Assembly In Action: Servos Streamline Machine Design, Construction
August 31, 2009
Dynamic Testing & Equipment (DTE) builds integrated testing systems and test equipment used by companies in the automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and off-highway equipment industries.
Recently, the company built a machine that automates accelerated life testing of flexible boot seals used to protect ball joints in automobile steering assemblies. To facilitate design, construction and operation of the machine, DTE implement a battery of MotiFlex e100 three-phase servo drives and servomotors fitted with multi-turn absolute encoders from Baldor Electric Co.
The drives take the place of conventional hydraulic actuators and provide an unprecedented level of control flexibility, enabling test parameters such as joint articulation angles to be modified on the fly.
In operation, the test machines can process as many as six boot seals at a time. Tests include the continuous articulation of the joints, hot and cold brine sprays, elevated humidity levels and air temperature cycling from -25C to 80C.
To execute the tests, the DTE machine employs two motorized movement axes-one vertical and one horizontal-each actuated by a Baldor drive. The system’s precise feedback signals enable both axes to be programmed to absolute zero, facilitating optimal positioning of the machine’s tooling for parts loading and unloading, and ensuring ease of startup.
The drives are connected via industry-standard Ethernet to the test machine’s host computer, which runs LabVIEW software from testing specialist National Instruments, and are controlled via TCP/IP using the built-in ActiveX commands in Baldor’s Mint programming language.
According to DTE machine designer Glenn Siddens, “We were looking for servo manufacturers who could support ActiveX. Baldor was also able to supply 3D CAD files for the motors. As we use SolidWorks’ 3D CAD software for much of our design work, the availability of these files was a major time-saving advantage.”
Siddens says Baldor specialists also played a major role helping implement the systems, visiting the DTE facility on several occasions to help set up and fine tune the servos.
For more on dynamic test systems, call 734-847-2649 or visit www.dynamic-testing.com.
For more on motors and drives, call 479-646-4711 or visit www.baldormotion.com.
For more on testing software, call 888-280-7645 or visit www.ni.com.