Here are highlights from some articles recently posted in the Web Exclusive section of the home page at Besides presenting Control Engineering's entire print editions, Control Engineering Online also delivers daily news, Web Exclusives, and Online Extra articles that add value to in-print features.


Here are highlights from some articles recently posted in the Web Exclusive section of the home page at . Besides presenting Control Engineering's entire print editions, Control Engineering Online also delivers daily news, Web Exclusives, and Online Extra articles that add value to in-print features.

Revived cold-drawn bar machine costs less than new line

Engineers at Vulcan Threaded Products Inc. (Pelham, Ala.) recently used an early edition Schumag in-line bar-drawing machine to evaluate GE Fanuc's (Charlottesville, Va.) OCS product as a plant-wide machine solution. They integrated OCS with the Schumag machine, and now get real-time data. The display provides a safety status check at start-up and during production. Operators can also view an up-to-the-minute bar count, as well as puller feet per minute, puller amp percentage, and pinch roller amp percentage.

Cscape programming software allowed Vulcan to reduce development time with a straightforward programming approach. "Our plant manager asked if I could make several changes on the machine during our refinement process," says David Johnson, Vulcan's plant engineer. "With a traditional setup and separate displays, I would have had to ask him to give me a couple days. Instead, I was able to make the changes within seconds as he stood there with me. Now, our operators can walk up to OCS, and in a matter of 15 minutes, they're experts at operating the unit."

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Portable HMI tool works on PC, PDA

A tool that helps monitor data values in PLC-based applications is Software Horizons Inc.'s (Billerica, Mass.) Instant HMI, which allows monitoring, trending and modification of parameters using a PDA or pocket PC. The first of its two available software modules provide communication with controllers, data displays, data logging (trending) and recipe management. The second module is a desktop PC application that allows users to configure a PDA application on a larger platform, and then download it for use in the field.

Instant HMI supports many types of controllers including Allen-Bradley (SLC, PLC5), Direct Logic (DL205, DL305, DL405), GE-Fanuc (Series 1, 6, and 90), Siemens (505, 400, 100U) and Square D (Model 50, Micro 1, Symax), among others. The connection between a handheld computer and PLC can be established by direct cabling or infrared interface to the PLC.

For more information on Instant HMI, visit .

Rotary encoders star at sky tracking

Torus Technologies (Iowa City, Ia.) recently ran into a unique servo drive problem: how to move a load extremely slowly and maintain accuracy of less than 3.0 arc seconds in its telescope drives. Torus found its solution in RGR Rotary Ring Encoders from Renishaw plc (Hoffman Estates, Ill.). Mounted to the gear reducer output shaft, RGR encoders provide 0.27 arc-second resolution.

Torus specified 6-in. diameter RGR encoders with Renishaw's RGH24 optical readheads, which have no difficulty reading over minor contaminants on the scale.

The first telescope fitted with Renishaw RGR encoders—a Torus CC06 (0.6-meter) automated telescope system—is now being installed in Greece at Knidos Observatory on Mt. Ainos on the island of Kefalonia.

For more information, visit , or visit .

Achieving cost-effective wireless remote control

Built on its ReFlex two-way paging protocol, Motorola's (Boynton Beach, Fla.) CreataLink 2XT transceiver modules can transmit commands to machines, which enable those machines to initiate remote communications to other machines and/or people. Integrating Motorola's CreataLink 2XT, HomMed's monitoring system politely reminds patients when it's time to take their vital signs, and then automatically gathers and transmits clinical readings—or out-of-setpoint alerts if needed—to the HomMed Observer at a hospital or HomMed monitoring facility.

Similarly, Harley-Davidson motorcycles are protected by Immobiliser's (Houston, Tex.) GPS Vision security device Meanwhile, Packaged Ice is updating its Ice Factory machines with Isochron Data's (Austin, Tex.) PolarCast wireless two-way data transceiver system to deliver up-to-the-minute production, sales, and maintenance information.

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