Murphy, NC, USA, June 6, 2022 – Moog Animatics SmartMotor™ technology has been selected by PAL Robotics as the foundation for its intralogistics robots’ drive system. PAL Robotics develops, manufactures, and supplies autonomous mobile robots, or AMR, for intralogistics tasks such as moving products and parts around a warehouse or navigating inside a hospital to disinfect rooms. Along with supplying AMR, PAL Robotics also provides software and implementation services.
To operate successfully, AMRs such as PAL Robotics’ TIAGo model need a robust drive system that responds to a flood of information to rapidly turn, stop, brake, or accelerate. The units also require fast, reliable communication between drives, motors, and the entire sensor system, to gauge distances, position, and location, even potentially handling image recognition to compare to a map’s pre-set information.
“Moog Animatics’ solution with SmartMotors fit our requirements to drive our AMR. We also discussed the rest of the design with Moog, and they offered to prefabricate the motor and gearbox assembly for us, since its team had a lot of experience,” said Dr. Jordi Pagès, Head of Intralogistics Solutions at PAL Robotics. “All we have to do is insert the Moog assembly into the housing and connect it to the power and data supply. This proactive approach to supporting PAL Robotics beyond motor technology has made our lives easier, enhancing the efficiency of our manufacturing operations.”
Why SmartMotors from Moog Animatics?
PAL Robotics uses Moog Animatics SmartMotors, which are nominally designed for 48 volts and usually have a 57 mm (2.2 in) flange, in its robots’ approximately 54 cm (21 in) diameter base. The SmartMotors also work with an AMR’s 36V supply, with each motor’s output being a maximum of 204 watts of continuous power. At 5,200 revolutions, each motor delivers 0.52 Nm (0.38 flbs) of continuous torque, with peak power reaching 0.84 Nm (0.62 flbs). Communication with one another and with the central processing unit takes place via CANbus.
PAL Robotics’ lineup of mobile robots navigates with essentially the same platform, which contains control electronics, sensors, a battery and the drive’s two SmartMotors (one motor per drive wheel). There are four support rollers under each robot’s base plate to ensure stable movement.
The individual drive wheel’s direction of rotation and speed are used to move the unit right and left, accelerate and brake, and make complete rotations too. To do this precisely, both motors must know where the other motor is at any moment in time, and what its direction of rotation and speed are, since they constantly compare their target with actual readings.
The use of interconnected SmartMotors increases the reaction speed and eases the computational burden on the central processor by means of the Combitronic™ protocol. This proprietary communication system uses CANbus, and other protocols, to transfer data in real time between the motors to coordinate motion sequences, where one of the two SmartMotors takes over the controller function. This integration makes the robot’s assembly compact, trims cost and reduces weight.
A lighter weight system that places fewer computing demands on the robot’s main processor also boosts energy efficiency, which means more runtime or payload while keeping the same battery size. Another way in which the robot’s design alleviates demands on its system is the construction of the amplifier, which switches off when demand is low, yet still sends power to the motor controller and software.
Like the human body, where the spinal cord processes several reflexes and muscle activities to ease the burden on the brain, Moog’s Combitronic protocol allows its SmartMotors to interact with one another without draining additional resources from the robot’s system.
“We’ve helped PAL Robotics develop a faster, more efficient response and increased energy utilization in a small package, which has great potential for optimizing many other applications,” said Doug Parentice, Moog’s Application Engineering Manager.
Learn more about Moog Animatics Combitronic technology.
About Moog Animatics
Moog Animatics, a sub-brand of Moog Inc. since 2011, is a global leader in integrated automation solutions. With over 30 years of experience in the motion control industry, the company has U.S. operations and international offices in Germany and Japan as well as a network of Automation Solution Providers worldwide. For more information about Moog Animatics, visit www.animatics.com.
Moog Inc. is a worldwide designer, manufacturer and integrator of precision control components and systems. Moog Industrial Controls segment designs and manufactures high performance motion control products, solutions and services combining electric, hydraulic, and hybrid technologies with expert consultative support in a range of applications in energy, industrial machinery, simulation and test markets. We help performance-driven companies to design and develop their next-generation equipment. Moog Industrial Controls segment, which had fiscal year 2021 sales of US $892 million and over 40 locations worldwide, is part of Moog Inc., which had fiscal year 2021 sales of US $2.9 billion. For more information, please visit www.moog.com.