The Cutting Edge

Dec. 1, 2002
A look at new products.


With the Easy Step Paced Work Platforms, employees can easily work with an assembly line. These platforms are floor-mounted or recessed belt conveyors that move workers and their tools and supplies at the same speed as the assembly line. It gives operators the time needed to complete assembly tasks assigned to a station. Workers no longer have to walk backward or sideways or unnecessarily stretch to reach parts or tools. This ergonomic solution improves worker comfort, increases safety, raises quality and boosts productivity. The conveyor includes a heavy-duty steel frame and pulleys, adjustable cushioned floor supports, debris catch basin and plastic edge guards. Sizes range from 18 in. to 102 in. wide, 10 ft to 72 ft long, and 7.5 in. high. Custom sizes are available. Rapistan Material Handling Automation Div., Siemens Dematic,


Here’s a way to keep product rolling — through a dual-conveyor automatic guided vehicle. This one uses LazerWay control guidance and comes with quad movement to operate in small spaces. It also has laser safety bumpers to detect obstacles and slow or stop accordingly. Load capacity is 3,000 lb, 1,500 for each conveyor. Load sizes can be up to 40 by 48 in. Transbotics Corp.;, 704-362-1115, x 207.


Need an actuator that can maintain position even after power is removed? The newest solution for such applications is the ultrasonic motor. Developed by Nanomotion, these motors offer extremely accurate and precise movement with high speed and force.

They are based on reversed Piezo-ceramic technology. Motion derives from electronically controlled and driven oscillating ceramic elements. Thus, systems with these motors can surpass existing levels of accuracy by two orders of magnitude while maintaining unlimited travel speed and force.

These motors have specific capabilities not found in other motors. One is that when power is removed, their high level of friction precisely holds a load in position. There is no movement, which often occurs with other motors because they vibrate a bit at a hold position.

These motors also have the ability to move smoothly at constant speed. This scan mode has found application in the disk drive industry, helping machines perform precise surface scans. It can also be useful in robotic applications.

There are a few drawbacks to this motor design. One is that the high friction force can cause the motor to take longer to reach its required position. Companies such as Galil Motion Control offer controls with special features that can alleviate this problem. Such features include anti-friction compensation, fast deceleration and in-target shutdown.

Nanomotion Ltd.; 0 +972-4-959-0862, [email protected].

Galil Motion Control Inc.; 916-626-0101,