At the Pack Expo West show in Las Vegas next month, Danaher Corp. will be making its first major product announcement since it went on a buying spree a few years back, acquiring well-known companies in the motion arena like Pacific Scientific, Kollmorgen, and Warner Electric. These former competitors got together, and using their collective engineering acumen, developed a new brushless servo motor, known as the AKM line, which will be marketed under the Kollmorgen label. What's notable about the new motor? For one thing, it's leveraging technology that Pacific Scientific originally developed for the Segway—one of the most challenging apps for motors around, say company engineers. But that's only part of the story. "One goal was to try and get as much torque as possible in the smallest possible package," says John Stroup, Group Executive, Danaher Motion. Stroup says that in tests against competitive motors, the new AKM exhibited about 30% higher torque density. He wouldn't reveal exactly how engineers did it, but it's likely they played games with windings, magnets, and slot fill. Another goal was to develop a cell-based manufacturing strategy to make up to 12,000 different versions from a standard motor platform. The strategy reduces the likelihood that an engineer will need to order a custom product, avoiding any additional charges, says Stroup. He also expects lead times to drop significantly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
With support from National Instruments, a group of dedicated students from Connally High School in Austin, where more than 50% of the students are at risk of not graduating, have created a successful robotics team that is competing in the FIRST World Championships.
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