C.G. Masi, Control Engineering

Articles

Robotics February 23, 2009

Everything needs calibration

Tutorial: When it comes to extreme high-accuracy motion control, such as marking the fiducials on precise linear encoders used to make integrated circuits with critical dimensions at the few tens of nanometers level, temperature variations are often considered the most serious issue. These encoders have to be made with picometer precision.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mechatronics and Motion Control February 1, 2009

Microprocessor advances translate into more CNC machine capability

It is a fact of life that the needs of general-purpose-computing drive microprocessor trends. Simple semiconductor-fabrication economics makes mass-marketable designs very inexpensive, while making designs aimed at smaller market segments, such as CNC, cost prohibitive. “Advances in technology help all technologies in a general way,” says Paul Nickelsberg, president and chief techni...

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Project Management January 1, 2009

Hybrid approach to system design

The age-old debate among system designers and their managers is whether to use top-down or bottom-up design techniques. Experience shows that a hybrid approach works best. Top down To use the top-down method, the designer starts with the big picture and works down to the details. The top level looks generally at what the prospective user wants the system to do and the major specifications.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Edge and Cloud Computing December 1, 2008

Picking a Controller Technology

Embedded control systems vary from temporary data acquisition and control systems running experiments to “brains” for standard mass-market products. Embedded control systems also range in complexity from telecommunications switching systems to alarm clocks. Different applications have different requirements, with several form factors available to meet them.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Machine Safety December 1, 2008

Arc flash blowout

Arc flash is quite different from electric shock. When a person gets an electric shock, effects arise from the passage of electric current through sensitive tissues, mostly nerves. Arc flash occurs when electric current passes through air. Arcs generally begin when conductors in contact and carrying high current are pulled apart.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Mobility November 1, 2008

Industrial Machining Embraces Nano Positioning

Where several ten-thousandths of an inch was once considered to be high precision, some applications now require the ability to reach sub-micron levels.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Edge and Cloud Computing November 1, 2008

New Technology Changes the RTOS Game

Not long ago, building a digital control system for a real-time application was relatively simple. You started with whatever real-time operating system (RTOS) you were most enamored with, selected a microcontroller that was 1) supported by that RTOS, and 2) had price, performance, I/O features, and memory that met your application needs.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Workforce Development October 1, 2008

GM’s Net Keeps Production Moving

When designing its global command and control network, General Motors executives' first priority was supporting production operations.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Machine Safety September 1, 2008

Smart Cameras Resolve Control Issues

Image analysis for machine vision applications is essentially an exercise in data reduction. The raw data stream is a torrent. A single black and white image from a 1,000 pixel x 1,000 pixel image sensor reporting 16 gray levels contains roughly 500 kB of data. At a standard frame rate of 30 f/s, that amounts to 15 MB/s.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Machine Safety August 1, 2008

How Encoders Make Automated Motion Safe

At its core, automation is defined by control loops, but automated machine safety is more aptly described as an arrow. And that arrow’s sharp point is often an encoder that makes it possible for the control system to know where it is and how fast it’s moving. With that knowledge, the system can not only avoid trouble, but act appropriately when circumstances bring trouble to its door.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
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