Miniature spindle for linear positioning tasks

The maxon GP 6 S spindle gear

The maxon GP 6 S spindle gear

The maxon GP 6 S spindle gear

The GP 6 S micro spindle gear has a diameter of six millimeters and is now also available in a metal version to provide a spindle drive with optimized value.

Spindle drives are the perfect solution for linear positioning systems, lens adjustment, or syringe pumps. If the drive also has to be compact, then maxon motor’s GP 6 S spindle gear is the perfect choice. To provide a cost-effective alternative to the ceramic version, it is now also available with a metal spindle.

Combinations with maxon DC motors

The GP 6 S spindle gear is suitable for a wide variety of linear drive solutions. The maximum feed velocity is 15 mm/s, at a force of 10 N. Integrated ball bearings ensure that this drive stands up to high axial loads. The gear easily combines with the maxon DC brushed motor (RE 6) and DC brushless motor (EC 6).

More data and details about the new metal version of the GP 6 S spindle gear are available online at


Training robots revolutionize therapy

Image © Dynamic Devices

Image © Dynamic Devices

When two Swiss robotics engineers developed a new computer-controlled leg press, they were thinking of athletes as their main target audience. Then it turned out that their Soft Robotic Training was surprisingly effective in the rehabilitation therapy of injuries and other physical conditions.

The device has little in common with the leg presses you see in gyms. Of course there is a seat and two pedals, but that is where the similarities end. Taking a seat on the Allegro (for Adaptive Leg Robot) means entering into the care of a unique, soft-robotic training partner. It is equipped with state-of-the-art industrial drive and safety components and a learning computer system. Human and machine work closely together – with astonishing results.

A pneumatic muscle is the core
Allegro is the brainchild of robotics experts Max Lungarella and Raja Dravid, founders of the company Dynamic Devices AG. They developed the first Allegro prototype in 2007 at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich.

Their goal was to build a high-tech device for athletes, a highly dynamic machine that monitors and analyzes all workout sessions and makes suggestions for the next exercise. The core of the device is a pneumatic muscle that is able to deliver large forces to the pedals very quickly. This enables the machine to be used for a variety of challenging exercises.

Example: By pressing or pulling in with their legs, the user has to stay close to a line displayed on the screen. At the same time, the computer amplifies the effective forces, either gently or in the form of impacts. The user has to compensate these forces continuously, which is demanding but extremely effective. Not just the body is trained, but also the brain. “Our system supports this kind of dynamic interaction”, says Max Lungarella. The concept works even better than the two developers had at first imagined.

“Our system supports the dynamic interaction between brain and body.”
Max Lungarella, Dynamic Devices

More or less by chance, the two discovered that their training system had great effects on patients with neuro-muscular disorders or orthopedic conditions. On the Allegro machine, a number of patients were able to move their legs again in ways that didn’t seem possible. Stroke patients also made great progress in the restoration of their motor skills. These effects have now been corroborated in studies – a fact that motivated the developers of the softrobotic training device to focus primarily on rehabilitation. This is where maxon motors enter the stage.

In order to certify the Allegro as a medical device, it needed a critical safety feature: an adjustable stop that prevents the press from going past a certain angle. This is to protect the patient, especially those who are no longer able to fully bend their knees. A brushless EC 45 DC motor takes care of the individual positioning of the safety stop. Absolute reliability is an important, if not the most vital criteria for the drive. “With a maxon motor, we can be certain that this requirement is being fulfilled”, says Lungarella. Other important points include the compact design and integrated electronics of the flat motor.

Successful combination of drive and controller

Another maxon flat motor, an EC 90 with an outside rotor, is in charge of automatic seat positioning. Dynamic Devices combined the brushless motor with a planetary drive and an ESCON 50/5 servo controller. maxon drives are a key component of this training device, providing comfort and safety to the patient.

Success through a playful approach
Despite being a relatively new company, Dynamic Devices has achieved considerable success. Engineers, scientists, physicians, and therapists have collaborated to create a training device that gives many patients new hope for an improvement of their motor abilities. The decisive factor is the training aspect, which was traditionally relegated to a relatively minor role in rehabilitation therapy. If you sit down on the Allegro, you can expect to be challenged. If users are motivated to become better and score higher, their performance improves faster. Motivation is important, and that is why Dynamic Devices focuses on a playful approach. When patients use the pedals to control a simulated penguin sliding down a hill on its belly, trying to score as high as possible, they almost forget about the physical effort.

Some hospitals and rehabilitation centers are already using the new robotics-based training with more soon to follow. The next step is an expansion into the entire Eurozone. In addition, Max Lungarella and Raja Dravid are working to make their soft-robotic training device even more intelligent.

A brushless DC motor for demanding operating room applications

A sterilizable EC-4pole 30 from maxon motor

A sterilizable EC-4pole 30 from maxon motor

A sterilizable EC-4pole 30 from maxon motor

maxon’s new brushless electric motor, the EC-4pole 30, delivers high torque (106 mNm) and is sterilizable – a perfect drive for hand-held surgical tools.

Swiss drive specialist maxon motor has developed a robust brushless DC motor for hand-held surgical tools: the EC-4pole 30. Featuring two pole pairs, this DC motor provides a nominal torque of 106 mNm and an output of 150 W. It has a hermetically sealed rotor, meaning that it can withstand over 1000 autoclave cycles.

Need to operate at overload? No problem!

The EC-4pole 30 is equipped with the special ironless maxon winding, which makes it highly efficient. Another key feature is that the torque and current behave linearly and the drive can be overloaded. It is available with an optional Hall sensor, as well as with a hollow shaft with a diameter of up to 4.1 millimeters.

With the EC-4pole 30, engineers get a first-class drive for surgical hand tools that work flawlessly under the tough conditions of operating rooms.

maxon offers a complete line of dc brushed and brushless motors, gearheads and controllers. Contact us to help find the right solution for your application.

Gearhead Selection

Learn how to select the best gearhead for your application needs with Dr. Urs Kafader of the maxon academy

Brushless DC motors for down hole and directional drilling.

Directional Drilling

Directional Drilling

The recovery of petroleum and natural gas requires constant innovation and improvement of technology. This technology used for deep drilling processes are exposed to extreme environmental conditions. Temperatures of 200+°C, high pressure and extreme shock and vibration. Brushless DC motor technology from maxon motor is utilized in various drilling applications, hydraulic valve control, communication mechanisms and measuring instrumentation.

Today over 85 percent of the world’s energy use is based on fossil fuel sources such as coal, oil and gas. However, reaching these resources requires the need to drill deeper than ever before which is not a simple exercise. Down hole deep drilling equipment opens the possibility of recovering resources from depths greater than 2.5km. Recent developments allowing down hole drilling equipment to be directionally controlled has given access to formerly inaccessible oil reserves. Now drilling to 5km down and 11km across is even possible.

Extremely tough environmental conditions are commonplace globally for drilling equipment, the demands on the drill head in particular are at their highest. Brushed and brushless DC motors need to withstand the intense vibration, pressure and heat. The heavy duty brushless DC motor range produced by maxon motor are not only designed for but are rated and tested to meet these conditions. Combined with new electronics technology they allow for improved control and monitoring of drilling procedures.

Mud flow power and more.

Using magnetic couplings a back driven motor becomes a generator. Using the mud flow for the drill turbine the brushless DC motor power is then harnessed for localized electronics in the drill head avoiding the need for batteries. The drill head position can also be detected and adjusted on the fly. This process is called Measurement While Drilling (MWD). This technology converts sensor data into pulses that are transmitted to the drilling platform. maxon heavy duty motors can actuate the mechanism, forming the communication pulses. maxon heavy duty DC motors also actuate hydraulic valves within the drill head.

Heavy Duty Brushless DC Motor. © 2012 maxon motor

Heavy Duty Brushless DC Motor. © 2012 maxon motor

maxon heavy duty motors are also available with corresponding gearboxes. The gearboxes are manufactured with the same extreme operating environments in mind. The applications typically require elevated torque for very low duty cycles. For example: Generating the mud pulses and actuating the hydraulic valves. A unique feature of the heavy duty gearbox is the through holes in the gear housing. These are ports that allow the gearhead to be submerged in oil and they facilitate the possibility for oil to circulate through the gearbox and provide elevated heat-sinking. The heavy duty DC motor also contains the oil ports and may also be used submerged in oil or in free air. The gearmotors are manufactured entirely without structural adhesives giving it the capability of withstanding extreme temperatures. This is also of particular importance when using the motor in vacuum conditions avoiding the contamination of the vacuum via outgassing. The heavy duty motor range is designed to withstand temperatures over 240°C at pressures up to 1,733 atmospheres. They can withstand vibrations to 25 Grms, impacts to 100 G.

High efficiency DC motors at great depths
The maxon heavy duty motor range features efficiencies of up to 88% in air and over 70% submerged in oil. This makes it an ideal solution for any extreme environment such as aerospace and heavy industry. They have zero cogging making them easy to control and suitable for precise positioning.

Pancake Motors

Paul McGrath, Sales Engineer, discusses maxon’s line of dc brushless pancake motors. These motors feature external rotors and shafts and are available with or without Hall Sensors. They are ideal for use in robotics applications.

maxon’s ESCON Controllers

Roger Hess, Sales Engineer, discusses maxon’s line of ESCON motor controllers. These controllers were designed for dc brushed and brushless motors. You can configure the drive using maxon’s ESCON studio.

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