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Motion to Meet the Mission

23 Jun 2021
Kollmorgen Experts

In electro-optical/infrared systems, satellite tracking stations, laser weapon systems, remote weapons stations, ballistic tracking systems and more, stabilized platforms must acquire targets quickly and hold them reliably despite the pounding of surface vehicles on the move, the turbulence of aircraft in flight, and the hostile environment of space.

However, the same platform cannot be used across all these applications. Depending on where it is deployed, the stabilized platform will need a motor designed to meet the rigorous demands of the environment. The motor that powers the platform will have its own specific performance or construction requirements. Depending on the environment, some design considerations include:

  • High torque density and torque per volume at relatively low speeds.
  • Rugged construction for reliable performance even in the most extreme environments.
  • Frameless motors designed for direct integration into the platform, providing extremely high torque and responsiveness in the most compact space.

Even though the outcome is the same—acquiring and holding targets—the environmental concerns can have a major impact on the selection, design and implementation of a motor for a stabilized platform.

On Land and Sea

On Land and Sea

In a highly dynamic battlefield environment, systems for orientation, tracking and targeting require platform stabilization against unpredictable jarring, vibration and shock. Shipborne systems must also contend with varying sea states. Whenever these movements force the sensor or weapon off its objective, the success of the mission and the potential safety of war fighters are put at risk.

In optical surveillance, tracking and targeting systems, digital algorithms can be applied to artificially stabilize images, but this has several technical limitations and is both power- and bandwidth-intensive. The best approach is to correct errors through the electromechanical system, minimizing the need for additional image processing. Stabilizing the mass of the sensor platform against the forces that land vehicles are subject to requires motors with extremely high torque density.

Motors with high torque density and high torque per volume perform responsively and reliably under the most dynamic conditions. Motion systems that enable platform stabilization while minimizing the need for further digital processing can correct position errors in real time through smooth, precise motion.

In the Air

In the Air

Helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles require stabilized platforms for navigation, surveillance and/or targeting. These platforms must counteract the forces of platform acceleration, deceleration and steering as well as the unpredictable shocks of atmospheric turbulence.

However, compared to land- and sea-based systems, airborne systems must work within a very limited power budget, shared with the aircraft’s many other control systems. The overall size and weight of the platform and its motion components must also be kept to a practical minimum. These size, weight and power limitations call for highly specialized motion systems that are a perfect, compact fit for the application.

Exceptional torque density and smooth, responsive control in a small, light package size is necessary for in-the-air applications. In these applications, torquer motors optimized for maximum torque in compact, lightweight, low-voltage applications are ideal.

In Space

In Space

With extreme acceleration forces, temperatures ranging from near-absolute zero to hundreds of degrees Celsius and intense radiation and pressure, stabilized platforms must perform reliably in the harshest imaginable environments. Outgassing of materials at subatmospheric pressures also must be minimized.

Even though the platform won’t experience the jarring found in other environments, the motor windings and materials will endure extremes not found on land, sea or air. When choosing a motor for a stabilized platform in space, you might need to address the following:

  • Specialized windings
  • Insulation systems
  • Lead wires
  • Adhesives
  • Magnet alloys

For Every Mission: Kollmorgen

For Every Mission: Kollmorgen

With more than 70 years of proven aerospace and defense experience, Kollmorgen can help you design and build stabilized platforms that perform under the most extreme conditions. We provide in-region support, fast production ramp-up and a long-term sustainable supply chain, so you can depend on Kollmorgen for reliable deployment for the life of your program.

From concept, prototype and refinement through final design, production and full-lifecycle support—Kollmorgen is the one partner you need for the most ambitious motion design, the most capable engineering and the most confident delivery.

Engineer the Exceptional with Kollmorgen.

About the Author

Kollmorgen Experts

Kollmorgen Experts

This blog was a collaborative effort among a team of motion and automation experts here at Kollmorgen, including engineers, customer service and design experts. Wherever you are in your project, we’re here to help.

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