Optimagdrive- Magnetic Gears for space
Optimagdrive is a contactless magnetic gear technology specially designed for space applications able to operate at a temperature range of -210°C to 120°C. This innovative mechanism consists of an optimization of the MAG DRIVE already developed and tested technology.
MAG DRIVE project objective was to design, build and test a magnetic superconductor non-contact drive able to function at extreme temperatures.
MAGDRIVE did not only satisfactorily pass every test but also exceeded the initial expectations. The drive superconducting magnetic bearings have proven to be capable of suppressing every contact between moving parts. The lack of friction almost eliminates the fatigue of the system, one of the primary causes of the reduction of the lifetime in all kinds of mechanical devices. It also releases the machinery from the constant need of lubrication and improves its efficiency.
Thanks to MAGDRIVE innovative technology advantages Optimagdrive barely has maintenance requirements. It has been designed with reduced size and weight, what makes it more adaptable to different situations.
It can also go clockwise or anticlockwise. Ratio, maximum torque, stiffness, and damping can be customized. Even more, it can be also customized to be directed or inverted (inverting the sense of the rotation). A low noise level, through-wall capabilities and the ability for damping torsional vibrations are also remarkable features of this kind of devices. It can reduce but also multiply the velocity.
Levisolator- Magnetic bearings for extreme environments
Levisolator is creating a completely new support system based on magnetic bearings technology that would eventually be installed on the cryostat of ESA ATHENA mission, an advanced X-ray telescoped designed to address the Cosmic Vision gas structures. MAG SOAR leads a consortium with Universidad de Alcalá and the Universidade de Lisboa which is currently developing the Levisolator project.
The use of magnetic bearings in extreme temperature environments can be crucial to improve isolation, cleanliness and lifetime of the mechanisms and prevent wear or lubrication issues. This makes satellites and space telescopes the perfect candidates to benefit from the advantages provided by contactless magnetic systems.
Athena telescope development could be key in order to unravel some of the universe biggest mysteries such as how does ordinary matter assemble into large-scale structures or how do black holes grow and shape the Universe.
Z-Damper- Vibration damping at extreme temperatures
There are different forms to reduce, mitigate or suppress vibrations. The simplest way is to increase the elasticity of the ground-connections between a moving machine and a stable surface. Multiple solutions have been developed for this purpose that goes from elastic couplings to floating benches. All of them can provide a quite a good vibration isolation with an appropriate design. However, these are limited to normal temperature and relatively high frequencies (And involves large weights)
MAG SOAR engineers have just designed a new vibration control technology able to handle extreme temperature conditions at low and high frequencies thank to mechanical impedance coupling. Z-DAMPER is a zero-backlash magneto-mechanism that has been optimized for matching mechanical impedances in order to control vibration propagation in a structure.
Never before had impedance coupling been used for damping purposes, so Z-Damper represents a completely new concept for vibration control, as well as the first to reach temperatures as high as 250 ˚C and as low as 200 ˚C. All of this makes Z-Damper the perfect candidate for extreme temperature environments where lubrication and wear related problems can have catastrophic consequences.
In a nutshell, Z-DAMPER involves a qualitative leap in vibration attenuation presenting other additional advantages with respect to other damping systems like the absence of contact between movable members so wear and fatigue are minimized and no lubrication is needed. As a consequence, minimum maintenance is required and lifetime is maximized gently overpassing that of conventional mechanical devices.
Z-DAMPER can also be applied to enhance the efficiency of other damping systems, like eddy-current dampers and particularly, those with a poor performance at low-frequency vibrations. The working principle detailed in the recently published paper, “Z-Damper: a new paradigm for attenuation of vibrations”.
SIROM– Standard Interface for Robotic Manipulation of Payloads in Future Space Missions
SIROM is a European Commission H2020 project with the objective of developing a standard set of connections that allow coupling of payload to the manipulators and payloads to other payloads. These robotic manipulators or robot arms are increasingly being used in complex in-orbit infrastructures or space exploration due to its effectiveness and optimum performance in space conditions. However, there are still some problems due to the dynamic coupling between the manipulators and spacecraft. These connections will be integrated by mechanical interfaces in order to put together the blocks, electrical interfaces for power transmission, thermal interfaces for heat regulation and interfaces to transmit data throughout the satellite. Mag Soar is in charge of the design, development, and manufacturing of the thermal interface, one of the main pieces of this robotic puzzle led by SENER.