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Sensor and motion controller for mobile robotics

Roboteq (USA) specialized in devices for mobile robots has launched a magnetic guide sensor. The sensor is intended for line following robotic applications, using adhesive magnetic tape to form a track guide on the floor. The company also provides motion controllers for semi-autonomous robot systems.

The MGS1600 magnetic guide sensor measures the lateral distance with a resolution of 1 mm
THE 160-MM WIDE SENSOR PROCESSES the sampled data in order to measure its lateral distance from the center of the track. The MGS1600 sensor can do it from a height up to 60 mm with a position resolution of 1 mm. The product has been designed for steering automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), moving material on factory floors. However, it is also suitable for other applications such as automatic shelf replenishing in supermarkets, patient transport in hospitals, stage theater props or rail-less tramways. The product is built onto a 25 mm x 160 mm x 20 mm (length x width x height) open board module. An enclosed, water-resistant version will be available in the second quarter of 2013.
Compared to other guiding techniques, magnetic guides are passive and therefore easy to lay and modify. The tape creates an invisible field that is immune to dirt and unaffected by lighting conditions. The magnetic track can be hidden under any non-ferrous flooring material, such as linoleum, tiles or carpet. The sensor provides a CAN interface to integrate it into CAN-based control systems. The sensor will detect and manage up to 2-way forks and can be instructed to follow the left or right track using commands issued via the CAN interface.
In addition to detecting a magnetic guide track to follow, the sensor can indicate the presence of magnetic markers that may be positioned on the left or right side of the track. Markers are made of the same magnetic tape but of an opposite polarity. The markers can be used to signal forks ahead or the presence of a charging station. The sensor is equipped with several LEDs for monitoring and diagnostics purposes. It is programmable in a Basic-like scripting language. The sensor is delivered with a PC utility program for configuring its settings, and updating its firmware. To help with system setup and troubleshooting, the utility also includes as a strip chart recorder, and a visualization window to display in real-time the magnetic field as it is seen by the sensor.

Servo controller for DC motors

End of 2012, the firm has launched the MBL1650 brushless DC motor controller. It is targeted at designers making mobile robots, automated systems, or any other high-power brushless motor control application. The servo controller provides a CAN interface and uses the motor’s hall sensors to measure speed and travelled distance. It can operate the motors in open-loop or in closed-loop speed or position mode with a 1-kHz update rate.

The MBL1650 motion controller limits the power output to 120 A
The housing measures 113 mm x 140 mm x 20 mm. The controller's conduction bottom plate ensures sufficient heat dissipation for operation without a fan in most applications. The device features current sensing and limits the power output to 120 A. The controller also includes protection against overheat, stall, and short-circuits. It includes up to four analog, six digital and five pulse inputs. Two 1,5-A digital outputs are provided for activating brakes or other accessories. Using the product’s Basic language interpreter the user can write scripts for application-specific functions. The controller is capable to execute over 50000 instructions per second. The controller’s operation can be optimized by means of 80 configurable parameters, such as programmable acceleration or deceleration, amps limits, operating voltage range, use of I/O, and more. Roboteq founded in 2001 provides an appropriate PC configuration program. The company develops also controllers for robots, which are used in over 500 designs.

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