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.

MAXPOS 50/5 Wins Product of the Year

Medical Design Briefs - 2014 Product of the Year

Medical Design Briefs – 2014 Product of the Year

High performance positioning controller

Medical Design Briefs magazine, targeted to medical product design engineers and managers, provides readers with the latest advances in technology, materials, and regulatory issues.

Each month, Medical Design Briefs magazine publishes a Product of the Month deemed to have exceptional technical merit and practical value for its design engineering readers. At the end of the year, readers are asked to vote for one among the 12 Products of the Month that they feel was the most significant new product introduced to the engineering community in 2014.

“This year, maxon precision motors’ MAXPOS 50/5 high-performance positioning controller was a top vote-getter, earning this prestigious honor,” said Beth G. Sisk, Editor of Medical Design Briefs. “We are very proud to present the Product of the Year award to maxon precision motors for providing motion control technology that allows manufacturers to create the next generation of effective, efficient, and safe medical products.”

maxon’s MAXPOS 50/5 Positioning Controller demo Unit

Watch this demo on maxon’s NEW MAXPOS 50/5 positioning controller for brushed and brushless motors up to 250 Watts.

Interesting Application?

Do you have an interesting application using maxon motors or controllers? Let us know, and maybe it will get featured here and on our other social media pages (Facebook, Twitter & YouTube)!

maxon product range of dc brush and brushless motors and motion controllers

maxon product range of dc brush and brushless motors and motion controllers

mpm Introduces Motion Control Engineering Manager

maxon precision motors, the leading supplier of high precision drives and systems, has announced that Biren Patel will lead its Electronics program.

Biren Patel, Motion Control Engineering Manager

Biren Patel, Motion Control Engineering Manager

This is an evolving program and initiative designed to showcase maxon’s technical expertise and capabilities in the USA market for high precision motion control. Patel has been with maxon precision motors for 8 years as Applications Engineer servicing our customers with a high level of technical skills and the support needed to meet their requirements. In Patel’s new role as Motion Control Engineering Manager, he will focus on building a technically oriented electronics sales team to service the ever-growing needs of our customers.

Robotic exoskeleton: For more quality of life.

Exoskeleton by Rex Bionics

Exoskeleton by Rex Bionics

Worldwide, an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auck-land (New Zealand) has developed innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility impairment get back on their feet: the robotic exoskeleton from Rex Bionics. The integrated maxon motors ensure smooth limb movement.

Hayden Allen is a normal young man from New Zealand. He has been restricted to a wheelchair ever since a motorcycle accident damaged his spinal cord. The doctors told him that he would never walk again. But that is not the case. Hayden is one of the first users of the Rex robotic exoskeleton. The first time he tested his robotic legs, his friends told him that he should stop looking at this feet.
“I simply could not stop staring at my feet moving,” says Hayden as he describes his first steps with Rex (scan QR code below to view video). The robotic legs gave him back his quality of life and a better out-look. Locations that were previously completely inaccessible were now within reach again. In his profes-sion as a mechanic, he is now again able to perform tasks that require him to stand up, and many new opportunities are available to him in his leisure time.

Around nine years ago, the two founders of Rex Bionics, Richard Little and Robert Irving, had the idea of developing this kind of robotic legs. The reasons were obvious: Robert Irving had already been diag-nosed with multiple sclerosis and he knew he would end up in a wheelchair sooner or later. Both of the developer’s mothers are in wheelchairs, thus they knew very well what great obstacles are faced by wheelchair users. The two friends decided to use their expertise as engineers to develop a machine for people who required a wheelchair to move about. This was the start of the New Zealand-based company.

Why an exoskeleton?
Exoskeletons have been developed to help people with mobility impairment to walk. This improves their strength and endurance. Rex gives these people the ability to stand, walk, get up, turn around and sit down on their own again. Moving sideways, taking the stairs or walking on hard, flat surfaces with slopes also presents no problems. Even though the bionic legs cannot fully replace the wheelchair, the user is once again able to perform tasks standing up. Even just being able to be on the same eye level with conversations is an unbelievable experience for these people.

“We want to reach as many people as possible in the world, by using perfected technology and continuous improvements in functionality, form and usability. When we see the unbelievably emotional reactions of Rex users, every day brings us joy and that motivates the entire Rex team,” says co-founder Richard Little.

Today Rex Bionics already has two manufacturing facilities where they produce two different Rex versions for different needs: „Rehab Rex“ is intended for use in rehabilitation centers. “Rex” has been developed for private users that can now perform tasks that are not possible when sitting in a wheelchair. According to Richard Little, the largest challenge during the development process was the development of the very complex robotic platform, which also had to be very light. Furthermore one of the basic requirements was that the user, with his restricted physical abilities, has to perfectly harmonize with the externally mounted robotic legs to safely stand and walk.

The exoskeleton weighs 84 pounds, but the user does not carry any of this weight. It is operated by means of an integrated, exchangeable battery that lasts around two hours of continuous operation. Rex is controlled with a joystick and control pad – other exoskeletons frequently use sensors. A large advantage of the joystick operation is that no movement or nerve functions are required to use the exoskeleton. At approximately 3 m per minute, the Rex is not very fast, but the user can move forward very safely. They won’t loose balance – because, regardless of whether it is switched on or off, the exoskeleton always remains stable. The user can also stand in a crowded environment, like a sports event or a concert, without worrying about being pushed over. Rex also does not require the use of supporting aids such as crutches, which means that the user has full use of his arms and hands.

Ten strong motors for safe movements

Rex is a highly complex electromechanical device – each exoskeleton has thousands of precision parts, including the limbs that are controlled by a network of 29 microcontrollers. The special arrangement of microcontrollers in Rex makes it possible to move and react within seconds. The movements performed by Rex always feel smooth to the user. Motors made by maxon are responsible for ensuring that no jerky movements occur. They control all movements of the limbs, which move in the same way as a human leg. Ten DC RE 40 maxon motors are used in each exoskeleton. The RE 40 is equipped with powerful 150 W and has an efficiency of more than 90 percent. The mechanically commutated DC motors are characterized by good torque behavior, high dynamics, a very large speed range and a long service life. The heart of the motor is the globally patented ironless rotor that ensures detent-free running of the drive.

Rex Bionics chose to use the high-quality maxon motors for a good reason: Rex is a highly sensitive medical product and the safety of the users is of utmost importance.
The largest challenge, where the motors are concerned, was uniting quality, size and power in a single product. Currently Rex is being used by approximately 18 people in New Zealand, with new users joining this group every month. They can all share the feelings of Mitch Brogan: “My cheeks were aching from my constant smiling and I knew that my life has changed forever.”

Intelligent Robots for Research and Soccer

There are 20 RE-max motors of maxon in the DARwIn-OP

There are 20 RE-max motors from maxon in the DARwIn-OP

The robot named DARwIn-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence-Open Platform) is used mainly for research and education purposes. The user can easily program the robot according to his own wishes, as the system is based on open source. The very quick and precise movements of the robot are executed by maxon motors.

The robot is approx. 45 cm high, is equipped with sophisticated sensors and is able to perform dynamic movements. For example, it can walk very fast (24 cm/s and more), it can speak and listen, run processes, can balance itself and works fully autonomously. One of its biggest hobbies is playing soccer. In June 2012, Team Darwin conquered 24 international teams and won the RoboCup in Mexiko City.

The special feature of the humanoid robot is its open, modular structure that makes changes very easy. DARwIn-OP is a completely open platform; both the hardware and the software can be customized in any way desired and various software implementations are possible (C ++, Python, LabVIEW, MATLAB, etc.). Furthermore, all CAD data for the robot components and instructions for manufacturing and assembly are available online, free of charge. A computer has been built into the humanoid robot; like a normal PC, it is equipped with all customary ports such as Ethernet, USB and HDMI. Thanks to the USB camera integrated in its head, it can locate objects and thus also detect the ball during a game of soccer.

DARwIn-OP was developed by the “Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory” of Virginia Tech (RoMeLa), with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University and the South Korean company ROBOTIS. The mini robot is based on the award-winning Darwin series which is being developed ever since 2004. ROBOTIS is to thank for the very high mobility of the robot. The company manufacturers the so-called Dynamixel actuators, which are used by numerous universities and research centers all around the world in the development of their own robots. Dynamixel actuators are smart actuators with fully integrated DC motors and are produced exclusively for robots. They are characterized by high precision, top quality and a wide functionality range. These all-in-one drive modules with built-in controllers are equipped with numerous feedback functions (position detection, velocity, input voltage, internal temperature) that are controlled via a network. The Dynamixel actuators are programmed by means of RoboPlus, the free graphic programming software of ROBOTIS. DARwIn-OP is a very good example of how intelligent a robot can act with the aid of the actuators.

The drive modules are used in the production of robotic arms, mobile robots as well as humanoid robots. Each Dynamixel unit is equipped with a maxon RE-max motor. The implemented RE-max motors achieve a high performance of 0.75 to 22 W, thanks to their neodymium magnets. Three different versions of the maxon motors are used in the small robot. One of these is the RE-max24, which has been specially modified for this application by adapting the drive pinion. A total of 20 Dynamixel MX-28T units can be found in the DARwIn-OP robot — twelve for the arms, six for the legs and two for the movements of the neck. Robotis chose maxon motors because, although they are small and light-weight, they are very powerful and simultaneously very robust with a long service life.

Well-balanced robots
The robot is supplied with power by means of a rechargeable battery. The DARwIn-OP weighs 2.9 kg and can go through its wide range of motions for 30 minutes on a single battery charge. It can even stand on its head. Three gyro sensors (balance sensor module) make sure that it does not lose its balance (see Video).

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