• Common Methods for Providing Cooling or Heat Dissipation for an Electric Motor

    luglio 10, 2013, by Randy Wilson

    Electric motors are used in machines and processes all around us. You can find them in factories, automobiles, airplanes, robots and even your favorite DVD vending machine. Regardless of the application, managing heat dissipation is a common theme. Electric motors are often selected based upon a particular work or load requirement. One consideration of this selection process is managing heat dissipation. Although electric motor design is constantly improving, all generate heat through losses and inefficiencies. This needs to be evaluated when selecting the proper motor for your needs.

  • A CHIMP Can DO This Job!

    luglio 31, 2013, by Rob Whitlock

    The tragic earthquake and subsequent Tsunami that devastated the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan just over 2 years ago points to a great potential use of evolving robotics technology. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has created a competition among industry called the Robotics Challenge. The challenge is to develop robotics technology that can eventually replace the need for humans to don those highly fashionable and comfortable HAZMAT suits as they go into very dangerous environments to keep a bad situation from growing worse.

  • High Temperature (Down-Hole) Motor Technology ... A Few Thoughts

    agosto 07, 2013, by Tom S Wood

    There is a lot of energy [pun intended, sorry] going into the design of next generation, high temperature, Down-Hole motor technology at Kollmorgen. The existing motor technology available in the marketplace has basically been the same since the inception of brushless motor for Down-Hole use by Kollmorgen back in 1986. Sure, the magnet technology has improved; giving us higher performance Samarium Cobalt magnets that hold up great in the high temperature extremes of the Down-Hole environment, but the basic insulation systems and motor materials haven't changed much.

  • Why So Much Stainless Steel?

    settembre 20, 2013, by Gene Matthews

    Washdown applications can be quite the tough environment. In the first place, typically you’ll find washdown requirements on machines that process foods. You know how careful you are when cooking at home, making sure you wash your hands after touching raw meat. Keeping cooked meat away from the surfaces you had raw meat sitting, or washing the utensils you use to handle raw meat is common in the kitchen.

  • New and Interesting Applications deriving benefits from Servo Technologies

    novembre 04, 2013, by Scott Evans

    Moore's Law has long applied to advancements in technology-based industries. Servo- and Automation have benefited particularly from exponential advancements in memory as well as processing power, and most recently, astounding gains in sensor technology performance vs. price. Here is one definition of a servo system that I will use to limit the scope of what I share in this and future blog posts:

  • Eliminate Unsightly "Bars" Across your Substrate with Direct Drive Technology

    gennaio 08, 2014, by Tom England

    Coating and lamination applications demand precise speed regulation in order to avoid velocity ripple that causes uneven coating and undesirable horizontal bars across the substrate. The key to achieving the most uniform coating is minimizing the variations in velocity as well as in metering of the coating material.

  • First look at Steer-by-Wire Car - A Bit Behind the Times?

    gennaio 16, 2014, by Scott Evans

    Although my blog entries will generally call attention to new ideas we think will end up someday on the factory floor, drive-by-wire actually lags industry: this type of following, such as electronic gearing (a.k.a. cam profiling or camming), has been available in Industrial Automation for years.

  • Stop Paying the Cable Companies!

    gennaio 17, 2014, by Reid Hunt

    Machine builders focus on functionality and reliability when first designing a new machine. Ideas are put on paper and components are strung together in block diagrams with thin lines to show the association of all the pieces. It is the most creative time in the cycle. Things can be moved and shifted with ease because everything is on a whiteboard. Even if you are far enough in the cycle to work in a CAD model, changes require no physical effort and the task of putting it together is still just an idea.

  • Tracing the Steps of the First Industrial Stepping Motor - and the Boston Whaler!

    febbraio 06, 2014, by Paul Coughlin

    There has been a lot of discussion over the years as to who created the stepping motor, or at least the industrial 1.8° motor we know today. The two relevant companies involved with the design were Superior Electric, originally in Bristol Connecticut, and Sigma Instruments, originally in Braintree, Massachusetts. Although Superior Electric seems to have the leading edge as being the first, it appears that Sigma Instruments may have been the true innovator.

  • Direct Drive vs Mechanical Transmissions on Lab Equipment

    febbraio 11, 2014, by Ken Huffenus

    There aren't many of us that open up the hefty manual that you receive with your new lawn tractor or dishwasher but if you did there would be a section in there on "preventative maintenance." There's a similar section in the documentation that comes along with most IVD analyzers and other lab equipment. The documentation often includes recommended activities to be done on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to keep your instrument running as intended.

  • Incredible Voyage - Using Tried-and-True Servo Technology

    febbraio 18, 2014, by Scott Evans

    Do you remember the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage? What about Innerspace? Both of these movies feature stories about a small vessel working inside of the human body. At the time these movies seemed impossible because there were microscopic humans operating the ships. Of course now it is 2014 and surely you've heard of Arthroscopy. In my last blog post, I discussed drive-by-wire in a car. Essentially, the mechanical linkage between you and the steering wheel clutched in your white-knuckled fists is going away-replaced by sensors on the steering wheel that tell an actuator motor which way, how hard, and how far to turn the car's wheels based on how far and how hard you are turning the steering wheel.

  • Embedded Motion for Lightweight Robotics

    febbraio 26, 2014, by Rob Whitlock

    The utilization of robotics in manufacturing is currently a $5B industry and is projected to grow to a $20B industry (Source: A Roadmap for U.S. Robotics, From Internet To Robotics - 2013 Edition). A major contributor to the projected growth will come from small to mid-size users in a variety of industries where historically the demand was from the very large corporations in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Counter to traditional industrial robots that are big, noisy, and costly, companies are developing innovative lightweight robots designed for small to mid-sized users.

  • Feedback: The Right Choice Makes All the Difference(Part I)

    marzo 04, 2014, by Bob White

    A critical element of any servo system is the feedback device - after all, that's what makes it a servo to begin with! How about a very simple example to start off with: I have a bow and arrow, a target 30 feet away, and I left my glasses at home. So while I do see a large round "thing" in the distance, I have trouble making out the edges of the rings on the target. My feedback is not very accurate at the moment - so I'm likely not going to hit the bull's-eye. I discover my glasses in my pocket, slip them on - and now I can see the target much better, and I at least have a better chance now of hitting the target. Yes, there are other factors, environmental, arrow construction, etc., but you get the point (pun intended)!

  • CHIMP Continues to Climb - An Update

    marzo 06, 2014, by Rob Whitlock

    In July of last year I posted a blog about the CHIMP robotic platform. CHIMP stands for CMU Highly Intelligent Platform. It was one of 16 entries under the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Agency Projects) sponsored Robotics Challenge program with the goal of developing robotic technologies that can be used in harsh environments such as man-made or natural disasters in lieu of humans. The robots will be required to open doors, turn valves, connect hoses, use hand tools to cut through panels, drive a vehicle, clear debris, and climb a ladder.

  • Food Recall Hits Close to Home

    marzo 18, 2014, by Emily Blanchard

    Normally my blogs are light hearted and meant to provide some thought provoking ideas in entertaining ways. Today's blog does not have that tone. On February 21st, a recall for a soft cheese was issued due to high amounts of Listeria monocytogenes. Virginia and Maryland have been investigating the products from the manufacturer, but the sad truth is there has been a death associated with this disease. Adding to the sadness is that the CDC is not reporting the age of the person who died, but nearly half of the reported sick were newborns.

  • Sound of Silence

    marzo 20, 2014, by Ken Huffenus

    As soon as you walk into a quiet space, you know it. In the world of automation, noise tends to be considered a necessary byproduct. A number of my colleagues have become very adept at describing the various noises made by stepper motors, leadscrews, cams, gearboxes, etc. Wheeeeeew. Wheeeeeeeeeeew. Wheeeeeeeeew, clack. This tends to be fine if you're talking about a single axis of motion, but imagine a hospital lab with hundreds or perhaps thousands of axes of motion all moving at the same time. Try having a quiet conversation in a large lab around the 8:00am sample rush - just about impossible.

  • Feedback - The Right Choice Makes All the Difference - Part II

    marzo 25, 2014, by Bob White

    In our previous post of this series, we learned that the selection of a feedback device is critical for precise motion applications, and that where it's located is important as well. Today's post covers some additional information regarding the difference between absolute and incremental feedback and why should I care, as well as a few other considerations.

  • Three Unconventional Uses for HMI's

    aprile 10, 2014, by Reid Hunt

    Most machine builders are familiar with modern touch screen HMI's. They have all but replaced older style toggle switch panels. It has also enabled machine builders give operators much more information on the process going on in a machine. HMI's can look at a multitude of machine variables and they can be presented in a more relatable graphical format than digital readout or analog meters. For instance, instead of a tank volume number, you visually show the operator much fluid is in the tank. HMI's however can go even beyond these operator related touch-screen graphics. Some of the more sophisticated features can really benefit machine builders and end-users of machines. Here are a few capabilities you might not have known about modern HMI's.

  • Feedback Choices - Hall Effect Device (Part III)

    aprile 15, 2014, by Bob White

    Among the simplest and least expensive feedback devices are Hall-effect sensors. These are digital on-off devices that detect the presence of magnetic fields. Made of semiconductor material, they are rugged, can be operated at very high frequencies (equating to tens of thousands of motor rpm), and are commonly used to provide six-step commutation of brushless motors.

  • Cooperation Between Industry and University - An Update

    aprile 17, 2014, by Bob White

    This blog was originally posted back on June 18, 2012 - I wanted to update this with some new activities regarding our work with Universities since that date...

    There has been a long standing cooperation between Industry and Academics throughout the recent centuries. Just look at the companies that pop up near Universities - like the Route 128 corridor near MIT, or Silicon Valley's influence by Stanford, UCB and UCSF. Every major research university houses a "technology park" filled with start-ups incubating their new ideas and inventions. But it's not just the entrepreneurs that latch on to collaboration with academics. Established firms also find it beneficial to work with universities on various projects of interest, especially where an emerging industry may be getting ready to take off.

  • Brushless Motors in Interesting Places

    maggio 08, 2014, by Bob White

    Today’s blog is part of a Throw Back Thursday post – about an article I wrote for SubNotes magazine back in 1988. At the time we had completed a number of submersible motor applications for some very unique and tough environments. Applications with interesting names like Alvin, Jason Jr, or Robin – the first, a manned research vehicle at the time operated by Woodshole Oceanographic Institute, the other two, remotely operated submersibles used to explore the wreck of the Titanic, among other adventures.


  • Get More for Your Money - Electric over Hydraulic in Oil and Gas

    maggio 09, 2014, by Tom S Wood

    A key driver for the current trends towards increasing use of electric motors in oil and gas applications is the ability of electrically driven systems to substantially improve system reliability, reduce downtime, and the limit the possibility of a leaked fluid discharge into the environment. Designers of oil and gas equipment are looking for the smallest, lightest, simplest solution with the least impact on the environment. While the best solution will be different for every application, it’s clear that the trend in the industry is favoring electric motors.


  • Modbus TCP with AKD Compared to Fieldbuses

    maggio 20, 2014, by Jimmy Coleman

    Unlike fieldbus communications only being supported by particular models of the AKD servo drive, Modbus TCP communication is supported by all of the AKD models. Whether you have a simple "analog" drive, an indexing drive, or an AKD with BASIC programming, you have the capability of using Modbus communication. It is a simple, easy to use, standard communication protocol that can be used in a PC, PLC, or HMI to talk to any AKD drive.

  • 4 Tips for Considering Your Servo Motors IP Rating in Your Application

    luglio 22, 2014, by Gene Matthews

    What should you consider when factoring IP Rating into your specification and what other environmental factors should be considered when specifying motion products?

    As a manufacturer of motion control products for a variety of markets, Kollmorgen Application and Sales engineers get involved in specifying products into all kinds of environments. Often these environments can be wet and thus an IP (International Protection) rating needs to be considered as a part of the specification of our product.
  • The Story of the Sphere

    ottobre 30, 2014, by Emily Blanchard

    So everyone’s heard the phrase “think outside the box.”

    And at Kollmorgen we do that. But the reality is we have to think about inside the box. It’s our job to protect inside the box. Our OEMs need us to be ever conscious of inside the box so that the box works and is dependable. But OEMs also look outside the box - does it fit, is it smaller, what’s the advantage?

  • Getting the Best Performance from Encoders

    febbraio 09, 2015, by Mahendra Kane

    I often see some confusion in various customers’ minds regarding encoder performance with automation systems which have servo drives or variable frequency drives (VFD). Some customers feel that when they are providing best in class encoders, the system must be highly accurate.

    Sounds logical? … Yes, but there are some other points to consider also.

  • Going Small - How Current Step Motor Technology Can Help You Reduce Machine Size

    agosto 13, 2015, by Josh Bellefeuille

    As it turns out, "going small" is an effort that traces back to the first steppers ever manufactured. Released in 1952, the Sigma "Cyclonome 9" series, one of the first steppers ever designed, was the first standard offering of its kind. Motors had a frame size of 1 3/16 inches, roughly the size of a modern day NEMA 11 motor. With a torque range of 1 - 12 oz-in, common applications at the time included printers, tape readers, and chart drive and display controls. Just like today, the small form factor of these motors allowed OEMs to reduce the overall size and footprint of their machines.

  • That's One Small Step... 0.9 vs 1.8 Degree Step Angle

    agosto 19, 2015, by Paul Coughlin

    Over the years there have been discussions about the 1.8 degree step angle versus 0.9 degree step angle of industrial hybrid stepper motors. Most stepper motors today have the standard step angle of 1.8 degrees, resulting in a 200 step per revolution. However, in the early days of stepper motors, before microstepping, low end resonance played a significant role in many applications. Most application engineers suggested either increasing the load, to lower the bandwidth frequency, or simply avoiding this low end resonance region altogether.

  • Issues to Consider when Operating a Motor in a Vacuum

    dicembre 07, 2015, by Hurley Gill

    Question: I need to operate a servo motor in a vacuum, what are some considerations?

    Answer: In a word? Outgassing. You might think that proper motor sizing is a big issue, it always is, however if you can't conform to the other process requirements, there is no point to attempting to size the motor. The biggest issue for any given motor selection to be run in a given vacuum for a specific process is the outgassing requirement, or rather, the avoidance of materials that would affect the process being performed and/or the life of the motor.

  • Collaborative Robots (Cobots) - Who Benefits?

    settembre 14, 2016, by Melanie Cavalieri

    Collaborative robots are designed to work safely with and next to their human counterparts. A subset of collaborative robotics has innovative safety techniques that completely eliminate the need for a safety barrier between the human and the robot. This enables a wide range of applications to deploy and benefit from this collaborative robot technology.

  • Importance of Food Safety

    gennaio 25, 2017, by Melanie Cavalieri

    The FSMA evolution is ongoing and Kollmorgen continues to enable innovators to meet the requirements of making food production and packaging safer. Kollmorgen’s White Paper “Food Safety Regulatory Requirements” explains the background of FSMA as well as the implications on machine design. We recognize that not all facilities have the ability to build a completely new plant from the ground up.

  • What Does TENV (Totally Enclosed Non-Ventilated) Mean?

    marzo 16, 2017, by Emily Blanchard

    Block and Tackle Series Volume 4 – What does TENV (Totally Enclosed Non-Ventilated) mean?

    Question: What does TENV, or Totally Enclosed Non-Ventilated mean in regard to a servo motor?

    Answer: Well – the answer is simply the motor is Totally Enclosed, and Non-Ventilated. Based on NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) definition, TENV states that the motor housing is fully enclosed and is not ventilated with a fan.

  • Decentralized Control Systems to the Rescue

    aprile 14, 2017, by Bob White

    Less Cabling, Smaller Cabinet, Less Heat…More Flexibility! Less Cabling, Smaller controls cabinet, Less heat…wow, that’s all great stuff. I can achieve this all with a decentralized solution? Absolutely – and even more! Decentralized Control Architecture means shifting the motion control drives from the crowded cabinets, and moving them near to the motors – out on the machine where the action is. Immediately you can see that this can reduce the size of the controls cabinet, moving all of those drives out onto the machine – but how do I see these other advantages?

  • Decentralized Drive Solutions Offer Flexibility - As Simple as Plug and Play

    luglio 20, 2017, by Bob White

    In our last blog related to decentralized drives, we indicated several key customer benefits tied to using this approach. First, you can reduce your cable costs significantly in machine configurations with lots of axes spread apart throughout the machine. Second, a reduction in cabinet space and cooling requirements since you’ve taken a number of heat producing elements (Servo drives) from the enclosure. Thirdly, you increase flexibility in design. In this blog entry, we will explore what is meant by flexibility and how this offers several advantages.

  • What is a Linear Actuator?

    settembre 11, 2017, by Jimmy Coleman

    Question: What is a linear actuator?

    Answer: Quite simply, a linear actuator is a device that moves a load in a straight line. Linear actuators come in many styles and configurations – our blog post today covers those actuators associated with motion control.

  • What is Mechatronics?

    ottobre 04, 2017, by Bob White

    Mechatronics is taking a holistic look at a complete machine solution, taking account of all elements that make up that system that are part of the machine, including mechanisms, motors, drive electronics, controls, interfaces, and ergonomics. A variety of disciplines are involved when considering a machine design utilizing a mechatronics approach. It is a melding of the physical expectations of a motion system whether mechanical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic or any hybrid of technologies used to accomplish a physical task. Often, these systems are trying to duplicate, simplify, or assist a human function, most often a repetitive motion that a machine can do better.

  • Types of Linear Actuators

    ottobre 11, 2017, by Jimmy Coleman

    Last time in our Block and Tackle Series on “What is a Linear Actuator?” we identified the general types of mechanisms that are used to move loads in a straight line. Today’s blog expands on that just a bit with a few more details on the different types used in the motion control world.

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