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Smart-motor firmware upgrade simplifies spooling

19 December, 2012
Too many Apples … Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs.
Photograph: Glen Wilson/AP

Moog Animatics claims to have simplified spooling and winding processes by upgrading the firmware of its SmartMotor integrated servomotors to allow materials with changing widths to be wound onto spools without gaps or unwanted overlaps in the winding pattern.

Spooling is used to store materials such as thread, film, wire and thermoplastics. Typically, the material is fed at a certain rate while a guide moves it to and fro to produce the required pattern. The positional accuracy of a traversing guide is best maintained when it is linked to the rotational velocity of the winding spool.

Previously, this has usually been achieved by changing the electronic gear ratio of the traversing motor dynamically, or by offsetting its traverse speed on the fly.

The SmartMotor’s new firmware includes commands said to solve the problem of programming motion control systems to produce complicated winding patterns. A sensor feeds information on the material width back to the motor, allowing the effective gear ratio to be compensated dynamically within the motor, thus ensuring that there are no gaps in the material wound onto the spool. This is done without compromising the traverse endpoint locations.

“Our latest firmware is custom-tailored to the winding industry,” explains Hack Summer, Moog Animatics’ applications technology manager. “We offer both relative and absolute position control for setting traverse points, spool widths, dwell points and more.

“Knowing the challenges of winding applications, we added the ability to dynamically phase-adjust incoming master signals,” he continues. “This enables real-time offsets for variations in material width without sacrificing positioning accuracy at the traverse point and allows for a complete, precise fill of material with no gaps or overlays.”

Moog acquired California-based Animatics for $25m in 2011.

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