Today, sophisticated surveillance and reconnaissance technology play a critical role in all military activity. For example, ground-based and aerial antennas support successful field operations and ensure human safety. However, since most antennas are deployed in harsh environments, they need to be high performance, reliable, and durable.

To upgrade aerial and ground-based surveillance and reconnaissance antennas, a manufacturer needed a compact, reliable motion control solution suited to extreme environments.

Machine Requirements

When a manufacturer upgraded its military antennas from a stepper-based system, they faced significant challenges, including challenging size and weight requirements.

Accuracy is a key requirement in all military applications, where even the smallest errors can have catastrophic consequences and endanger human life. In this case, the antennas required extremely accurate tracking for telemetry, the process of recording and transmitting instrument readings.

Since most installation sites are in the desert or in aerial vehicles, the drives and the other electronic components in the application also had to be able to withstand extreme environmental conditions (EECs), including both high and low temperatures and high humidity.

The Elmo Motion Control Solution included:

Elmo’s ExtrlQ Gold Hornet digital drive was selected for this application due to its compact form factor and sophisticated on-board intelligence. The Gold Hornet provides efficient and advanced servo control in a very compact package. In addition, the Hornet’s compact size allows the user to mount the drive on, or near, the actual motor or load assembly, minimizing cable length and increasing reliability.

Like all of Elmo’s ExtrIQ digital drives, the ExtrlQ Gold Hornet was designed, manufactured, and tested to meet extreme environmental conditions. All ExtrIQ-based products meet MIL-Spec standards for extended temperatures as well as extended shock and vibration. In addition, because incremental or digital encoders are typically affected by harsh environments, the Gold Hornet uses robust resolvers. The system controller communicates with the drive controllers via RS-232 communication channels, and the drive’s compact, built-in resolver interface provides an additional benefit in this application.

The Gold Hornet is PCB-mounted, which enables an efficient and cost-effective implementation—the customer can simply integrate the digital drive and other electronic systems/circuits on a single PCB board.

Hornet digital drive installed on Elmo’s evaluation PCB offering

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