March 8, 2010

Porsche unveils 918 Spyder hybrid sports car concept

New concept from Porsche is an efficient, low-emission, mid-engine super sports car that features hybrid and electric drive technology.

By David Greenfield
Mechatronics March 1, 2010

Collecting Data Reports from Controllers

A tutorial on how to create a simple solution using common off-the-shelf software to solve a variety of manufacturing data collection needs.

By William Love, Kredit Automation & Controls
Mechatronics March 1, 2010

Smart machine control creates unique sortation system

Sortation subsystem benefits from integrated automation to redefine efficiency in high-speed distribution centers.

By Jim McMahon for Dematic
Mechatronics February 26, 2010

Rockwell Automation A-B solid-state overload relay: voltage protection, energy monitoring

Allen-Bradley Bulletin 193-EC5 E3 Plus solid-state overload relay provides enhanced motor protection and motor energy consumption information, helps users improve energy efficiency and protect electric motor investment, says Rockwell Automation.

Mechatronics February 11, 2010

Video addresses common motion, I/O problems

Galil Motion Control debuts 2-minute videos for busy engineers seeking technical solutions.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics February 11, 2010

Sortation system benefits from smart machine control, integration

Smart system integration and machine control enable a new integrated sortation subsystem to redefine efficiency in high-speed distribution centers.

By Jim McMahon for Dematic
Mechatronics February 6, 2010

Motors & Drives: Energy savings predictor available through iTunes

Yaskawa offers variable frequency drives message through pop culture software service, Apple iTunes. The simple-to-follow, five-step savings estimator from Yaskawa Electric America helps compare VFD performance to other methods of motor volume control (based on motor output or shaft horsepower).

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics February 1, 2010

Motion Control Winners, Engineers’ Choice Awards 2010

In discrete control, Control Engineering gave 2010 Engineers' Choice Awards for drives, motion control, and motors.

Mechatronics February 1, 2010

Electric servo precision for tube bending

Actuated by servo motors, this new breed of CNC machines boasts as many as 15 motion axes on some models.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics February 1, 2010

Motor control terms, braking

Are there differences in servo drives and servo amps? What are the different kinds of motor braking strategies? 'Brake' now for motor learning.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics January 12, 2010

Protect linear transducers in rough environments

Housing designed for steel mills protects sensors from corrosion, shock, and vibration in very rough applications.

By Peter Welander
Mechatronics January 1, 2010

More mechatronics products, services from Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation has expanded its mechatronic solutions portfolio consisting of software tools, motion control products and support. According to Rockwell, the portfolio helps engineers to better collaborate, and reduce machine costs and development time by providing a common forum where design input from the mechanical, controls, software and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered...

Mechatronics December 21, 2009

Yaskawa adds more manufacturing to Milwaukee-area facility

Yaskawa expands manufacturing space in Milwaukee-area facility; 140,000 square feet total helps continued growth in the Americas. See photo.

Mechatronics December 1, 2009

Intelligence at the Device

Cover story: As components get smarter and more powerful, manufacturers are finding themselves managing high-performance automation and control systems whose parts are capable of monitoring themselves, diagnosing their own problems, and maybe even making a decision or two, economically and easily.

By Jeanine Katzel for Control Engineering
Mechatronics December 1, 2009

Understanding Intelligent Motor Control

A number of trends are pushing motor drives to operate more intelligently. The first is that more intelligent algorithms can drive motors more efficiently at a given torque and speed. The second is that system efficiency increases when the motor is driven at the exact power level needed, rather than throttling.

By Chuck Lewin, Performance Motion Devices Inc.
Mechatronics December 1, 2009

Joint Makeover

Recently, a major medical device manufacturer was getting some discouraging feedback from its main customer group: endoscopy surgeons. They said the company’s surgical scissors were difficult to control. It seemed the screw and small nut used in the hinge mechanism, although secure and reliable, was either too loose or too tight to allow pinpoint accuracy.

By David Parham, Orbitform Group
Mechatronics December 1, 2009

Tools for Complex Machine Design

At its Automation Fair conference in November, Rockwell Automation announced an expanded mechatronic solutions portfolio consisting of software tools, motion control products, and support. The portfolio enables better collaboration among machine builders by providing a common forum where design input from mechanical, controls, software, and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered and e...

Mechatronics November 6, 2009

QuickSilver Controls: NEMA 23 servo motor has improved efficiency, power

QuickSilver Controls Inc. expands its line of servo motors with the QCI-A23L-3. This servo motor provides almost 33% higher power output capability than the similarly sized motor it replaces.

Mechatronics November 1, 2009

Panel PCs handle extreme heavy lifting

Integrated control system helps Wheelift automated guided vehicles move turbine generators, transformers, and other massive payloads.

By Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor, Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 31, 2009

Mitsubishi Electric Automation molded case circuit breakers, 5-600 A

UL-approved MCCBs complement Mitsubishi Electric Automation drives and servos.

Mechatronics October 1, 2009

Using Algorithms to Increase Motor Efficiency

In the face of economic uncertainties and increasing environmental concerns, many businesses are trying to make their operations more lean, efficient, and environmentally friendly. Examining your electricity bill is a good place to start. The top consumers of electricity are HVAC systems, water heating, lighting, office equipment, and machinery.

By Christian Fritz, National Instruments
Mechatronics October 1, 2009

Embedded PCs Keep Drilling Machines on Budget

The need to drill straight and precisely shaped holes has been with manufacturers since the very beginnings of industry. Ever since the introduction of hand guns and rifles, the precision benchmark has been set high for deep hole drilling. Even today, these drilling systems are often referred to as “gun drills” because gun and rifle manufacturing was one of the first applications to...

Mechatronics September 16, 2009

Robotics development for academics, hobbyists

Microchip Technology announced the availability of a PIC32 32-bit microcontroller (MCU)-based robotics development kit through Digilent Inc.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics September 1, 2009

How to Choose a Controller

A dozen application-specific lists, and more detailed information online, help you sort through controller choices no matter what type of system you're building or upgrading.

By Renee Robbins, Control Engineering
Mechatronics August 31, 2009

CC-Link leads in Asia among open fieldbus networks; helps pharmaceutical manufacturing in Brazil

CC-Link Partner Association says CC-Link is the leading open network in Asia. In other news, CC-Link and Mitsubishi Electric controls serve as the SCADA system for the Mantecorp pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Brazil.

Mechatronics August 27, 2009

System integration: How to design a PC-based test system

Motion controller and DAQ PC combine to produce high performance pipe-testing applications. System integrator Advanced Machine Automation used National Instruments LabVIEW, Microsoft Visual Basic, Delta Computer Systems RMCLink software, and other tools for the system.

Mechatronics August 15, 2009

Control Engineering Industry Leaders

Control Engineering is a magazine for engineers in all industries who buy, specify, design and maintain automation, control and instrumentation devices, networks, systems, and software for automated process, manufacturing, and hybrid solutions. Visit the partner sites below for insight into their market expertise, products, and services. Click on an Industry Leader logo and you will be taken through to view this valuable information Honeywell Honeywell Process Solutions serves several industries, including refining, oil and gas, pulp, paper and printing, power generation, chemicals, life sciences, and metals, minerals and mining.

Mechatronics August 13, 2009

Machine control: Long bed CNC gantry mills achieve unprecedented accuracy

A Siemens Volumetric Compensation System and proprietary temperature compensation system combine with laser calibration to achieve +/- 0.003 in. accuracies.

By Renee Robbins
Mechatronics August 1, 2009

Can linear motors replace ball screws?

A reader of Control Engineering recently asked, “When I hear the sound of a ball screw that’s beginning to fail on a CNC milling center, I have to wonder: Isn’t there a better way to get that kind of linear movement? Are there other technologies?” We put that question to John Meyer at Siemens Motion Control Group, and he suggests linear motor technology.

By John Meyer, Siemens Motion Control Group
Mechatronics July 9, 2009

Industrial networks: CAN, CANopen find new applications, including wind power

Besides traditional industrial machines, this serial bus system for embedded control is in wind power systems, medical machines, and more.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 7, 2009

OEMs find advantage with mechatronics use, sustainability goals

A Rockwell Automation motion control expert describes how machine builders can use mechatronics modeling software to realize sustainability targets for their customers.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 11, 2009

Encoders: Heavy duty magnetic rotary and tiny micro inductive models debut

Baumer introduces MHXX Series of magnetic rotary encoders, while Maxon Motor USA introduces the Mile inductive encoder for micromotors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 11, 2009

Advanced drive module for integrated control system

ACS Motion Control has enhanced the drive operation of its MC4U integrated modular control system with the development of an advanced 4 axis high-voltage universal digital drive module.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 10, 2009

Motion and logic controller family enhanced

Ormec Systems Corp. has enhanced its ServoWire Motion & Logic Controller (SMLC) family.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 2, 2009

5 bottom line improvements to packaging automation

Packaging automation, such as Yaskawa Sigma-5 servo amp and motor pairing, can improve machinery in five key ways.

By Barbara Axelson
Mechatronics June 2, 2009

Packaging Technology and Solutions Center adds efficiency to machine design

The Schneider Electric Packaging Technology and Solutions Center (PTASC) supports machine builders' automation, control and power needs to improve machine design and efficiency.

By Barbara Axelson
Mechatronics May 14, 2009

Multi-axis system includes PLC with 1 ms update rate

Motion controller includes a PLC programmable in any IEC61131-3 language.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 14, 2009

Automated: Pumping station doubles capacity, saves energy

When the process control of the pumping station at Parksluizen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was automated, an Emotron FDU variable speed drive for 690 V with 12 pulse power supply was included. Pumping capacity doubled and energy consumption was minimized. Other benefits include...

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2009

Smart Drives Protect Their Motors

Like the self-maintaining robots of science fiction, modern machines have become more intelligent, and in some ways also more human. They are incorporating more decentralized intelligence, which operates like a human’s autonomic nervous system. This makes it possible for a packaging machine, for example, to protect itself from expensive breakdowns through quick reflexes, in the form of er...

By Renee Robbins, Control Engineering
Mechatronics May 1, 2009

Control Panel Design: 60% Less Space

The winner of the 2009 Control Engineering panel design award is CP Packaging of Appleton, WI. The company’s design for a plant-floor machine control panel reduces space on the machine, provides easy access for maintenance, reduces costs, and saves build-out and installation time. In the winning video describing the entry, CP Packaging’s Ray Buchko Jr. Link to videos, more photos.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics April 27, 2009

Report from Hannover: New Beckhoff automation hardware, software

At Hannover Fair (April 20-24, 2009), Beckhoff introduced several new products, including an expansion to its AX5000 servo drive series; software that integrates robotics, motion control, and PLC; and a condition monitoring terminal. The company also previewed the upcoming release of a PC-based safety PLC.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 10, 2009

Broadway Automation: Behind the Scenes

Ideas in Automation: Creating modular motion control systems that can move multiple pieces of scenery during the same show is the typical system integration and design work for Hudson Scenic Studio. The typical Broadway show today requires automation to move scenery because of its design, size, or complexity. Actuation includes ac motors, hydraulics, and pneumatics. See photos.

By David Greenfield, Control Engineering
Mechatronics April 8, 2009

New motion controller and motion control library

Ingenia has introduced the Mercury motion controller and motion control library.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 12, 2009

Motor controller with optical encoder inputs targets mobile robots

Designers of mobile robotic vehicles have a new motion controller choice from Roboteq Inc. See photo.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 24, 2009

Application: CNC retrofit helps mold shop succeed

There comes a point in the life of every business when it has to choose between investing in an advanced technology and staying with the tried-and-true—the potential big payback versus the safe status quo. When that choice confronted the owners of Fidelity Machine & Mould Solutions, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (see more photos), they chose CNC machine controls from Miceli Technologies because...

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 9, 2009

2008 New Product Compendium: Motors, Drives and Motion Control

The following products were introduced in 2008, and participated in the Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Awards competition.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 6, 2009

Motor energy-efficiency developments: recycling, efficiency classes

Although an effective date isn’t expected before 2011, mandatory minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for electric motors are coming to Europe in 2009. Learn more about recycling, replacement, and motor classes.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 3, 2009

Top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2008 at www.controleng.com

Below are links to the top 20 articles posted during 2008 that received the most traffic during the calendar year at www.controleng.com. Most popular among Control Engineering readers were articles about electrical design software, rules for software project success, closing the engineering skills gap, copper versus fiber networks, and soft starters. Link to all 20 most valuable.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2009

Polish automation trends mirror global interests

Almost every technology presented by vendors at industrial fairs is called innovative. So, are we truly living in a time of milestone technology solutions, or is “innovative” simply marketing’s favorite new term? The answer is not always easy to discern. Consider the advanced control algorithms now being introduced in programmable logic controllers.

By Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Control Engineering Poland
Mechatronics February 1, 2009

Top stories of 2008 and why

Of the myriad things I write, sharing the year’s top stories is best. A) It involves measurement, which is fun — sorting the number of times readers accessed these stories online. B) I get to learn what you found most interesting or useful and figure out why. In 2008, the following stories were most viewed at www.

By Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief
Mechatronics February 1, 2009

Microprocessor advances translate into more CNC machine capability

It is a fact of life that the needs of general-purpose-computing drive microprocessor trends. Simple semiconductor-fabrication economics makes mass-marketable designs very inexpensive, while making designs aimed at smaller market segments, such as CNC, cost prohibitive. “Advances in technology help all technologies in a general way,” says Paul Nickelsberg, president and chief techni...

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics December 19, 2008

4-axis stepping/pulse-type servo motor control module

Industrial Automation Group of Advantech released Adam-5240, a 4-axis stepping/pulse-type servo motor control module for use with the Adam-5550 Series PACs (programmable automation controllers).

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 19, 2008

Motion control: Omron selects EtherCAT as its next motion bus system

Omron Corporation announced that it has selected EtherCAT to be its next motion bus system. In addition, the company will take an active role in the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) to help customers transition to EtherCAT smoothly and seamlessly.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 17, 2008

Packaging Automation Benchmark Study Vol. 3

Digital Edition System Integrators This third and final installment of the Automation in Packaging Benchmark Study focuses on system integrators, and the role they play coordinating projects for packagers, equipment builders and automation suppliers. Packaging is a specialty that manufacturers in virtually every industry must address. Control Engineering and Packaging Digest set out to investigate this dynamic market through the Automation in Packaging Benchmark Study, a three-part, year-long research project conducted by Reed Research Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 3, 2008

Siemens announces motors, drives, and motion control advances

The Sinamics S110 drive, C240 PN Simotion motion controller, and the 1PH8 series of motors were debuted by Siemens at the SPS/IPC/Drives show.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 29, 2008

New controller handles complex motion applications

GE Fanuc says PacMotion is a completely new motion controller designed to serve the high-end needs of complex motion applications. See photo. White paper offers more information.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 2, 2008

Industrial Ethernet applications in real time

Industrial Ethernet protocols can help real time applications. Examples follow, along with application photos and links to additional industrial Ethernet information. Peek inside multiple industrial Ethernet applications with Rovema, SERCOS III, Automata, Bosch Rexroth, Ilapak, Ethernet Powerlink, Linux, B&R Automation, and...

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2008

Targeting Tumors with Motion Control

Focused radiation continues to be an effective means for treating cancerous tumors, particularly when there is a clear shot at the target. Getting a clear shot, however, is no simple task, especially since the target is often surrounded by healthy tissue, can grow, shrink or shift over time, and is affected by changes in the patient’s anatomy.

By John Hayes, Galil Motion Control
Mechatronics October 1, 2008

Robotics tutorial: More diversity, functionality

Robotics are adapted to and integrated with an increasing diversity of applications. Understanding types of robots and their functions can help end users, system integrators, and original equipment manufacturers know how to safely and efficiently apply technologies that save humans from tasks that are both mundane and dangerous.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics September 24, 2008

Hybrid power: Volvo Powertrain awards Danaher Motion contract to develop hybrid heavy-duty vehicles

Responding to global demand for fuel efficient and environmentally sound vehicles, these companies....

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 15, 2008

Look at these demos: Tear down embedded systems, get the point of linear motion control

Participate or watch in live embedded teardowns at an embedded systems event for a chance to win a Beagleboard kit. At IMTS last week, there was a potentially explosive demo on magnetorestrictive sensor technology, among other demonstrations. See photos. Link to tutorial and video videos.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 2008

Molded Parts: Stamp, Place, Remove, Inspect

Filtertek, Inc. is a world innovator in filter technology. The Hebron, IL, manufacturer makes custom filtration products and fluid control devices for automotive, healthcare and consumer product applications. The company’s ingenuity is reflected in a portfolio of more than 340 issued patents and pending patent applications for novel designs of fuel filters, transmission sump filters, semi...

By Renee Robbins, Control Engineering
Mechatronics September 1, 2008

Programmable Logic Controllers, Programmable Automation Controllers

The 405 respondents who answered the joint Control Engineering/Reed Research product research study on PLCs and PACs will be increasing their purchases of these devices over the next 12 months. Even with the tight economy, 23% of respondents expect their purchases to increase. Of those polled, 69% expected purchases to remain the same as last year, and only 8% expect them to decrease. More trends, PAC and PLC products, and a link to more research follows.

By Dick Johnson, Control Engineering
Mechatronics August 1, 2008

Motion Controller Accelerates NASCAR

Automotive test rig manufacturer sets out to improve NASCAR’s standard chassis test stand with improved dynamic capabilities and reduced maintenance.

By Peter Nachtwey, Delta Computer Systems Inc.
Mechatronics August 1, 2008

Barcode scanners tutorial offered

Few things today would disrupt society more than if barcode scanners stopped working. But what is a barcode and how does a barcode scanner work? MechatronicsZone.com presents Mechatronics On-Demand Webcasts to explore the role of mechatronics and, in this case, focus on the development of a nearly indispensable technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 24, 2008

Transformerless drives: Higher performance, lower cost

Reducing input harmonics using an input isolation transformer with multiple secondary windings to feed VFD bridges can compromise, and raise maintenance cost.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 24, 2008

Energy savings: Right-sizing electric motors could save billions in energy annually

Energy efficiency losses through over-sizing of pump electric motors by engineers are commonplace, according to WEG Electric Motors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 1, 2008

Modeling in motion

The convergence of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering is changing the face of motion control design and development. This tutorial shows how.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics June 23, 2008

Expansions: Hydraulic hybrids in motion, more efficient transformer manufacturing

Smarter motion systems and more efficient, more highly efficient transformers seem likely to result from opening of a Bosch Rexroth technology center and a new WEG Electric Motors manufacturing facility.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2008

Off-the-Shelf PLC Optimizes Motion Control Functionality

Like most blow molding original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Saline, MI-based R&B Plastics Machinery LLC (R&B) in has to coordinate different machine motions very closely. Its machines had been using closed-loop hydraulic motions with dedicated motion control cards, which are not only expensive, but somewhat difficult to coordinate.

By Matthias Erhardt, Siemens SEA
Mechatronics May 30, 2008

Look at what we saw: Hannover Fair 2008, a technology postscript

Did you go? If not (or even if so) take a look at this look back at Hannover Fair 2008 (more photos and links follow) for more controls, automation, robotics, industrial computers, networks, and instrumentation than most people ever see in one location. Highlights include....

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 28, 2008

System reduces VFD ground currents

Company says its solution, which meets NEC 250 grounding requirements, was engineered for use wherever ac induction motors are operating in conjunction with variable frequency drives and for other applications where large switching power supplies are used.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 28, 2008

Servos control motion market growth

Rapidly growing servo products sector accounts for 80% of the total motion-control market.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 28, 2008

NYC refuse trucks to test hydraulic hybrid technology

Bosch Rexroth reports that it has been selected, along with Crane Carrier Company and ISE Corporation, by Calstart’s Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) Refuse Working Group to examine and test the use of hybrid vehicle technology in refuse trucks. The companies expect the hybrid trucks to demonstrate between 30% and 50% reductions in fuel and emissions use during testing.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 28, 2008

A Comprehensible Guide to Servo Motor Sizing

The Importance of servo motor sizing should not be underestimated according to Wilfried Voss, author of A Comprehensible Guide to Servo Motor Sizing.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 12, 2008

MechatronicsZone road show kicks off

If you cannot participate in one of the free 2008 Mechatronics road show seminars, browse MechatronicsZone to learn how the mechatronics approach to design can help engineers get the job done better, more quickly and at lower cost.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2008

Research results: Protocols for Industrial Ethernet

Need for wide-ranging application capability and the ability to handle diverse environments drives protocol development, sparks user interest, survey results suggest. In Reed Corporate Research studies of control products as recent as five years ago, products using the 4-20 mA standard were still dominating the control scene. That’s changing. Here's how.

By Dick Johnson, Control Engineering
Mechatronics May 1, 2008

PLCs and DCSs Converge

In the past it was fairly easy to determine whether a distributed control system (DCS) or a programmable logic controller (PLC) based system was right for your application, because their strengths and weaknesses were well understood. In recent years, however, this has become more difficult, thanks primarily to the advancement of the microprocessor, which has allowed the technologies to converge.

By Bob Nelson and Todd Stauffer, Siemens Energy & Automation
Mechatronics April 24, 2008

Big brake: Brake motors save energy

Baldor Electric Co., a manufacturer of energy-saving industrial electric motors, drives, power transmission products and generators, offers three phase short series brake motors with an integral Dodge spring set brake for a compact and cost effective design.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 8, 2008

Automation in Packaging

Research, trends, and applications associated with the use of automation in packaging, developed by Control Engineering and Packaging Digest

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 5, 2008

Poland: “Small China” in Europe

Polish industry: A time of significant investments 

By Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, PhD
Mechatronics March 1, 2008

Fieldbus: Growing Globally

While considered mainstream technology, fieldbus adoption in process industries is still far from commonplace. The picture for users remains upbeat, but incomplete in many respects. Why?

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
Mechatronics March 1, 2008

Manufacturing in Poland: Creating a “mini-China” in Europe

Many investors and analysts have begun calling Poland “small China”. According to a November 2007 Forbes report, Poland, China and Vietnam are among the best places in the world for production and service investments. Recently, Ernst & Young ranked Poland as second among countries in which companies are planning to invest, stating that Poland offers “excellent productivity...

By Pietrusewicz Krzysztof, Editor, Control Engineering Poland, and assistant professor, Institute of Control Engineering, Szczecin University of Technology, Poland
Mechatronics March 1, 2008

Japan considers EtherCAT, other networks

With more than 108,000 visitors gathered at the System Control Fair 2007 (SCF2007) in Tokyo last November, the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) took its first steps toward promoting its unique and advanced technology in Japan. This was the first time the group exhibited its high-speed industrial Ethernet technology there.

By Shin Kai for Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 12, 2008

Mechatronics info: MechatronicsZone.com redesigned

MechatronicsZone.com unveiled a new design, departments and features. The site has original content on control systems, electronic systems, mechanical systems and software, areas of an emerging trend in engineering known as mechatronics.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 8, 2008

Control Engineering announces Engineers’ Choice Award Winners,  2007 New Product Compendium

Oak Brook, IL — Control Engineering has announced the winners of its 2007 Engineers’ Choice Awards, and released its 2007 New Product Compendium, an online index of more than 150 control, instrumentation and automation products introduced to North America in 2007.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2008

On-Machine Controls

Installing machine controls on the actual machine is not a new idea. Mechanical control systems, of course, were perforce installed right on the machines they controlled. They had to be, because controls were operated through mechanical linkages. Manual controls for electrically powered machinery continued to be installed on industrial machines to give human operators easy access.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 1, 2008

2007 New Product Nominees

2007 Engineers' Choice Award nominees. Product descriptions and deep links to more information can be found in the online 2007 New Product Compendium. 

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2008

Winners: Motors, Motion Control & Drives

Winners of the 2007 Engineers' Choice Awards - Motors, Motion Control and Drives

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 23, 2008

Electric Servo Motors Product Research (January 2008)

Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding electric servo motors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 2, 2008

Analysis: Use of brushless motors grows for factory floor and beyond

Brushless permanent magnet (PM) motors continue to evolve into high torque, high efficiency, smaller sized packages. They currently dominate electric motors in office automation, medical instruments, and a wide range of factory floor automation applications (including robots, semiconductor equipment, material handling, packaging machines, nut runners, machine tool drives). Now, they are beginning to move into lower-cost, high-volume automotive and appliance applications, albeit in selective cases.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2008

Servo Motors Speed Up

Rapid and often dramatic technological advancements have given new dimension and substance to automation and control systems of late. Throughout this time of change, however, some components have stayed stable and steady. Case in point is the servo motor. Enhancements and accessories may benefit the application, but the product remains nearly ubiquitous in manufacturing, providing critical serv...

By Jeanine Katzel, Control Engineering
Mechatronics January 1, 2008

Baldor helps Dolphins make big impression

Although the Dolphins will not be Super Bowl-bound this season, the team did leave an outstanding impression on fans in the United Kingdom. The real-life model of the towering 26 foot high animatronic figure 'Big JT’ - NFL Miami Dolphins star player Jason Taylor - has very fast feet. When physical effects company Artem was commissioned to create the figure, they had to be quick as well.

By Staff
Mechatronics December 27, 2007

Motion control: Automation solution provides four-axis motion control

Baldor Electric launched a new version of the company’s 'all-in-one' motion automation solution supplied in a rugged, ready-to-use packaged form. The company says its NextMove-ESB2 offers control for servo and stepper motor axes, together with onboard I/O and fieldbus connectivity.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 14, 2007

Motion control: Fast feet for largest animatronic human figure; see video, photos

Bristol, U.K., and Fort Smith AR — There's fast feet on the 26 foot high animatronic figure called "Big JT" is NFL Miami Dolphins star player Jason Taylor, according to companies involved, Baldor and Artem.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 11, 2007

CNC platform: Machine tool OEMs get high performance, flexibility

Naperville, IL — Num has launched Flexium, a modular CNC platform for machine tool manufacturers that provides scalability that can be applied economically on a machine with few axes, or more than 200. Combined with open programmability, it gives users freedom to customize the human-machine interface (HMI) and add value, the company says. It has a advanced new CNC kernel, four times more powerful than the fastest version of Num's existing Axium controller.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 10, 2007

Electro-hydraulic, servo-piston control: Hydrostatic pump family expands

Ames, IA— Sauer-Danfoss Inc. has released the H1 45/53cc and 78cc single pumps, joining its 147/165cc single pump and the 45/53cc integral tandem pump. The H1 family of compact closed-circuit variable displacement axial piston pumps features high power density. Units use an integral electro-hydraulic servo piston assembly that controls rate and direction of hydraulic flow.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2007

Research on Programmable Logic Controllers

Nothing takes the fun out of a control engineering project faster than having to wade through piles of vendor and/or supply house catalogs to find the components for a control system. Even small machine control applications require a lot of specifying, recommending, and purchasing of parts for the simplest of control logic systems—especially if it is to be rendered in traditional relay la...

By Dick Johnson, Control Engineering
Mechatronics November 29, 2007

Motor standards: Activities at UL, NEMA; can you help

UL is undergoing a major revision of their motor standard UL1004, while National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is seeking help with another motor standard.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 2007

Modular Systems Combine Performance and Flexibility

Driven by intense cost and competitive pressures, semiconductor producers try to maximize production while improving outgoing quality. They also need flexible equipment that can be updated quickly and cost-effectively. Maximizing throughput measured in units per hour (uph) and doing it in the smallest area possible helps speed return on investment in an extremely competitive environment.

By Kevin Steele, Bosch Rexroth Corp.
Mechatronics November 1, 2007

Not Your Grandfather’s Conveyor Line!

As I sit, staring out of this airport window at a baggage handler unloading the belly of a not-so-jumbo jet, I’m struck by how woefully behind the times that baggage handling system really is. We have a human manually picking packages off a mobile conveyor belt that he earlier towed up to the jet with a little riding tractor.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 1, 2007

Analog Encoders Reduce Pre-alignment Time

How do you double semiconductor wafer throughput, decrease wafer pre-alignment time fivefold (to 600 ms), and improve in positional repeatability fivefold (to 5 nm), while at the same time reducing cost and increasing reliability? The competitive nature of the semiconductor industry places increasing importance on performance characteristics and integration ease for motion controllers used in t...

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 1, 2007

Synchronized Motion Relies on Special Controls

The number of motion axes found in industrial automation systems has grown steadily over time because of availability of more powerful controllers and other processor advancements. Yet, in many of those systems, motion axes function independently of each other—as in indexing stations that move parts point-to-point through serial manufacturing stages or in distributed architectures with pa...

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E., Control Engineering
Mechatronics September 1, 2007

All My Best Ideas are Stolen

Physicist and star of educational TV during the 1950s and 1960s, Dan Q. Posin was fond of quoting Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants.” Designing control systems may not be on the same level as Newton’s contributions, but “standing on the shoulders of giants”—that is, learning from others’ experience—i...

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics August 23, 2007

Hydraulic controller nets best-paper win

Mondeep Duarah and Vijay Jayabalan of Captronic Systems, Bangalore, India, won Best Paper in the control category at NIWeek 2007 with their article entitled “Digital Electro-Hydraulic Servo Controller.”

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 15, 2007

Driver enhances LabView to create motion profiles

Austin, TX—Yaskawa Electric, a manufacturer of ac inverter drives, servo and motion control, and robotics automation systems, developed a driver for National Instruments’ LabView graphical programming environment.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2007

Motion Control Meets Medical Imaging

Medical imaging original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are turning to motion control platforms that help control costs, streamline production globally, and provide systems capable of delivering the most sophisticated 2D and 3D clinical images possible. Motion control requirements are driven by these goals, and the need to satisfy specific kinematics requirements.

By Kevin Steele, Bosch Rexroth Corp.
Mechatronics August 1, 2007

Loop Controllers: Dedicated Units Gain Popularity

Process loops can be controlled by a variety of devices: standalone single-loop or multi-loop controllers, PC-based controllers, or pneumatic controllers. Which types users preferred and why were among results in the 2007 survey of user of standalone loop controllers conducted by Control Engineering and Reed Research Group.

By Peter Cleaveland, Control Engineering
Mechatronics July 26, 2007

Motion:  Lenze-AC Tech moves toward packaged solutions

Uxbridge, MA—As the new mechanical product manager at Lenze-AC Tech, [www.actech.com] Chris Ball’s marching orders are to spearhead the company’s drive to integrate its next generation of gearmotors and gear reducers with its other products, creating packaged solutions and integrated systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 28, 2007

Trends: Drive technology for ac motors

Zurich, Switzerland—Traditionally, the primary use of drives has been in such applications as powering pumps, fans and conveyors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 28, 2007

Linear Motors: Miniature direct-drive linear motor helps shrink automation systems

Canton, MA—Copley Controls introduced a new ServoTube small-silhouette STB11 linear motor.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 21, 2007

Specialty Motors and FO Engineering announce strategic alliance

Specialty Motors (SMI) and FO Engineering have agreed to jointly pursue of new business and development of a new proprietary line of power and motion control products.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2007

Who Puts the ‘Industrial’ in Ethernet?

Industrial Ethernet hardware can take plant-floor punishment without pampering in enclosures, allowing shorter cable runs with simpler distributed (rather than centralized) designs, and higher reliability than commercial-level Ethernet switches, routers, hubs, gateways, and connectors. Industrial ratings (such as NEMA 4x or IP67 and beyond) applied to Ethernet hardware mean that equipment can h...

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics June 1, 2007

Brushless PM Torque Motors

Electric motors come in a rich variety of configurations to suit different purposes. One specialty motor type—known as a direct-drive, permanent-magnet (PM) torque motor—is characterized by a large diameter-to-length ratio and large number of magnetic poles to optimize torque production. These relatively low speed motors, usually operating under 1,000 rpm, come in housed and framele...

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E., Control Engineering
Mechatronics June 1, 2007

PC-based logic, puzzle-solving robotics

Bosch Rexroth displayed a robotic system to solve Rubik’s Cube puzzles—demonstrating the prowess of its NYCe compact PC-based control. Repetitive puzzle solutions took less than 2 minutes. Software programming of the robot was provided by Korean company Sejin-iGB (www.gear-box.com). Besides its wide range of electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic control technologies on display, other B...

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2007

Mechatronics Resolves Design Challenges

Intense global competition is putting pressure on machine builders to deliver machines with higher throughput, reduced operating cost, increased safety and more features that improve productivity and differentiate their machines from the competition. For this reason, today’s machine builders have switched from designing rigid, single-purpose machines that rely purely on mechanical gears a...

By Nipun Mathur, National Instruments
Mechatronics May 24, 2007

Digital drives: Synchronous motors cold form precision profiles

Using a cold forming process to manufacture high-quality gear teeth calls for a drive system that can guide movements precisely and in absolute synchronism.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2007

Motion: major actuator types

Electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic motion are three major actuator technologies. Which you use depends on your application’s characteristics. Electric control excels when absolute accuracy of movement is required or when continuous motion is needed. Electric servo control is useful in diverse applications: CNC (computer numerical control) for spindles in machining centers and in lift̵...

By R. Rusk, D. Warmus, B. Rogers, T. Dwyer, Bosch Rexroth
Mechatronics April 26, 2007

Actuators: Choosing the right technology

Machine designers should take a cross-technology view of power technology, choosing the most appropriate for their application.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 17, 2007

Control Engineering 2006 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winners

Control Engineering 2006 Engineers’ Choice Awards Innovative control, automation and instrumentation new products introduced between December 2005 and Dec 2006 Stand Out Technologies Every year, hundreds of new products are introduced, but only a few go on to greatness. At Control Engineering , we try to predict which those will be. View the winners HMIS AND INDUSTRIAL PCS HMI Hardware Hardened Resistive Touchscreens - Christensen Display ProductsHMi Operator Interface- Eaton Corp. HMI Software Web Studio v6.1 - IndusoftWebHMI - Iconics Industrial PCs C69xx Industrial PCs - BeckhoffPowerBox 1700 - Modular Industrial Computers. MACHINE CONTROLLERS AND EMBEDDED CONTROL Controllers CX1020 Embedded PC - Beckhoff AutomationCompactLogix 1768-L43 - Rockwell Automation Embedded Products Fido 32-bit hard real-time microcontroller - Innovasic SemiconductorETXexpress-CD - Kontron Discrete Sensors & Readers Dataman 7500 Series reader - CognexChecker 101E - Cognex INSTRUMENTATION AND COMPONENTS Components & Connectors PanelMax corner wiring duct - PanduitP Series terminals - Weidmuller Instrumentation & Analysis Rosemount 3051S for HART protocol - Emerson Process ManagementPDM Series power display - Ohio Semitronics Process Sensors AWI-P wirelss pressure transmitter - Adalet WirelessSafety-certified Coriolis meters - Emerson Process Management MOTORS, DRIVES AND MOTION CONTROL Drives Kinetix 7000 servo drive - Rockwell AutomationKinetix 6000 servo drive - Rockwell Automation Motion Control Model 940 PositionServo - Lenze/AC Technology Corp.750 Series Stepper Module - Wago Corp.MSS Series gearheads - Baldor Electric Motors NEMA motors - Siemens Energy & AutomationMR-J3 Series AC Servos - Mitsubishi Electric Automation NETWORK HARDWARE AND I/O Switches, Routers & Hubs SE-44M-E924 managed Ethernet switch - TurckDirect-Link industrial Ethernet switch - Woodhead Industries I/O Products & Cabling BK9105 EtherNet/IP Bus Coupler - Beckhoff AutomationActive Ethernet I/O - Moxa TechnologiesSnap PAC R-2 - Opto 22 Wireless Solutions Channel Blanket topology - BeldenRAD-802.11XD WiFi device with security - Phoenix Contact SOFTWARE Enterprise Integration & Analysis InFusion ECS - Invensys Process SystemsEquipment Operations Module 1.0 - Wonderware Programming LabView 8.2 - National InstrumentsDevelopment modules for ControlLogix C applications - ProSoft Technology PROCESS & ADVANCED CONTROL Advanced Control Loop-Pro software suite - Control Station Inc.Profit Suite R300 - Honeywell Process Solutions Process Control InTune v5 predictive maintenance software - ControlSoftSafetyNet for emergency shutdown - MTL Open Systems Technologies 2007 Awards Nomination Instructions and Timeline Information to come Previous Editors' Choice and Engineers' Choice award winners Seal of Approval: Best Technologies of 2005 2004 Editors' Choice Awards Archive of earlier winners 2006 New Product Compendium Nominated 2006 New Products by Category Human-Machine Interfaces and Industrial PCs HMI Hardware HMI Software Industrial PCs Instrumentation, Process Sensors, Control Components Analysis instrumentation Connectors Process Sensors Machine and Embedded Control Controllers Discrete sensors and readers Embedded products Motors, Drives and Motion Control Drives Motion control Motors Networks/Communications Hardware and Software I/O products and cabling Switches, routers and hubs Wireless solutions Process and Advanced Control Advanced control Process control Software Enterprise integration Programming Additional New Products Introduced in 2006 Machine Control, Embedded Freescale Semiconductor MC9RS08KA MCU An ultra-low-end, sub-50-cent 8-bit MCU small enough to fit in the head of an electric toothbrush, ideal for traditional electro-mechanical and portable applications such as motor control. Machine Control, Embedded Freescale Semiconductor MR2A16A MRAM The 4-Mbit MR2A16A device uses magnetic materials combined with conventional silicon circuitry to deliver the speed of SRAM with the non-volatility of Flash in a single, high endurance device. Instrumentation and control components, Process sensors Schneider Electric Sensor Competency Center Hyde Park Virtu 30 The new Virtu 30 mm by Hyde Park is an ultrasonic sensor available in a 30 mm barrel body style that breaks new ground for the cost-conscious customer. These compact sensors solve a greater number of applications with an increased sensing distance of 4' (102 mm) to 39' (1m) with the option of being normally open, normally closed or a teachable output.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 17, 2007

Motion control: Servo drives add high-current power levels

Parker's Electromechanical Automation Div.'s Compax3 family of industrial high-performance, all-digital servo drives now comes in four new high-current power levels. Rohnert Park, CA —Four new high-current power levels have been added to Parker's Electromechanical Automation Division 's Compax3 family of industrial high-performance, all-digital servo drives. Series is now available with up to 75 kW of output power to satisfy the demand for high- and low-power drives within the same family.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2007

Kinetix 7000 Servo Drive adds flexibility, high performance

Rockwell Automation With continuous output power of 22 to 150 kW, Kinetix 7000 servo drive seamlessly integrates with Allen-Bradley Logix controllers, servo motors, and actuators to add flexibility to machine design and efficiency to manufacturing. The units go beyond supporting synchronous permanent magnet motors, with asynchronous induction motor support as well, giving customers a cost-effec...

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2007

A Rainforest Grows in Cleveland

Behind the scenes, a lot of control engineering goes into creating and maintaining a tropical rainforest near Lake Erie, just 40 miles from the Canadian border. It is a feat accomplished by Cleveland (Ohio) Metroparks, a recreational authority that provides an “emerald necklace” of woodlands, golf courses, hiking trails, and other attractions surrounding this Midwest city—know...

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics April 1, 2007

Hydraulic Motion Control

The market for powder compacting press equipment is highly competitive, with machine manufacturers vying for market share using a variety of cost/performance options. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) succeed by reducing costs, adding features, increasing productivity, or combining all three. A case in point is Precision Compacting Technologies of Bentonville, AR.

By Rick Meyerhoefer, Delta Computer Systems
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips August 2005

August 30, 2005 Tech TipLow-voltage fuse application guidance Fuse voltage ratings are related to their capacity to open a circuit during overcurrent conditions. Voltage rating determines the fuse’s ability to suppress internal arcing produced after a fuse link melts. Select a voltage rating higher, but never lower, than system or circuit voltage. With a lower voltage rating, arc suppression will be impaired and—under some fault-current conditions—the fuse may not safely clear the overcurrent. Low-voltage fuses of a given (labeled) voltage rating can be safely applied on lower service voltages.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips November 2006

November 28, 2006 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Use the right feedback device for the application Closed loop systems use feedback signals for stabilization, speed, and position information. There are a variety of devices to provide this data, such as the analog tachometer, optical encoder, Hall sensor, and resolver. The table in Figure 1 summarizes their various features.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips September-October 2005

October 25, 2005 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Avoiding ground loops Ground loops (also referred to as 'noise') in an electrical system result from unwanted current flow in a conductor connecting two points that should be at the same electrical potential, but aren't. Minimizing electrical noise effects on control system performance and reliability requires: Using isolated ac power sources; Establishing a single, common system ground point; Providing isolation for low-voltage signals (for example, thermocouples); Minimizing influence of stray magnetic fields; and Selecting appropriate cables and pathways, including adequate cable separation. Improper grounding, such as grounding cable shield wires at both ends or at the wrong end, is well-documented as a source of introducing electrical noise. Cable shield wires should be grounded at one end, preferably at the power source end. The other end should be taped and protected.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips March 2007

March 20, 2007 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Factors affecting network bandwidth. Bandwidth is defined as the carrying ca-pacity of a circuit. It's usually measured in bits per second for digital circuits, or in hertz for analog circuits.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips March 2005

MARCH 29, 2005 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Motion control terminology Motion control, as other technologies, has its fair share of special terms. Not all of them are rigorously defined; some require blending to suit the specific audience. Here's a sampling of some well-known and not-so-well-known terms. A motion control system typically consists of a controller to process motion algorithms and signals; an amplifier to boost signals to a level needed to power an actuator that provides the motion output; and feedback (sensors/transducers) to allow adjustments for process changes, based on comparing measured output with the input. An operator interface or host terminal front-end completes the system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips February 2007

February 27, 2007 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Use motor current to monitor load. Every wire carrying an electric current cloaks itself in a magnetic field. You can find the direction of the field by using your right hand to grab the wire so that your thumb points in the current direction.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 22, 2007

Tech Tips December 2006

December 26, 2006 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: More servomotor inertial matching. The following is a reader response to a Technology Update called 'Matching moments of inertia' that appears in the December 1, 2006, issue of Control Engineering magazine. Click here to read that. As 'Matching moments of inertia' points out, for best performance the moments of inertia of the load and servomotor armature should have a 1:1 match.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 21, 2007

Question of the Weekly Q406

December 26, 2006 QUESTION: Can a vision system reject cartons with incorrect bar codes? Khalid Jamal Khayyat, Pharmaceutical Solutions Industry Ltd., Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, wants to know, 'Is there a vision inspection system available that can read barcodes on carton labels as they move down a production packaging line, and can reject cartons that have incorrect bar codes?' This is a classic control application using machine vision, and there have been a number of systems built to do it. With a popular application like this, your best bet is to look for a pre-packaged application from a major vision-equipment vendor, such as Cognex or Systech International. To pick the right system, however, you'll need to supply a few details about your application. First, how repeatable is the position of the barcode and label? At issue is where will each barcode appear in the camera's field of view. In some situations, the barcode is sure to appear in exactly the same spot in the field every time.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 21, 2007

Question of the Week Q206

June 27, 2006 QUESTION: This is a trim installed inside a valve that uses a "torturous path," multiple holes, expanding flow area, or sudden expansions and contractions to lower the sound pressure level generated by a valve. Source: "Valve Handbook," Philip L. Skousen, McGraw-Hill (1998), ISBN 0-070057921-0 June 20, 2006 QUESTION: The torque required to start a motor or machine from standstill. Due to static friction effects, it is always greater than the torque needed to maintain motion. Source: Glossary of Terms, "General Motion Control," Rockwell Automation Inc., Publication GMC (April 1998). June 13, 2006 QUESTION: A high-performance valve used to regulate flow, temperature, or pressure of a process.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 21, 2007

Question of the Week Q106

March 28, 2006 QUESTION: A graphical language for depicting sequential behavior of a control system (or control action) is referred to as a sequential function chart (SFC). It's used to define time- and event-driven control sequences, and is considered as an extremely effective graphical language to express both high-level parts of a control program and to program low-level sequences—for example, device interfaces. SFC elements are used to structure the internal organization to perform sequential control functions in order to partition a set of steps and transitions connected by directed links . A transition is the condition whereby control passes from one step of the SFC to another—along the corresponding directed link.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2007

Stepper Motion Evolution

It’s the only motion-control method able to run in open loop, without the need for position feedback. This makes stepper-motor-based systems simpler than servo motion systems, with the lower cost of step motors adding to the attraction. Coupled with other evolving design enhancements—such as hardware miniaturization and higher torque density—stepper systems stay competitive fo...

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics February 27, 2007

Engineers’ Choice 2006 – Motors

Engineers Choice CompetitionNew Products for 2006: Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Control Engineering — February 15, 2007The annual Control Engineering Engineers Choice Awards highlight significant new products from the previous year as selected by readers of Control Engineering print publications and electronic newsletters. The following new products are nominees for that competition. To be eligible, a new product must have been introduced to the U.S.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2007

Fix it before breakdown

The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” may have had its day—and may still apply to some situations—but is unacceptable in today’s lean manufacturing environments. Critical production processes and automated manufacturing systems can’t afford the cost of unplanned downtime amounting to thousands of dollars per hour.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics January 25, 2007

Motor technology: Move, but don’t touch!

A three-phase LSM has an alternating-pole permanent magnet structure suspended over a straight electromagnet stator structure. Magnetic interaction between the permanent magnet poles and alternately energized electromagnet poles provides a net push in the desired direction. Source: MagneMotion Take a three-phase synchronous electric motor with a permanent-magnet rotor and lots of poles, slice it radially from axis to housing, and unwrap it to lay out flat.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 25, 2007

Material handling: Monorail system with non-contact power transfer demonstrated in Germany

SEW Eurodrive's electric monorail system inductively couples electric power from a set of three conductors carrying high-audio-frequency alternating current through a soft-magnetic core into a pickup coil. The middle conductor carries current in twice the quantity and opposite sense as the upper and lower conductors. This current arrangement forms a pair of poles (as seen in this cross sectional view), which couple maximally to poles in the magnetic core.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2007

SPS/IPC/Drives 2006: The beat goes on

A record 43,000 visitors—24% increase over 2005—topped off positive results for the latest staging of the focused electric automation show SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Germany, Nov. 28-30, 2006. This added to new records for number of exhibitors (1,203) and display area (77,500 sq m), as reported in Nov.

By Staff
Mechatronics December 26, 2006

SPS/IPC/Drives 2006: Motion, mechatronics, efficiency

Nuremberg, Germany —A record 43,000 visitors—a 24% increase over 2005—topped off positive results for the latest staging of the focused electric automation show SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Germany, Nov. 28-30, 2006. This added to new records for number of exhibitors (1,203) and display area (77,500 sq m) as reported in Nov.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 19, 2006

Machine, motion control: Software simplifies complex applications

Latest PiCPro software from Danaher Motion, able to support up to 64 axes of high-performance motion, is designed to program the company's MMC-D64 machine and motion controllers. Wood Dale, IL —Latest PiCPro software from Danaher Motion is described as able to support up to 64 axes of high-performance motion. Designed to simplify the integration of machine and motion control applications, PiCPro is used to program Danaher's MMC-D64 machine and motion controllers and provide connectivity with the company's MMC Smart Drives and AKM servo motors. Software combines IEC 61131 ladder logic or structured text programming with 100 MHz Ethernet motion control.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2006

Industrial Ethernet Protocols: Survey results show who’s winning and why

The desire and need to be connected continues to grow—and gain complexity—as automation and control engineers become more heavily involved in networking at all levels. In particular, Ethernet and industrial Ethernet are finding their way onto the plant floor and into original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) offerings with increasing frequency as related technologies evolve and ...

By Jeanine Katzel and Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics December 1, 2006

SPS/IPC/Drives 2006: Ethernet, safety, security

Ethernet in automation, safety and security in automation, and motion control were among key topics discussed at SPS/IPC/Drives 2006. The exhibit and conference for automation technologies, ran Nov. 28-30, 2006, in Nuremberg, Germany, with more than 1,200 exhibitors covering HMIs, drives, interface and sensor technologies, software, electromechanics, and other systems and components.

By Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2006

Programmable automation controllers (PACs)

When ARC Advisory Group analyst, Craig Resnick, proposed a new term for an emerging class of programmable devices for automation in 2001, few expected such growth of related technologies. The market extends beyond the formal name—programmable automation controllers (PACs). Some vendors reject the word, yet satisfy the PAC feature set with newer programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

By Pietrusewicz Krzysztof, Ph.D. and Pawel Dworak, Ph.D.
Mechatronics December 1, 2006

Servo System Application Tips

Electric servo systems provide the most advanced and precise motion control available for increasingly versatile industrial applications. Servos excel in two distinct working modes: rapid point-to-point load positioning and smooth, accurate trajectory control between points, as in surface contouring.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E., Control Engineering Consulting Editor
Mechatronics November 28, 2006

SPS/IPC/Drives 2006: Exhibition spotlights Ethernet, safety, security

Nuremberg, Germany —Ethernet in automation, safety and security in automation, and motion control are among key topics on the docket for SPS/IPC/Drives 2006, which opens here today. The exhibit and conference for automation technology runs Nov. 28-30, 2006, and will feature more than 1,200 exhibitors covering a plethora of systems and components in areas including HMIs, drives, interface and sensor technologies, software, and electromechanics.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 2006

PLC Users Like What They Have

The old saying “No News is Good News,” certainly seems to apply in the world of programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Control Engineering’s 2006 PLC Product Research Survey, with help from Reed Corporate Research, indicates that PLC users seem to be happy, or, at least complacent. They’re happy with their suppliers.

By C.G. Masi
Mechatronics October 26, 2006

System integration: Wire harness maker finds flexibility with open controls

The CX1000 features a 266 MHz Intel Pentium MMX processor and has no moving parts. Source: Beckhoff Automation A pick and place machine powered by Beckhoff motion control software and embedded PCs establishes communication throughout production line. The Prettl Electric facility located in Greenville, SC specializes in wiring harnesses for the automotive industry.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 3, 2006

Rockwell Extreme Machines 2006

Stork Townsend Dimac - Aetna Group USA Cavanna Celerity Automation Wright Machinery ATS Automation Tooling Systems Mikron Assembly Technology Schneider Packaging Stork Townsend Raw meat in, cooked sausages out - with no human operator interaction. That process defines the patented QX family of co-extrusion machines by Stork Townsend. QX is an automated process that simultaneously extrudes a continuous flow of meat batter and a thin outside layer of edible collagen gel, making the casing at the same time as the sausage.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2006

Applying Motion Control

When Arthur C. Clarke remarked that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, he may have had semiconductor fabrication in mind, right up there with nuclear physics. Chips on the edge have features only a few atoms wide (some 65 nm with those as small as 45 nm in the works) and are fabricated with processes that are increasingly complex.

By Kevin Steele
Mechatronics October 1, 2006

‘Astronomical’ application of LVDT sensors

Linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) position sensors are used for linear position measurement and feedback in factory automation, motion control, metal fabricating, power plant, and gas/steam turbine systems. These sensors are used for position measurement on governor valves, throttle valves, reheat/stop valves, interceptor valves, and many other control valves.

By Ed Herceg
Mechatronics September 28, 2006

Concept brings greater flexibility to auto manufacturing

Concept replaces expensive pallets and robots with easy-to-build programmable gantry style platforms.. Within the automotive industry, the flexible body shop has been a major innovation that permits multiple car bodies to be produced on the same line. Some older lines, however, use expensive pallets designed to hold specific body parts in place for different cars, or the parts may be held in place by complex programmable robots. For example, four fixturing robots might be programmed to lift a vehicle body for spot welding.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 26, 2006

Motion control: Digital servo drive has DeviceNet option

Compax3 family of industrial digital servo drives from Parker's Electromechanical Automation Div., now includes a DeviceNet fieldbus option. Rohnert Park, CA— Compax3 family of industrial high-performance, all-digital servo drives from Parker 's Electromechanical Automation Div. now features a DeviceNet fieldbus option. DeviceNet fieldbus interface is said to provide improved system integration, reduced downtime and maintenance costs, enhanced peer-to-peer capabilities, and easy access to data.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2006

Electro-hydraulic motion controller adds quality to pultrusion machine

Unlike extrusion, which squeezes material through a mold, a pultrusion machine takes fiber material like carbon or glass, impregnates it with resin, and pulls it through a die that shapes it as desired. A chemical reaction occurs as material passes through the heated die. The result is a hardened product, which can be used in ladders, reinforcing panels, chemical-resistant grating, and other co...

By Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2006

Network Backbone Speeds Printing

Intense printing industry competition requires operators to have high quality, long-lasting control infrastructures with low latencies and high throughput. Computer Integrated Automation Inc. (CIA) uses CC-Link industrial network to provide the open backbone for controlling 32 Tensor web printing press units at Engle Printing & Publishing Co.

By Chuck Lukasik
Mechatronics August 1, 2006

Shielded Cables Tame Servo System EMI

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) in motion control system cabling can be a major source of frustration for servo motor system designers and users. Left unsuppressed, it interferes with system control, creates data errors, and can even turn devices on and off. EMI frequencies can range from dc and the lowest audio frequencies through the entire radio-frequency band.

By Lee Stephens
Mechatronics August 1, 2006

Drive system for multi-axis machines

AcoposMulti drive system from B&R Industrial Automation offers high efficiency for multi-axis machines in the plastics, packaging, print, and textile industries. It integrates a 24-V supply for drives and PLC, PC, or peripherals (optional) to provide a compact design that ensures predictable machine behavior when power is lost.

By Staff
Mechatronics July 31, 2006

Exclusive: Servo drive adds asynchronous control

Model 940 PositionServo drive with asynchronous control from AC Technology is a simple, yet robust motion controller that can operate ac servo motors and ac induction motors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 27, 2006

‘Expert system’ tool at MotionInfo.com adds technology benchmarking feature

Ability to objectively compare the performance of your electric motor products (and related equipment) to that of the competition is vital to many companies. However, the process can be time-consuming and subject to bias if done by the same team that designs and markets these products. Now MotionInfo.com has teamed up with Incremotion Associates—a notable consultancy and market research firm in motion control—to offer a technology benchmarking service, based on its recently launched “motion-intelligent expert system” ComponentSelector.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 3, 2006

Siemens Automation Summit widens its scope

Las Vegas, NV —With around 700 end-users out of more than 900 total attendees, the 2nd annual Siemens Automation Summit, held here June 5-8, 2006, lived up to its billing as a “users conference.” Expanding substantially on last year’s process-oriented conference, the 2006 Summit highlighted all company divisions—discrete manufacturing as well as process industries. Some 190 technology presentations, including breakout sessions and training classes helped to hold attendees’ interest amidst other attractions of Las Vegas. A Solution Showcase area displayed Siemens’ across-the-board technologies, while 31 key Siemens Automation Partners exhibited products and services in the Solution Partners Pavilion. Aubert Martin, president & CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., Aubert Martin, president & CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., reviewed the company’s giant footprint on the automation and technology scene worldwide, as well as in the U.S.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 1, 2006

IMTS: Machine technologists get ready

Machine technology providers and others intent on sharing knowledge are preparing for "The Americas' largest manufacturing show." According to organizers, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, with thousands of exhibitors and more than 85,000 expected visitors.

By Staff
Mechatronics June 29, 2006

Motion software update

Software for motion control and its related sectors continues to expand. A recent crop of software offerings includes Performance Motion Devices’ Pro-Motion 3.5, intended to speed up motion system analysis and development; Motor-CAD V3 from Magsoft for enhanced simulation of thermal behavior in electric motors and generators; and Applied Motion Products’ Si Programmer software for stepper and servo drives. More details on these products follow along with links to their suppliers’ Web sites. PMD’s Pro-Motion 3.5 supports the company’s ION Digital Drives family and its Magellan family of motion chips and boards.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 29, 2006

Sensorless control for energy-saving motors in washing machines

International Rectifier Corp. (IR) recently introduced a sensorless control platform for direct-drive Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) washing machines. The platform features an embedded field-oriented control (FOC) algorithm for high-dynamic torque control that improves washing cycles—consuming less hot water to reportedly save up to 70% of energy usage. International Rectifier’s new iMotion washer platform is now available for sampling.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 13, 2006

Machine technologists get ready for IMTS: Sept. 6-13, 2006

Chicago, IL—Machine technology providers and others intent on sharing knowledge are preparing for 'The Americas' largest manufacturing show.' According to organizers, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, with thousands of exhibitors and more than 85,000 expected visitors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 12, 2006

Digital servo drives

Compax3 family of industrial high-performance all-digital servo drives welcomes two new higher-powered additions.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2006

Motion selection tool claims expert intelligence

ComponentSelector at MotionInfo.com is billed by its developers as "the first motion-intelligent expert search system to provide ranked results for users needing electric-motor-based products." ComponentSelector allows users to search for the best motor component match in a unique product database.

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2006

Test stands benefit from direct torque control

Rigs constructed to test rotating machines like gears, engines, and complete cars require high accuracy and dynamic load control. Torque control capability in ac motors that drive the test stands is particularly useful for newer, complex electronic functions (such as antilock brake system, electric power steering, or dual-clutch transmissions for automotive applications).

By Vesa Manninen, Steve Weingarth and Julian Hobbins
Mechatronics May 25, 2006

Linear drive technology enhances material handling productivity

Celerity Automation's high-speed Linear Transfer Vehicle (LTV) accommodates payloads form ounces to several tons. Advanced linear drive technologies are in place to raise the bar for material handling productivity, according to recent developments at Celerity Automation Inc .—a developer of equipment in the linear direct-drive arena. Recently, the company introduced its patented Linear Transfer Vehicle (LTV), which reportedly is an accurate high-speed linear transfer system that uses the latest in linear direct-drive servo motor technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 25, 2006

Hannover Fair 2006 in motion

Numerous technologies of "motors, drives, and motion control" were again in the spotlight at this year's running of Hannover Industrial Fair. Presentations ranged from standards announcements and technology discussions to products emphasizing innovation, energy efficiency, and mechatronic integration—even spanning to developments in high-temperature superconductivity. More details and links to additional information follow about ABB drives, Baldor motors and drives, Lenze gear motors, SERCOS III C2C profile specification, drive innovation perspectives from Siemens, VEM specialty motors, and the "Superconductivity City" exhibit. SERCOS Controller-to-Controller (C2C) Synchronization and Communication Profile integrates communication and real-time links with mechanical connection of machine modules.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 25, 2006

Mechatrolink motion network gains new supporter

Recently, Phoenix Contact has joined the ranks of the Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA), the Japan-based user organization dedicated to developing and promoting Founded by Yaskawa Electric Corp. —a global manufacturer variable-frequency drives, servo control systems, and robotic technology—MMA membership currently comprises 140 industrial companies. In joining MMA, Phoenix Contact is working with Yaskawa to develop and extend a modular I/O bus coupler product line with Mechatrolink interface based on Phoenix's Inline system. When used with Yaskawa drives and controls, the new I/O bus coupler will allow system engineers to integrate motion control and machine control by working with one network that links drives, I/O modules, and controllers into an overall system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 23, 2006

Motion-component selector offers expert system searches, free trial

Inglewood, CA—A Web-based motion-product selection tool recently launched at MotionInfo.com promises to put expert system capability into the hands of users to intelligently search for the best motor component match in a unique product database.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2006

Medium-Voltage Drives Shine Offshore

Less numerous than their ever-present low-voltage "cousins," medium-voltage (MV) ac drives are out there in growing numbers, doing heavy-duty motor control in diverse, rugged applications. They span industries from mining, sugar-cane processing, and liquefied-gas handling stations to fluid-power system test stands, fan/pump flow optimization in power-generating plants, and control of mobile off...

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics April 27, 2006

Web-based expert system for motion-component selection debuts, offers free trial

Need to dramatically streamline your motion product selection tasks? If so, launch of ComponentSelector at MotionInfo.com may be the tool for boosting your productivity. Billed by its developers as "the first motion-intelligent expert search system to provide ranked results for users needing electric motor based products," ComponentSelector allows users to search for the best motor component match in a unique product database.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 27, 2006

ServoWire SD Drives add IEEE 1394b networking

Networked servo drive products from Ormec have recently been expanded and enhanced with the addition of IEEE 1394b technology for the company's new ServoWire SD Drive family. With 1394b networking, SD Drives gain a more robust, efficient, and faster network than previously available with 1394a, says Ormec.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 3, 2006

Detect, control machine vibration

Machining Point Control servo system enhancement detects and controls machine vibration at the machining point.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2006

DC-injection lets motors do the braking

Much is made of increasingly dynamic performance available from electric motors (and drives), and rightly so. The other side of the equation is ability to stop all that speed and acceleration efficiently, when needed. External braking is the more familiar stopping method, but three-phase ac induction motors provide internal electronic means to slow and brake their motion—among them, dc-in...

By Frank Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics April 1, 2006

Operator Interface Terminals

If "eyes are windows to the soul," as the French poet, Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas rhapsodized back in 1578, then operator interface terminals (OITs) are surely windows to the process—continuous, batch, or discrete. And although it may seem a stretch to equate the soul with a manufacturing process, the fact that manufacturing is still the heart of the world economy it might as well in...

By Dick Johnson
Mechatronics April 1, 2006

High-cycle brake motors

Low-inertia, high-efficiency, high-cycle brake motors have cast aluminum footless frames for increased thermal dissipation. DC brake with integral rectifier provides for faster action than traditional spring-set brakes. Design is suited for continuous start/stop applications, such as baggage conveyors.

By Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2006

Test instruments for rotating devices

DynoLAB-EM electric-motor test system is designed to check electric motors and other rotating electrical devices, including alternators, starters, pumps, and generators. It handles a variety of tasks including performance testing, engineering evaluation, durability cycling, quality control validation, and in-use simulation.

By Staff
Mechatronics February 23, 2006

Sensorless vector control boosts stepper motion performance

Agile Systems’ SilentStep system works with 2-phase bipolar step motors, using either three half-bridge or two full-bridge drive circuits. Three half bridges (shown) reduce the number of power switches and associated driver and control circuits from eight to six. Stepper-motor-based systems offer simple, low-cost motion control and about twice the low-speed torque production of an equivalent-size brushless servo motor system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 23, 2006

Software making motion control more friendly; free demo download

Technosoft’s EasyMotion Studio includes a task confirmation feature that sends messages to the user about status of the drives and motors network. Setup, tuning, and programming software for drives/motors is growing in importance. One indication comes from a recent Control Engineering Product Research survey on servo motors (to appear in the March 2006 issue), where respondents rated software for setup/tuning as the most important performance feature in selecting their motors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 23, 2006

Elau: New servo motor family optimized for packaging machinery

Elau’s purpose-built PacDrive SH Series servo motors are backward compatible with other components of the company’s PacDrive automation system. Motors and cables are CE/cUL/UL certified. Catering to dynamic and environmental requirements of the latest generation mechatronic packaging machines, Elau (a Schneider Electric company) has introduced SH Series servo motors that feature salient-pole winding technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2006

Linear positioners drive ink jets

To read the original print article click here . When most people hear the term “ink jet” they think of an inexpensive color printer. Yet ink-jet technology has a much wider range of uses. As a branch of digital fabrication, it is used in producing passive and active electronics, in biomedicine, pharmacology, micro-optics, and stereolithography, and in many other applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2006

Brushless PM Motors: ‘Big’ on Power, Efficiency

Better known in relatively small physical sizes and lower power applications, brushless permanent magnet (PM) motors can be made in virtually any size, with no real technological constraints. Large brushless PM motors are not particularly new. They're available from select manufacturers, which now seek to overcome past economic issues that have limited their numbers.

By Frank J. Bartos, P.E.
Mechatronics January 26, 2006

Technology trends, developments at SPS/IPC/Drives 2005

Motors, drives, and motion control were part of the success of the focused electric automation show SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition and Conference (Nuremberg, Germany, Nov. 22-24), showing continued growth of its exhibiting companies (up 12.6%), display area (up 12.1%), and attendees (up 8.7%) compared to 2004. Beyond statistics, this annual event offers valuable perspective on trends and developments affecting motion control and related technologies.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 26, 2006

Digital drive duo debuts

The trend continues toward more capable, compact digital drives for the distributed control of different electric motor types. Over the past couple months, Performance Motion Devices (PMD)—a leading motion control technology company—announced the first two members of its new ION family of high-performance, network-connected motion-control drives. First came ION Brushless DC Drive (late Nov.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2006

Data Acquisition – 2006-01-01 – 2006-01-01

In its purest form, data acquisition (DAQ) is the process of gathering information in an automated fashion from analog and digital measurement sources and presenting that information in a meaningful way. Depending on your industry, DAQ means different things to different people. For example, to the utility industry, DAQ is part of the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system and ...

By Dave Harrold, Control Engineering
Mechatronics January 1, 2006

Bearings monitor status of motion system

SKF offers Sensor-Bearing Units as a compact, patented, and reportedly cost-effective way to verify motion status of rotary or axial components running in open-loop or closed-loop motion control systems. SKF Sensor-Bearing Units integrate one of the company's Explorer-class, single-row, deep-groove ball-bearings with an SKF active sensor in a simple, lightweight but robust structure.

By Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2006

AC drives stress reliability, ease-of-use, performance

With an initial size range of 1-60 hp, offered from stock, Baldor Electric's H2 Adjustable Speed Drives are said to be "the most reliable" on the market. Buttressing the claim is extensive testing during each design phase and verification during each step of the manufacturing process. Testing includes in-circuit and functional testing of each circuit board; stress testing, FMEA testing; and ful...

By Staff
Mechatronics December 21, 2005

AMC ships 1 millionth servo drive

AMC servo drives reportedly control more than 1.5 million motors, since many of the units have multi-axis capability on a single printed-circuit board. Advanced Motion Controls (AMC) has announced the shipment of its 1,000,000th servo drive near the end of Nov. 2005.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 21, 2005

SPS/IPC/Drives 2005 in motion

Success of the focused electric automation show SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition and Conference (Nuremberg, Germany, Nov. 22-24) was measurable in all three categories of exhibiting companies (1,160), display area (73,000 sq m or 785,000 sq ft), and attendees (34,600)—respectively, rising 12.6%, 12.1%, and 8.7% over 2004. Besides statistics, this exhibition and conference brings together a gamut of electric drives, motion systems, and related software.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 5, 2005

Servo motor family expands

Line of brushless rotary servo motors expands to include MPP092x, MPP100x, and MPP115x motors equipped with a resolver, standard 2,000-line incremental encoder, Heidenhain EnDat absolute encoder (single or multi-turn), or Stegmann Hiperface absolute encoders, which are to be released soon.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2005

PLCs Maximize Machine, Motion Control

Control engineers now have at their disposal a wide variety of logic devices to program processes and machines. Computers and computer technology provide almost unlimited control possibilities no matter what the application. PLCs remain a strong part of the mix—a recent survey finds more than half expect to increase PLC spending in the next 12 months.

By Dick Johnson
Mechatronics November 1, 2005

AC Drives Simplify Complexity

They span the gamut of sizes from "micro drives" that virtually fit into your shirt pocket to large system drives and medium-voltage units. However, ac adjustable-speed drives have some attributes in common: increasingly capable control of ac induction motors, including torque control in some models, and inherent benefit of energy savings for many applications.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics October 27, 2005

ZiLog: MCUs stress level of integration, fast ADC for motor control

ZiLog’s FMC16100 Series microcontroller features 20 MHz CPU core, 6-channels of 12-bit PWM with fast shutdown, and 8-channel 2 Microcontroller (MCU)-based systems for motor-control applications continue to grow. One recent advance is ZiLog Inc.’s launch of new generation Flash MCUs targeting sensorless brushless dc (bldc), ac induction, and switched-reluctance motor applications. Named Z8 Encore! MC Series, the new 8-bit chips are based on extensive research into customer requirements in this rapidly growing market sector, according to ZiLog.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 3, 2005

Rockwell Extreme Machines

Bosch Packaging Technology Minster Machines Gasbarre Products Vacuum Coating Technologies Interactive Rides Inc. Bosch Packaging Technology Bosch Packaging Technology is a world leader in the design, manufacture, sales and service of high quality packaging and processing equipment for numerous industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, ophthalmic products and related industries. Among its many products is the CUC 3001, a continuous motion machine that can process as many as 400 cartons per minute.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2005

Sine of the Times

Today's advanced adjustable-speed drives (also called variable-frequency inverters) and motors increasingly can be found in production processes in manufacturing plants, machinery and robotics, elevator systems in high rise buildings, commercial air conditioning systems, and washing machines. Despite indisputable advantages of adjustable-speed drives (ASD), there are a few less-mentioned drawb...

By Udo Leonhard Thiel and Mike Griese
Mechatronics October 1, 2005

Vacuum-rated motors

Vacuum-rated, laboratory-grade servo and stepper motors are designed to survive negative pressures as low as 10-7 Torr and are temperature-rated at 130 8C internal and 105 8C for the case. Motors meet specialized vacuum process needs of the observatory industry and are also well-suited to laboratory applications, such as space-based optical systems, semiconductor manufacturing chambers, and e...

By Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2005

IPM Designs Improve Brushless Servos

Permanent magnet synchronous motors—brushless servo motors for short—rely on a rotating magnet rotor to generate the magnetic field needed for efficient torque production. Most often, the magnets reside on the rotor's outside periphery for the sake of design simplicity, providing good dynamic performance for many applications at lower cost than alternatives.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics September 12, 2005

Servo motor meets hygienic design standards

Allen-Bradley MP-Series stainless steel (MPS) motor gives food, beverage, and life sciences manufacturers a full-washdown-capable servo motor.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 2005

Micro PLCs

So do you need a micro PLC or a PAC (programmable automation controller)? What's the difference, and, if you do want a programmable logic controller, what designates a "micro PLC," and do traditional monikers still apply? It may be that the functionality a controller brings from automation design through implementation, use, repair, and upgrades is more important than the type of controller.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics August 1, 2005

Servo amplifier connects via FireWire

Ndrive MP digital servo amplifier is an ultra compact, high-performance discrete-drive option for the Automation 3200 motion system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2005

Adjust Quality in Real Time

In discrete applications, automation systems and quality control systems are often separate, producing a time lag between quality analysis and actual production. Wouldn't it be great to monitor quality information in real time and feed corrective instructions back to the control system in a closed loop before the production line makes a bin-full of scrap? Process control has been doing just th...

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics August 1, 2005

Mixer-Dispenser Redesign Automates Changeover

When planning to upgrade the control functions on its popular polyurethane resin dispensing equipment, Automatic Process Control (APC), based in Union, NJ, sought to increase the dispenser's functionality and precision, simplify operator interaction, and improve reliability and safety. The new controllers also had to integrate seamlessly into a machine already widely used and trusted in the pol...

By Steve Scheiber, Control Engineering
Mechatronics August 1, 2005

Nuclear Plant Revisits Control System and Maintenance Strategies

The Diablo Canyon installation consists of two 1,100-megawatt pressurized water reactors. This type of reactor pumps highly pressurized water within a primary loop through the reactor core, heating it to temperatures that can exceed 600 °F. High pressure keeps the water from boiling. The water is then sent to the steam generator, where it flows through thousands of tubes, where its heat co...

By Steve Scheiber, Control Engineering
Mechatronics July 28, 2005

Baldor: Digital drive for resolver-based ac brushless servo motors

A new model of Baldor Electric’s MicroFlex family extends servo drive applications to ac brushless servo motors using resolver feedback—likely opening added applications with a feedback device that’s more electrically robust than encoders.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 28, 2005

Low-cost ac dynamometer for basic electric motor testing

New products are coming on the market to ease traditionally complex tasks of dynamometer testing of electric motors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 4, 2005

Servo motors for demanding use

MaxPlusPlus (MPP) Series brushless servo motors are designed for demanding applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 4, 2005

Servo option for motion controllers

AMP-20542 low-inductance servo motor option for Galil’s DMC-21x3 Series of Ethernet motion controllers directly attaches to the controller’s 96-pin connector, eliminating the need for cabling.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 23, 2005

Patented wiring system reduces ground currents to 0, extends motor life

Today’s proliferation of variable-frequency drives (VFDs), uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), servo systems, and computer-controlled equipment generate high-frequency ground currents, which traditionally have been grounded to “earth” for safety reasons.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2005

SPS Electric Automation America trade show debuts

Billed as the first North American trade event to focus on electric automation technologies for industrial applications, the first SPS Electric Automation America trade show was held May 23-26 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near Chicago. Several hundred attendees visited more than 70 exhibitors, and attended three seminars and 16 technical conference sessions d...

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2005

Sensors: Getting into Position

What's the right position sensor for a particular application? It depends on required precision, repeatability, speed, budget, connectivity, conditions, and location, among other factors. You can bet that taking the right measurement is the first step to closing the loop on any successful application. Link to related videos.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics May 26, 2005

Position sensing: encoders, transducers, position controllers

Recent position sensing technologies include an integrated circuit for encoders, an incremental encoder, transfer transducers, dual-channel controllers for linear variable differential transformers (LVDTs), measuring device, wide-angle area sensors, and a cable-extension sensor.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 26, 2005

Analysis, programming software update: Motorsoft; Applied Motion Products

Two software tools recently announced for motor and drive application sectors are JMAG-Studio, distributed in the U.S. by Motorsoft, and Q Programming Software for servo drives from Applied Motion Products.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 12, 2005

Schneider Electric buying remaining Elau shares

Rueil-Malmaison, France—Schneider Electric reports that it recently bought the remaining 53.5% of Germany-based Elau AG that it didn’t already own.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2005

Hydraulic cylinder anatomy

Available in a gamut of sizes, types, and design configurations, cylinder actuators form the main output device of a hydraulic motion system, and often the most visible part. These actuators convert hydraulic fluid pressure into rapid, controllable linear motion and force to move loads. A typical actuator consists of the cylinder body, end caps, piston, piston rod, seals, and bearing surfaces ...

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics April 26, 2005

Danaher buys G&L Motion Control from Thyssenkrupp

Washington, DC—As part of its recent quarterly earnings call, Danaher Corp. says it recently bought the $15-million G&L Motion Control division of Thyssenkrupp AG.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2005

Java in the Factory

Newer technologies carry inherent potential to improve on what has gone before. A case in point is Sun Microsystems' 1995 introduction of Java software and programming language, ushering in advances like platform/operating-system independence, ability to reuse software applications, Web connectivity, and basis on industry standards.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics April 1, 2005

U.S. version of European automation show debuts in May

Debut of a special-interest exhibition and conference, SPS Electric Automation America, is set for May 24-26, 2005, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont (Chicago), IL. While based on the successful German show SPS/IPC/Drives, the new show has been tailored to fit the specific needs of the American market, says organizer Messe Frankfurt Inc.

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2005

Clean Power through Harmonic Mitigation

Harmonics are more of a concern today due to the extensive use of harmonic-generating equipment and because more equipment now being installed in stand-alone machines and processing lines is sensitive to harmonics. Harmonic distortion can result in misoperation of sensitive electronic equipment and generators.

By Nicklas Sodo
Mechatronics March 24, 2005

Baldor stresses H2 Drive reliability, simplicity, performance

“The most reliable industrial drives you can buy today,” is how Baldor Electric chairman and CEO, John McFarland, describes the company’s new H2 Drives family shown at National Manufacturing Week in Chicago earlier this month.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 24, 2005

Exhibits, seminars, educational opportunities

Motors, drives, and motion control professionals need to periodically update their skills. Here’s a sampling of opportunities in the next few months from a new show named SPS Electric Automation America; from Bosch Rexroth Corp.’s training classes, and from Oriental Motor USA Corp.’s annual Fair & Seminar.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 7, 2005

MTT seeks motor specs for online motion-specific ‘selector’ tool database

Motion Tech Trends (MTT), a research and consultancy firm serving electric motor and motion control industries, is developing expert system tools for its subscriber-based Web site to aid users and specifiers of electric motion components in making more informed purchases.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2005

Gauging Satisfaction

When it comes to making a decision to purchase equipment for automation and control systems, nothing is as valuable as the collective experience of your peers in dealing with vendors and their products. That's why Control Engineering created its Customer Satisfaction survey—to capture the knowledge of our readers about the products they buy and the companies with which they regularly do b...

By David Greenfield
Mechatronics February 24, 2005

National Manufacturing Week includes motion control, motor, sensor presentations

Multiple, concurrent trade shows of the 15th National Manufacturing Week in Chicago’s McCormick Place (March 7-10, 2005), particularly the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), will offer opportunities to learn about products of more than 1,000 exhibitors first hand, and attend one or more of 300 conference sessions in 10 tracks that include motor and motion control topics.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 22, 2005

Mitsubishi Electric to help automate GEMA plants in Michigan

Vernon Hills, IL—Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. recently secured a contract to supply automation products, machine controls, IT validation, startup, training, and support services at two new Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plants in Dundee, MI.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 15, 2005

Parker Hannifin purchases Bayside Controls

Cleveland, OH; Port Washington, NY—Parker Hannifin Corp. reports that it has acquired Bayside Controls Inc., which manufactures integrated solutions for industrial and precision automation applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2005

Enclose and protect

End-users and OEMs enclose sensitive control equipment and instrumentation to protect against environmental hazards. Enclosures also make equipment safer and more convenient, suggests product research from Control Engineering/Reed Research Group. On Oct. 5, 2004, an e-mail survey was sent to Control Engineering subscribers to learn about the protection used around computers, programmable logic...

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics February 1, 2005

Hottest articles of ’04

Here are the hottest Control Engineering Online articles of 2004, based on number of times each piece was opened in electronic form. If you missed any of these the first time around, you'll want to go to this column online and print them, or save the links. Connections to each item appear with this piece online, in Archives, February 2005, at www.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
Mechatronics February 1, 2005

Closed-Loop Stepper Motion Alternative

Most step-motor-based motion systems operate in open loop and thereby provide a low-cost solution. In fact, stepper systems offer the only motion technology inherently capable of position control without feedback. However, when step motors move loads in open loop a potential loss of synchronism between commanded steps and actual steps may occur.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics January 27, 2005

Early 2005 seminars, exhibitions, conferences in motion

Keeping current on sources of technical information and continued education remains vital in 2005 to professionals working in the motors, drives, and motion control arena. Here are some upcoming events that include seminars, courses, and exhibits to keep in mind.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 3, 2005

SPS/IPC/Drives 2004: Updates from OPC Foundation, PLCopen, SERCOS interface, and more

Nuremberg, Germany—Besides showing a gamut of automation technologies ranging from controllers, electric drives, and motion systems to sensors, computers, software, and industrial communications, SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition and Conference provides a venue for companies and associations to make announcements significant to industry.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2005

Flexible, distributed controllers free up host computers

DMC-31x3 series flexible/distributed controllers from Galil Motion Control are designed for machines that require multi-axis controllers operating in a distributed network. These devices free host computers from the complex task of motion coordination, as well as lowering controller cost per axis. The firm adds that, because they're Ethernet-based, DMC-31x3 ensures low-cost, effective communica...

By Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2005

Flurry of Innovation

Stock market averages and economic indexes aside, one of the best gauges of the recent industrial sector upswing in the U.S. and globally has to be that many control and automation manufacturers released more new products and solutions in 2004 than they have in recent years—a flurry of innovation.

By Jim Montague, Mark T. Hoske, and Control Engineering staff
Mechatronics December 29, 2004

SPS/IPC/Drives 2004: Another ‘Novemberfest’ for electric automation

Nuremberg, Germany —“Novemberfest” has been used once before in these pages to describe the happenings at SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition and Conference, an annual electric automation show held here since 1997, after its relocation from near Stuttgart.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 15, 2004

SKF: ‘Intelligent’ bearings monitor motion system status

Do you have a need for reliable monitoring and recording of the status of motion system components, for example: number of revolutions, speed, direction of rotation, relative position/counting, and acceleration or deceleration? If so, new Sensor-Bearing Units from SKF may be just what you’re seeking.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 15, 2004

In motion at SPS/IPC/Drives 2004

Motors, drives, and motion control are at the heart of industrial automation as was demonstrated at the SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany (Nov. 22-25, 2004).

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 9, 2004

Embedded at SPS/IPC/Drives 2004

Embedded (and PC-based) controls are integral parts of industrial automation as demonstrated at the SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany (Nov. 22-25, 2004).

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 7, 2004

Ethernet/RS232 Econo 1-8 axes by Galil

Galil's DMC-21x2 and DMC-21x3 Ethernet motion controllers are desinged for extremely cost-sensitive and space-sensitive applicaitons.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 17, 2004

Sensors: linear, torque, contact

Linear, torque, and contact sensing capabilities increased recently with new product introductions from Macro Sensors, Magtrol, and Omron.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 12, 2004

Control Engineering Online Update for November 12, 2004

November 12, 2004 Highlights Sponsored by BEI Motion control design and implementation presents an array of options to the engineer. To select the most optimal approach, an understanding of stages and associated drive technologies is important. Encoder Design Rules at your Fingertips - Get a Free Calculator Does your controller have the bandwidth to handle the data rate of a 5000 cycle-per-turn encoder rotating at 2500 RPM? What resolution should you specify for your encoder to achieve a 0.010" tolerance on a cut-to-length operation? Put the answers to these and other critical questions in the palm of your hand with our free Optical Encoder Design Calculator. Click the link below and enter the 4-digit code, 1302, in the order form.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 9, 2004

Pack Expo 2004: Innovations deliver packaging advances

Chicago, IL—Pack Expo International 2004, Nov. 7-11, at McCormick Place is expected to draw approximately 50,000 attendees to more than 1,600 companies exhibiting in more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 28, 2004

Real-time machine control products

Real-time means different things, depending on the application. In the November 2004 North American print edition, there will be a "Technology Update" on the topic. Here’s some related information from Dalsa, Bosch Rexroth, Danaher Motion’s Motion Engineering, and Venture Development Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 27, 2004

AB Fair 2004: Partners exhibit numerous solutions, services

Orlando, FL—More than 100 exhibitors are expected to demonstrate their products and services this week at Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley Automation Fair 2004, Sept. 27-28, at the Orange County Convention Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 12, 2004

ISA Expo 2004: Photos from the show floor

Houston, TX—Hundreds of exhibits at ISA Expo 2004 featured thousands of innovative solutions and services. Here are photos of some of the most significant announcements, product launches, and demonstrations.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2004

Micro PLC Key to CNC Overhaul

Tractor-trailers are highway behemoths, so it's somewhat ironic that tiny rivets play a major role in the manufacturing of these vehicles. But that was the case at International Truck and Engine Corp.'s Grove City, OH, plant where the semi-cab side and back panels for tractor-trailer vehicles are produced.

By Dan Sussman
Mechatronics October 1, 2004

10 Design Tips for Machine Control

How many times have you used something and wondered if the engineers who designed the product ever used it? To make life a little easier for anyone working on a machine, here are 10 design tips in integrating the latest automation, controls, instrumentation, sensors, logic, and communications to save time and effort, and avoid getting (or giving) grief later on.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics September 23, 2004

IMTS 2004 in motion

The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Sept. 8-15 paraded myriad technologies and solutions, among which motion control was prominent.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 7, 2004

Control Engineering Editors’ Choice Award Winners

Control Engineering editors' award archive, 1987-2003 winners

By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Mechatronics September 1, 2004

AC Drives Stay Vital for the 21st Century

Physical size and weight provide the most visible evidence of the remarkable evolution of ac variable-frequency drives (VFDs) in the past 50 years. However, what's under the skin is even more dramatic for the performance, efficiency, and reliability now delivered by these motor controls. Making it all happen were advances in power-switching transistors, microprocessors, other hardware, plus sof...

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics August 18, 2004

NI Week 2004: LabView goes embedded with CompactRIO platform

Austin, TX—National Instruments (NI) announced its ultra high-performance embedded control and acquisition platform, CompactRIO, at NI Week 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 15, 2004

Control Engineering’s Buyers Guide 2004 Purchasing Study

To gain a better understanding of industry buying power, Control Engineering and Reed Research Group surveyed Control Engineering subscribers about purchases across 26 product categories to determine numbers of units purchased in the past 12 months as well as how much was spent on those purchases.

By Staff
Mechatronics August 2, 2004

Allied Motion Technologies acquires Precision Motor Technology

Denver, CO—Allied Motion Technologies Inc. reports that it recently bought Precision Motor Technology B.V. (Premotec, Dordrecht, Netherlands) for approximately €3.75 million, or $4.5 million, in cash and Allied Motion’s common shares.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2004

Expectations high for IMTS 2004

More than 85,000 people visited the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) two years ago, and organizers say attendance may top 100,000 this year. IMTS 2004 will be held on Sept. 8-15 at McCormick Place in Chicago. IMTS 2004 will host 10 pavilions, including Metal Cutting; Tooling & Workholding Systems; Metal Forming & Fabricating/Laser; Abrasive Machining/...

By Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief
Mechatronics August 1, 2004

Motion Control, Networks Automate Baling Process

For most people—particularly those steeped in "heavy" industries, such as automotive—the words "manufacturing automation" don't immediately conjure up images of cotton-picking, baling, and storage. Nevertheless, the cotton industry wrestles with the same cost and efficiency pressures as any other manufacturing business.

By Dan Sussman
Mechatronics July 22, 2004

IMTS 2004 products: Baldor, GE Fanuc, Rexroth…

A smattering of expected IMTS 2004 developments follows, in motors and motion control, vision, CNC software, PLCs, and flow instrumentation.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 16, 2004

B&R Industrial Automation expands U.S. headquarters, sees wider markets

Norcross, GA — Austrian automation giant Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH is expanding its North American activities.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 1, 2004

New jobs, applications for wire, cable, connectors

Change may be the only constant, but, while many software-related changes happen fast and make only incremental changes, a few slowly emerging hardware advances can be pretty revolutionary. For example, recent improvements in wire, cable, and connectors are allowing these essential components to take on new tasks, serve in non-traditional settings, help retool existing networks, and deliver dat...

By Jim Montague, Control Engineering
Mechatronics June 24, 2004

Integrated, intelligent motor-control (I²MC) update

Combining drive, controller, processing intelligence, feedback device, communication and more within a servo motor package represents an emerging class of motion control products.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 8, 2004

Parker purchases Mead Fluid Dynamics’ U.K.-based subsidiary

Cleveland, OH—Parker Hannifin Corp. reports that it has acquired the assets of Mead Fluid Dynamics Ltd., the European subsidiary of Chicago-based Mead Fluid Dynamics Inc., for an undisclosed sum.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 31, 2004

Hannover Fair: Integrated motion control stepper motor

ServoStep was designed to deliver a cost-effective SmartMotor without sacrificing features or benefits.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 27, 2004

Hannover Fair in motion

Visitors are rarely far from exposure to motors, drives, and motion control among Hannover Fair’s multiple shows. This year was no exception.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 6, 2004

Hannover Fair 2004: Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group shows interoperability

Only 10 months after inception, the Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (ESPG, Winterthur, Switzerland) exhibited its Ethernet Powerlink real-time networking solution at Hannover Fair 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2004

Control Logic Strategies

Control logic options available for automation system design have expanded. When there were fewer alternatives for control logic, the path was clear, but with today's myriad options, where do you start? Consider these facts: Proliferation of microprocessors and related software allow logic to be centralized, decentralized or highly distributed.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics April 1, 2004

Ubiquitous Servos Leverage Design Flexibility

While servo motors have been successfully adapted to wide applications in various industries, manufacturers persist in expanding the flexibility of these motors. Servo motors offer sophisticated motion control over wide torque ranges in standard compact packaging. They're also available in packages that resist electromagnetic- and radio-frequency interference and stand up to a host of hostile i...

By Dick Johnson Control Engineering
Mechatronics March 30, 2004

Stepper: Relics or Reality by Schneider Electric

In the early days of electronic positioning control, stepper technology was the savior of the factory. By the mid-1970s, mechanical linkages, handwheels and hydraulic applications were quickly being replaced by these revolutionary devices, which offered predicable motor movement based on a simple electric pulse input. The failures and errors induced by adjustable hard stops and manual measurements were eliminated, spawning the electronic motion control and industrial automation industry.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 25, 2004

NMW 2004: Motion and motor control highlights

While results and merits of last month’s National Manufacturing Week of shows in Chicago are still being assessed, technology innovation was plainly evident in the areas of motors, drives, and motion control. Read more about highlights from a variety of companies.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 10, 2004

GE Fanuc launches shop-floor intelligence software, new CNC

Charlottesville, VA—GE Fanuc Automation launched new software to reduce machine downtime, optimize performance, and boost quality; introduced its next-generation CNC to U.S. customers, and noted the manufacture of its 5 millionth ac servo motor, in three March 8 announcements.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 5, 2004

Control Engineering announces first Engineers’ Choice awards

Chicago, IL—Control Engineering announced the eight winners of its first Engineers' Choice Awards at its recent 17th annual awards reception during National Manufacturing Week 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2004

CE announces first Engineers’ Choice award winners

Control Engineering (CE) announced its first eight Engineers' Choice Award winners on Feb. 24 at the magazine's 17th annual awards reception, during National Manufacturing Week 2004. CE's North American subscribers were asked to choose the best technologies from among 35 winners of CE's 2004 Editors' Choice Awards, announced in the January 2004 issue.

By Staff
Mechatronics February 26, 2004

Harsh-environment step motor update: Empire Magnetics; Elwood

Step-motor-based motion systems continue to work unheralded in some very tough industrial environments. Here’s an update on two recent product examples.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2004

Got Field-Oriented Control in Your Servos? This article includes online material.

Field-oriented control—sometimes called flux-vector control—is a method that enables highest performance from permanent magnet (pm) synchronous (or brushless servo) motors throughout their speed range. FOC algorithms model the torque-generating efficiency of dc motors and allow linear torque control.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics January 29, 2004

SPS/IPC/Drives 2003 lives up to its promise

It’s hard to argue with success. The European electronic automation exhibition and conference, SPS/IPC/Drives, continues to meet and exceed forecasts in all measurable categories.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 6, 2004

Danfoss Drives’ soft starters simplify installation

Loves Park, IL—Danfoss Drives recently launched its MCD 200 Series compact soft starters, which offer advanced heat dissipation, eliminating the need for extra ventilation or bypass connectors, while simplifying installation and minimizing panel space requirements.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2004

Service, Advancement, Impact

Sense, decide, and act are the three cornerstones of the control and automation field and its many related industries and applications. Similarly, the three cornerstones of the Control Engineering2003 Editors' Choice Awards are service to the industry, technological advancement, and market impact. Seven editors—Frank Bartos, David Greenfield, Dave Harrold, Mark Hoske, Jeanine Katzel, Ji...

By Jim Montague and Control Engineering staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2004

SERCOS-III combines real-time and Ethernet

Interests Group SERCOS (IGS) interface e.V. recently started a project to link its existing SERCOS interface and Ethernet to form SERCOS-III. The organization reported on its efforts at the recent SPS/IPC/ Drives 2003 show. SERCOS-III is based on the established, real-time mechanisms of the SERCOS interface, which continues to work on the principle of cyclic data tran...

By Staff
Mechatronics December 17, 2003

International Rectifier’s new motion control ICs eliminate programming tasks

A drumbeat often heard today is shorter time-to-market for product development. Two new digital control ICs recently introduced by International Rectifier (IR) promise to do just that by easing the configuration of motion control algorithms for permanent magnet (pm) and ac induction motors—along with their position feedback devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2003

Rockwell marks 100th birthday at Automation Fair 2003

Milwaukee, WI–An estimated 14,000 visitors attended Rockwell Automation's 12th annual Allen-Bradley Automation Fair 2003, Nov. 18-20 at the Midwest Airlines Center. The fair was highlighted by numerous special events and displays celebrating the 100th birthday of Rockwell's Allen-Bradley brand name, as well as more than 100 exhibitors, 50 technical sessions, and 20 hands-on labs.

By Staff
Mechatronics November 25, 2003

Automation Fair 2003: 14,000 celebrate Rockwell’s 100th birthday

Milwaukee, WI—An estimated 14,000 visitors attended Rockwell Automation’s 12th annual Allen-Bradley Automation Fair 2003, Nov. 18-20 at the Midwest Airlines Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 23, 2003

Two new references available on motors and drives

Up-to-date information helps in the battle to stay current. Here are two recent references.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 23, 2003

Galil Motion Control: Easy optical isolation for Ethernet motion controller

Adding optical isolation to DMC-21x3 Series Ethernet controllers from Galil Motion Control (Rocklin, CA) has become as easy as attaching a small (4.25 x 3.70 in.) board atop the multi-axis motion controller using a 96-pin DIN connector.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2003

Plug-in & spin drive

Aries Series of high-power, compact digital servo drives with plug-in and spin design requires no setup. Attach any Compumotor smart encoder motor to automatically configure the drive. Open architecture allows the drive to also be configured for use with any manufacturer's motion controller and servo motor.

By Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 2003

PID: Still the One

Negative feedback has been used to control continuous processes since the late 18th century. James Watt used a flyball governor to automatically apply more steam to his famous engine when its speed dropped too low and to throttle back the steam when the engine's speed rose too high. This simple balancing act remains the fundamental function of process controllers today: Measure the process vari...

By Vance J. VanDoren
Mechatronics September 25, 2003

Exhibitions, seminars, education

Several significant motors, drives, and motion control events are rapidly approaching.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 2003

Servo drive market recovering

The worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% during the next five years from $2.067 billion in 2001 to more than $2.922 billion in 2006, according to a new study, "Servo Drive Market Outlook," by ARC Advisory Group. Overall, the study found that demand for servo drives is recovering.

By Staff
Mechatronics August 28, 2003

International Rectifier: More motor/motion control functionality goes into silicon

iNTERO—a family of drive modules for several motor technologies from International Rectifier (IR, El Segundo, CA)—has expanded with the introduction of a new member that incorporates bridge, brake, and inverter (BBI) functions into one compact unit.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 11, 2003

Servo drive market recovering; will reach $2.9 billion in 2006

Dedham, MA—The worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% during the next five years from just over $2.0 billion in 2001 to more than $2.9 billion in 2006, according to a new study, “Servo Drive Market Outlook,” by ARC Advisory Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 11, 2003

Motion controller for servos or steppers

Posys 9xx advanced motion controller is designed for brush/brushless servo, microstepping and stepper motors. PCI-card is plug-and-play capable and available in 1-, 2- or 4-axis configurations.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2003

AC Drives Trend to Efficient, Modular Designs

Whether you call them ac adjustable-speed drives(ASDs)—the name preferred by most—or use other labels, such as variable-speed drivesor variable-frequency drives, or frequency converters as the international community prefers, ASDs excel at one key point: increasingly capable control of ac motors.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics August 1, 2003

NI offers its highest-density PXI motion controller

Austin, TX—National Instruments (NI) has launched its highest performance PXI motion control module, NI PXI-7350, which gives users eight axes of stepper or servo motion control in what NI reports is the industry's smallest form factor, amounting to one slot of a 3U PXI chassis.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 10, 2003

Control Engineering eNewsletter for Motors, Drives, & Motion Control for July 2003

VOLUME 4, NUMBER 6 SEW-EurodriveSort Through a 700-Page Catalog In Seconds PT Pilot is now available on the WebAt SEW-Eurodrive, we understand you don't have time to wade through over 1.2 million configurations to find the right drive. PT Pilot is a powerful product selection tool that puts needed information right at your fingertips: Catalog Search Drive System Calculator DriveCAD Software Electronic Image Catalog Technical Documentation Drive Formulas and Coefficients Glossary of Terms PT Pilot helps you quickly select the drive system and features that you need. Click Here and get connected. Unwinder applications ''get a brake'' EPRI's new 2nd edition ASD Guide How small can ''pancake'' motors get? Seminars, educational opportunities More on dynamometers Control Engineering resources Unwinder applications ''get a brake'' AC motor braking is key to ABB's integrated web speed and tension control system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 1, 2003

Software ‘bridge’ improves CNC efficiency during retrofit

To prevent frequent breakdowns and reduce downtime, Pressed Steel Tank (West Allis, WI) recently upgraded an obsolete CNC lathe with assistance from system integrator Nova Systems Inc. To help the retrofit succeed, Nova turned to Roy-G-Biv Corp. for a key piece of motion-control integration software.

By Jim Montague, news editor
Mechatronics July 1, 2003

Automating Your Packaging Lines

Though it's not a new development for the large variety of packaging machines that produce myriad packaged products, automation now offers a whole new level of packaging productivity. Much of prior automation was limited to an architecture where a large mechanical line shaft, driven by a main motor, powered devices and actuators to accomplish various packaging functions.

By Frank J. Bartos, Control Engineering
Mechatronics June 23, 2003

Agilent reports its absolute encoder is smallest for automation

Palo Alto, CA—Agilent Technologies Inc. has introduced what it reports is industry's smallest high-speed, 'plug-and-play' absolute encoder that reduces assembly time by half and cuts costs for industrial automation systems by as much as 40%.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 18, 2003

Control Engineering eNewsletter for Motors, Drives, & Motion Control for June 2003

VOLUME 4, NUMBER 5 SEW-EurodriveSort Through a 700-Page Catalog In Seconds PT Pilot is now available on the Web At SEW-Eurodrive, we understand you don't have time to wade through over 1.2 million configurations to find the right drive. PT Pilot is a powerful product selection tool that puts needed information right at your fingertips: Catalog Search Drive System Calculator DriveCAD Software Electronic Image Catalog Technical Documentation Drive Formulas and Coefficients Glossary of Terms PT Pilot helps you quickly select the drive system and features that you need. Click Here and get connected Standards update: PLCopen ''Function Blocks for Motion Control'' ''The Robot Files'' Readers' survey: servo motors Amplifier ''briefs'' More choices for integrated drives and motors Wanted: Your input to 2004 Editorial Calendar Check out Control Engineering's free info service Standards update: PLCopen ''Function Blocks for Motion Control'' ''Numerous suppliers'' have implemented ''Function Blocks for Motion Control'' specification since its Version 1.0 release by PLCopen (Zaltbommel, Netherlands) in November 2001, according to Eelco van der Wal, managing director of the organization. Focus of Function Blocks for Motion Control focus is to standardize interfaces among different motion control approaches and promote more reuse of application software.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2003

Servos Optimize Torque per Volume

They're the elite among various electric motor types. Servo motors stand out by incorporating the latest high-force magnet materials, advanced design methods, and precise dimensional tolerances. Combined with appropriate electronics, servo motors offer the most sophisticated motion control available today.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics May 30, 2003

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for May 2003

VOLUME 4, NUMBER 4 SEW-EurodriveSort Through a 700-Page Catalog In Seconds PT Pilot is now available on the Web At SEW-Eurodrive, we understand you don't have time to wade through over 1.2 million configurations to find the right drive. PT Pilot is a powerful product selection tool that puts needed information right at your fingertips: Catalog Search Drive System Calculator DriveCAD Software Electronic Image Catalog Technical Documentation Drive Formulas and Coefficients Glossary of TermsPT Pilot helps you quickly select the drive system and features that you need. Click Here and get connected SERCOS update: 3rd-generation standard coming Compact dynamometer serves as a teaching tool Companies in motion Motor ''briefs'' Wanted: Your input to 2004 Editorial Calendar Check out Control Engineering's free info service SERCOS update: 3rd-generation standard coming Various communication methods compete in the rapidly developing world of motion control.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 14, 2003

Parker Hannifin buys MTS Automation

Cleveland, OH—Parker Hannifin Corp. announced April 11 that it has purchased MTS Automation division (New Ulm, MN) from MTS Systems Corp. for an undisclosed amount.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2003

Control Engineering Embedded Control eNews for April 2003

Real-Time Product Section Guide Learn to quickly build real-time measurement and control systems with National Instruments Real-Time software and hardware. The Real-Time Product Selection Guide illustrates how to create reliable, deterministic solutions by integrating LabVIEW(tm) graphical development environment and the LabVIEW Real-Time Module with RT Series hardware such as data acquisition, PXI(tm)/CompactPCI, and intelligent distributed I/O. Click here for your FREE Brochure! What's the latest in embedded systems? How small will ''embedded'' get? Tools used inside new process equipment CMOS switches, MCUs, board-level connectors Best technologies Resources: direct links What's the latest in embedded systems? Control Engineering will be uncovering more of the latest from the Embedded Systems Conference, April 22-26. Frank Bartos, Control Engineering executive editor, will attend, even if your bags aren't packed.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2003

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control eNewsletter for April 2003

VOLUME 4, NUMBER 3 Galil- Galil's 2003 Motion Control Catalog is Available NowGalil's Motion Control Catalog has been completely revised for 2003. The new catalog provides specifications and pricing for Galil's full line of motion controllers. A selection guide makes it easy to choose from single or multi-axis, bus-based or stand-alone, and box-level or card-level controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2003

Direct-Drive Linear Motion Lives!

Technologically, they've made a straight line to success. Direct-drive linear motion systems eliminate gearboxes, ballscrews, belts, couplings, or other rotary-to-linear motion converters between motor and load—offering superior speed, acceleration, load-positioning accuracy, and rapid stroke cycling, compared to systems based on rotary motors.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics February 26, 2003

Control Engineering Motors, Drives & Motion Control eNews for February 2003

VOLUME 4, NUMBER 2 NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS Motion Assistant Makes It Easy National Instruments Motion Assistant is a revolutionary new development and code-generation tool for motion control system programming. It offers an intuitive point-and-click interface where you develop your motion control applications and then generate the LabVIEW code, thus helping you make motion control easy. To download your free Motion Assistant Evaluation Software visit www.ni.com/info and enter dyzzpu National Instruments Tel: (800) 452-6914 (U.S.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 24, 2003

Low-cost board-level motion controller

Austin, TX - PCI-7342 two-axis motion-control board is said to offer a low-cost option for servo motor control, along with interfaces to data acquisition and vision systems, plus NI's LabView graphical development environment for programming.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2003

Springtime for Switched-Reluctance Motors?

Build a ''better'' electric motor (and its associated controls)—based on simple, rugged design that eliminates costly permanent magnets—and users will flock to apply the technology. Well, this notion has not yet been proven for switched-reluctance (SR) motors, given the present business conditions and a more sober evaluation of SR technology by potential users.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics February 1, 2003

Great Expectations

Nobody has time to fool around these days. Control and automation professionals need useful ideas now and demand practical solutions immediately. To provide these crucial innovations, the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) at National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2003, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago, has been reinvented and reorganized.

By Jim Montague
Mechatronics February 1, 2003

Position/Motion Controllers for Servo Motion Systems

IMS Research's (Wellingborough, UK; Austin, TX) most recent automation survey, released Jan. 7, found that users are moving to more decentralized control solutions that use intelligent field devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2003

Motion Control Standards Continue to Evolve

Too many standards or not enough, that's the question? Whether or not you include de facto industry standards and communication standards as part of motion control will determine that answer.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics January 23, 2003

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control eNews for January 2003

VOLUME 4, NUMBER 1 Galil- Galil, the leader in motion control with over 300,000 controllers sold, has introduced its DMC-21x3 series which is half-the-price and size of comparable Ethernet controllers. The four axis model is just $795 in 100 qty and measures only 4.25' x 7'. Click here to get specs . See Galil's free online video, 'Demonstration of Motion Control' where Dr.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics January 8, 2003

Servos expected to become more intelligent

Wellingborough, U.K.—Users of servo motion systems are increasingly implementing intelligent servo drives with integrated position control capabilities, according to IMS Research's most recent automation survey.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 3, 2003

Making Valve Controllers/Positioners Smarter Is Smart Business

Talk to a group of instrument engineers about ''smart'' positioners and it's soon apparent each person has evolved their own definition of what smart positioners are, what they do, and where they are used.

By Dave Harrold
Mechatronics January 1, 2003

Slotless, brushless PM motor is efficient

Despite some declarations that electric motors have become "commodity items," new motor innovations continue to reach the market via novel hardware refinements and new software tools. For instance, TG3600 Series slotless, brushless PM motors from ThinGap Motor Technologies (Ventura, CA) incorporate new winding technology that promises to eliminate eddy current and hysteresis losses, and obtain ...

By Staff
Mechatronics December 27, 2002

Control Engineering Europe Ad Rates & Specifications

Control Engineering Europe CEE 2002 Editorial Calendar Control Engineering Europe is the leading pan-European, English language publication for OEMs, machine and panel builders, control system designers, and control system end users throughout Europe. Published six times a year, the magazine reaches both major production sectors of Europe's industries: the manufacturing sector, which produces automobiles, electrical machinery, and consumer goods, and the process sector which provides Europe with food, chemicals, petroleum, and pharmaceuticals. No other European publication covers the area of sensors, industrial computers and software, human-machine interfaces, process control, programmable controllers, and motors and motion control so authoritatively and comprehensively. Control Engineering Europe will receive BPA certification in 2002.

By Staff
Mechatronics December 27, 2002

Editorial Calendar 2002

2002 Editorial Calendar Monthly in Control Engineering Printable (PDF) editorial calendar Quarterly Previews January - May 2002 June - September 2002 (incl. Mid-June) October - December 2002 (incl. Mid-December) PDF files require Adobe Acroba Reader.

By Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control eNews for December 2002

VOLUME 3, NUMBER 6 National Instruments - Motion Assistant Makes It Easy National Instruments Motion Assistant is a revolutionary new development and code-generation tool for motion control system programming. It offers an intuitive point-and-click interface where you develop your motion control applications and then generate the LabVIEW code, thus helping you make motion control easy. National InstrumentsTel: (800) 452-6914 (U.S. and Canada)Fax: (512) 683-9300Email: info@ni.com URL: Click Here Let's go forward with more confidence in ourselves and our objectivesas we bring this tough, tumultuous year to an end. - Frank Bartos, Executive Editor, Control Engineering Unidrive goes more ''universal'' Motor rewinding without fear of efficiency loss Software briefs: AGVs, ActiveX interface Accurate in-cylinder position sensing Charitable season for technology Control Engineering in November and December Motor innovations: Linear actuator, torque motors Worth reading: Observers tell about plant behavior Control Engineering resources Unidrive goes more ''universal'' New Unidrive SP (Solution Platform) Building on its pioneering development of Unidrive in 1995 that offered several methods of ac motor control in one unit, selectable by software, Control Techniques (Eden Prairie, MN; Newtown, Wales, U.K.) has just introduced a new generation ''universal'' ac drive named Unidrive SP (Solution Platform). Through the universal drive selection feature, Unidrive SP can operate in the following control modes: V/Hz, open- and closed-loop vector, brushless servo, and regeneration.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 20, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control eNews for November 2002

AutomationDirect - Half-priced drives, next day delivery Would you like a low-cost micro drive with "big drive" features? Then try out the new line of AC drives from AutomationDirect. The GS series drives offer features not commonly found in microdrives, at half the price of the competition. They also offer simple programming, simple communications, and AutomationDirect's 30-day money-back guarantee and two-year replacement warranty. Check out the new line of AC drives at: Click Here Welcome back to the Motors, Drives, & Motion Control E-newsletter after a hiatus of a few months.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics November 12, 2002

Pack Expo 2002: SEW-Eurodrive champions distributed control

Lyman, SC—SEW-Eurodrive is boosting the movement toward distributed control with its Decentralized Control Technology (DCT), which it recently configured for North American applications and made available here.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 2002

Chip-Based Motion/Motor Control: The Way to Go for Some Users

Motion system engineers, developers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have another tool in their hands thanks to advances in microelectronic design and processing. This online extra article provides added information to the main article on chip-based control in Control Engineering, October 2002.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 2002

Industrial Robots Fast, Nimble at 30

Mention robots and even engineers may have pictures of Sony's Aibo pet dog or the Jetson's household helpers. Robots have also made news recently with products from iRobot Corp. (Somerville, MA) helping troops scour caves in Afghanistan and helping archaeologists search tombs in the Egyptian desert. Perhaps some are even considering uses for the "Roomba" vacuum cleaning robot.

By Gary A. Mintchell
Mechatronics November 1, 2002

Medium-Voltage Motors Ease Limits on Current Capacity and Power

Most electric motors run on supply voltages under 600 V, yet operating at these so-called ''low voltages'' limits current-carrying capacity and output power needed for large industrial loads. Current limits pose a special problem during motor start-up. Medium-voltage (MV) ac motors overcome such limits.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics October 1, 2002

Chip-Based Motion/Motor Control Saves Time, Cost, and Space

You would expect leading-edge digital signal processors (DSPs) to be reserved only for sophisticated, high-end motion applications. However, some of the latest processor chips now provide single-axis motor control in washing machines, refrigerators, and related commercial products.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics September 24, 2002

Control Engineering Embedded Control eNewsletter for September 2002

Advantech... Founded in 1983, ADVANTECH AUTOMATION is the only complete PC-based Industrial Automation Solution Manufacturer offering products such as Industrial PCs, Workstations, Flat Panel Monitors, Customized PCs, Data Acquisition & Control Devices and Web-enabled products for communication and HMI monitoring and control. ADVANTECH offers a family of scaleable Windows-based computers for almost any industrial application offering Environment Facility Monitoring, Factory Automation, Machine Automation, and a variety of other total solutions.For more information, visit www.advantech.com angelas@advantech.com Embedded control in September Control Engineering What's hot at IMTS Let's get started Control remote devices Still life in embedded product development Online webcasts, conference, expo Embedded control in September Control Engineering Control Engineering's September issue is posted on the Web.

By Gary Mintchell
Mechatronics September 4, 2002

IMTS 2002: MDSI showing new products, partnerships

Chicago, IL— Manufacturing Data Systems Inc. (MDSI, Ann Arbor, MI) and its OEM partners are exhibiting machine tools and controls with MDSI's OpenCNC software this week at IMTS 2002 , Sept. 4-11, at McCormick Place.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 2002

AC Drives Meet and Exceed User Demands

Simpler variable-torque applications continue to be the most common use for ac adjustable-speed drives, yet manufacturers are adding increasingly sophisticated capabilities and high-level functions to these products. EXPANDED ARTICLE AND PRODUCTS ON-LINE

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics August 23, 2002

Servo Motion Spreads Integration, Applications

This article is an Online Extra to the Electric Servos Go for Ease of Use, Integrate with All the Plant .' Click on the title to read the entire article. Sidebar: Servo motion applications Integration of components that comprise an electric servo system is growing, alongside an overall integration of servo motion systems into manufacturing processes. Several complementary factors are helping to expand applications, hence the servo motion market.

By Frank J. Bartos, Executive Editor
Mechatronics August 1, 2002

Nano devices lead assault on traditional PLC applications

Programmable logic controllers, which are most commonly recognized as 15-128 I/O-point micro devices, 128-512 I/O-point medium devices, and over 512 I/O-point large devices, have come under pressure from still other manifestations of these devices over the past few years.

By Dick Johnson
Mechatronics July 31, 2002

New integrated, intelligent motors from Denmark’s JVL Industri Elektronik

Birkerod, Denmark - JVL Industri Elektronik A/S has recently introduced what it calls ''a completely new concept in motor control.'' Designated the MAC motor, this development combines an ac servo motor, controller, Hall-effect sensor, and encoder in a single compact unit ''that offers true servo performance'' and ''previously unseen low price.''

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics July 29, 2002

Motion control standards have a way to go

"Lack of standards" is a complaint often heard in the motion-control arena. Given the kaleidoscope of technologies and products that comprise this sector, the comment isn't surprising. However, if one includes proprietary approaches and de facto standards, plus various communications buses used in motion control, then probably there are too many "standards" out there.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics July 1, 2002

Linear positioning stage is precise, versatile

Schaumburg, Ill.— New TLC Series precision positioning stages offer travel lengths in the 100-mm to 2-m range (4-78.7 in.), with speeds up to 6 m/sec (nearly 20 ft/sec) and accelerations to 10 G, depending on load and configuration. Submicron resolution and repeatability up to 1 micron are standard features.

By Staff
Mechatronics June 27, 2002

Rexroth, Panasonic to jointly develop servo drive components

Hoffman Estates, Ill.— Bosch Rexroth AG (Lohr, Germany) and Panasonic Motor Co. (Osaka, Japan) recently agreed to jointly develop electrical servo drive components. The two firms are working together to develop and produce ac servo drive products, focusing on open control communications, ergonomic product design and innovative construction.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 14, 2002

125th Anniversary for business operations at Boston Gear

Quincy, Mass. - Just 101 years after the founding of the U.S. as a nation, a company called Boston Gear opened for business in Charlestown, Mass.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for February 2002

In this issue: Pneumatic actuator emulates muscle motion Readers surveyed on motion control, Part 2 Sintered magnet material advances high-performance motors, actuators A twist on drive and motor integration Enhancements to simulation software Motor 'briefs' Control Engineering in February Courses, other learning sources Control Engineering News Linear pneumatic actuator emulates muscle motion Are you looking for an alternative to pneumatic cylinders? Check out a novel method to obtain precise, repeatable linear motion using material flexure and deformation similar to that of human muscles. New MAS Fluidic Muscle from Festo Corp. (Hauppauge, N.Y.; Esslingen, Germany) claims advantages of size, weight, and output force compared to standard pneumatic cylinders. It offers as much as 10 times the force, but has only about 13% the weight of a metal cylinder of equal inner diameter, according to the company. Fluidic Muscle is based on membrane-contraction-a concept that 'involves the wrapping of a watertight, flexible hose with nonelastic fibers arranged in a rhomboidal fashion.' The resulting 3-D grid pattern deforms when actuated by compressed air.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for May 2001

In this issue: Motion controllers update MV drive adds synchronous motor control Integrated motor-drive units in hazardous areas Hannover Fair 'briefs' Expert info, cost analysis for Intelligent MCCs Companies in motion Two mini-tutorials on motor drives Control Engineering in May Motion controllers update A dynamic development environment produces continual improvement and enhancement of motion controllers. A programmable 'electronic cam' function has been added to SDM314 digital motion controllers from GE Fanuc Automation (Charlottesville, Va.). Emulating a mechanical cam-but without attendant wear problems-electronic camming allows tight coordination of master and slave axes on a machine and transition between complex move profiles that would otherwise require changing cams. A Cam Editor tool allows user entry of position information and ability to create/store cam profiles in a library.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for August 2000

In this issue: Superconducting motors update Chipset adds step motor control Step motion systems survey Wanted: Users' views on 'soft motion' Companies in motion Worth reading Need to transmit motion into vacuum? Information/guidance for the asking Control Engineering in July and August Superconducting motors update You can't buy them yet, but high-temperature superconducting (HTS) motors moved closer to reality with the demonstration of 1,000-hp capability by a Reliance Electric ac synchronous HTS motor from Rockwell Automation (Greenville, S.C.). Ongoing tests include running the HTS motor from startup to 1,800 rpm, under control of an inverter drive. Another first for the demo: the HTS motor operated with a closed-loop refrigeration system. American Superconductor Corp.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for September 2001

In this issue: Electronic motor drives are alive and well Enhanced motion controllers New definite-purpose contactor More help with ac motor production tests Wanted: Users' input on combined intelligent motor and controller products Worth reading Major European Automation/Drives show coming Companies in motion Control Engineering in August and September Register now for the SupplyChainLinkExpo Electronic motor drives (EMDs) are alive and well EMDs comprised a huge $12.5-billion worldwide market in 2000, with growth projected to reach $19.1 billion in 2005, says a 1,400-page market research study by Drives Research Corp. (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). A market research and management consultant firm in electric motor and drive technologies, Drives Research Corp.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

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

In this issue: A 'magnetic' alternative to variable-speed control Transmit torque through barrier Free linear motor design software Medium-voltage ac drives update Direct machining initiative incorporates soft motion Motor briefs Companies in motion Control Engineering in February Wanted: Users' input on energy efficient motors Take a survey on support and service A 'magnetic' alternative to variable-speed control Are you looking for an alternative to variable-frequency drives for speed control of ac motors up to 600 hp in your pump, fan, or blower applications? If so, MagnaDrive Corp. (Seattle, Wa.) has another choice based on a magnetic coupling principle. No, it's not a version of eddy-current control. Named MagnaDrive Coupling, the device is placed between the motor and its driven load.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for January 2002

In this issue: Update on contactors, motor starters Readers surveyed on motion control Chip-based motion developer's kit for PCI bus Rare-earth magnets in ring form Motor controller for $100 New Technical Working Group for SERCOS N.A. Exhibitions, seminars Control Engineering in January Companies in motion Control Engineering News Update on contactors, motor starters Less publicized than other technologies, products for starting and protecting electric motors continue to make refinements that might interest you. Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. (Alpharetta, Ga.) recently introduced three sizes of large-frame contactors with ratings in the 115-500 A range for ac or dc motor control.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for April 2001

In this issue: Web-based expert help for motors, motion control Rockwell Science Center's new business direction, power device developments Simplify your torque measurements Two robust encoder signals from one output Get a handle on harmonic distortion High-speed controller CPU Motor 'briefs' Seminars, education Control Engineering in April Sign up for a Technology Broadcast Web-based expert system help for motors, motion control Need an 'expert' to help analyze a motion axis, size electric motors, and select various mechanical components that make up a motion control system? Web-based VirtualSizer, a new productivity enhancement tool may be your answer. Available from Motion Tech Trends (MTT, Inglewood, Calif.), this expert system software is intended for individual supplier companies serving the motors, drives, and motion control markets. VirtualSizer allows applications engineers, sales staff, and channel partners to more efficiently define and specify the company's best products for a specific application-based on customer data input. The software operates at a company's web site, and is customized around its products, database, and operator interface needs.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

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

In this issue: Chip sets 'manage' motor control design How to keep tabs on encoder quality Ready for remote web-based motor development? More multi-axis motion controller choices Enhanced monitoring of motors/rotating equipment Companies in motion Education, seminars Control Engineering in December/January Take a survey on support and service 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.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for September 2000

In this issue: Don't overlook servo-pneumatics for linear motion Need economical 6-axis motion sensing? Hollow-shaft 'equivalent' for linear motors Companies in motion Wanted: Users' views on integrated 'motor and drive packages' Seminar, exhibitions, training Information/guidance for the asking September issue of Control Engineering Don't overlook servo-pneumatic linear motion control Servo-pneumatic linear motion control can add to an engineer's toolbox of solutions, despite the 'foster-child' image of pneumatics that's due to the compressibility of air. Recent developments make the difference. One example is a rodless cylinder with velocity control from Tol-O-Matic Inc. (Hamel, Minn.) that combines pneumatics, electronic control-with encoder feedback-and a proportional magnetorheological (MR) fluid brake to produce accurate positioning at lower cost than electromechanical systems.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for March 2002

In this issue: Smaller sizes coming to motor and controller integration Readers surveyed on motion control, Part 3 Developments in energy management and efficiency Motion control gets into collaborative manufacturing Robotics contest for students Control Engineering in March Companies in motion Continuing education Control Engineering News Smaller sizes coming to motor and controller integration You will see more of miniaturization coming to one-package integrated servo motors and controllers. Essentially complete servo positioning systems, these products are generally not smaller than NEMA 17 (or about 42 mm). However, several manufacturers are working to change that limit or have products ready to go for the right customer order. Actually, one working example of a NEMA 11 (28 mm) brushless dc servo motor and controller package was seen in the Motion Control Hall at the recently held National Manufacturing Week (NMW) exhibitions in Chicago.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for June 2000

In this issue: MV drives, ashore and under water Open-loop steppers dominate DSP potpourri New digital dc winder drive Unidrive now available in 230 V Control Engineering in June User aids Major Motion Control Symposium Worth reading Medium-voltage ac drives on the move - ashore and under water Rejuvenated medium-voltage (MV) ac drives are making some agile moves for such large sized equipment. On May 26, ABB (Turgi, Switzerland) launched its ACS 6000 MV ac drive family, rated from 6 to 27 MW at supply voltages up to 3.3 kV. This extends the range of ABB's MV drives substantially above 5 MW provided by ACS 1000-launched in late 1997.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Process Control Newsletter for June 2000

In this issue: Batch Control for Dummies Good Manufacturing Practices conference Critical Control Solution Flexibility Intellution's Historian & Microsoft Excel meet Free OPC testing tool Free Honeywell IAC PlantScape CD What's in the June issue of Control Engineering Dave's public service announcement Batch Control for Dummies The official title is 'Applying S88 - Batch Control from a User's Perspective' but the bottom line is, this book is a pretty good read for anyone with process control responsibilities. Don't let 'batch' in the title turn you off. The techniques described by authors Jim Parshall and Larry Lamb are as relevant to continuous processes as they are to batch.

By Dave Harrold
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for April 2002

In this issue: Reality in ac drive markets More results from motion control survey Bypass feature 'hot' for ac drives SERCOS goes electrohydraulic as well Knowledge is power Control Engineering in April Seminars, conferences Control Engineering News Reality in ac drive markets Do you ever wonder how market study results remain the same in good times and bad? Here is a reality check. A February 2002 market research and technology forecast report, 'AC Drives Outlook for North America 2002-2006,' from Drives Research Corp. (DRC, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) puts some much-needed realism into market growth figures. In contrast to other recent studies, DRC sees just the start of modest growth for ac drives in 2002, following 'a double-digit decline in 2001.' In 2001, some of the largest ac drive suppliers in North America absorbed major sales slumps.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

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

In this issue: Function Blocks add order to motion control Propelling the Human Transporter Wireless control comes to integrated motor drives Efficiency standards for small electric motors? Expert source on lamination steels Recent market studies: open control, optical encoders, step Companies in motion Control Engineering in December SCLE presentations archived for viewing Function Blocks add order to motion control Applying various, often incompatible motion control systems can be complex, confusing, and costly to users. PLCopen, Zaltbommel, Netherlands, has announced some sorely needed progress in standards development for this arena with the release of 'Function Blocks for Motion Control' specification, version 1.0, at the SPS/IPC/Drives show in Nuremberg, Germany, at the end of November 2001. PLCopen is a vendor- and product-independent worldwide association supporting IEC 61131-3 programming standard. The Function Blocks library-covering single-axis control and coordinated multi-axis control, among other items-has been in the works for years by PLCopen's Task Force Motion Control, according to the organization's managing director, Eelco van der Wal. Also included in the specs are examples on how to use the Function Blocks.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Newsletter for November 2000

In this issue: Acquisitions continue Smart linear motion modules Induction motors rate new design software Telemetry transmits torque info in real time Motors 'briefs' Companies in motion 'Motor drives' training Information free for the asking Control Engineering in October/November Motion-control-related acquisitions continue The Schneider Electric (Rueil Malmaison, France) acquisition of Crouzet Automatismes (Valence, France) and SIG Positec (Lahr, Germany; U.S. office in Plymouth, Mich.) continues a recent flurry of motion-control-related company mergers. Schneider's objective is to widen available solutions across the board, but gains in the motion arena will be significant by adding to its team these two seasoned European suppliers to OEM markets.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for June 2001

In this issue: 'Film coil' technology advances motors Looking at the North American ac drives market (2001- 06) European motor drive vendor award ISA/AIME Applied Motion Control conference Software simplifies motor testing New torque-mode servo amplifier Information is knowledge Companies in motion Control Engineering in June Register now for the SupplyChainLinkExpo 'Film coil' technology advances motors In the never-ending quest for lower cost electric motors comes 'film coil' technology. The innovative development promises high magnetic field strength and greater coil density than wire coil-the alternative coil forming technology. Lower cost is a plus using processes similar to printed circuit board manufacturing.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics June 1, 2002

I/O Devices Increasingly Distributed

Trends in I/O Devices I/O devices are more distributed Industrial networks increasingly popular Ethernet use growing for I/O communication Special function modules flourish Sidebars: Extra Products Online 'Give me enough time and enough money, and I can build a machine to solve any automation problem,' once said application engineers in the automation special machine industry. Well, they were probably overly optimistic, but automation suppliers are responding to the pain felt by control engineers needing to do more in less time while reducing cost. One response is development of increasingly distributed I/O devices. Many factors had to converge to provide distributed I/O devices.

By Gary A. Mintchell
Mechatronics June 1, 2002

Electric Servos Go for Ease of Use, Integrate with the Whole Plant

'Integration and more integration" describes in the fewest words the current direction for electric servo technology. Integration runs from the grand scale of servo systems blending with machine controls and overall factory processes to the micron scale where functionality of microcontrollers and digital signal-processor (DSP) chips just keeps growing.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics May 1, 2002

Software aids multiple integrated servo motor/controllers

Redmond, Wa.—New QS-CNC v2.0 control software is said to merge CNC G-codes and familiar alphanumeric motion commands to simplify application of SilverMax integrated servo motors (with built-in amplifier and controller) from QuickSilver Controls (Covina, Calif.). Using only a serial port, the software coordinates multiple SilverMax units in complex cutting operations to interpolated accura...

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2002

Servo drives with 20 kHz current loop

Camarillo, Calif. —DR100EE Series digital servo drives are designed to control brush dc and brushless servo motors, including linear motors. Space Vector Modulation switching is used in the 20 kHz current loop to increase bandwidth for high-performance motion control. Electronic commutation of brushless motors employs a sinusoidal encoder, said to obtain the lowest possible torque ripple...

By Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2002

Progressive Innovations

Everything that can be invented has been invented. Yeah, right. After 15 years, it may briefly seem like this statement—erroneously attributed to a U.S. patent commissioner in 1899—has some validity. However, this misquote is probably only appealing because it gives people a chance to catch their breath—just before they're again swept up by the inspiration of the inventor...

By Jim Montague and Control Engineering staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2002

Motion Trends 2002

How readers use motion technologies is a moving target. Additional findings of an extensive survey of readers of Control Engineering and Design News who use and specify motion control technology are highlighted in a Special Supplement in this issue. Current developments in motion control center on the spread of distributed control architectures and increased integration of components that...

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics March 1, 2002

Blazing fast PLC

Vernon Hills, Ill. —Not just another PLC, Q-series is billed as an "automation platform for the future." Designers can place up to four CPUs on a rack along with local I/O modules. The platform can compete with VME computers in semiconductor manufacturing or can combine process and sequential logic modules for batch control.

By Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2002

Information at Internet Speed

A healthy manufacturing sector is essential to the health of all of the world's economies. Yet, manufacturing ended 2001 in the U.S. with its 17th straight month of decline, although signs of a recovery in 2002 are popping up. Forecasters predict that when this essential market rebounds, it will do so with fewer people employed.

By Gary A. Mintchell, Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 1, 2002

Inner Workings of Industrial Automation

It's great to be in the right place at the right time. However, getting in position can be difficult, especially in uncertain and tumultuous times.To help engineers and other technical professionals maintain or regain optimum equilibrium, organizers of the National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), part of National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2002, have rearranged thousands of exhibits to b...

By Jim Montague, Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 1, 2002

One (or more) Controller for Every Application

Engineering conferences and publications thrive on controversy. There's nothing like a good religious debate to get one's blood flowing, and some engineering debates assume a religious air. There are the "fieldbus wars" and the "PLC vs. DCS vs. PC-based control" arguments. Technology and competition are combining to put a "double whammy" on these arguments.

By Gary A. Mintchell, Control Engineering
Mechatronics January 1, 2002

Look out, 2002

Categorizing automation, control, and instrumentation technologies has become increasingly difficult. Products fit into more than one area. Systems and devices incorporate multiple technologies. Discrete, process, and batch applications each contain elements of the others. Software and networks connect it all.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics December 7, 2001

Berkeley introduces new motion and machine controller

Richmond Calif. - Berkeley Process Control Inc. unveiled Dec. 4 a new integrated motion and machine controller for the packaging industry.

By Jim Montague, news editor
Mechatronics December 5, 2001

Control Engineering’s Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for November 2001

In this issue: 'Motor Decisions Matter' campaign gains 11 new sponsors Boosting 'soft motion' control Motor with a heart SERCOS update Actuator powered by shape-memory alloys Telemetry aids motion control Info free for the asking Companies in motion Control Engineering in November 'Motor Decisions Matter' campaign gains 11 new sponsors Efficient use of electric energy continues to draw attention, with industrial equipment in the spotlight. The national campaign to develop an overall management plan for electric motors, known as 'Motor Decisions Matter' was bolstered at the end of October 2001by 10 motor manufacturers and an organization that focuses on improving energy investment returns-Advanced Energy (Raleigh, N.C.). Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) now has 29 sponsors. Comprising the new motor manufacturer sponsors of MDM are A.O.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics December 1, 2001

2001: industry innovates despite economy

This sampling of top 2001 coverage shows the control and automation industry's determination to innovate despite this year's economic downturn. For links to more items each month, view this editorial at www.controleng.com.January: Integrate plant and enterprise.... Schneider Electric to auction patents.

By Mark T. Hoske
Mechatronics December 1, 2001

Integrated, Intelligent Motors & Controls Will Be in Your Future

An emerging class of motion control products—that combines motor, drive, controller, processing intelligence, feedback device, I/O points, communication, and more in one package—defies simple naming. Some systems add all the elements to the motor, others only a few. Integrated, intelligent motor and control (I2MC) unit is the tag name used here, although some of the systems co...

By Frank J. Bartos, Control Engineering
Mechatronics November 1, 2001

Vision System, Motion Control Lead Integrated Seat Assembly Operation

To help keep up with increasing commode production, systems integrator Phoenix Automation (Norcross, Ga.) recently built an automated machine that assembles up to 24,000 toilet seats every 10 hours, or 40 seats per minute. This sequential operation requires two indexing pallet conveyors.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
Mechatronics November 1, 2001

Realistic off-vehicle testing of transmission components

A new automatic transmission test rig with controls developed by COM Inc. (Dexter, Mich.) uses two dynamometers-one to drive the component under test and another simulating real-world load conditions.

By Jim Montague, news editor
Mechatronics November 1, 2001

Go to www.controleng.com

Besides presenting Control Engineering's entire print editions, Control Engineering Online also delivers daily news, Web Exclusives, and Online Extra articles that add value to in-print features. Here are highlights of some articles recently posted online at www.controleng.com.

By Staff
Mechatronics October 22, 2001

Adlink integrates motion and vision on PC

Irvine, Calif. - ADlink Technology Inc. announced an affordable, high-performance 4-axis stepper & servo motion control card and an integration of motion control and vision in the same computer.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
Mechatronics October 1, 2001

Apply quality to motion control

Six Sigma has achieved dramatic results within companies like General Electric, yielding an annual return of over $100 million in quality improvement savings. But how can you make it work in your application, and where do you start?The first task in applying Six Sigma is to understand its purpose, which is always to optimize quality and throughput.

By Kevin Frantz
Mechatronics September 1, 2001

How to Improve Quality in Motion Control

Six Sigma methods can be a powerful tool to increase the quality and productivity of processes involving motion control.

By Kevin Frantz, GE Fanuc Automation North America Inc.
Mechatronics August 15, 2001

Control Engineering’s E-News for Motors, Drives, & Motion Control – July 2001

In this issue: Superconductor motors update Market directions: AC drives, motion control Energy-efficient motor initiatives in the air Interface module, software simplify motion control Motors 'briefs' Seminars, conferences, education Information free for the asking or 'surfing' Control Engineering in July Register now for the SupplyChainLinkExpo Superconductor motors update Developments in electric motors have become mundane, you say? Not so: High-temperature superconductor (HTS) motors are making steady, marked progress toward reality. Demonstration of a prototype 5,000-hp HTS motor took place on July 18 at the site of American Superconductor Corp.'s (AMSC) Electric Motors & Generators business unit (Westborough, Mass. www.amsuper.com ). Said to be world's first in this power rating, the HTS motor is an ac synchronous type with an 'air-core' design.

By Frank Bartos
Mechatronics August 1, 2001

Motion System Simulation Pays Off in Many Ways

Online Extra to August 2001 Control Engineering article on 'Motion Simulation.'

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics July 1, 2001

Technology Advances Power Integrated Control

Imagine designing a packaging line or material handling system with the control all in one package rather than separate logic control, motion control, vision systems, and bar code over RS-232. Real-world data are sent directly from the control program to a SQL database for analysis, selective sharing with customers or suppliers, and production and quality reporting.

By Gary A. Mintchell, Control Engineering
Mechatronics May 1, 2001

Web picks motors

Inglewood, Calif.— A new web-based productivity enhancement tool, VirtualSizer, is available to help analyze motion axes, size electric motors, and select mechanical components that make up a motion control system. Developed by Copperhill Technologies Corp. (Northampton, Mass.), VirtualSizer is intended for suppliers serving the motors, drives, and motion control markets.

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2001

Thinking outside the box about the future of I/O systems

Trends in I/O Devices Ethernet as a fieldbus Flexibility Integration of safety components Thinking outside the box has become a metaphor for daily life. Whether it's providing creative answers to everyday problems or placing a new emphasis on various areas of a plant floor, thinking outside the box sets new ideas in motion.

By Antonia E. McBride, assistant editor
Mechatronics May 1, 2001

Debating, finding the appropriate control method

It can be very difficult for end-users or OEMs considering relatively new or unfamiliar technologies to decide when, what type, and how much of it to implement. Engineering, marketing and management personnel are often sharply divided on which option is best, as well as which solution is most useful and desired by customers.

By Jim Montague
Mechatronics May 1, 2001

Efficient Motors Can Ease Energy Crunch

KEY WORDS Motors, drives, & motion control AC variable-speed drives AC induction motors Energy-efficiency Just glance at some recent headlines about energy costs and power shortages. Never has it been more timely to implement prudent use—not repressive use—of electric energy. Electric motors in general, and industry's "workhorse" ac induction motors in particular, represent g...

By Frank J. Bartos, Control Engineering
Mechatronics March 16, 2001

NMW show briefs

Siemens

By Frank J. Bartos, executive editor
Mechatronics March 7, 2001

Precise servo-pneumatic positioning

Hamel, Minn. -PrecisionAire is said to be the first servo-pneumatic linear motion system to provide accurate and repeatable positioning at multiple programming points, regardless of stroke length. A combined pneumatic/electric control system, stops at programmed points tortical/horizontal orientation.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2001

All Four One

Whether you're sailing around the globe, cruising miles of tradeshow aisles, or running a manufacturing business, ease of navigation is crucial to survival and success. So, in response to input from former visitors to National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) and National Manufacturing Week (NMW), organizer Reed Exhibition Co.

By Jim Montague and Dick Johnson CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 2001

National Manufacturing Week 2001: All Four One

A new career expo, pavilions, and streamlined technical conference-plus thousands of exhibitors and visitors-will converge on Chicago's McCormick Place on Mar. 5-8, 2001, for the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week.

By Jim Montague and Dick Johnson, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 2001

Time to Reinvest in Automation

How do you inspire co-workers, team members, management, clients, customers, and others to invest in useful automation and control? How do you find the time to break apart your existing processes, find seemingly tiny improvements and opportunities they contain, and reinvent your systems before your competition does?Legacy systems, huge installed product bases, and old equipment logically ...

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 2001

SPS/IPC/Drives 2000 offers something for everyone

Measurable statistics, such as number of visitors and exhibitors, display floor space, and a conference program that totaled over 100 lectures, all indicated continuing momentum for SPS/IPC/Drives Exhibition & Conference, held here on Nov. 28-30, 2000. (See details in "Up Front," CE, Jan.

By Frank J. Bartos, Executive Editor
Mechatronics January 1, 2001

Distributed Motion Control: A Worthy Option for Connectivity

The trend toward distributed motion control is driven by one basic concept—by reducing wiring, costs can be lowered and reliability increased. However, before you get involved in making the multitude of choices regarding network buses, protocols, and a host of technical issues, you will need to determine whether distributed motion makes sense for your application.

By Chuck Lewin, Performance Motion Devices Inc.
Mechatronics January 1, 2001

Spreading out Controls for Motion Systems

R educed wiring is a prime reason for distributing controls in motion systems, along with dramatic cuts in associated installation costs and complexities of point-to-point connections it allows. This view was discussed in the main article . Other user benefits (as well as issues) arise when a 'distributed' versus a 'central' control system can be justified for a motion application. Besides the wiring benefits, Baldor UK Ltd.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics December 1, 2000

When smaller, faster, and less expensive are not the final answers

In this space throughout the year, Control Engineering has covered PLCs, terminal blocks, board level products, test and measurement equipment, servo motors, control valves, and other products. Looking back, one theme is dominant: everyone wants smaller, faster, easier, less expensive components to get the job done.

By Antonia E. McBride, assistant editor
Mechatronics December 1, 2000

Integrated Motor-Drives Seek Wider Market, User Acceptance

Much fanfare marked the marriage of ac induction motors and variable-frequency drives (VFDs) when these integrated packages became readily available in the marketplace over five years ago. A few integrated products were offered even earlier (see Who was first...? sidebar). However, convergence of the two technologies became practical in the mid-1990s and continues today.

By Frank J. Bartos, Contorl Engineering
Mechatronics November 1, 2000

Control Technology Corp. expands MultiPro line of controllers

Hopkinton, Mass. -Control Technology Corp. has added seven new models to its MultiPro family of industrial controllers, expanding the MultiPro product line to thirteen.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 2000

CNC Technology: Another Weapon in Integrated Manufacturing’s Arsenal

Look for that big, honkin' steel structure back in the plant with chips flying and cutting fluid spraying and you'll find CNC (computer numeric control) at its nerve center. These specially designed controllers handle high-speed, high-precision, multi-axis coordinated motion control. CNC are at the core of large machining centers that manufacture complex metal parts for automotive, aerosp...

By Gary A. Mintchell, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics October 1, 2000

More thrust, travel from electric cylinder

Petaluma, Calif. -EC4 Series electric cylinders supply a wide range of thrust loads and speeds, intended for high duty cycles. Their load, speed, and travel capabilities range up to 12, 000 N (2,700 lb), 1,330 mm/sec (52.4 in./sec), and 1,500 mm (59.1 in.), respectively.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 2000

`Soft Motion’ Follows Nontraditional Paths

M otion control finds itself, increasingly, an intimate part of the overall machine or process control system. As such, motion control is often associated with PC-based control that relies heavily on software functions. Soft motion is an emerging subset of PC-based control-similar to the development of soft logic-where motion control functions execute in software, entirely on the CPU of the industrial personal computer. Soft motion is characterized by the absence of proprietary hardware or motion control boards.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics September 1, 2000

Soft Motion—PC-Based Motion Control through Software

The world of machine control integrates motion control, logic control, operator interface, supervisory control, data acquisition, and enterprise connectivity. Over time, most PC-based machine controls have incorporated motion control by adding PC-bus boards including a dedicated processor and operating system.

By George Kaufman, Automation Intelligence
Mechatronics September 1, 2000

Motion control amplifier choices

Selecting the right amplifier for a motion control application can make a big difference in both the cost and performance of the final system. Generally, two choices exist: buy an off-the-shelf amplifier, or design your own.The amplifier—one of three basic elements of a motion system along with the controller and motor—converts output signals from the controller into higher po...

By Chuck Lewin,Performance Motion Devices Inc.
Mechatronics August 1, 2000

Versatile PCI motion controller

Fort Smith, Ark.—A motion controller for up to eight "servo/stepper/vector motors," based on the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) system, has been introduced. Called NextMove-PCI, the card uses a 32-bit DSP, runs at 50 MHz—supporting 200-nsec position capture—and works with encoder signals up to 7.

By Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2000

Pavilions Power Biggest IMTS

Billed as the largest industrial exhibition in the Americas, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2000 on Sept. 6-13 is projected to be the biggest ever—filling all five levels at McCormick Place here. It's expected to draw more than 120,000 visitors to more than 1,400 exhibitors in more than 1.

By Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 2000

Do the locomotion of motors

"Come on, do the locomotion, I know you'll get to like it if you give it a chance. Do the locomotion, a chugga-chugga motion like a railroad train." -Grand Funk RailroadMotors, of various types, have provided profound changes in everyday life for over a century. Throughout recent years, however, they have undergone changes to more efficiently and effectively complete tasks in less time.

By Antonia E. McBride, assistant editor
Mechatronics July 1, 2000

Rotary encoders provide variety

T he most common feedback device used in motion control systems is the rotary optical encoder. Comments in this 'extra section' pertain to that encoder type. Typical encoder applications encompass machine tools, web handling equipment, robotic and vision systems, packaging machines, conveyors, gantry cranes, storage and retrieval systems, etc. As mentioned in the main article, a standard way of increasing an incremental encoder's resolution is to count the leading and trailing edges of the quadrature signals generated.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics July 1, 2000

Rotary encoders make versatile motion feedback devices

'Encoding" or converting angular position into electronic signals is the mission of rotary encoders. Ways to detect motion include mechanical (via brush contacts) or magnetic/inductive methods, but noncontact optical encoders comprise the most common feedback device used in industrial motion control.

By Frank J. Bartos
Mechatronics June 1, 2000

Multi-purpose motion solution

Palatine, Ill.—New from Schneider Electric is a multi-purpose line of servo drives and motors for OEMs. Lexium Servo drive can serve as a smart analog amplifier, high-performance stepper translator, SERCOS-compliant servo drive, or stand-alone motion controller, according to the manufacturer. Lexium works with 230-480 V ac supply and incremental or absolute encoders.

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2000

Product & Literature Showcase – 2000-06-01

Gas pressure sensor Cleveland, O. -Meriam Instrument has introduced a new 20-in. H2O range on its line of microprocessor-based sensors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2000

Open CNC software has smart programming, Internet functionality

Ann Arbor, Mich. -Manufacturing Data Systems Inc.'s (MDSI) new OpenCNC V5.1 is said to streamline manufacturing for the Internet. MDSI calls the upgrade 'groundbreaking new technology that gives manufacturing engineers, for the first time, the ability to modify their standard NC part programs to capture and send data without requiring outside or network integrators, expensive hardware add-ons, or machine downtimes.' Modifications can be made on the CAD/CAM workstation in the engineering office.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 2000

Step Motor Systems Have a Lot to Offer

S tep motors and controls continue to evolve and innovate. In their long-standing competition with servo-based motion control, some stepper system developments surprise the users. Stepper drives incorporating digital signal processors (DSPs); common control units for both step motors and servo motors, selected through software; methods to monitor or control step motor stall; and a growing integration of functions around the step motor are some topics discussed in the main text article . Here is additional coverage on these and related areas. Alignment pins and a locator dowel on the front face of Empire Magnetics' Size 11 Medical Motors help personnel wearing rubber gloves with equipment assembly in a sterilized environment. Slow-speed disturbances have been a problem area for stepper systems in the past.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics June 1, 2000

Step Motor Systems Battle for Motion Control Market Share

Satire is much in vogue in magazine ads. For example, dinosaurs have served to differentiate what's "in or out" for distributed control systems. Even step motors are not immune from satire, as in one servo system advertisement of a few years ago that referred to step motors as "great boat anchors.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics May 1, 2000

Innovation and collaboration highlight National Industrial Automation Show, National Manufacturing Week

Everything may be everywhere, but the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week, Mar. 13-16, also featured innovations and cooperative efforts in many other manufacturing disciplines. Examples of e-commerce, web-based, software, hardware, and other groundbreaking products, services, and events at NIAS and NMW included:

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 2000

Motion control engineered for high temperatures

Billerica, Mass.— Flamemaster series systems use rare-earth, ring magnet technology in brushless servo motors to provide reliable performance in welding, shape-cutting, and other applications in elevated temperature environments. Motors feature high torque-to-inertia ratios for precision at high speeds, low cogging for accuracy, and are IP65 rated.

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 2000

How to Work with Mechanical Resonance in Motion Control Systems

Mechanical resonance can be a problem for almost any motion control system, from nimble machines that wrap food or assemble electronics to large, lumbering lines that coat film, to high-precision metal-cutting mills and lathes. Problems with resonance usually occur during installation, as servo-loop gains are adjusted to coax the machine to meet specifications.

By George Ellis, Kollmorgen
Mechatronics April 1, 2000

Powertec brushless dc technology moves to HBD

Peerless-Winsmith Inc., a division of privately held HBD Industries Inc., acquired in early February the industrial motor and drive product lines of a company originally called Powertec Industrial Corp. HBD manufactures electric motors, power transmission gears and speed reducers, as well as other industrial products and equipment.

By Frank Bartos, executive editor
Mechatronics March 1, 2000

Presenting … The Best Products of 1999

Many useful and innovative new products burst into industrial automation, instrumentation, and control in 1999. From all products in print and online coverage during 1999, Editors of Control Engineering and Control Engineering Online chose 40 to honor with Editors' Choice Awards, in this 13th annual process.

By Mark T. Hoske, Antonia E. McBride, and Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 2000

Several Shows on the Program at Hannover Fair 2000

T his year's Hannover Fair offers visitors an integrated combination of six exhibition sectors. Besides the core Factory Automation sector covered in some detail in the main article, here is a further look at the other exhibit sectors available to control engineering practitioners during this March 20-25 event. Other fair sectors Materials Handling & Logistics (Halls 19-26 and open-air site) is the second largest show sector in terms of display area. In fact, its technologies overlap somewhat with factory automation.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics March 1, 2000

SPS/IPC/Drives `99: Snows slow only start of this growing technology show

Nürnberg, Germany -Winter came early to Central Europe and parts of Germany the past two years. In late November 1999, heavy snows added to travel hardships. 'Chaos in the streets,' in words of the local press, coincided with the start of Nürnberg's major late-fall event, SPS/IPC/Drives-the Electric Automation Technology Exhibition & Conference, held here Nov.

By Frank Bartos, executive editor
Mechatronics February 1, 2000

Consolidation ‘tidying’ fragmented motion control markets

Though the world's motion control markets remain splintered, global corporations are gobbling up many well-known brands, according to a recent study by Datamonitor, a London-based market analysis firm. The report, "Motion Control in the Leading Industrial Markets," identifies several forces that are altering motion control's 11 primary markets, which account for 90% of the $3.

By Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 2000

Medium-Voltage AC Drives Shed Custom Image

Where do you find control solutions for the largest industrial- or power-plant-type loads that require multi-megawatt electric motors to power them? Today, one growing technology option is the medium-voltage (MV) ac drive. MV drives are similar to, but hundreds of times larger than, their more common low-voltage (LV) cousins.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 2000

Industrial Automation Show: What You Need Now

Motion and quality halls, open control architecture and e-manufacturing pavilions, and the usual universe of events and exhibitors will infuse the National Industrial Automation Show and National Manufacturing Week at Chicago's McCormick Place on March 13-16, 2000.Ladies and gentlemen and engineers of all ages! Before plunging your organization and careers into the competitive tornado of ...

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 2000

Magnetek buys Mondel Engineering

MagneTek Inc. announced Jan. 18 that it acquired Mondel Engineering Ltd. (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) in a cash transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Mondel's specialized motion-control products represent an extension of the ESI industrial drives line acquired in July 1999 by MagneTek, one of North America's largest suppliers of ac drives and...

By Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2000

Interkama ’99

Leaner trade fair looks to the futureDüsseldorf, Germany—Despite a decline in expected numbers of visitors and exhibitors, Interkama '99—International Trade Fair for Industrial Communications, Automation, Measurement, and Analytics—drew 1,255 exhibitors from 39 nations and some 60,000 visitors from 100 nations during Oct.

By Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2000

Motor/drive combination

Radford, Va.— Goldline DDR brushless servo motor and Servostar CD digital amplifier is a direct-drive motor solution for industrial motion control applications that require high torque, flat profile, and maintenance-free operation. Typical applications include rotary table, robots, and semiconductor processing equipment.

By Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2000

Credit-Card Sized Servo Controller/Amplifier

Santa Clara, Calif .-Essentially the size of a credit card, Animatics Corp.'s new RTC-3000 combines the functions of a servo controller and amplifier in a miniature, free-standing unit. Experience with miniaturized motion control design allows running virtually any small brushed or brushless dc (bldc) motor, according to the company. This claim includes motors with a wide range of inductances, and applies to 'difficult to drive' very low inductance motors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 2000

Robotics Integrate PCs, Networks

Remember the "gaps" of past decades? The Sixties began with a missile gap and ended with a generation gap. The search for more "gaps" was rewarded in the 1980's with the discovery of a "robot gap." American industry was supposedly doomed because Japanese manufacturers had more robots than anywhere else.

By Gary A. Mintchell, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics December 1, 1999

Linear response from piezo drives

Eindhoven, The Netherlands— A series of motion controllers from Nyquist incorporates algorithms to correct nonlinear response of piezo-electric servo motors. The resulting system behaves like a dc drive, while retaining the dynamic response of piezo motors. The system is based on Nyquist's DAX/ASP motion control core that provides up to 48 servo axes across VMEbus.

By Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 1999

‘Forward to the Past’ with SR Technology

A rugged, low-cost brushless dc motor technology without magnets, readily available for use! Now there's a bright new idea. Bright yes, new no. At age 150 years plus, and counting, switched-reluctance (SR) motors represent one of the oldest electric motor designs around.Simple construction is a prime feature.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics November 1, 1999

Software Emerges as Key Link in Automation and Control

Software has become the critical, value-added link within plant operations and control and throughout the enterprise. By its nature, software is rapidly changing. Hundreds of upgrades are underway in the 35 software categories Control Engineering covers across more than 65 industries. (See "Many Vendors.

By Mark T. Hoske and CONTROL ENGINEERING Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 1999

Danaher buys Atlas Copco Controls

Rockford, Ill.—Pacific Scientific will partner with Atlas Copco Controls (Stockholm, Sweden) to provide solutions to the worldwide motion controls industry.This joint effort follows Altas Copco Controls' acquisition by Danaher Corp. (Washington, D.C.), which is also Pacific Scientific's parent company.

By Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 1999

Pouring Thought into the Process

Designing to incorporate distributed intelligence has advantages, but can include challenges outside the realm of traditional thinking. The world over, thousands of automation and controls manufacturers have poured a lot of thought into where intelligence should reside in automation and control system design.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics October 1, 1999

Baldor unveils spate of new drives

A flurry of North American product introductions highlighted a mid-September media tour by Baldor Electric Co. New releases included FlexDrive, Flex+Drive, and MintDrive, a family of servo and positioning drives. Compact, digital FlexDrive is a servo control with autotuning and a Microsoft Windows set-up wizard.

By Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 1999

Paving the way

Check the Monday-morning newspaper in the fall for pro football, and you'll see plenty of praise for the running back that gains over 100 yards and scores two or three touchdowns. You may even read how a quarterback "had all day to throw the football," amassing gaudy statistics that make fantasy football leaguers delirious.

By Michael Drakulich, assistant editor
Mechatronics October 1, 1999

Ethernet stand-alone controller

Mountain View, Calif.— DMC-2100 is a stand-alone motion controller that uses the Ethernet communication protocol. The series is available in 1- through 8-axis formats, which enables control of both step and servo motors on any combination of axes. DMC-2100s feature high-speed, longdistance communications, enabling connectivity to computer hardware devices located on a LAN, such as I/O mo...

By Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 1999

Network-based motion, machine control system for semiconductor tools

Richmond, Calif.— Berkeley Process Control Inc. has introduced the BXi controller reported to be the industry's first integrated motion and machine control system designed specifically for automated semiconductor process tools. It features eight internally powered servo axes, an expandable 100 Mbit Ethernet I/O system and an object-based development environment.

By Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 1999

Servo or Vector Control Can Handle Many Applications

This article, Part 2 of 2, looks at applications. Part 1, in February (March International issue) provided an overview of the two control methods. Applications in printing, converting, and web handling are among areas of competition for servo and vector control, two distinct motor-control methods.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics September 1, 1999

Data Acquisition Hardware Products

Data acquisition through the USB port Marlboro, Mass. -The DT9800 Series family of USB data acquisition function modules offer 16SE/8DI inputs with 12- or 16-bit resolution, up to 100kS/s throughput, 16 digital I/O lines, and 2 user counter/timers. Users also have optional 12- or 16-bit analog outputs.

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 1999

Drive module with SensorlesServo technology

San Jose, Calif.— IndexBlok Drive Module is said to run virtually any three-phase motor 1-20 kW without a sensor. SensorlesServo technology brings a new cost proposition to applications requiring both simple and complex indexing with up to 16-bit resolution per electrical cycle of the motor. IndexBlok interfaces with PLCs and PC machine controllers.

By Staff
Mechatronics August 1, 1999

Yaskawa unveils new headquarters

Yaskawa Electric America Inc. (YEA) held a grand opening May 10 for its new North American headquarters here. The structure represents a significant milestone for the 84-year-old, $2-billion parent company, Yaskawa Electric Corp. The 20-acre campus gives YEA room to grow in the future and supports the company's new "World of Automation Solutions" identity.

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 1999

Schneider, Honeywell cope with leadership, organizational shifts

Accelerating competition fueled by technological advances and software's emergence are driving many tectonic shifts in the control and automation landscape. This unrelenting pressure has forced many recent mergers and acquisitions and is apparently speeding up a new round of leadership shifts, layoffs, and other sometimes wrenching changes.

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 1999

Amplifier packs a punch

Pittsburgh, Pa.—ACS1335 and ACS1350 single-axis, digital brushless servo amplifiers each have a digital front end that uses PC menu-driven software. Encoder outputs to 1024 pulses per revolution are synthesized, providing the user with smooth operation at low speeds and high-position accuracy. The amplifiers have an integral power supply and are said to be well-suited to such applications...

By Staff
Mechatronics June 1, 1999

Hannover Fair wraps up until 2000

The last Hannover Industrial Fair before 2000 concluded April 24 after drawing 7,510 exhibitors and about 300,000 visitors during its six-day run. Factory Automation, a new central theme for 1999, appeared to find favor, attracting 2,086 exhibitors.Web-based advantages, connectionsSchneider Electric (Paris) continued rolling out Transparent Factory, a toolset that ...

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 1999

DaimlerChrysler Engine Plant Focuses on PLCs

Dedicated to producing the new 4.7-liter V-8 PowerTech truck engine for the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee, DaimlerChrysler's new Mack Avenue Engine Plant (Detroit, Mich.) has the most extensively distributed and standardized automation architecture ever applied to engine manufacture, say project participants.

By Mark Fleszar, DaimlerChrysler
Mechatronics May 1, 1999

PLCs fight for future market share

The PLC industry finds itself the center of attention and controversy a lot lately. As technological competitor to the PC-based control market, PLC manufacturers are having to fend off the onslaught of PC-based developments with every bit of savvy and know-how they can muster. Certain software manufacturers have even gone so far as to predict the death of PLCs within five years.

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 1999

Hydraulic press uses PC-based controls

A new hydraulic press can produce complex parts better and less expensively than mechanical presses, but it needs sophisticated control algorithms. Best Press Corp.'s new powder-compacting press forms powders into complex-shaped molded parts with uniform density using hydraulics control technologies from Delta Computer Systems Inc.

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 1999

Linear Motors and Controls Seek the Mainstream

Hardly new as a technology, direct-drive linear motion systems show a growing variety of configurations. Motor and load are directly connected—as the name implies—doing away with gear trains, belts, ballscrews, and pulleys to achieve remarkable speed, precision, and reliability. Linear motion systems shine where performance is crucial.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics April 1, 1999

Linear Motors and Controls

This section contains additional information related to Control Engineering 's April 1999 article on Direct-Drive Linear Motors and Controls. A table of linear motor products appears in the main article, while representative linear control products are tabulated at the end of this section. Linear motors in machine tool systems require real development process While it's getting simpler to use linear motors, their successful application in machine tool/computer numerical control (CNC) systems still requires a thorough development plan. Complete integration of machine and motor is vital.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics March 1, 1999

Introduction of new servo system

Piscataway, N.J.— Star Micronics America has entered the motion control industry with the introduction of its advanced line of SAMCOP. According to the company, this easy-to-use servo system offers maximum control and flexibility, because it can be treated like a standard PC peripheral device and improves the performance of motion control systems while also reducing costs.

By Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 1999

Hannover Fair ’99 Embraces Factory Automation

With ever increasing use of technology and automation, this year's Hannover Industrial Fair—the last before year 2000—remains the premier industrial fair. Also unchanged is the format to assemble several "fairs within a fair" in one location. However, starting in 1999, a new central theme and annual highlight will be Factory Automation, presenting "all the technologies and mod...

By Frank J. Bartos and Lara Jackson, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics March 1, 1999

Stars of 1998

Nineteen ninety-eight was a stellar year for the control industry; a year when many new and exciting products were proudly rolled out and implemented in plants worldwide.Control Engineering'seditors have chosen the best products of 1998 and honor the top 40 in the industry with the12th annual Editors' Choice Awards.

By Michael Drakulich and Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 1999

Shows within Shows

Knowing everything won't accomplish anything without organization and judgment. Consequently, the universe of data available at the 1999 National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS) is also being synthesized into an innovation-inspiring, competition-crushing, company-saving format that visitors will need in their hyperactive, post-millennial markets.

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 1999

Single-loop and Pneumatic Technologies Hold Strong

There's something to be said for reliability and staying power when we consider the throngs of fads and faux paradigms common today. From an engineering perspective, who would have predicted 57 years after the first pneumatic loop controller with PID functions was created these same devices would still be a prominent component of process control? Who also could have foreseen single-loop c...

By Staff
Mechatronics February 1, 1999

Vector Control Competes with Electric Servos

This article (Part 1 of 2) compares technologies and looks at selection guidelines. Part 2, in September, will explore applications. Once upon a time…electric servo systems using permanent magnet (PM) synchronous motors represented the ultimate in high-dynamic position and torque control.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics December 15, 1998

PINning Down a Flexible Solution

DT Industries' Assembly Machines Incorporated (AMI) Division (Erie Pa.) is part of the Parker Integration Network (PIN). The PIN organization brings system solutions to end users through independent systems integrators backed by Parker Hannifin Corp.'s (Cleveland, O.) global technologies and local sales and service.

By Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 1998

Motion controller uses USB

Mountain View, Calif. —DMC-2000 series motion controllers now is available for Universal Serial Bus (USB). USB, a serial bus standard developed by the PC and telecom industries, allows computer peripherals to be automatically configured upon physical connection without rebooting or setup programs.

By Staff
Mechatronics November 1, 1998

New at IMTS PCs Boost CNC Capability

One trend from the recent IMTS '98 show sure to appeal to control engineers is the merging of PC technology with CNCs (Computer Numerical Control). Application of PCs to CNCs varies from an "open" solution comprised of CNC motion control software running on any PC that meets specifications to adding chipsets with the desired functions to existing CNC boards.

By Gary A. Mintchell, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics November 1, 1998

Enhancements Help Step Motors and Controls Evolve

In their traditional open-loop operating mode, step motors and drives remain the simplest, most economical means of position and motion control for a variety of industrial applications in the power range up to one horsepower (0.75 kW). Simple control, yes, but the step-like motion can introduce resonances plus other disturbances over a motor's operating speed range.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics October 1, 1998

Motors and Drives Offer a Variety Of Technology Solutions

Variety in electric motors and their controls continue to add spice to the selection process for users of these products. Control Engineering's new research survey of 1,500 readers verifies the diversity of motor and drive products being applied in many industries. In the following results, 358 usable responses represent the survey's base (North America).

By Staff
Mechatronics October 1, 1998

Rockwell Automation buys Anorad, sees linear motor expansion

Following weeks of industry speculation about possible acquisition targets, Rockwell Automation announced Sept. 8 that it's acquiring Anorad Corp. (Hauppauge, N.Y.), a leading linear motor-based, precision positioning equipment manufacturer. The company says buying Anorad will immediately make it the global market share leader in linear motor technology, an area pre...

By Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 1998

Industrial Networks Work In Fields, on Buses

As digital industrial networks weave their way through applications it's hard for those applying the technologies to think about working without them. For operators, however, networks are best appreciated when they go unnoticed…in the oil field (Control Engineering, July 1998, p. 114), on the city bus, and in manufacturing and processing.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Mechatronics September 1, 1998

Motion control seminar has Quebecois flavor

Topics ranging from direct-drive linear motors and fine-tuning of microstepping performance to what's new in motion feedback devices and where electric servo technology might be heading were among media update presentations held here on July 31, sponsored by AutomationSolutions International llc (ASI, Petaluma, Calif.

By Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 1998

Motion control packages

Port Washington, N.Y.— Thomson Industries offers a line of complete motion control packages that utilize the latest technology and rugged design for high performance, industrial quality, and turn-key servo axis solutions. The packages are made with the following Thomson products: BLX Series brushless servo motors, Omnidrive smart drives, and a Thomson TMC-2000 motion controller.

By Staff
Mechatronics September 1, 1998

Servo valve integration aided by brushless dc positioning

Some folks just can't leave servo valves alone. The latest approach combines electric servo motors' controlability with fluid power's muscle to create reliable, high-performance, proportional servo valves. Recent advances in magnetic materials, power electronics, and microprocessors are used to develop directly driven spool servo valves for numerous automation applications.

By Mark Tandy
Mechatronics August 1, 1998

Machine Tools and More

If bigger is better, then enormous is excellent, and this year's International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 98) will be one of the best ever.IMTS 98 will be highlighted by more than 1,400 exhibitors occupying in excess of 1.4 million ft2—making it the largest event in the show's 71-year history.

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics August 1, 1998

Electronic Motion Control Reaches for the Sky

Electronic motion control has become a complex combination of diverse elements—motors, drives, amplifiers, motion controllers, embedded chips, feedback devices, software tools, and more. This vast mosaic of solutions is supplied by hundreds of companies with new entrants expanding the list.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics August 1, 1998

Motion Control Sails into a Sea of Applications

Industrial applications represent the mainstream for motion control, but recent spectacular examples from the "entertainment industry" are hard to ignore. In-deed, applications in the cinema, stage, amusement park rides, and other visible venues continue to push motion technology's envelope.One notable example from the entertainment field is "Masquerade Show in the Sky.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics July 1, 1998

28-axis controller

New Ulm, Minn. —Menu-driven programming software allows MotionPlus XDC 720 motion controller to control up to 28 axes of motion. Simple indexing moves to complex camming motion can be done. Tuning is done directly from the tuning window of the programming software using PID loop tuning algorithms.

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 1998

On-screen Selection Tools Help Specify Products

Control-product selection software is assisting automation users and system integrators in specifying the best of a myriad possible solutions for applications. These tools—on 3.5-in. disks, CD-ROMs, or websites—permit vendors to help end-users, consulting engineers, and system integrators figure out what they need.

By Mark T. Hoske, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics May 1, 1998

Motion, motor controls becoming “system-wide”

Integrated technology that is "system-wide" was a common theme echoing through the exhibits of many diverse companies during NMW.Baldor Electric (Fort Smith, Ark.) displayed solutions from software to 800-hp vector drives. Its brand new technology—direct drive linear motion via its acquisition of Northern Magnetics Inc.

By Staff
Mechatronics May 1, 1998

Quicker positioning helps steel mill meet customers’ demands

To extend the range of its steel piling sections to include several new designs with tighter tolerances, British Steel sought new control systems and drives for its roller straightening machines (RSMs) in its heavy section mill in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, U.K. Upgraded piling sections help increase construction efficiency because they can be driven faster when making steel walls.

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 1998

Software for servo amplifiers, motors

Vernon Hills, Ill.— Microsoft Windows 95/NT and 3.1 compatible MCOMM software allows the monitoring of up to 16 critical amplifier functions, defining of 4 critical high-speed amplifier functions, and display data in trend graph format. Using the alarm display, entire time-stamped alarm histories including amplifier code, description information, and probable causes can be reviewed.

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 1998

Motion control development software

Rochester, N.Y.— Designed for Microsoft Windows95/NT, MotionDisk provides graphical tools for programming multiaxis motion control, I/O functions, factory networking, and operator interface in an integrated environment. MotionDesk provides synchronizing of all files between Orion motion controllers and selected project configuration.

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 1998

Power Modules and Devices Advance Motor Controls

The core function of power modules is to perform motor power switching and amplification in electric variable-speed and servo drives. Some power modules integrate capabilities and intelligence well beyond these basic functions. They simplify motor drive design via low parts count, compactness, and reliability.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING and George Gulalo, Motion Tech Trends
Mechatronics April 1, 1998

Plug-and-play, stand-alone servo controller

Port Washington, N.Y.— TMC-2000 controller is capable of controlling up to 4 axes of servo and/or stepper motors, and running four programs simultaneously. Available with prefabricated cables that interface with Thompson Industries' brushless motors and digital amplifiers, the TMC-2000 provides a plug-and-play solution to motion control problems including point-to-point, linear and circu...

By Staff
Mechatronics April 1, 1998

PC-Based Control Goes Real-Time

Personal-computer-based control is one of the fastest growing segments in machine control for monitoring a process and for discrete logic control of processes, such as material handling, machining, grinding, or gaging.Development of Windows NT by Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.) enabled PC-based real-time machine control to become reality.

By Dean J. Petrone and Michael D. Stackhouse, Timken Research
Mechatronics March 1, 1998

Hannover Fair ’98 Goes More Global Than Ever

Start the second 50 years! Hannover Industrial Fair begins its second half-century after a long, successful run that began under quite humble circumstances. This "world's largest industrial trade fair" arose from the post-World War II ravages of Germany.As Hannover Fair faces its second half century, more changes are certain due to economic and technology trends.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics March 1, 1998

Electric Motors/Controls

Fort Smith, Ark.— New products from Baldor include spindle drive motors, square flange pump motors, encoderless vector controls, hollow-shaft gear reducers, large 5800 frame motors, and a new line of advanced motion control products. In addition, the company recently introduced its new Standard-E motors that comply with the now-in-effect Energy Policy Act.

By Staff
Mechatronics March 1, 1998

May We Have the Envelopes Please

"Control products just keep getting more advanced, yet simpler to use,"was the consensus among editors at Control Engineering when it was time for them to choose the best control products of 1997. For the 11th consecutive year, the editors chose the 50 best products based on three criteria: technological advancement, impact on the market, and service to the industry.

By Michael Drakulich and Henry Morris, Control Engineering
Mechatronics February 1, 1998

It’s Showtime!

Well, you asked for it. The 1998 edition of one of the world's largest manufacturing and technology shows is tanned, rested, and ready to go seamless.Evolving as a result of recent feedback from visitors and exhibitors requesting an even more streamlined and workable event, this year's National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), and the three other shows that make up National Manufacturin...

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics February 1, 1998

AC Microdrives Ply Parallel Paths

Despite the temptation, size alone is not the right descriptor for ac "microdrives"—those ultracompact variable-frequency drives (VFDs) that sprouted during the first-half of the 1990s. For quite a while, it seemed, each new model would be even more miniature than the one announced just a month or so earlier.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics January 25, 1998

Open, Modular Architecture Controls at GM Powertrain — Technical Issues

Operating Systems Hardware Platform Motion Control Open Device Level Networks User Interface Control Software Manufacturing Information System (MIS) Level Networks Application Programming Interfaces (API) It should be clear to the controls community that GMPTG is not trying to dictate the development of OMAC by specifying technical details for every aspect of OMAC. GMPTG is not going to lead the development of any new technology but will ride the technology wave! However, GMPTG engineers are not oblivious to the technical issues associated with OMAC systems. In this section, several OMAC technical areas will be examined.

By C. Michael Taylor, et al.
Mechatronics January 1, 1998

Terminology in Motion

Motion control, as other technologies, has its fair share of special terms. Not all of them are rigorously defined; some require blending to suit the specific audience. Here's a sampling of some well-known and not-so-well-known terms.A motion control system typically consists of a controller to process motion algorithms and signals; an amplifier to boost signals to a level needed to p...

By Frank J. Bartos, executive editor
Mechatronics July 1, 1997

SERCOS-based cartoner improves flexibility & customer response

BUS OF THE MONTH

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 1997

Thanks to Interbus, Germany’s Transrapid Has a ‘Cool’ Journey

INTERBUS

By Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 1970

Pressure Sensing: It’s Everywhere!

KEY WORDS Process control and instrumentation Process sensing Pressure sensing One of the most-used sensors, pressure instrumentation is found nearly everywhere now. The old process standby is still there—chemical change-of-state monitoring still requires tracking such mundane variables as pressure and temperature—but it now can be found, however tiny, in manufactured goods from au...

By Dick Johnson, CONTROL ENGINEERING
Mechatronics January 1, 1970

Sensorless AC Drives Fill Price/Performance Niche

KEY WORDSMotors, drives, & motion controlAC variable-speed drivesAC induction motorsAdaptive controlControversial right from their name, "sensorless" ac drives actually use current and voltage sensors to achieve motor control. Even beyond terminology, it's not obvious what sensorless ac drives can or can't do, and where they fit into the big picture.

By Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINERING
Mechatronics January 1, 1970

Control Engineering Highlights the 40 Best Products of 2000

Control Engineering editors— in the 14th annual process—highlighted the best products of the year, based on technological advancement, impact on the market, and service to industry.Editors selected from among thousands of products mentioned in Control Engineering and Control Engineering Online during year 2000, in nine product categories: Control components; Human-machine interface...

By Antonia E. McBride, and Control Engineering Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 1970

Innovations inundate National Industrial Automation Show at National Manufacturing Week 2001

Chicago, Ill.— Hundreds of exhibitors showed thousands of innovative products and services at the National Industrial Automation Show during National Manufacturing Week 2001 at McCormick Place. For more coverage, including streaming video clips, click on "NMW 2001" at www.controleng.com. Advantech Automation (Cincinnati, O.

By Staff
Mechatronics January 1, 1970

‘Power of Industry’ will propel Hannover Fair 2001

Hannover, Germany—Twenty-five halls will be "in play" to accommodate this year's edition of the "world's largest industrial technology trade show" on April 23-28, 2001. An extra benefit is the fairground's upgraded infrastructure, completed for Expo 2000, the World's Fair. Hannover Fair 2001 combines six "fairs" in its "Power of Industry" theme.

By Frank J. Bartos, Executive Editor, fbartos@cahners.com