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Design Guide: Sheet Metal Fabrication

Our custom sheet metal services offer a cost-effective, on-demand solution for your manufacturing needs. Fabrication services range from standard gauge metal we can bend, punch and cut your design for low-volume prototypes, to high-volume production runs.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Machinery & Automation

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‘Robomussels’ Monitor Climate Change

Northeastern University scientist Brian Helmuth and other researchers have developed "robomussels" that monitor climate change. The tiny devices have miniature built-in sensor that track temperatures inside the mussel beds.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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3D-Printed Robots Feature Shock-Absorbing Skins

A “programmable viscoelastic material” (PVM) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) allows users to program every single part of a 3D-printed object, including exact levels of stiffness and elasticity.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Precision Robotics and Automation: Hexapods Advance Production Processes

Hexapods — six-legged parallel-kinematic machines — are quickly gaining ground in a broad range of industrial automation applications after “learning” how to directly communicate with PLC or CNC controllers via Fieldbus interfaces. As far as the semiconductor and electronics industry, automobile industry, and precision assembly are concerned, many production processes have become inconceivable without them. Today, the six-axis positioning systems are available with load capacity from 2 kg to 2000 kg, and travel from 10 to hundreds of millimeters while maintaining submicron precision. Hexapods are used for aligning the smallest optical components in the latest silicon photonics production processes, for controlling automated labeling machines, and positioning entire body parts for automotive production. The intrinsic hexapod features contribute to a wealth of new possibilities in robotics.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Introduction to Machine Vision Inspection

Product inspection with machine vision is vastly superior to manual inspection or using photoelectric sensors. With some basic knowledge and tools you can create a reliable, repeatable inspection process that will make your production line safer and more efficient. Download the whitepaper to learn how to dramatically improve production performance with easy-to-apply inspection applications.

Posted in: White Papers, Imaging, Machine Vision, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Residual Mode Filters

NASA has developed a unique control algorithm and synthesis method that uses a system’s output to modify control inputs to cause the system to track a reference model or a fixed value in the presence of unmodeled system dynamics, varying operating environments, and unpredictable disturbances. The unique feature of this algorithm is the ability to instantaneously adapt the system according to its output, rejecting persistent disturbances, and ultimately improving the system’s performance. This makes the controller ideally suited for applications where there are unknown modeling parameters or uncertain operating environments. Many aerospace systems must function in unknown or highly variable environments. This technology allows the system to achieve its objectives in these types of unpredictable environments. In comparison to current adaptive controller technologies, the addition of residual mode filters allows operation when flexible modes are present that could inhibit the controller. This is especially useful for systems where initial modeling is costly, or the fidelity of existing system models is low.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Probabilistic Surface Characterization for Safe Landing Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a probabilistic algorithm for hazard detection and avoidance (HDA) that robustly handles sensor noise. Conventional surface characterization methods use fixed hazard thresholds to determine hazardous landing locations; these thresholds are set lower than lander tolerances to compensate for sensor noise, but this leads to excessive false alarms and significantly reduces the number of safe locations. JPL’s probabilistic method seamlessly combines the distance to nearest hazard and the local roughness, and incorporates the presence of navigation errors to determine the probability that a given location is a safe landing site. This innovative algorithm enables onboard hazard detection and avoidance to increase the probability of safe landing and allow landings in more scientifically interesting but challenging sites.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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