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Configure online a Servo Motor, Gearbox and Encoder. Ships in 11 Days !

Configure and combine any DC servo motor (DCX, DC-max), gearbox (GPX) and encoder (ENX) according to your individual customized requirements using Maxon’s online platform.

The configured drive systems are built in 11 working days and ship directly from Switzerland to your location.

Detailed product data can be viewed online immediately and 3D data for the configuration is available for immediate download.

Tags:  maxon, DCX, Electromate,  brush motor, dc brushed motor, dc motor, gear, gearhead, gearheads, motion control, motors, motors & motion control, electric motor, encoder, GPX, ENX, DC-max

This Motor Maker Is Heading Into Space and Killing It

Reprint of 10/25/15 Design News article by Tracey Schelmetic, Contributing Writer

Empire Magnetics Space MotorAs commercial space flight becomes a reality, it has launched a movement to develop industrial systems that will operate in a variety of harsh environments from the intense G-forces of vehicle launches, to zero gravity, to temperatures far beyond those on Earth.  While some of the most urgent problems for motors in space have been largely solved in previous decades — bearings and lubrication issues, in particular – there are new engineering challenges as motors are custom-developed for space applications.  Typical motors are designed for low cost and high manufacturing volume.  For space applications, the precise opposite is true.

Rohnert Park, Calif.-based Empire Magnetics Inc. has a tagline: “Motors that survive.”  The company designed and built some of the momentum controls for the Wake Shield Facility, an experimental science platform that was placed in low earth orbit by the Space Shuttle.  The facility is a 12-foot-diameter free-flying stainless steel disk designed to redirect atmospheric particles around the sides to create an “ultra vacuum” that is used to study epitaxial film growth.

Empire also custom-built and designed an actuator for commercial space flight company Orbital Sciences.  The actuator needed to be exceptionally stiff to be able to operate under the extreme G forces of flight launches.  The company’s solution used a double-ended screw combined with a hollow-shafted motor; it was a design that placed all of the thrust loads on the screw, so the motor needed only enough torque to turn the screw.

Richard Halstead, Empire’s president, in an interview with Design News, noted that the difference between Earth motors and space motors is that the former do not have to take into consideration the selection of materials that will survive vacuum, space radiation, or temperature extremes.  There is also the cost of a motor failure in space.

“The cost of failure for the supplier of a standard industrial motor is typically limited to the cost of a replacement motor,” Halstead told Design News.  “The cost of a failure in space can be exceptionally high.  Due to the steps in the manufacturing process, taking a motor completely apart and reassembling it is not feasible, as there won’t be enough material left to re-establish dimensional tolerances.”

For typical motors, when high reliability is required, designers create mechanically redundant designs.  Mechanical redundancy, however, comes with size and weight penalties that make motors impractical for use in space, and their performance may also be affected.  The inertia of two rotors takes more torque and power to accelerate than does one. Empire believes that the most practical solution is having redundant electrical circuits in the same mechanical motor housing.

Another great challenge, said Halstead, is overcoming the tendency of lubricants, varnishes, and glues to outgas in a vacuum environment.  Traditional motors are made of iron, which is stamped, coated, glued, stacked, and assembled into the basic motor structure, and this can cause serious problems, as can lubricants that are added to reduce tool wear during stamping operations.

“If there is a significant level of outgassing, the material evaporates, and then re-deposits on everything inside the chamber,” Halstead told Design News.  “The bearings can fail for lack of lubrication, while the contamination can fog optics or foul manufacturing processes.”

Temperature is one of the next biggest challenges.  The “thermal shock” of space can see equipment cycle from temperatures of 200°C in direct sunlight to temperatures of -200°C, all in a few seconds.  For spacecraft designed to go further than low Earth orbit, deep space temperatures of 20 Kelvin (-253°C) can be expected.  Warping due to thermal shock can cause mechanical lock-up of the motor, and different material expansions from thermal cycling can also cause motor lock-up. Adapting a traditional motor design for use in space is therefore asking for trouble, according to Halstead.

Typical windings in a brushless motor stator, showing complete slot fill. Redundant design is required for space applications, as a backup in case of component failure. When the engineer decides to have redundant windings, something has to change in terms of motor performance. To preserve performance specs, a better solution to mechanical redundancy is electrical redundancy in the same mechanical housing. (Source: Empire Magnetics)

Typical windings in a brushless motor stator, showing complete slot fill.  Redundant design is required for space applications, as a backup in case of component failure. When the engineer decides to have redundant windings, something has to change in terms of motor performance.  To preserve performance specs, a better solution to mechanical redundancy is electrical redundancy in the same mechanical housing. (Source: Empire Magnetics)

“Metals need to be stress-relieved; otherwise they warp or deform due to the temperature cycling,” he said. “Cold metals become brittle, so this has to be considered when doing strength calculations.  Copper shrinks faster than steel, and epoxy changes dimensions faster than magnetic iron. If these factors are not considered, the motor is likely to fail.”

Even repair processes are fundamentally altered in space applications. While individual components can be replaced on Earth, the nature of space repair – think astronauts in bulky spacesuits with limited visibility and low manual dexterity – means that whole systems must be replaced rather than repaired.  If the motor fails, it will most likely damage the electronics, so it becomes safer to simply replace the whole unit.

To use an Earth analogy, a NASCAR team wouldn’t use the motor of a Ford Escort as the building block for its Indianapolis 500 run, as Halstead puts it, and space researchers shouldn’t use a standard commercial grade motor as the building block for space exploration.

Sensing a Revolution: How Magnetic Sensing Technologies are Changing How You Use Rotary Encoders

Live Webinar Tuesday November 10, 2015  11:00AM EST

For year’s controls and systems engineers have had to balance the robustness of magnetic encoders with the performance of optical encoders. However, this is no longer the case due to recent advances in magnetic sensing technologies.

Breakthroughs in microprocessing and signal filtering have resulted in new magnetic encoders that can rival the performance of optical sensors while being more robust and compact. Learn how to select an encoder for a given application and what the future holds.

Webinar Presenter:  Jarrod Orszulak – Product Manager, POSITAL-FRABA Inc

Click on the link below to registration for this Free Webinar

How Magnetic Sensing Technologies are Changing How You Use Rotary Encoders Webinar

How IP Ratings Apply to Linear Actuators

By Gary Rosengren, Tolomatic Inc. | Machine Design

The IP (Ingress Protection or International Protection) code rating is an internationally recognized system developed to standardize the degree of protection that “enclosures” provide against foreign objects, water, or materials entering into these enclosures, causing damage or personal injury.  IP codes also apply to linear actuators.

IP Rating Chart
Practically speaking, the higher the numeric IP rating against dry solids and moisture, the higher the level of protection offered.  But how do these code ratings apply to rod-type and rodless linear actuators, and which ratings are appropriate for which applications?

Click on the link below to view the remainder of this White Paper.

How IP Ratings Apply to Linear Actuators

Information on Electromate’s IP Rated products can be found at:

Understanding Power Factor and Harmonics

by Kristin Lewotsky, Contributing Editor
Motion Control & Motor Association

Harmonics introduced by servo drives and controllers can shrink power factor, increasing utility rates. Find out how to fix it.

Click on the following link to download this White Paper:

Understanding Power Factor and Harmonics White Paper

Robots Fuel the Next Wave of U.S. Productivity and Job Growth

Download this free white paper which outlines the ways:

Robots help Main Street, USA:
Find out how robotics help manufacturing companies bring operations back to the U.S.A.

Robots take on the Three Ds:
Learn how robots are taking on Dirty, Dull and Dangerous jobs to empower employees and foster a safer workplace.

Robots are fueling the job growth:
The numbers don’t lie – find out what happened to employment in the manufacturing sector during years of record robot sales.

Click on the link below to download this white paper.

Robots Fuel the Next Wave of U.S. Productivity and Job Growth White Paper


New Harmonic Drive Gearhead Website

—Press Release–

Harmonic Gearhead Snippet

Harmonic Drive® & Electromate have just launched a new joint company website to showcase the latest Harmonic Drive® Gearhead products & technology.

Located at, the new website features the following:

Harmonic Drive® gearing utilizes a unique operating principle which is based upon the elastic mechanics of metals. The greatest benefits are the zero-backlash characteristics and the weight and space savings compared to other gears because our gear mechanism consists of only three basic parts. They are the: Wave Generator, Flexspline and Circular Spline.

Harmonic Planetary gears have simultaneous meshing between the sun gear and planet gears and between the planet gears and the internal gear. The sun gear is connected to the motor and a carrier, supporting the planet gears, is connected to the output. Single stage planetary gears can achieve reduction ratios up to 10:1. Ratios above 10:1 utilize a two stage design where the carrier of the first stage drives the sun gear of the second planetary stage.

See a video demonstrating how the Harmonic Drive HPGP Harmonic Planetary gears work  Watch Video.

For more information, please contact:

Warren Osak
Toll Free Phone:   877-737-8698
Toll Free Fax:       877-737-8699

Tags:  Harmonic Drive, Robot, Harmonic Drive Gears, Actuators, Gearhead, Harmonic Drive Actuator, Harmonic Drive Gearing, Electromate, Strain Wave Gearing, Flex Spine, Circular Spine, Wave Generator, Planetary Gearbox, Harmonic Gearbox, Harmonic Gearhead


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