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Covering tools and technology for motion control engineers designing for electrical and mechanical systems.
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ACME screws – a cost effective alternative to ball screws

Bob Parente | March 20, 2019
ACME Screw Linear Actuator Motors

Price vs accuracy In our last posting, we talked about the positional accuracy of a point of the moveable plate or work surface of our ball screw table with the terms roll, pitch, and yaw. The application that you’re trying to solve should be with the …

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Linear Systems: Bearing Supports and End Fixity

Bob Parente | February 20, 2019

Let’s start this discussion with the bearing supports for the ball screw. Let’s assume we have a ball screw that is 18” long and it provides 12” of travel. We have 3” on both ends that have been machined down past the root of the thread to form a smooth surface to install bearings that will support the screw. Let’s place the screw so it’s oriented left to right and our stepper motor and its coupling is on the left. We could install a number of bearing combinations on both ends of the ball screw that’s easier to define with a table:

Linear Systems: Thread precision and mechanical backlash

Bob Parente | February 8, 2019

In our last posting, we introduced leadscrews, ball screws and linear slides. We’re going to continue with that discussion by considering how accurately the threads are cut into the screw. Using the five-pitch screw as an example, we understand that five revolutions are supposed to move the plate one inch, but what happens if the thread is cut too long or too short. Five revolutions might move the plate 0.990” or 1.010”.

Linear Systems: Lead screws, Ball screws and Linear Slides

Bob Parente | January 17, 2019

With this posting, we’ll begin a discussion about leadscrew/ball screw/linear slide systems. Picture a screw with a nut on it. No, no not a Walnut.  Sighhhh. OK then, picture a right-hand threaded 1/4-20 screw with a 1/4-20 nut threaded on to the screw. A 1/4-20 screw has an outside diameter or major diameter of 0.25” and the thread of the screw has 20 turns per inch. Thus, the name is a 1/4-20 screw. The valleys of the threads are cut into the screw’s shank and are referred to as the root diameter or the minor diameter.

Outsourcing Engineers: When is it Right for You?

Bill Saunders | October 17, 2018

The 2008 global downturn changed the economics of manufacturing. To stay in business, companies slashed budgets and cut staff to operate as leanly as possible. Now that the economy has recovered, the focus is shifting from survival mode to market leade …

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Design Essentials: How to Size a Motor Properly to Avoid Oversizing

Carlos Gonzalez | August 31, 2018

One of the challenges that face motion-control engineers is how to properly select a motor. If the motor is undersized or too small, it will not handle load. If the motor is oversized or too large, the motor will be too expensive in terms of purchase p …

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Fundamentals of Motion Control

Jeff Kerns | August 31, 2018

Recently I came across a simple infographic from Power Jack Motion that did a nice job of visualizing the difference between alternating current (ac) and direct current (dc) motors. This article will follow and present the information contained therein …

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The Truth About Manufacturing

Travis Hessman | August 3, 2018

In America today, truth has become a particularly slippery asset. This goes beyond the usual political hot topics, cutting deep into the fabric of basic reality. Because, despite our unfettered access to unlimited troves of data, statistics, forums, an …

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Addressing STEM’s “Skills Gap” by Closing the “Interest Gap”

Jennifer Shupp, Jennifer Champion | August 3, 2018

Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed, with 2 million expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. Further, 80% of manufacturers already report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled an …

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Sizing: Adding a rubber sleeve as a primary roller

Bob Parente | May 11, 2018

Recap of the last posting In our last posting, we were comparing the inertia of a 12” long, 0.25” diameter steel rod (0.0013 lb-in^2) to a 1” long, 1” diameter aluminum coupling (0.00957 lb-in^2). We asked why the lighter weight aluminum co …

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