Discover Breakthrough in Linear Motion
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Discover the latest breakthrough in Linear Motion

The annual Precision Fair, is known as the place to unveil new and advanced techniques. Magnetic Innovations was among the companies presenting their latest technology. They introduced their Moving Magnet VCA Controller (MMVCA controller), which, in combination with their Moving Magnet Voice Coil Actuator family, offers a more efficient and user-friendly method for controlled linear movements.

The idea behind the innovation

The idea behind the controller originates from the market, traditionally dominated by pneumatic, hydraulic, or servo solutions, with an increasing demand for improved and simpler methods for controlled linear movements. The core of this technological breakthrough lies in the simplicity of configuration and operation.

Magnetic Innovations’ basic system consists of the MMVCA controller, a cable set, and a selection of Moving Magnet actuators from the MMB series. These actuators come with their own sliding bearing, and the program includes various models selected based on the stroke and force suitable for the application.

The MMVCA Controller, no larger than a sizable matchbox, offers an impressive range of options to initiate linear movements. This system, serving as an alternative to pneumatic, hydraulic, and complex linear servo controls, excels in ease of use and efficiency.

Innovation lies in the details

The least noticeable but most revolutionary detail of this new technology is the use of only a 2-wire connection between the controller and the actuator. Through this 2-wire connection, all relevant parameters such as position, current voltage, current, force, and temperature are determined. All these values are measured in the actuator itself, taking into account the ambient temperature and conditions, and, depending on the type, up to approximately 100 degrees Celsius. This allows the actuator and MMVCA controller to be used in a wide range of applications.

Innovation is in simplicity

The configuration of this system is simple through a PC-based user interface, communicating with the controller via CAN bus. An intuitive menu guides users through the process of configuration, inspection, tuning, and loading and saving applications. With the MMVCA Controller, limitations and safeguards can be set, such as maximum current, temperature, and stroke, with intervention possible by the controller as desired. After configuration, the controller can easily run stand-alone in the field or be operated via three digital inputs, making integration into new and existing applications with PLC controls relatively straightforward.

In addition to configuration options, the MMVCA Controller offers a range of pre-programmed movements, ranging from sinewave and squarewave to trianglewave and point-to-point movements. This enables the execution of repetitive actions/movements, such as lifespan tests, driving vibration bins, or moving locking pins in and out.

Motor controller
Voice coile actuators and controller
Voice coile actuators and controller

The displacement of the moving part of the actuator (the mover) occurs via an adjustable S-curve, avoiding step-like forces and high-frequency impacts on the mechanics in the application. Positioning takes place through a closed control loop in combination with position determination, with the absolute position accuracy limited to +/- 1 mm. However, no end stops are needed to define the desired positions, and there is no mechanical contact between the mover and end stop. This results in regular excessive wear and potentially unwanted loading of the structure in pneumatic applications. The required system damping can be precisely set via the MMVCA controller software, unlike modern pneumatic counterparts where this is done through mechanically adjustable restrictions.

Standard in the control is the function of End Of Stroke (EOS) detection. For two desired positions, a greater than and less than position can be set, with 2 digital outputs switched to signal that the mover is in this part of its stroke. For those who find this insufficient, the option is provided to monitor a selection of real-time signals (including position, position error, speed, force, temperature, etc.) via two 0…10 Vdc analog outputs.

Innovation and sustainability

Wear of the sliding bearing in Magnetic Innovation’s actuators is very limited compared to pneumatic variants, which show extreme wear on the seals at high speeds and accelerations. The absence of seals in a Moving Magnet Voice Coil Actuator also reduces the risk of exchanging parts in the field. Thus, this technology offers additional reliability and durability.

The durability of the sliding bearing is underscored by lifespan tests with more than 35 million strokes at accelerations of 9 G and speeds up to 0.9 m/second.

Innovation and the future of linear motion

The MMVCA Controller and the associated actuators excel in dynamic applications. With the smallest actuator versions, sinusoidal movements up to 100 Hz are possible, and with larger types, a total stroke of 10 mm can be easily achieved at 20 Hz.

A notable feature of this technology is that the mover of the actuator does not produce heat when force is generated, resulting in minimal thermal effects on the part to be moved. The VCA Controller and actuator have no moving wires, cooling hoses, or sensor cables that can generate interference forces or pose a risk of breakage during prolonged use.

Innovation and getting started yourself

The introduction of the Moving Magnet VCA Controller by Magnetic Innovations promises a new phase in the world of linear motion technology.

To quickly get started with this system, Magnetic Innovations offers a number of evaluation kits. These kits include the controller and HMI, an actuator, USB-to-CAN interface, and necessary connection cables to quickly set up a configuration.

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