Research Papers

A High Performance Voice Coil Actuator for Optomechatronic Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Dion Hicks

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science,
Memorial University of Newfoundland,
St. John's, NL A1C 5S7, Canada
e-mail: dionh@mun.ca

Taufiq Rahman

Agile Sensors Technology Inc.,
St. John's, NL A1A 3W8, Canada
e-mail: me.trahman@gmail.com

Nicholas Krouglicof

School of Sustainable Design Engineering,
University of Prince Edward Island,
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada
e-mail: krouglicof@upei.ca

Manuscript received July 25, 2016; final manuscript received January 11, 2017; published online May 23, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Jun Ueda.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 9(4), 041014 (May 23, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: JMR-16-1211; doi: 10.1115/1.4035879 History: Received July 25, 2016; Revised January 11, 2017

Voice coil actuators (VCAs) are simple electro-mechanical devices, which are capable of generating linear motion in response to an electrical input. The generic cylindrical design of commercially available actuators imposes a large variety of limitations on the end user. The most prominent is the requirement to design and fit extra components to the actuator in order to increase functionality. To solve this issue, a novel voice coil actuator was created, which reconfigures the standard cylindrical design with one of a rectangular structure. The novel actuator incorporates planar magnets in a modified Halbach array configuration to ensure compactness and an exceptionally intense, uniform magnetic field. The moving coil is substituted with a printed circuit board (PCB) encompassing numerous current conducting traces. The board contains a miniature linear rail and bearing system, unified drive electronics, and highly adaptive position feedback circuitry resulting in a compact, highly dynamic and accurate device. In pursuit of optomechatronic applications, two distinct parallel kinematic mechanisms (PKMs) were developed to utilize the high dynamics and accuracy of the novel actuator. These devices were configured to function in only rotational degrees-of-freedom (DOF) and because of their underlying kinematic structures can be referred to as parallel orientation manipulators (POMs). In particular, two structures were defined, 2-PSS/U and 3-PSS/S, in order to constrain their payloads to two and three degrees of rotational freedom, respectively. The resultant manipulators are highly dynamic, precise and fulfill size, weight, and power requirements for many applications such as sense and avoidance and visual tracking.

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Fig. 1

Modified Halbach array with pole orientations

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Fig. 2

femm simulation of the magnetic magnitude in tesla

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Fig. 3

Simulated and experimental results of the magnetic flux density

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Fig. 4

Eight layer PCB with current directions and resulting force generation

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Fig. 13

VCA repeatability test experimental configuration

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Fig. 12

Open loop responses of the VCA moving mass against gravity at varying magnitudes: (a) absolute response of the VCA and (b) velocity estimation of the VCA

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Fig. 11

Performance validation of the signal conditioning circuit integral control loop magnitudes: (a) summation of photocurrents without control and (b) summation of photocurrents with integral control

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Fig. 10

Realization and exploded view of the novel VCA. (a) Physical prototype of the novel VCA: A—flexible ribbon cable for the transmission of power and data and control signals, B—drive electronics, C—voice coil PCB, D—magnet housing (VCA stator), E—modified Halbach array, and F—signal conditioning PCBs. (b) Exploded view of the VCA assembly: A—ribbon cable connector, B—H-bridge chip, C—voice coil PCB, D—bottom Halbach array, E—miniature linear bearing rail, F—linear bearing, G—coil traces, and H—top Halbach array.

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Fig. 9

Block diagram representation of the signal conditioning circuit

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Fig. 8

Incident light detection of a PSD

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Fig. 7

Experimental calibration data for the PSD

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Fig. 6

Physical realization of the signal conditioning electronics

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Fig. 18

Reachable and regular workspaces of the 3DOF (left) and 2DOF (right) POMs. Radial axis: tilt angle and angular axis: azimuth angle.

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Fig. 5

Experimental results of the force constant testing

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Fig. 16

CAD Model (left) and physical realization (right) of the 3DOF POM

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Fig. 17

CAD Model (left) and physical realization (right) of the 2DOF POM

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Fig. 14

3-PSS/S kinematic structure (left) and CAD representation (right)

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Fig. 15

2-PSS/U kinematic structure (left) and CAD representation (right)

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Fig. 19

Three degrees-of-freedom (left) and 2DOF (right) POM repeatability experimental configurations



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