• 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.

  • A CHIMP Can DO This Job!

    June 30, 2014, 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.

  • 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.

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

    February 12, 2016, 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.

  • 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.

  • Brushless Motors in Interesting Places

    April 02, 2015, 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • CHIMP Continues to Climb - An Update

    December 18, 2015, 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.

  • Embedded Motion for Lightweight Robotics

    January 08, 2016, 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.

  • 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.

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

    February 05, 2016, by Scott Evans

    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. Let's turn the concept inside out now. Suppose instead of wheels, a machine was holding surgical needle and thread. Or a camera. Or a scalpel. Or a stent.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    January 13, 2017, 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 stepper motors ever designed, was the first standard offering of its kind.

  • Food Recall Hits Close to Home

    February 17, 2017, by Emily Blanchard

    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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Importance of Food Safety

    July 07, 2017, by Melanie Cavalieri

    “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration

  • Decentralized Control Systems to the Rescue

    August 04, 2017, by Bob White

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

  • 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.