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A Focus on Minimizing Product Footprint at Automate/ProMat 2019

April 16, 2019
From a very-low-profile absolute encoder to frameless motors, the show highlighted devices and systems that take miniaturization to a new level.

As technology finds its way into more and more applications in a wide variety of industries, one of the major concerns is product footprint. Companies are sensitive to this issue and continually work toward designing products that can decrease size while maintaining necessary capabilities and functions. At Automate/ProMat 2019, this trend could be seen in a number of motors and motion-control systems, as well as in a very small camera.

Dynamic Motor Motion Technology Corp. introduced its ABS-16-LP1, Low Profile Magnetic Absolute Encoder (Fig. 1). Using industry-proven technology from the ABS magnetic encoder series, the Low Profile encoder combines the same performance into an incredible 9-mm thin package, further increasing the possibilities of size-limited applications. The ABS-16-LP1 is provided with a real-time sensor calibration algorithm for consistent accuracy; high electrical and magnetic noise immunity; and an 8-bit CRC, 32-byte EEPROM for memory.

1. ABS-16-LP1 Low Profile Magnetic Absolute Encoder from Dynamic Motor Motion Technology Corp.

A servo motor incorporating this device can achieve 11.5-mm encoder thickness—including the cover. The encoder is suitable for normal servo motor, direct drive motor, and frameless motor use. And when integrating it into a robotic application, designers can easily minimize robot frame size.

Elmo Motion Control’s Double Gold Twitter stands out as one of the smallest STO-certified (SIL-3) servo drives in the market. The product delivers over 10 kW of qualitative power and provides continuous current of up to 160 A (80 V) and 140 A (100 V). Thanks to its compact size, this miniature drive can be placed on a moving load, within a motor, or in-between robotic joints to help engineers save space, improve machine performance, reduce the amount of cabling required, and eliminate electrical cabinets—while still delivering unprecedented power capabilities.

Lin Engineering provides a series of frameless brushless DC motors for maximum integration into space-limited applications (Fig. 2). Frameless motors reduce waste and redundancy by eliminating the need for additional mounting supports, plates, or brackets. All structural and mechanical supports needed for the design can be integrated directly into the apparatus. The major benefit is that both the stator and the rotor can be seamlessly incorporated into the system, reducing size without sacrificing performance.

2. Lin Engineering frameless brushless DC motor.

As a result, engineers are able to further explore various shapes and sizes of the motor, which can be designed to fit the application rather than forcing the application to fit the motor. The motors are highly integrated, high torque, high efficiency, and come in multiple sizes so that designers have the freedom and flexibility to design systems with the smallest footprint possible.

For a complete micro-assembly stage, SmarAct manufactures and designs complex, customer-specific positioning and manipulation systems, including fully automated micro-assembly systems, which require accurate positioning in multiple axes, as well as sophisticated gripping, aligning, and joining solutions. Active alignment routines, with integrated and external positioning feedback, are key features to get maximum performance. Besides manipulators and controllers, SmarAct develops application-specific software and processes. Systems offer fast and slow axis collimation, diffractive optical elements, micro lenses and micro lens arrays, fiber and fiber arrays, micro sensors, and much more.

FLIR is the global leader in the design and manufacture of innovative, high-performance digital cameras for industrial, medical and life science, traffic, biometric, GIS, and people-counting applications. The company designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes technologies that bring innovative sensing solutions into daily life through thermal-imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, and much more.

The company’s Firefly camera is small, light, and uses low power—ideal for embedding into compact, handheld and portable devices. Included are core machine-vision capabilities like global-shutter CMOS and essential machine-vision features such as GPIO, triggering, and partial image modes. For biomedical applications, it offers low read noise, high quantum efficiency to deliver high-quality image performance, and accurate results. FLIR supports customers requiring FDA certification. For unmanned aerial systems (UAS,) the Firefly is provided with a global-shutter CMOS image sensor for sharp and accurate images while moving. At 20 g of mass, consuming only 1.5 W of power, users get maximum flight time. The unit’s vibration resistance provides the user with high reliability during operation.

For high-accuracy eye tracking, the Firefly offers 60-FPS capability. Near-infrared sensitivity enables it to use lower power illumination. At an ultra-compact 27- × 27-mm footprint, this camera is ideal for small footprint applications.

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