GIMATIC and the Politecnico of Milan

Because of the relationship born from the collaboration of Gimatic to create the Gripper App, our interest for one of their most innovative products in their catalog grows: the ML Linear Motors series. It starts so the search of a competitive solution of system with tubular geometric linear motors.

Theme of the research: characterization and optimization of a system composed of tubular motor, feedback and activation, through a reliable mathematic model, which will allow the study in order to improve the performance of the motor. Looking for a strategic partner for this activity, we heard about the Project Work, a program promoted by the degree course of Automation Engineering at the Politecnico of Milan, that is directed to the creation of a communication channel between the university and the companies. The offers of collaboration with the PoliMi change for costs, timing and involved resources. The most spread form is the elaborated thesis, in which the company presents a project through a tutor or a professor. Even though it is useful only in an economic point of view, the research committee of one only person for a limited 6 months period of time it is easy to turn into a not so satisfying result for the company. Another type is the research contract, in which the company commission to the Athenaeum, that after a previous analysis, it defines time and costs of production. This approach has a higher percentage of success, even though is much heavier financially speaking. The Project Work is in the middle of these two modalities, with a period of 6 months and more person involved. In collaboration with Gimatic, we presented the project “Characterization and Optimization of the solution composed of incremental feedback/Gimatic linear motor/Copley Control activation”, with the goal to obtain a mathematic model system. The use of the linear motor with direct coupling, was imposed by the need to release us from the modelling of mechanical parts (transmissions, joints, etc.). This would have forced us to manage an elastic component, affecting negatively the rigidity of the system. Furthermore, the introduced variables would have made the modelling much more complex and difficult without, on the contrary, building a value for the achievement of our objective: to develop the efficiency of the linear motor working on feedback and control. The Copley activation choice derives from an evaluation of the performances offered by the market, because it was showed to be suitable for this kind of control.

The structure of the project

The ProjectWork, coordinated both by the professor of the Politecnico Luca Bascetta and by the Servotechnic engineers Giacomo Parigi and Riccardo Francazi, had been chosen by 15 students of the automation engineering course, later divided into work groups. In order to achieve efficiency and boosting of a positively competitive environment but at the same time stimulating for students, groups had worked on the parallel work. The sharing of the results happened during regular meetings, so as to support the information exchange, which is necessary to achieve the result. A complete system was made available to the Politecnico, in which the tests were made, and during the first phase we met with the in pectore engineers in a weekly basis, in an Athenaeum laboratory. Later on, during a much more advanced phase, we organized a few meetings in our headquarter in order to accelerate the process. At the end of the Project Work, started September 2017 and ended February 2018, the single groups presented their own projects, that contained also: report and mathematic model (developed by Matlab and Simulink). Because it was an academic project, even though extraordinary, at the end of the course every group was evaluated in relation to the obtained results and the methods pursued, making it as a real exam, added into the study plan.