Finalists were announced on Friday, November 2nd for the inaugural LEAP Awards Motion Control Category. The competition was scored by a panel of independent engineering judges. The judges below were responsible for the Motion Control category.
Dan Jones • President | Incremotion Associates
Dan Jones started as a production worker at a motor company in the late 1950s, balancing ac squirrel cage rotors and pressing shafts into rotors. He earned his BSEE from Hofstra University in 1965 and a Master’s in Math from Adelphi University in 1969. He has more than 50 years’ experience as a motor design engineer, manager, chief engineer, marketing director, vice president of marketing, and consultant.
Jones is experienced in custom motion marketing activities, surveys and strategic planning meetings and is a Life member of IEEE. He employs SPEED and MotorCAD for the design of all types of linear, radial, flux, and axial flux machines, PM brushless, switched reluctance and induction machines. Jones is the author of more than 250 seminars, papers and technical articles on a wide range of motion control subjects. He was project manager for the design and development of six specialty DC motors used on the two Mars Viking Landers in 1976.
Karl H. Schultz • President | Schultz Associates
Karl Schultz is the President of Schultz Associates, specializing in manufacturing and technical management consulting in the electric motor industry. He is also considered an expert in implementing lean/world class business processes.
Schultz is an experienced hands-on manufacturing management consultant who has had both line and staff positions in the electric motor industry. He was the division Director of Manufacturing Engineering for Emerson Electric for 10 years, supporting four plants in the U.S. and Mexico. He was then the Business Director of Manufacturing Engineering at GE Motors for three years. Consulting has taken him worldwide in many various successful projects. He has more than 25 years in the electric motor industry.
Schultz holds a BSME in Machine Design from Western Michigan University. He was a member of the Electrical Manufacturing and Coil Winding Association, serving as the VP and a Board member. He is a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and a past member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He has received numerous awards such as Best Industry award (General Signal), Most Valuable Player award (BMI), performance awards (GE Corporate & Motors), and others. He is an adjunct instructor at the Oregon Institute of Technology – Wilsonville … teaching junior and senior level management courses such as Lean/6 Sigma and Organizational Behavior.
Tom Solon | RH Murphy Co. Inc.
Tom Solon has a diverse engineering background in roles as both an OEM and supplier, spanning many industries, from housewares and consumer products, to semiconductor manufacturing and medical equipment technology. A recognized authority in linear motion products, plastics, and semiconductor handling, Tom has authored numerous articles and technical papers.
Tom earned his BSME in Machine Design and BA in Economics from Brown University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He devotes much of his free time to public education as a school board member and technical education advisory board member.
Michael Torres • Chief Avionics Support Equipment Engineer | Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Div. Point Mugu
Michael Torres’ technical expertise is the design, development, and testing of advanced avionics (flyable electronics) that meet speed, size, weight, and power requirements of these systems. He focuses on the development of software mathematical algorithms to facilitate design solutions that meet these requirements.
Torres has developed and patented automated test systems for avionic systems and their test equipment. He holds nine Navy patents and is an expert in the development of manufacturing fixtures that simply the manufacturing of components, reducing the manpower requirements and producing better and more repeatable results.
Torres holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering specializing in Electronic Warfare from the Naval Post Graduate School, a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of California at Santa Barbara, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from UCLA.
Below are descriptions of the Motion Control finalists. The overall winner will be announced at an awards dinner on December 11th in Costa Mesa, Calif.
ElectroCraft • RPX and LRPX
The ElectroCraft RPX and LRPX family of brushless DC motors and integrated gear motors are designed to optimize motion applications across markets where high torque is needed from a quiet, small, but powerful motor form factor. The RPX is powerful, energy efficient, highly controllable, and durable. It is a powerhouse of a motor that offers more torque density than other BLDC motors in relation to its small size. The RPX family offers a broad range of options from the RPX22, a 22-mm diameter motor that offers 25.2 oz.in of torque, to the RPX52, offering a whopping 184 oz-in. torque from a 52-mm diameter motor that is only 57 mm in length.
For even more demanding high torque applications, ElectroCraft presents the LRPX family which offer an integrated planetary gearbox optimized to work with the multi-pole RPX technology. While traditional BLDC motors spin too fast to work effectively with traditional gearboxes, the LRPX is designed for peak operation at relatively low BLDC speed that pairs perfectly with the integrated gearbox. The integrated LRPX gearmotor is also quiet due to its construction and relatively low speed of operation. Learn more at this deep link on electrocraft.com.
GAM Enterprises • Zero backlash gearbox
The GPL Series is a zero-backlash planetary gearbox. It has a high ratio helical spur input driving a conical spur gear planetary stage. A unique, patented mechanism on the conical planet gears continuously presses the planet gears into the ring gear to maintain zero backlash for the lifetime of the gearbox.
High torsional rigidity results in < 0.6 arc-min. of lost motion at start up. The GPL comes in seven sizes with either a solid flanged output (GPL-F) or a hollow flanged output (GPL-H). The GPL-H uses five planet gears to achieve a through hole for feeding power or air lines to the output. The GPL has a high torque density of 58-73 Nm/kg for high performance in a small gearbox. The gearbox is rated for a fully-loaded life of 20,000 operating hours.
Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions • 15-mm Linear Actuator
The Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions LE15 can-stack actuator offers precision linear motion in a compact and powerful package with the ease of use of a stepper motor. The base of the actuator is a 15mm diameter can-stack style stepper motor with integrated precision lead screw. The construction of the motor is such that it can sustain axial loads not typically seen with standard rotary motors, and still achieve industry leading power density for a can-stack style motor. The lead screw is offered in a 2 mm diameter with several lead options. For increased efficiency and life Kerkote TFE low friction coating is applied to the lead screw. The ZBM anti-backlash lead nut compensates for wear and backlash to provide a high degree of bidirectional linear precision. The result is a highly compact precision linear actuator.
A common trend is a need to reduce overall package size while maintaining a certain level of force output within a linear motion application. There are several drivers for this, but generally the need is the same, facilitating precise linear motion in smaller spaces. The manufacturer has addressed this need by miniaturizing an existing can-stack actuator line and its radially compensated line of lead nuts. The result is the world’s smallest commercially available linear actuator with the world’s smallest commercially available anti-backlash nut.
The LE15 linear actuator is a great choice for linear motion applications where space is at a premium and precise motion control is required. In addition to having high force density compared to other similarly sized products such as piezoelectric motors, the LE15 actuator is low cost and simple to use. Typical applications include medical equipment, semiconductor handling, valve control, optics focusing, X-Y tables, handheld instruments, and many more. In addition to standard configurations, Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions can, and often will customize the design of the actuators to meet specific application requirements.
The LE15 linear actuator is an enabling technology, without it some products would never make it to market. Often miniaturization of motion components comes at a high cost which can kill a project or product budget before the design gets off the ground.
Kinitics Automation • KLA05 Linear Actuator
The KLA05 Linear Actuator is a shape memory alloy-based actuator that uses proprietary Bundled Wire technology to deliver high force and actuation speed in a small package. The product is the first commercially available linear actuator using shape memory alloy to provide precise linear motion without the use of motors and requires only electrical power to operate. This breakthrough product allows users to upgrade and improve existing systems, while also enabling the automation and control of processes that were previously unfeasible using conventional equipment.
The new Kinitics KLA05 Linear Actuator provides forces up to 650 N (146 lbf) and strokes up to 6.7 mm, can be easily configured to supply a pushing or pulling force, and fits in a variety of applications. Position control is possible through the addition of a linear sensor while force control is possible through use of a strain gauge. Due to its use of shape memory alloy and Kinitics’ proprietary Bundled Wire technology, the KLA05 Linear Actuator offers a number of features and benefits that distinguish it from other types of actuators, including: positional accuracy of ±5 µm; requires minimal infrastructure to operate; and has only one moving part and no backlash.
Built inside a frame that conforms to the ISO 21287 standard, the KLA05 is compatible with a wide variety of rod-end attachments and mounting brackets. The frame features industry-standard 5 mm T-slots that permit easy mounting of proximity switches and non-contact position sensors. The product is both watertight and dustproof, making it suitable for use in harsh environments, and can be powered with standard 120 VAC power or sub-50 VDC power which can be delivered through flying leads or SJOOW cable hook-up.
Lin Engineering • Miniature Hybrid Step Motor
Lin Engineering’s new PT106 Hybrid Step Motor measures just 16 mm (0.63 in.) in width. In the past, this frame size was only possible to achieve with a less accurate, and less powerful permanent magnet (PM) motor. PT106 offers all of the benefits of a hybrid stepper, and none of the drawbacks of a PM motor. PT106 outperforms PM motors in all metrics: it’s more powerful, more accurate, offers higher speeds, and wider dynamic torque range.
The PT106 is able to achieve up to 2.1 oz-in of holding torque without the aid of a gearbox, which is 70% more holding torque of the closest competing design, or 4x more torque than a conventional PM motor of similar size. When paired with the manufacturer’s gearbox, the motor is capable of producing up to 8 oz-in of holding torque.
maxon precision motors • Exoskeleton Joint Actuator
The global Exoskeleton market is growing in both market share and technological developments at a rapid rate each year. Maxon motor worked with several global customers to design and develop brushless DC motor solutions for use in robotic limbs. The Exoskeleton joint actuator is for use in hip and knee exoskeletons. A complete joint actuation unit includes a pancake brushless DC motor (EC90 flat) with inertia optimized rotor, an
Internal high-resolution 4096 MILE Encoder, a planetary gearhead with absolute encoder and an EPOS4 position controller with CAN and RS232interface.
Fitting the 17bit SSI absolute encoder directly at the joint rotation to a degree will negate the effect of gearhead backlash … giving designers increased positioning accuracy. The unit will deliver54Nm of continuous torque and 120Nm on a 20% duty cycle. The system can be operated on supplies between 10 and 50V DC and the actuation speed is up to 22 rpm. The wide variety of different operating modes provides high flexibility in testing and optimizing of the entire exoskeleton system.
AMETEK • Windjammer Pro Brushless Blowers
The Windjammer PRO solves many customer issues related to temperature. The unique cooling design allows customer to run the blower fast resulting in increased performance. The blower also had a new bearing protection design to enhance the life of the blower. It Also has a decreased sound level due to the redesign in cooling. From the manufacturer:
Currently, we have several units sent to customers globally. We initially began design work after hearing about the problems listed above. Once we developed our first prototype, we were able to then work with a few select customers to test and understand the nuances of their products and how to adapt our new design to meet customer needs. We are still developing new designs to fit all of the needs of our customers. These designs are evolutions of the original Windjammer PRO and can be used in the same manner as the original.
To design this new blower, we used 3D printing and modeling for testing out our new designs. This helped us to reduce the amount of raw materials needed and find the right design to meet our customer needs. We also did several tests before our product was released to our beta customers.
End users are seeing value in drop-in replacements to their current blower model, a decrease in the number of SKUs purchased because the manufacturer can tune these blowers to work with generally accepted voltages around the world. There are also several electronic enhancements that allow the customer to easily have the blower retuned on site while still in their product.
Oriental Motor USA • Battery-Free Multi-Rotation Absolute Mechanical Encoder
In recent years, greater accuracy, better reliability, and safety are demanded of motors, especially motors used in critical positioning applications. Such systems typically utilize servo motors with encoder feedback along with battery backup, allowing it to perform closed loop absolute control. From these requirements, a battery-free, multi-rotation absolute mechanical encoder was developed. The AlphaStep AZ Series, a closed loop system, adopted this type of sensor and is currently on the market today.