• Evolution of Kollmorgen - History of Innovation

    April 01, 2014, by Bob White

    Over the next few months, we will be publishing a blog series about how Kollmorgen evolved from its humble beginnings to today. Follow us on this journey and learn about the visionaries that built the foundation of our company.

    Turn back time – to the 1900’s, the turn of the century, the industrial revolution in full force. A young man who was skilled in optics left his homeland of Germany to work under the auspices of optics pioneer, Karl Reichert in Vienna. Frederick Kollmorgen decided to bring his skills to America, passing through London with a brief stint with Ross, Ltd. Kollmorgen settled in New York, providing optic skills for Keuffel & Esser, who manufactured drafting and surveying instrumentation.

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

    August 22, 2014, 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.

  • Sabotage!

    August 07, 2014, by Stephen Kalafut

    “You clown’s don’t have a chance in hell! You can’t stump me!” I ranted to our team after successfully solving another challenge. The competition heated up. Just days before I had set up a linear slide system with a servo motor and drive, and challenged each of my teammates to ‘break’ the system and challenge me to fix it. The ‘winner’ who stumps me gets lunch, on me. Essentially they were contract saboteurs

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

    September 19, 2014, 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.

  • Something is Missing...and other Linear Actuator Nightmares!

    September 05, 2014, by Michael Brown

    A specification will often state the required stroke for the application. What is frequently seen is that units are damaged by not following a simple requirement stated in the Installation Manual. Best practices dictate the utilization of End of Travel (EOT) sensors used with actuators and drives. This is done to prevent the actuators from striking the mechanical stops at each end, and typically a manual will clearly show where these sensors should be placed on the device. Actuators do have built in "bumpers" to help absorb energy when the mechanical stops are struck, but they are not designed to provide unlimited protection against repeated strikes.

  • Why Would Anyone Use a Linear Thermistor Over the Industry Standard Avalanche PTC/NTC Type Thermistor?

    October 03, 2014, by Hurley Gill

    There are challenges for a servo motor's protection against overheating by the manufacturer, machine designer/OEM, and user, because there is no thermal device that can protect a motor against a fast transient event. For just as there is a time lag between the final steady-state temp rise of a coil of wire with a given current going through it, there is a time lag for the thermal device to achieve its trip resistance once that trip/application temperature has been presented to the thermal device.

  • Cogging and Torque Ripple Questions

    July 18, 2014, by Hurley Gill

    Cogging and Torque Ripple questions are common and many times, difficult to answer.

    Cogging torque is defined as the attraction/interaction of the magnetic poles to the teeth (steel structure) of the laminations within an un-energized motor.

    Torque ripple is defined as the variance of the torque of the energized motor with a constant current. They are related in position independent of magnitude or direction, but cogging torque is generally not presented as a specification for servo motors.

  • "Reflecting" on Inertia Ratios

    August 29, 2014, by Gordon Ritchie

    When a load is driven directly by the motor, the conversation around reflected inertia goes out the window. The belief is that direct driven loads do not, by their nature, have a reflected inertia. Some folks are even confident enough to say that the ratio of the load inertia to the motor inertia does not need to be taken into account when direct driving the load as long as you have enough torque and speed. I have never had enough confidence to make such a statement.

  • Why So Much Stainless Steel?

    May 26, 2014, 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.

  • Evolution of Kollmorgen - History of Innovation (Part 2)

    June 20, 2014, by Bob White

    Prior to leaving Europe, Fredrick became the proud father of a baby boy – Ernest Otto. This would be the first of three children, the other girls (Hildegard and Dorthea). From various records, I can only piece together a few bits of information regarding the early 1900’s. It appears Frederick’s wife (Agnes Hunt), an English woman, whom he married in Italy, traveled back and forth to the United States from England, bringing the children over at certain times. Otto was born in 1901 and came to the US in 1907, two years after Fredrick immigrated. Hildegard, was born in 1903 and followed to the US in 1910. Finally, Otto’s youngest sister, Dorthea, was born in 1914 in Italy –right in the midst of World War I..

  • Evolution of Kollmorgen - History of Innovation (Part III)

    August 15, 2014, by Bob White

    While all of this work by Fredrick Kollmorgen was going on another immigrant, named Hugo Unruh, was growing up in Germany. About the same age as Frederick’s son Otto, Hugo faced the harsh conditions in post WWI Germany with its rampant inflation and struggling economy. His family encouraged him to emigrate to the United States so he could realize his dreams.

    Hugo was partially educated in Germany, but finished high school and two years of college while in the US. To help get through school, Hugo worked as a repairman at an X-Ray company.

  • 8 Tips for Minimizing or Eliminating EMI Noise

    February 19, 2016, by Bob White

    Noise, and I'm not talking about that terrible band you heard at the summer fest last year, but electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise. There are 8 key steps to consider when trying to eliminate EMI noise issues. If you follow these guidelines, you are much less likely to have problems with electrical noise in your application.

  • Who's Afraid of Mounting a Frameless Motor?

    April 11, 2014, by Tom S Wood

    There really isn't anything to fear when utilizing high performance frameless servo motors in your machine design. Many engineers get concerned about "air gaps" and "concentricity" when discussing frameless servo motors - but there is little to be afraid of! In applications where an embedded motor design makes sense, the application shaft that the frameless motor will be mounted on will already be machined to tolerances well within the range required for robust servo driven performance. Concentricity, run out, and axial play all must be considered in the machine mechanism itself and will typically be well in range for the KBM motor family. With the use of high energy magnet materials, the need for an ultra-tight air gap is out the window!

  • 5 Tips for a Successful Servo Crossover

    October 24, 2014, by Josh Bellefeuille

    There are a number of situations that call for crossing over and replacing an existing motor with a newer servo. These can include: product obsolescence, cost savings, lead time issues, or upgrading to newer technology. The specifics of each application could lead to an endless number of important factors to consider. In this post I will try to (briefly) identify those that are most common and their correct order of concern.

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

    April 10, 2015, 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.

  • Three Unconventional Uses for HMI's

    April 17, 2015, 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: The Right Choice Makes All the Difference(Part I)

    April 24, 2015, 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)!

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

    November 20, 2015, 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.

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

    October 28, 2015, 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.

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

    November 06, 2015, 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.

  • Ethernet Networks Simplified

    November 13, 2015, by Jimmy Coleman

    Setting up an Ethernet network can be frustrating if you don't understand the basics. A network is just the communication connection between two or more devices. These devices can be computers, PLC's, servo drives, HMI's, sensors, cameras…anything that supports Ethernet communication.

  • Feedback Choices - Hall Effect Device (Part III)

    December 04, 2015, 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.

  • 10 Approaches to Sanitary Design

    December 11, 2015, by Andy Hansbrough, P.E.

    The American Meat Institute generated a Fact Sheet related to Sanitary Equipment Design in 2008 which helps the OEM Machine builder to design sanitary solutions for the Food Processing and packaging market. Our blog post looks at the 10 sanitary design principles recommended by the AMI and how automation system design plays an important role.

  • Modbus TCP with AKD Compared to Fieldbuses

    January 15, 2016, 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.

  • Cooperation Between Industry and University - An Update

    January 22, 2016, by Bob White

    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.

  • Direct Drive vs Mechanical Transmissions on Lab Equipment

    February 26, 2016, 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.

  • Eccentricity, Wobble, and How a Servo System Can Help

    March 11, 2016, by Application Team India

    By definition, Eccentricity is a measure of how much a roll deviates from being perfectly circular. Ideally, eccentricity should be zero, but in reality, it is never zero. Practically not a single roll is a perfect circle because it is produced using a machine which itself is prone to some machining errors (since it is product of some other machine and so on).

  • AKD BASIC - Is It Really That Basic?

    March 18, 2016, by Bob White

    There is a nostalgic group out there thinking about when they first were introduced to the BASIC language. BASIC? What is that? Kind of like today when you say album or 45, or even vinyl – certain “younger” folk will look at you and say “whhaatt?” – after they pull the ear buds from their ears and pause there MP3 players. BASIC – Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code. I first used Basic to program a computer back in 1976, and it had already been around for over 10+ years at that point.

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

    March 25, 2016, 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.

  • Stop Paying the Cable Companies!

    April 09, 2016, 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.

  • New and Interesting Applications deriving benefits from Servo Technologies

    April 15, 2016, 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.

  • 101 Ways to “BRAKE” Your Servo Motor – Episode 82

    April 29, 2016, by Michael Brown

    Frequently, servo motors are returned where the brakes are worn. This is almost always due to the brake being applied repeatedly while the motor/load is moving. The application of a motor brake in a "dynamic / moving" scenario will result in dramatic wear of the brake mechanism.

  • Switched at Birth: Motor Winding Nomenclature Explained

    May 06, 2016, by Hurley Gill

    If you have been following along on our Evolution of Kollmorgen posts, you realize Hugo Unruh was one of the first to successfully commercialize frameless motor technology. What most people don't realize is that Kollmorgen's motor-drive phase identification standards (A, B, C) were based on these frameless motors. Now the issue at hand is both sides of a frameless motor typically look the same, except for the side where the wire leads exit.

  • Sound of Silence

    May 20, 2016, 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.

  • Getting the Best Performance from Encoders

    May 27, 2016, by Application Team India

    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.

  • Don't be Caught Breaking Motors with Water!

    December 09, 2016, by Emily Blanchard

    I have discovered several ways to break motors. Some of them have some really great stories and I'll try to get their witnesses to write them down.

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

    January 06, 2017, 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.

  • Tips on How to Confidently Set Up Your Linear Motor System

    February 03, 2016, by Bob White

    Linear motors fill an important role in providing a robust and high precision direct drive solution in many applications. In order to achieve the highest level of performance, the linear motor system must be commissioned properly.

  • Key Tips on Dealing with 64-bit data on Modbus Communications Devices that only Support 32-bit data

    March 17, 2017, by Jimmy Coleman

    Most of the AKD drive's parameters have a 32-bit data size, but some parameters have a 64-bit data size.

  • Issues to Consider when Operating a Motor in a Vacuum

    March 31, 2017, by Hurley Gill

    Question: Operating a servo motor in a vacuum, what are some considerations?

  • Applications Sizing - Part 1: Getting Started Sizing Servos

    April 14, 2017, by Bob White

    Never sized a servo before? Well, we want to share with you some of the best practices we have found over the years tol help you become more comfortable with it.

  • The Story of the Sphere

    April 28, 2017, by Emily Blanchard

    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.

  • Optimize your step motor solution

    May 12, 2017, by Josh Bellefeuille

    We are excited to introduce the launch of a brand new product selection tool – Kollmorgen Stepper Optimizer. Optimizer provides multiple ways for you to discover which of our stepper motor works best in your application.

  • Motor Derating Due To High Ambient Temperatures

    May 26, 2017, by Hurley Gill

    Since the motor’s continuous torque (Tc) is rated in a 40°C ambient, how can I estimate the motor’s continuous torque during my worst-case ambient temperature of 55°C?

  • Collaborative Robots (Cobots) - Who Benefits?

    June 09, 2017, by Melanie Cavalieri

    Collaborative robots are robots designed to work safely with and next to their human counterparts.

  • What is horsepower and how is it utilized with servo motors

    June 23, 2017, by Hurley Gill

    Question: What is horsepower (hp) and how is it utilized with servomotors?

  • Decentralized Control Systems to the Rescue

    August 04, 2017, by Bob White

    Less Cabling, Smaller Cabinet, Less Heat equals more Flexibility!

  • How to Calculate RMS Torque

    February 07, 2017, by Hurley Gill

    Question: How do I calculate RMS Torque for a given axis motion profile in my application?

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

    September 29, 2017, by Emily Blanchard

    Question: What does TENV mean in regard to a servo motor?

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

    November 03, 2017, by Bob White

    In this blog entry we will explore what is meant by flexibility and how this offers several advantages.