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If you experience some unintended motion or unexplained drive faults in your motion system, there are several possible causes. For example, motion setup through the drive, a poorly designed program within the control, and motor or feedback commutation phasing 180 degrees out can all cause unintended motion. For this review, we’re going to look at issues created by the contribution of poorly chosen and installed motor cables.

Let’s take a step back and talk about what a DC motor is.  Typically, when thinking about a DC motor, you really are talking about a DC permanent brush type motor.  Apply DC power, adjust the voltage and current levels to control it, usually with a simple amplifier, and you have a dc system solution.  Add in some type of feedback and you will have pretty good control.  There are lots and lots of robot types, but mobile robots are typically going to need to run off of a battery source, thus the need for a DC solution.

Throughout the Iron Man series, Tony repeatedly tells the articulated cobot that he’s doing it wrong, he even goes so far to place a dunce cap on its head and put it in the corner. And this brings me to an important aspect of a cobot: teachability.

Over Christmas my family and I traveled to Cape Canaveral, Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center. Since the trip (and even before) my house has been a buzz about rockets, astronauts, count downs, stages, boosters, and did I mention rockets? Naturally, I was one of the 3 million people to watch the launch of the Falcon Heavy live. And over the last few days, there have been several things that I have found myself reflecting on – and it isn’t nostalgia for the space race – its excitement.

A collaborative robot (or Cobot) is a robot that is made to work with or interact with human co-workers. For most of us normal folks, the most well-known example is Tony Stark’s robotic arm. (For those reading who are wondering why I don’t refer to the arm as JARVIS, it’s because JARVIS is the AI and controls other things but not the robotic arm.) Tony has bit of an unhealthy relationship with the robotic arm, he insults it, puts it in a dunce cap, puts it in time out, or threatens to dismantle it. At which point the robotic arm usually hangs his robotic limb downward into sadness. But, the robotic arm is there to do work for Tony in his basement. He may have a large house, but he doesn’t want a 10-foot-tall robot behind a fence. He wants an assistant, a co-worker of sorts that can help build his Iron Man suits.
A few years ago I watched the DARPA challenge. If you’re not familiar with the challenge, the idea was to build a robot that could drive a car, climb a ladder, turn a handle, use a drill and various other activities.  In the challenge each robot was given an hour to complete the tasks.  It was a slow process. I had two reasons to watch, one, Kollmorgen has some frameless motors in the Carnegie Mellon robot and two, I’m a Virginia Tech graduate and they also provided a robot.

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.

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?

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.

What is a laughable offense to the public is a representation of the hidden challenges behind packaging and automation. Sure, the package was mostly correct, it contained 8 buns, they were pre-sliced, and odds are pretty good that the two products weigh the same. The package is at least see-through, so as a consumer, you still know what you're buying. But what if it was a bottle of 50mg heart medication that actually contained tablets of 100mg medication?

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