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Motion, Drives and Automation

NSK low-friction ball bearings increase energy efficiency

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The use of low-friction ball bearings in drive systems serves to increase energy efficiency and reduce operational noise. Bearings of this type will also reduce heat generation, which in turn helps to extend service life. Based on concepts such as optimised raceway geometry and special sealing concepts, NSK has developed several series of ball bearings that offer significantly lower friction characteristics. Low-friction bearings from NSK achieve significantly less  frictional torque than conventional bearings of the same type

When looking to design energy-efficient drive systems, engineers should always ensure that they take the rolling bearings into account. The inherent friction which occurs from the motion of the rolling elements on raceways, as well as the contact of conventional seals, can compromise drive efficiency. As a result, NSK low-friction rolling bearings feature, among other attributes, proprietary geometry that reduces the contact surface between the balls and raceways. In addition, fibreglass-reinforced polyamide cages and high-performance lubricants can provide a significant contribution to lowering frictional torque.

Production processes are another important factor in the creation of low-friction ball bearings. Here, any roughness in the bearing raceway is likely to impair lubrication, increase running noise and generate greater friction. This is why the raceways of NSK ball bearings undergo a bespoke honing process that is designed to deliver an extremely smooth running surface.

With regard to seal technology, the non-contact labyrinth design developed and patented by NSK ensures efficient sealing properties without increasing frictional torque or operating temperature. This is vitally important in applications where any loss of performance is deemed to be particularly detrimental. NSK ball bearings featuring non-contact labyrinth seals offer high-speed capability comparable with shielded bearings, while at the same time providing important protection in harsh operating environments. A variety of other sealing options are available depending on application requirements.

Market demand for low-friction ball bearings comes from sectors such domestic appliance, especially washing machines, where manufacturers declaring a favourable efficiency class enjoy a distinct competitive edge. The automotive industry is also making marked strides towards increasing the energy efficiency of its on-vehicle drive mechanisms. By way of example, the recent adoption of low-friction deep groove ball bearings at an NSK customer made it possible to reduce frictional torque by 47% in comparison with commonly-used standard ball bearings of the same type.

I manage the editorial affairs for MONETA Tanıtım, which produces specific publishing, specially for the sphere, Turkey industry. We work for content development through digital and print media, with a new generation, dynamic publishing intellection.

Motion, Drives and Automation

New NORDBLOC.1 BEVEL GEAR UNITS with 50 Nm

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With the two-stage NORDBLOC.1 bevel gear unit, NORD launched high performance, washdown-optimised aluminium drives for hygienic applications. Now, the drive specialist expands its successful series with smaller gear units for torques up to 50 Nm and thereby offers an efficient alternative to worm gear units – for example for smaller conveyor belts.

The new SK 9×0072.1 series has a power range from 0.12 to 1.1 kW and covers speed ratios from 3.03 to 47.67 : 1. The two-stage helical bevel gear units are characterised by high efficiencies, compact design, top reliability and long working life. The high-strength aluminium housing guarantees high rigidity and maximum durability with low weight. Additionally, the modular design provides wide application flexibility due to numerous application and mounting options.

There are two models available: SK 920072.1 and SK 930072.1. The open housing of SK 920072.1 is lightweight but nevertheless very solid due to its construction. This variant is available with a universal foot flange version. With its closed housing, the SK 930072.1 is particularly suited for applications with stringent requirements for hygiene and cleanliness. Additional protection is provided by the optionally available nsd tupH surface treatment. The standard version is equipped with a B14 flange. All versions are available with solid or hollow shafts. The motor can be mounted directly without a coupling or adapter (IEC or NEMA). Accessories including torque arms, flanges, covers and fastening elements from the UNIVERSAL series may also be used for this gear unit.

The new, compact and flexible NORDBLOC 1 bevel gear units are particularly suited for intralogistics and packaging technology, and thanks to their washdown design may also be advantageous for the food and beverage industry. The LogiDrive combines these new NORDBLOC.1 gear units with an energy-efficient IE4 synchronous motor and the NORDAC LINK field distributor for an optimally matched drive system. These standardised geared motor variants are highly efficient, and thanks to Plug & Play technology they are extremely maintenance-friendly and benefit from a considerable reduction of spare part stocks, which also results in the reduction of versions.

 

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Motion, Drives and Automation

Precision temperature control for manufacturing

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It can be a challenge to maintain efficiency in manufacturing processes that rely on rapid temperature change, they are energy intensive and will often form a natural bottle-neck in an overall process. Implementing a new control strategy that is both more accurate and responsive can therefore bring improvements to both productivity and process efficiency.

Pioneering process control company Bürkert has introduced a new modular range of products offering seamless integration of sensors, precision flow measurement devices and flow control valves that can be used to create very accurate and highly responsive temperature control systems.

Temperature controlled processes are used in a number of manufacturing industries. Some varied, but relevant examples are aluminium die casting, injection moulding, extrusion processes, and a range of food manufacturing techniques. In all cases the precise and consistent control of temperature through accurate heating and cooling is very important in terms of product quality and process efficiency.

By looking at a few examples, it is possible to understand how a modular process control platform can be used to create a tailored solution for any manufacturing process. In each case the challenges are assessed, and a combination of expert design and proven technology is used to deliver the optimum solution.

Casting the die

In the manufacture of high pressure die-cast aluminium parts, tool temperatures have a significant influence on surface finish, dimensional accuracy and the amount of finishing required. At the same time, cost-effective manufacturing requires cycle times and reliability to be optimised, which leads to a need for automated systems with the fastest practical cycle times.

Optimising this process requires a highly dynamic control system that comprises precision temperature sensors, flow control valves and isolation valves that can reliably manage the fast heating and cooling rates of the thermoregulation process.  In applications that use spray cooling, it must be capable of controlling the cooling process by means of exactly regulated quantities of water, air or a mixture of the two. Similarly, tool manufacturers that need to develop complex and intricate shapes for metal and plastic moulds often use conformal cooling to ensure product quality as well as reduced cycle times.

By implementing a modular process control system, it is possible to integrate it with existing machinery and add as many sensors and control valves as necessary to deliver an ideal solution regardless of the original manufacturer. With sufficient planning and design expertise, the modular platform can also provide flexibility in the wider manufacturing process by enabling fast, efficient batch changeovers and quick adaptation for new lines.

Fantastic plastic

One of the major challenges in injection moulding is to produce parts that fall from the die ready for use and do not need additional processing. Typical examples would be high-volume precision moulded components for consumer products such as LCD screen frames, phone, laptop casings and similar items.

An important contribution towards achieving this aim is made by vario-thermal control of the injection moulding tool. Only with this technique is it possible to produce plastic parts without distortion, with the right size and with high surface quality regarding gloss, haptic properties and lack of weld lines.

The main temperature regulation challenge is to enable rapid changes between hot temperatures, around 180°C during the injection phase, and cooler temperatures of approximately 100°C. Of course, this should be achieved with low cycle times as far as possible to maintain productivity.

The key is to position the valve switching station close to the tool, so the transition from hot to cooler temperatures involves only a very small exchange of water within the system. In conjunction with accurate temperature measurement and flow control valves it is possible to create a very reliable and efficient process by implementing a modular process control platform. This enables the seamless integration of sensors, flow measurement devices and flow control valves within an existing installation.

Improving profile accuracy

Extrusion technology is used to manufacture a wide range of products using plastics and metals and the overriding objective is to produce a uniform profile without distortion or variation in the dimensions. The decisive factor in achieving this goal is maintaining the correct process temperatures, regardless of external influences.

In this example the cooling process is as important as the heating procedures and as such industrial extrusion equipment will benefit from a modular process control platform. As a complete process temperature regulation system, this solution automates the controlled heating of the extruder sections and targeted cooling in the subsequent calibration stations.

With a flexible layout, each system allows the highest levels of quality to be achieved because the number of cooling points and nozzles can be varied and each one can be equipped with a dedicated, decentralized control unit. By working with expert designers, it is possible to create bespoke temperature control systems that provide the necessary levels of flexibility and reliability.

In each of these applications there is a demand for precision control of temperature and a need to compensate for variables such as ambient temperatures, requiring the control system to adjust accordingly.

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Motion, Drives and Automation

Four-quadrant current control IC redefines motion engineering

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A ground-breaking family of compact integrated circuits (ICs) for velocity and torque control, capable of four-quadrant current control is now available from Daventry’s INMOCO.

Developed by Performance Motion Devices in Massachusetts, and launched to the world in February 2018, the *Juno® IC family of ultra-efficient and powerful velocity and torque control ICs are ideal for next-generation laboratory automation, healthcare equipment, and similar applications requiring high speed or low speed motor control.

Performance Motion Devices Juno ICs are expected to profoundly improve the ability of design engineers to achieve greater motor efficiency, precise current control, and accurate velocity profiles.

INMOCO’s Gerard Bush says: “Juno ICs deliver smooth, quiet, and efficient motor operation over a wide range of operating conditions for brushed, brushless DC, and stepper motors. As such, they will prove ideal for servo motor applications in liquid pumping or high-speed motor control.”

Until the arrival of Juno ICs, design engineers had to develop multi-component solutions. These typically require significant amounts of board space and time for firmware development; only providing limited speed control accuracy, noise and significant heat. Designers also had to create their own interface and safety protocols.

In contrast, Juno’s one-chip approach ensures safe and optimal motor performance. It includes over-current, over- and under-voltage, over-temperature, current integration limits and communication monitoring functions.

“The Juno IC’s four-quadrant control allows precise ramp up and down,” said Chuck Lewin, President of Performance Motion Devices, “There is no other velocity IC on the market today that offers this functionality. The unique combination of velocity and torque control with intelligent safety and performance monitoring delivers ultra-efficient motor control that will help our customers improve development time and system safety.”

The Juno ICs are available in 64-pin TQFP or 56-pin VQFN packages, which measure 10 mm x 10 mm or 7.2 mm x 7.2 mm respectively. The Juno ICs are easy to deploy with pre-programmed motion commands and on-board intelligence.

The family of Juno ICs are ideal for equipment such as; centrifuges, laser scanners, dialysis machines, heart assist-pumps, drug infusion systems and ventilators. The IC’s compact size, four-quadrant functionality, ultra-efficient operation, and ability to bring motor intelligence to customer systems make them ideal for many precision motor applications in other fields too.

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