Roboticists saved from integration workload

Maxon partnership with National Instruments results in easier robot development, ViNI robotics platform.


DARwin robot from Maxon National Instruments collaboration

Notable robotic applications driven by Maxon motion control products include the "DARwin" humanoid robot developed at RoMeLa, the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech University.


To highlight and enhance their mutual areas of interest robotics, Maxon Precision Motors (Fall River, MA) and National Instruments (Austin, TX) have announced a strategic partnership. Both Maxon, maker of electric motor technology and motion control products, and National Instruments look to provide designers with state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions for developing new robotic products and applications.

An informal relationship between the two companies was initiated as early as 2006, with the inclusion of NI LabVIEW VIs in Maxon's EPOS family of digital position and speed controllers. Most recently, the two companies collaborated on the design and development of ViNI , an all inclusive robotics platform created by engineers at National Instruments. ViNI is driven exclusively by Maxon motors, gearheads and encoders, and NI CompactRIO embedded controls.


"NI and Maxon have worked together to integrate the high productivity of NI LabVIEW graphical software and the high-precision drive systems of Maxon Motors, so roboticists don't have to assume the integration workload," said Shelley Gretlein, senior group manager of LabVIEW Real-Time & Embedded at National Instruments. "Also, with the release of LabVIEW Robotics software, design engineers now can access native Maxon Motor interfaces ready-to-run on their next autonomous system."

Maxon will continue to focus its R&D efforts on electric motors, sensors and motion controllers while National Instruments will leverage its LabVIEW platform, NI LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module, and CompactRIO. Several joint marketing efforts are slated for 2010.

"It is an exciting time to be involved in the robotics industry," says Kirk Barker, electronics product manager for Maxon. "Over the years, Maxon has directed a significant portion of our engineering efforts toward the development of specialized products for robotic applications, and we are just beginning to realize the benefits of our investment. We are pleased to be working with NI and their talented group of engineers."

National Instruments has made a great effort to become the "Home Depot" for robot designers and builders. Emilie Kopp, robotics business developer for National Instruments, says that NI has greatly expanded its line of hardware and software solutions with the intention of being the one-stop-shopping source for all things robotic .

Notable robotic applications driven by Maxon motion control products include the Mars "Rover" by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "Da Vinci" surgical robot by Intuitive Surgical and "DARwin" the humanoid robot developed at RoMeLa, the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech University.

- Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
More Motors and Drives news from Control Engineering

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.