Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Self-Powered Wireless Sensors in the Industrial Internet of Things

Sensors have a key role in industrial production. For example, they can be used for quality and process monitoring or condition-based maintenance. The range of applications is large and is evolving even further, largely due to the increasing use of self-powered wireless sensors for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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Products of Tomorrow: September 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: Articles, Electronics & Computers, Materials
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DIGITALIZATION: The New Critical Success Factor

The terms Industry 4.0, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and the Digital Factory are being pitched around like a rugby ball, and almost always with a decided lack of clear definition. Let’s set the record straight.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers, Sensors
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Carbon Nanotube Resin Shores Up Boats and Bikes

NASA-funded nanotube technology strengthens cars, bikes, sporting goods, and boats.

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Nanotechnology
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National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) traces its roots to 1887, when a one-room laboratory was created within the Marine Hospital Service (MHS), the predecessor agency to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). An agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, today NIH is the nation’s focal point for health research. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., officially became director of NIH in 2009.

Posted in: Articles, Medical
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Camera Trends 2017

For an in-depth look at current trends in the camera market, we interviewed Alex Shikany, Director of Market Analysis, Association for Advancing Automation (A3), Ann Arbor, MI.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics
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How to Test Devices Used in Optical Communications Systems

As signal rates approach 50 Gb/s, bandwidth demand has outpaced conventional circuit boards. Engineers are now turning to PAM4 signaling rather than conventional NRZ as the most viable solution to these design challenges.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics
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Reduce Compressed Air Costs with Proper Air Cylinder Sizing

Choosing an air cylinder without a full understanding of how it will perform in a pneumatic circuit can have long lasting, costly consequences.

There may be no stronger ally of electrical power utilities than industrial size air compressors, as they drone on every day, taking atmospheric air and transforming it into useful energy. Countless kilowatt hours are gobbled up in a mechanical conversion of electrical power into pneumatic power, a process that is wickedly inefficient, with one horsepower of pneumatic energy costing six times as much to generate when compared to one horsepower of electrical energy. Nevertheless, with its tremendous versatility, efficiency, and widespread use throughout many sectors, compressed air provides a clean, reliable source of pneumatic power that has a value outweighing its cost to produce.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Electric power, Hydraulic and pneumatic hybrid power, Compressors, Pneumatic systems
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Energy Management Through Direct Drive Servo Technology

Inertia ratio provides a determinate measure for optimizing energy utilization of a servo motor during a machine’s design.

Direct drive servo motor and drive technology has many advantages. It reduces an axis’ parts count, mechanical losses, and often its objectionable noise. What’s more, it also increases the machine’s efficiency, lowering operation cost for the user due to its inertia ratio as compared to the more common mechanically advantaged multi-body axis designs. Reducing the mechanical transmission components (gearboxes, timing belts, pulleys, cams, lead screws, etc.) between the motor and its load is only part of the savings.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Engine efficiency, Rotary engines
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Smart Actuators Add Brains to Automation Brawn

Integrated electronics let smart actuators perform enhanced control functions that were previously external, such as switching, position feedback, and system diagnostics.

Actuators have always been on the frontline of automation, providing the “push and pull” that extends human capabilities to operate everything from delicate pick-and-place applications to 10-ton agricultural combines. Now, as the industrial world becomes increasingly digitized and connected, a new generation of actuators is fulfilling that role with more intelligence, simplicity, and economy, while overcoming increasingly challenging environmental conditions.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Electronic equipment, Sensors and actuators, Switches, Electronic equipment, Sensors and actuators, Switches, Automation, Robotics
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