How Slewing Drives Add Precision Rotation to Satellite

August 29, 2016- When manufacturing a satellite, it’s imperative to have a highly accurate prime mover to rotate the satellite in the best possible position for signaling. Kinematics manufactures a slewing drive for such motion, using extremely accurate gear and machining tolerances to achieve the highest levels of precision.

A slewing drive encapsulates a structure, bearing, rotational torque and motion control all in one seamless housing.  Kinematics manufactures an advanced form of drive which can move two axes simultaneously from within the same housing.  It moves like an eyeball, effortlessly tracking the sky upon command.  Having all of these subsystems within one monocoque housing removes a tremendous amount of gearing backlash and bending stress movements. Both of these can lead to great inaccuracies and inefficiencies.

Satellites are subjected to harsh environmental conditions like rain, salt mist, sand, and extreme temperature differentials.  Kinematics has a state of the art test laboratory where materials such as metal, paint, grease, and rubber are tested in a plethora of environmental chambers to push the limits above and beyond what may be encountered in the field.  Once the drives are assembled, accelerated life cycle testing is done at fully rated loads until 30 years lifetime is surpassed.  In addition to the entire laboratory test, Kinematics has successfully installed over 600,000 units in the field.

Wind speeds at satellite locations can be very high and the dish shape of a satellite can act like a wind sail. It can grab a large load of wind and put tremendous pressure back onto the prime mover.  Kinematics performs destructive load testing to ensure a high level of safety on all structural components. We also work with our customers to custom manufacture any higher technical requirements.  Kinematics manufactures a patented hourglass worm to increase back holding strength and output torque of the gearing by 5 to 11 times that of a normal gearset.  In addition, the gearset is totally self-locking. Once you rotate and stop your position is locked, no brake required, no satellite “drift effect”.

Through the integration of bearings, gearing, motors, and load bearing structure into one housing, the SDE Dual Axis Slewing Drive is the most effective and cost efficient means for positioning any type of satellite.