A variety of aids to help design engineers incorporate the latest motion control techniques into their designs are coming out. What better way to understand and master new technologies than to jump right in and begin building systems from them? Various vendors aggregate kits with this in mind, and in some cases, slash selling prices to encourage engineers to embrace the new devices and, with luck, specify them. Here's a look at several new products.
WE ARE HERE!!!Robot localizing
What will $1795 buy? For that sum, engineers can pick up a NorthStar developers bundle from Evolution Robotics Inc. Consisting of a detector that travels with a mobile robot and a stationary infrared projector that casts invisible spots on a ceiling, the system creates a kind of indoor GPS. With it, a mobile robot can find itself. The company claims accuracy of a few centimeters and lists a fast 100 msec update cycle among the system's features. The kit includes a photonic localization module with integrated optics and two projector modules. Projectors use a collimating infrared beam generator to throw spots on a ceiling with a power of 120 mW. The modules can be connected together to produce beams of greater intensity. For a brochure describing the NorthStar system, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4396-549.
DC motor control
For about a grand, a design engineer can acquire a multi-axis, multi-motor developer's kit from Performance Motion Devices Inc.For that money, he gets a four-axis PCI-based motion card, interconnect cables, and software. The card uses PMD's Magellan motion control IC. From it, a developer can choose between four motion profiles, including S-curve, trapezoidal, velocity contouring, and electronic gearing. He can choose from among three output signals, including PWM, analog, and pulse and direction. And, by adding an amplifier and a brush- or brushless-dc motor, he can build a full motion system. Or, with the kit's Application Programming Interface he can write user applications in C or C++ languages. The kit includes the company's Pro-Motion program, a Windows-based program for exercising hardware. For a complete product selector guide that includes the company's developer kits, visit PMD's website athttp://rbi.ims.ca/4396-547.
Electric cylinder training
For a mere $150, design engineers sign up for a hands-on demonstration of electric cylinders. At the end of the day, they each carry home a Robo cylinder, software, and cable, worth $1200, courtesy of Intelligent Actuator Inc. In this way, the company hopes to wean many engineers off air power. It claims an electric cylinder uses a tenth the power of an air cylinder. It also says that electrical cylinders can hit 64 positions—with repeatability of ±.02 mm—versus an air cylinder's two. It can be programmed to deliver a push of 873N. For an introduction to the ERC Robo Cylinder and a discussion of applications, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4396-548. To sign up for a demo, call IAI at 800-736-1712 and ask for the name of your local distributor.