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Welcome to Kollmorgen's Blog in Motion.  We have been adding information and knowledge to the great web based world for many years - through white papers, technical documents, and even webinars.  Kollmorgen enjoys sharing our knowledge with you, as well as identifying other motion related tidbits through our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube feeds.  Our newest source is Blog in Motion, covering a wide range of topics, as well as some interesting contributing authors with lots of Motion experience.  If Motion Matters to you, stop by, follow, like, and sign up so you can stay tuned for what Kollmorgen has in store for you!

We’ve all seen the movies…the one where the ‘intelligent’ robots go off-piste and bring untold chaos to the human race.  It never really turns out rosy just as the end credit start to fall. However, regardless of Hollywood’s ‘predictions’, no matter where I go or where I look (as part of my role in Kollmorgen’s Aerospace & Defence team) I am constantly tripping over a growing exposure to robotics and Intelligent robots in the Defence sector; air, land, sea and subsea.

Who you are defines how you think of robotics and automation.  Software experts and IT may think of internet bots.  They might also think about the new, emerging field of Robotics Process Automation (RPA), which is software that can do mundane and administrative computer tasks.  RPA reduces repetitive tasks such as checking, verifying and transferring data.  Manufacturing facilities will think about physical robots or cobots that are also deployed to handle repetitive tasks such as loading and unloading a CNC machine or installing a computer cover.  They can also be used to automate dangerous tasks such as lifting, welding or removing paint.

Frameless, or “servo motor kits”, open up numerous possibilities in designing motion elements for your machine related to performance.  A frameless motor consists of rotor and stator components which are built into a machine assembly to transmit torque to a load.  Many applications which take advantage of a frameless motor are direct driven, which eliminates bandwidth robbing compliance.  Effectively, this means you have eliminated torsional losses and any wind-up or spring losses.  
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.
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.

Robots and automated machines and vehicles form an integral part of our everyday lives and are not just found in the industrial sector: precise control of motion is indispensable. The combination of the two areas of technology – motion (servo drives) and movement (AGVs) – allows KOLLMORGEN to play a leading role in “Motion in Movement – 4.0 Ready” solutions, and to offer its own customers complete and integrated systems, ready for Industry 4.0.

Trending in the automation world these days is the merging of the collaborative robot and the AGV, creating a mobile Cobot with the navigational capabilities of today’s AGV’s. This opens new opportunities in warehouse logistics that improves the entire supply chain. With additional power demands created by this combination, innovative motor and drive solutions become paramount.

Usually, in discussion about these terms, we tie in the word actuator – so more precisely, what is the difference between a linear actuator vs a rotary actuator?

Linear actuators, in essence, move something along a straight line, usually back and forth.  Rotary actuators, on the other hand will turn something a number of degrees in a circle – it might be a limited number or an infinite number.

So, linear actuator – back and forth, Rotary actuator - round and round

On November 13, 2017 FDA approved a pill that can digitally track if a patient has taken their medication.  The pill is called “Abilify MyCite” and is used to make sure that patients with conditions such as schizophrenia have actually ingested their medication.  As news broke about this new tracking pill it rekindled both concern and excitement about technology in the field of medicine.

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.

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