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Aerospace & Defense, Gimbals & Optical Mounts, Optics & Photonics, White Paper
White Paper

Motion Actuator Designs for Electro-Optic Test Systems

Tom Markel
Aerospace Strategic Accounts Manager

This article discusses motorized angular drive mechanisms and performance differences between direct-drive gimbals, indirect-driven gimbals and articulated-arm robots for electro-optic (EO)testing applications. From this article, readers will gain an appreciation for the pros and cons of each drive technology and be able to make better choices when deciding which automated testing system would be best for their EO testing applications.

A gimbal is a two- or three-rotary axis device that has the axes of rotation at right angles to each other and intersecting. Gimbals are typically constructed with either direct-drive or indirect-drive(gear or tangent-arm drive) rotation axes. Figure 1 shows the conceptual architecture of a two-axis and three-axis gimbal, respectively.