Size really does matter when it comes to direct-drive linear actuators. The smaller the actuator, the more that can be crammed side-by-side into the tight spots normally occupied by pneumatic cylinders or ball screws. But size isn't everything. Force and acceleration capabilities matter too. So does ease-of-installation. Copley Controls has just developed a compact actuator that balances all of these needs. Sized to mount on 28-mm centers, the new ServoTube Model STA11 is the company's most compact direct-drive linear actuator to date. Yet it's no weakling. The STA11, which has an 11-mm thrust rod, offers a peak force of 92N and continuous force of 23.5N. It has maximum velocity of 5.6 m/sec, accelerates instrumentation-type loads to 25g, and provides a 14- to 232-mm stroke. Read more about the new actuator here, including comments from one of the first engineers to use it.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.