Nature inspiring robotics.

For many, many years nature has inspired engineers in evolving and enhancing technology to create powerful and proficient robots. Here are some examples of current creative developments.

Birds, Dogs, Snakes and Elephants are just some of the animals inspiring mechatronic engineers to design state of the art robots. Here maxon takes a closer look.

The bionic bird A French company has developed a bionic bird toy that can be controlled with a smartphone. A lightweight 9 grams, the bird can achieve speeds of up to 20 km/h and has a range covering more than 100 metres. The bird presents an alternative to propeller drones.

bionic bird

ANYmal Engineers at ETH Zurich developed a four-legged robot that was made for very harsh conditions and can move autonomously. Since its inception in 2009, ANYmal has evolved into machine that can conquer inclines, run, jump and press elevator buttons. Using laser sensors and cameras, the robot continuously creates a map of its terrain, knows where it is and navigates through the changing landscape. Weighing around 30 kg it can carry a payload up to 10kg and run for 2 hours on a fully charged battery. The future use for the ANYmal is expected for inspections, rescue operations or the entertainment industry.

anymal

The underwater snake A modular underwater robot snake has been developed for use in inspections, maintenance and repair work reaching distances and places that conventional underwater robots are unable to reach. The robot is flexible and has moving connecting parts with the option of mounting tools. Inside the connecting modules are maxon brushless DC motors with customised gearheads. The underwater robot has been in constant development for 10 years with the current model reliant on a cable. Future versions include keeping the robot on the bottom of the ocean indefinitely at a docking station from where it can launch into action when needed.

underwater snake

SnakeBot This robot was named so because it moves like a snake. With a diameter of 6cm it can fit into narrow spaces making it suitable for inspection in unstable environments such as after earthquakes. With independent modules the SnakeBot can also climb up plant legs and posts. There are approx.. 20 maxon EC20 flat brushless motors in the snake, selected for both their high torque and ability to withstand short periods of overload.

snakebot

BionicMotionRobot This robot is modelled on an octopus’s tentacles and elephant’s trunk. With skin made of innovative fibre technology this robot offers flexible movement that can bend in three different directions at the same time. The robot is pneumatic and lightweight with 12 degrees of freedom and can carry up to three kilos of payload.

octophant

For further information on any of these examples please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

 

Shining a light on motor applications.

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Brushless flat DC motor with hollow bore for air and light transmission.

Today we exhibit a new motor development featuring a Brushless DC (BLDC) flat motor. Flat motors are also commonly referred to as pancake motors. This unit has a body length of just 38mm and an output power of over 157W and 6000rpm at the shaft in the application. The average motor power rating for the series across 6 variants is 100W. The overall motor diameter is 68mm and it can be supplied with or without protective covers for IP rating. The motor is available with an internal encoder with resolutions up to 16,384qc per revolution making it suitable as a rotary stage of robotic joint actuator. The unique feature though is the motors hollow shaft. This is to enable customers to pass light or air through the bore of the motor. Air transmission is a common requirement for packaging and placement machinery and light or fibre is a common requirement for film and camera gimbal applications. This motor was also manufactured with the customers shaft length and bore specifications in combination with a custom rear shaft extension at the rear from the motor rotor.

Contact maxon motor Australia for motor specifications or assistance with a custom solution Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

 

Brushless DC flat motors – in parts.

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maxon motor Australia’s new frameless DC motor and encoder set allows even further miniaturisation and integration. The new motors meet the increasing need for smaller robotic actuation by assembling individual parts directly into the robotic joint.

This is the new frameless brushless DC motor (BLDC) with a diameter of 45mm and an assembled depth of just 23.7mm, it has a continuous rating of 50W. 70W and 130W versions are also available. The frameless design is particularly suitable for processing machine or rotary stage manufacturers who need a large through bore to pass cabling or tubing. For positioning a high resolution magnetic encoder ring also with the same bore as the motor rotor is also supplied as components. The encoder ring is marked with the zero position to allow alignment with the motor zero commutation point in the application and is available in IP rated, absolute and incremental options. The combination gives a low profile large bore positioning system made up from standard parts with shorter lead times than specialty manufactured complete assemblies. The second advantage is for space saving in applications already containing joint actuation bearings or mounting systems there is no need for a second set within the motor.

Contact maxon motor Australia for assistance with brushless frameless DC motors. Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

 

Maxon release new product: flat BLDC motor with cables.

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Driven by customer demand, maxon release modifications to their flat / pancake motors.

maxon motor have altered the EC45 and EC90 flat BLDC motors. Now with the option to add cables with a pre-mounted connector by default and in combination with the integrated MILE encoder. The motors offered are the EC 45 flat in 50 & 70 W versions or 30 W by request. The EC 90 flat 160 W and 260 W is now available in cable version. The cable versions feature a much smaller footprint by eliminating excess PCB overhang from the side of the motor.

The flat design of the brushless DC flat motors makes them ideal for many applications, particularly robotics and industrial automation. Offering internal or external rotor motors, the flat BLDC motors are perfect for when space is limited being small and lightweight but with powerful torque. The simple and considered design means that production is largely automated, keeping prices as low as possible.

For more information contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Brushless DC motor with gear and holding brake.

This brushless DC motor is an example of the new small part combinations from maxon motor Australia that provide increased levels of power density. The unique assembly provides a blend of high speed, zero motor cogging and holding power.

The servo mechanism consists of a stainless steel high power BLDC (brushless DC) 120W 36V 22mm motor which is capable of maximum speeds up to 25,000 rpm and a stall torque rating of over 1Nm. It is fitted with a 22mm ceramic planetary gearhead that further increases the torque and brings the speed down to the application engineers required levels. For holding overhung loads or maintaining position in power cycles the rear of the motor has been re-engineered to accommodate a 0.1Nm holding brake. The brake force multiplied with the gearhead ratio gives holding forces well beyond nominal gearhead ratings. The brake opening reaction time is ≤6ms. This fast response allows the brake to be sequenced in dynamic positioning systems making the new combination particularly suitable for robotic rotary and linear actuators.

To facilitate the customisation of new products like this brushless servomechanism, maxon motor project engineers are now split into dedicated aerospace, medical, industrial and transportation teams. For assistance developing a customised application solution please contact maxon motor Australia on +61 2 9457 7477.

Brisbane Boys College creating robots and beating experts at their own game

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Created by Year 12 students from Brisbane are soccer-playing machines that achieved first place at famed international competition, RoboCup.

Brisbane Boy’s College (BBC) has a dedicated robotics program with teams participating in regional, state, national, Asia-Pacific and international Robotic competitions. In 2017, five participants from BBC formed a team and visited Nagoya, Japan for the annual RoboCup competition. And they beat the best of the best with their soccer-playing robot.

Weighing just over 1 kg, the robots had to be remotely operated meaning everything had to be programmed and no human touch was allowed. To win the world superteam champions lightweight category for under-19s, the boys’ robots acted as either goalie or striker against, and with, machines from other countries. The Chinese team had the fastest robots and received the highest score for gameplay but Australia won on accuracy and coding. Maxon DCX motors and gearheads are in the wheels of the robot. Maxon motor Australia is a proud supporter of BBC.

Team captain and ex-soccer player, Lachlan Grant, said the programming and circuit board building was extremely complex, and it was nice to see their win make news for the school, traditionally renowned for rugby and tennis. Master in Charge Colin Noy said the boys’ skills were so good the school gets former students, now at university, to coach instead of teachers. “In fact, one European university lecturer attending the championships told us the programming level of our students was higher than most of his Masters students,” Mr Noy said.

“Our robots were to the most responsive and most accurate in the competition.”

To watch the BBC robots at play click on this YouTube link. For more information on DC motors in robotic applications contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

 

Robots for playing soccer through to disaster relief

Rescue robot

At the international RoboCup, maxon motors featured in robots playing soccer and in mock recovery operations.

At the end of July 2017, more than 3,000 participants from 42 countries participated in the annual RoboCup competition held in Nagoya, Japan.

maxon had inbuilt motors and controllers in a rescue robot developed by the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences that placed seventh out of 20 competitors. Scoring high marks for the light design and system approach, the robot contained several DC motor, gearbox and encoder combinations. Using the EC-4 pole brushless motor with 200W power as a base, the motor operated the chains propelling the robot forward. The camera arm of the robot also contained eight maxon DEC 50/5 modules on circuit boards and four 70/10 ESCON controllers for the gripper arm. The machines acted in a simulated disaster scenario carrying out rescue operations and were evaluated based on their performance.

At the other end of the contest was the Soccer finale, with the two competing robots both containing maxon drives. The University of Bonn developed an 18kg, 135 cm robot supported by an exoskeleton that was 3D printed called “NimbRo”. Maxon DC motors were integrated into an actuator drive system developed by a South Korean company. The competitor’s robot, named “Sweaty” and developed by Offenburg University, contained 24 maxon DC motors and gearheads. 18 of these drives were fitted with an overload motor controller and a further two were fitted with an evaporative cooling system to prevent overheating. This cooling system is similar to the way humans sweat hence the name “Sweaty”. NimbRo won 11-1.

For more information on DC motors to develop robotic applications contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

 

 

 

Autonomous delivery vehicles …..coming soon!

delivery robot

Swiss start-up company TeleRetail is testing a prototype delivery robot that delivers groceries/ small packages autonomously.

Called “mobile trunks” these autonomous delivery robots are small containers on wheels equipped with sensors, intelligent software and powerful maxon DC motors. Made and designed to travel autonomously, reliably and without obstructing or endangering anyone, these small robots reduce congestion on the roads and are more economic to run than an electric car.

Maxon brushless DC motors, the EC 90 flat, features in the mobile trunks. Developed in conjunction with maxon engineers since 2016 the vehicle is still in it’s infancy. Before these delivery robots can be produced en-masse, laws need to change. Currently these types of delivery robots can only move around with the use of special permits away from the large bustling cities.

For assistance with your application please contact maxon motor tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

 

maxon establishes collaborative innovation lab.

LucerneUniSciences-Driven

maxon motor have formed an innovation lab with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts has entered a partnership with maxon motor headquarters by setting up an R&D lab on campus. Perfectly married where the University contributes its R&D expertise in the fields of robotics, mechatronics and embedded systems; and maxon motor will supply DC motors and accessories alongside practical experience. The aim is to develop intelligent mechatronic systems at the grass-roots level.

For more information please contact maxon motor tel. + 61 2 9457 7477.

Maxon expands offering with acquisition of zub machine control AG.

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maxon is expanding its product portfolio to include intelligent multi-axis controllers, taking a step further to becoming a one-stop system provider.

Well respected Swiss company zub machine control AG has joined maxon motor effective immediately. Zub has 30 years’ experience focusing on multi-axis controllers and motion control in the field of industrial automation. The products compliment maxon’s controllers, allowing maxon to offer its customers complete solutions such as power supply (batteries, battery management) from a single source. The first integrated project is with maxon’s BIKEDRIVE, an e-bike solution for pedelecs and s-pedelecs consisting of a rear motor, battery and the controller.

For more information please call maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.