Features

Sizing and Selecting Linear Motion Systems

The LOSTPED acronym can help designers avoid mistakes by reminding them to consider all the interrelated factors during system development and specification.

Virtually all manufacturing processes incorporate some type of linear motion. A common mistake that designers make when sizing and selecting linear motion systems is to overlook critical application requirements in the final system. This can lead to redesigns, and may also result in an over-engineered system that is costlier and less effective than desired. “LOSTPED” is a simple acronym that guides the designer in gathering the information needed to specify the appropriate linear motion components or modules in any given application.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Systems engineering, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Manufacturing processes
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Piezo Technology in Pneumatic Valves

Solenoid devices are the standard for electrically controlled pneumatic valves. However, piezo valves offer many advantages over their solenoid counterparts, and open entirely new areas of application.

Pneumatic valves made with piezo technology offer many advantages. They are small, lightweight, extremely precise, durable, fast, and save energy. Piezo valves do not need energy to maintain a switching status, and therefore generate almost no heat. What's more, piezo valves can potentially be operated without any noise. Another key advantage is that they always work proportionally.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Parts, Valves, Pneumatic systems
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Adding Simple Vision Systems to Collaborative Robots

Upfront evaluation can help determine if a vision system is the best solution for an automation application.

Adding vision to a collaborative robot can open a world of possibilities for automation applications. With a vision system, a robot can inspect parts, check specific features of a part, recognize a part to pick it up, count items, adjust its path using visual feedback, color sort, and so on. The breadth of applications requires careful consideration to ensure selection of the right technology for the job.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Automation, Robotics
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3D Printing Enables Customized Magnets

Polymer-bonded magnets are valuable for many sensor applications that require the production of unique and reproducible field profiles, not necessarily fields with the highest strength.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Additive manufacturing, Magnetic materials, Polymers
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Oil Sheer Clutch Cuts Downtime for Metal Stamping Press

Replacing a mechanical clutch, the oil sheer technology supplies constant, reliable tension on the stock feeding a 400-ton press to deliver precision and repeatability.

In the metal stamping business, precision, repeatability, and uptime are key. But stamping accuracy suffers when improper tension on the coil feeders incorrectly supplies metal to the presses, resulting in off-spec parts and increased rejections. ART Technologies of Fairfield, OH, relies on an oil shear clutch brake to supply constant, reliable tension on the coil feeding to one of its 400-ton presses to produce the precision and repeatability it needs, with no downtime for maintenance or adjustment. When the plant is working 20 hours a day, that uptime is as critical as the tolerances it maintains.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Stamping, Parts
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New Products: May 2017 Photonics & Imaging Insider

High Efficiency Double Spot Beam Splitter

LASER COMPONENTS (Bedford, NH) has introduced the HEDS (High Efficiency Double Spot) beam splitter. Double spot beam splitters are diffractive optical elements (DOE) used for separating an incoming laser beam into two identical beams. They are most commonly used in lithography as well as high power applications such as cutting and perforation. Until now, a small portion of light was lost in higher diffraction orders. Some applications cannot tolerate even a 1% loss, so this DOE boasts an efficiency well above the standard value of 81%. HEDS is available in wavelengths between 193 nm and 10.6 µm.

Posted in: Products, Photonics
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Nick Krotkov, Atmospheric Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Using data from NASA’s Earth Observing System Aura satellite, launched in 2004, a team led by Michigan Technological University created a global map of volcanic emissions. Scientist Nick Krotkov will use the information to refine climate models and better understand the human and environmental health risks of erupted gases like sulfur dioxide.

Posted in: Who's Who, Data Acquisition
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Product of the Month: May 2017

Spectrum Instrumentation Corp. (Hackensack, NJ) introduced the DN6.44x, a range of 12 high-speed, 14-, and 16-bit LXI-based digitizers with up to 24 fully synchronized channels. The 16 bit ADC models offers sampling rates of either 130 MS/s or 250 MS/s, while the 14 bit units feature sampling rates of 500 MS/s. The units are suitable for applications where arrays of receivers, sensors, detectors, rectifiers, antennas and other electronic devices are to be used and tested. Each channel is also equipped with its own front-end amplifier that features six input ranges (from ±200 mV up to ±10 V full scale), switchable input impedance (50 Ω and 1 MΩ) and programmable positive input offset for unipolar signals. Analog bandwidth is as high as 250 MHz (for 500 MS/s models), enabling the units to capture electronic signals in the DC to 200 MHz frequency range. The instruments are equipped with a large on-board acquisition memory of 512 MSamples per channel.

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Posted in: Products, Data Acquisition
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Products of Tomorrow: May 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Intelligent Robotics Safeguarding

Traditional robot applications limit operator access to hazards through hard-guarding and protective devices that either detect and stop the hazard, or prevent access into the safeguarding space until the hazard no longer exists. The introduction of power- and force-limited robots used in collaborative applications changes this environment. Reduced or nonexistent hard-guarding, along with continuous motion and interaction between the robot and the operator, makes the environment inherently dynamic and uncertain. Methods to reduce risks to a tolerable level include limiting forces and speed, but these measures can yield unacceptable production rates.

Posted in: Articles, Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Artificial intelligence, Risk management, Robotics
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