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Integrated and distributed safety for motion control
Safety requires an integrated and distributed approach to keep workers safe from an environment that features autonomous equipment.
Updated PackML standard released
The International Society of Automation (ISA) has released a simplified of PackML to make the standard easier to implement across many manufacturing applications.
Making machine control open, secure
Adopting modern and flexible automation platforms helps OEMs and end users meet traditional production challenges while addressing newer concerns such as supply chain issues, labor shortages and cybersecurity.
Three motion control trends for 2023
The motion control industry is moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, but trends such as supply chain challenges, predictive maintenance and increased customization remain prevalent.
Micro-PLC motion control made practical
Modern micro-PLCs combined with stepper motor controllers make advanced motion control and edge integration simple for smaller systems.
Open system technology consolidates automation controls
Yaskawa's i³ Control (“iCube” Control) is an open system platform deigned to consolidate a variety of automation controls into one centralized controller.
IMTS: Machine tool hardware, software, efficiency, integration tools
Siemens machine tool announcements at IMTS aim to simplify operations, increase productivity, manage machine tool resources, advance related ecosystems and digital thread, with collaboration to integrate additive and subtractive CNC machining technologies.
Laser, CMM and CNC technologies displayed
Hexagon revealed a new technology for training entry-level CNC and CMM operators on production equipment, without devoting the actual machines to the instruction effort.
Market opportunities emerging in motion control market
Our last insight into the motion control sector looked at prospects for overall market growth up to 2026. We commented on the breadth of the market for the technology owing to its universal applicability.
Global motion control market grows more than 20% in 2021
The global market growth in motion controls jumped more than 20% in 2021 and is expected to have slower, but still strong, growth through 2026.
Strategic partnership announced for additive manufacturing production
Siemens and Roboze announced a strategic partnership aimed at increasing the production opportunities of companies involved in the energy, mobility and aerospace sectors.
Strengthening metal additive manufacturing capabilities
Siemens has launched a collaboration effort with Xerox Elem Additive Solutions, which is aimed at strengthening the metal additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities of both businesses.
Motion plastics: Improved deliveries, investments in climate neutrality
Faster deliveries, movement toward carbon neutrality and motion control designs that decrease reliance on lubrication are among trends from igus, a German-based manufacturer of motion plastics.
Product advice: Smart mechatronics platforms offer new handling solutions
Intelligent mechatronics components, such as linear motion products, controllers, servo drives and operator software with easy-to-use configuration tools, are necessary to build complete, high-performance mechatronics solutions, according to a company with a Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award product.
Pneumatics are evolving for the digital era
Pneumatic technology is adapting to the concept of digitalization and taking advantage of industrial Ethernet, IO-Link and more to make them connected.
Sizing a single-blade rotary knife application
Inside Machines, Part 2: Using calculations and equations will demonstrate how to correctly size a rotary knife application based on previous data. Part 1 covered key terms.
Motion control market future looking bright
The motion control market had a strong 2021 thanks to high demand and the future looks equally bright according to an Interact Analysis expert.
Condition monitoring, industrial powertrain, sortation: Merger, new motion control products
New condition monitoring system, gear drives, industrial powertrain, roller bearings, sortation system and worm gears were among Regal product introductions, at Pack Expo Las Vegas. Days later the motion control company announced it completed its merger with Rexnord PMC, creating Regal Rexnord Corp.
Precise positioning for autonomous vehicles
Inertial measurement units (IMUs) are key to delivering highly precise position sensing for fully autonomous vehicles at a mass market price.
Control Engineering November-December digital edition, Global System Integrator Report
Inventory insights, standardization help for the supply chain, cloud and edge, motion system efficiency, control systems and AI, vibration measurement are among topics in the November-December 2021 edition of Control Engineering. Global System Integrator Report, Oil & Gas Engineering, and ebooks also are included.
Low-voltage, piezoelectric membrane is big advance for spintronics
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have developed an all-thin-film membrane composite of the relaxor-ferroelectric material lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) and ferromagnetic nickel that demonstrates an intrinsic coupling between voltage and spin.
Integrating controllers and robots with coordination
Integrating a single, motion-centric coordinator to control a machine and robots can provide advantages in development time, cost and performance compared to separating PLC and robot control functions.
Understand total system efficiency for motion control
Motion system efficiency, more than induction motor efficiency, also depends on electrical input power, variable frequency drives, gearboxes and transmission elements like chains and belts. Learn more in an Oct. 22 CFE Media and Technology Virtual Training Week course.
Machine control migrations hinge on system openness
Cover Story: When upgrading controllers and automation platforms consider increasing flexibility and adding capabilities while being cost conscious. Four controller selection questions are highlighted.
Machine control migration goals and risks
Upgrading control systems can be a fraught process and there are many things users need to consider. Seven questions are highlighted.
Simplified electric motion, intelligent air flow control, I/O modules
Simplified electric motion, intelligent motion terminal flow control, decentralized I/O modules are among products shown at the Festo booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas, Sept. 27-29.
Smoother machine designs, better integration
Integration of motion control and robotics, along with high-powered processing capabilities enable smoother, more secure machine designs for packaging and other industries. See video from Pack Expo.
Designing motion control and precision positioning equipment for high-vacuum applications
How motorized positioners meet requirements of vacuum applications through specific design, selected materials and components, and vacuum-enabling manufacturing and quality control processes.
Motion control standard simplifies machine design, improves machine effectiveness
Standardized motion control function blocks combined with a state diagram from PLCopen are helping to shift mechanical machine designs to more efficient and effective mechatronic (mechanical and electric) designs, helping machine builders and machine builder customers, end users.
Single blade rotary knife: Application overview
Industrial rotary knives, usually servo-driven, cut a continuously-fed web into desired lengths. Software helps size and configure the servo for rotary knife applications.
Getting connected: interface options for motion control
Electronic motion control systems require reliable communications interfaces to exchange information between the controllers, actuators and sensors.
Manufacturer, university partner up to advance additive manufacturing technology
Cincinnati Incorporated (CI) announced a partnership with Ohio State University's Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) to help researchers and students advance additive manufacturing (AM) technology.
Intralogistics markets expand motion control use
Huge demand in warehousing, food and beverage, and other interior logistics (intralogistics) applications expand variable frequency drive flexibility and features.
Unlabeled data aids self-driving cars
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have found a way to unlock a mountain of autonomous driving data to improve self-driving cars.
Machine module provides software-supported product changeovers
Koch Pac-Systeme designed a labeling and grouping unit in a toothbrush packaging line with a transport system at its core.
Donation made for mechatronics lab at university
Omron Foundation made a donation to California State University, Chico (Chico State) for an expanded mechatronics laboratory and classroom space.
Seven things to know about OMAC
The Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) assembles end-user manufacturers, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) machine builders, system integrators, technology providers, and non-profit and government agency organizations to address key issues, such as connectivity, manufacturing efficiency and best practices for global manufacturing.
Motion control, motor sales increase slightly in Q3 2019
TheMotion Control & Motor Association (MCMA) reported that global motion control and motor suppliers have received orders at $2.65 billion through the third quarter of 2019.
Mobile machinery manufacturer changes name
SKF Motion Technologies, formerly part of the SKF Group, is now known as Ewellix: Makers in Motion, effective immediately.
Glass elevator installed for Empire State Building Observatory
Otis Elevator Co. delivered and installed a custom-made glass elevator to carry visitors to the Empire State Building’s observatory, which was recently renovated.
5 enduring developments in electronic motion control
Motor drives, power-switching transistors and microprocessors, sophisticated control algorithms, software influences, and mechatronic integration are among the standout electronic motion control developments.
Motion controller gives old presses new life
Case study: Retrofit controller on four hydraulic presses used a new programmable logic controller (PLC) to control the moving platen and the levelling cylinders would be controlled by a new electrohydraulic motion controller.
New technologies reducing lead times for spare parts
Digitalization and new manufacturing techniques have paved the way for a dramatic improvement in lead times.
Motion control and motor market reports decline in first quarter of 2019
The Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA) reported that the global motion control and motor market saw a very small decline in shipments in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018.
CNC technology developments help engineers cut corners in all the right ways
Cover Story: Automation technologies continue convergence across platforms and computer numerical control (CNC) technology advances, along with faster control hardware and software, allow engineers to complete more accurate cuts in less time.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles June 3-9
Articles about the Career and Salary Survey, CNC digitalization, alarm management and process safety, process instrumentation education, and asset performance in refineries were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 3-9. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Using motion control to upgrade motors for machine design
Inside Machines: Motion control product demand has increased for many machine design applications as the economy has improved. However, different markets have different expectations and needs, forcing suppliers to be flexible.
Easier CNC programming, probe system integration
Cover Story: Computer numerical controls (CNC) trends for machine control include easier integration of systems, such as measuring probes, to save up to 90% setup time.
Standard interface simplifies CNC digitalization
Cover Story: VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association, said the first concrete OPC UA companion specification based on a realistic set of parameters will be presented at EMO Hannover 2019 in September. The interface allows data exchange from and among machines with different control systems. See more answers in “Flexibility in a marketable standard.”
Sinumerik 828D CNC by Siemens
Siemens Sinumerik 828D computer numerical control (CNC) now comes with version 4.8 of the operating system. Sinumerik 828D is a panel-based CNC offered in vertical and horizontal models for flexible machine design integration.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles April 22-28
Articles about object-oriented industrial programming, AI and machine learning benefits, IIoT benefits for manufacturers, and rate-predictive control were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from April 22-28. Miss something? You can catch up here.
IIoT-ready technologies improve machine controls
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies have the potential to improve user benefits through diagnostics, prognostics and predictive maintenance.
CNC system MTX by Bosch Rexroth
Bosch Rexroth’s CNC system MTX with new hardware is designed to achieve even shorter cycle times and better machining quality.
Controls upgrade boosts machine productivity 40%
Machine running speed nearly doubled with greater product control, quick ROI.
‘Power of Industry’ will propel Hannover Fair 2001
Hannover, Germany—Twenty-five halls will be "in play" to accommodate this year's edition of the "world's largest industrial technology trade show" on April 23-28, 2001. An extra benefit is the fairground's upgraded infrastructure, completed for Expo 2000, the World's Fair. Hannover Fair 2001 combines six "fairs" in its "Power of Industry" theme.
Control Engineering Highlights the 40 Best Products of 2000
Control Engineering editors— in the 14th annual process—highlighted the best products of the year, based on technological advancement, impact on the market, and service to industry.Editors selected from among thousands of products mentioned in Control Engineering and Control Engineering Online during year 2000, in nine product categories: Control components; Human-machine interface...
Slower economy unfolding in 2001— except in industrial controls
Based on data for the fourth quarter of 2000, many economists are painting a grim picture for much of 2001. Rising energy costs and declining consumer confidence have combined to create a bleak forecast—at least for 2001's first half. Users post big gainsIndividual user industries all posted sales increases with Utilities and Oil, Gas & Coal leading the way.
Innovations inundate National Industrial Automation Show at National Manufacturing Week 2001
Chicago, Ill.— Hundreds of exhibitors showed thousands of innovative products and services at the National Industrial Automation Show during National Manufacturing Week 2001 at McCormick Place. For more coverage, including streaming video clips, click on "NMW 2001" at www.controleng.com. Advantech Automation (Cincinnati, O.
Enhancements include HART support
Spring House, Pa.— Siemens-Moore recently added a HART analog output, a 1-5 V input, and a non-HART analog input modules to the Procidia control system. All modules support eight channels with the HART output module reading up to four HART variables from each controlled device. The 1-5 V and non-Hart analog input modules address user request for lower cost modules.
Sensorless AC Drives Fill Price/Performance Niche
KEY WORDSMotors, drives, & motion controlAC variable-speed drivesAC induction motorsAdaptive controlControversial right from their name, "sensorless" ac drives actually use current and voltage sensors to achieve motor control. Even beyond terminology, it's not obvious what sensorless ac drives can or can't do, and where they fit into the big picture.
Pressure Sensing: It’s Everywhere!
KEY WORDS Process control and instrumentation Process sensing Pressure sensing One of the most-used sensors, pressure instrumentation is found nearly everywhere now. The old process standby is still there—chemical change-of-state monitoring still requires tracking such mundane variables as pressure and temperature—but it now can be found, however tiny, in manufactured goods from au...
Smart two-way diaphragm valves
Irvine, Calif. —Two-way diaphragm valves from Burkert are available with intelligent On/Off , continuous proportional, or manual control. Available in either plastic or stainless steel, Types 2030/2031 are designed for automated process control and Types 3232/3233 for manual control applications requiring two-way flow control of ultra-pure, sterile, aggressive, or abrasive gases, slurrie...
Using digital technologies to create spare parts
Digitalization is the key to rapid and precise repairs, but repairing critical equipment can be a time-consuming task. This is especially true if original parts are difficult to source, which has led some to produce new casting parts using additive manufacturing technologies.
A standard reference point for motion controllers
A coordinate frame is a point of reference that defines the six degrees of freedom (DoF) in a PLCopen controller. A programmer needs to know how the different coordinate frames interact and which ones are important to understand.
Machine vision’s role in the IIoT
Many manufacturers are striving to implement Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities in their facilities, and machine vision is playing a big role in this.
Applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in robotics
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have only been applied in limited ways so far, but are already making an impact with robotic automation and will continue to do so over the next few decades.
The future of embedded vision in manufacturing
Embedded vision can be used in many different ways for a variety of functions, and the future of embedded vision technology could take several different paths for manufacturing applications.
Embedded vision systems are crucial for ADAS in automobiles
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in automobiles have quickly become a common feature in most new vehicles and serves as a prime example of embedded vision technology's potential to transform the way we interact with products.
Pros and cons of high-speed machine vision interfaces
When deciding on which machine vision interface would be best for an application, it's important to assess the application's unique needs and consider ease of deployment, cable length, low life-cycle cost and customer ecosystem.
Visual SLAM technology benefits and applications
Visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is quickly becoming an important advancement in embedded vision and refers to the process of determining the position and orientation of a sensor with respect to its surroundings while simultaneously mapping the environment around that sensor.
Six tips for designing and building a small controls project
When designing and building a small controls project, aspects such as ordering and specifying parts, building the system, and programming should be considered to make the process as smooth as possible.
Benefits of pneumatic-mechanical grippers for pick-and-place applications
Pneumatic-mechanical gripper benefits include large grip force range and easy implementation, which make them ideal for pick-and-place applications.
Ladder logic 403: Message scrolling and multiple faults
Two faults happening at the same time in ladder logic is extremely unlikely, but there are different situations and scenarios users need to be cognizant of and plan for accordingly.
Traceability and imaging for life sciences applications
Traceability in the life sciences industry provides companies with the ability to trace a product, device, or medicine through the course of its supply chain from beginning to end to reduce liability for all companies involved in the supply chain.
Benefits of smart cameras in industrial settings
Smart cameras incorporate an image sensor and CPU capabilities into the camera, which has a few consequences for certain applications and can capture and process images without the need for an external PC.
Engineering company to acquire manufacturer
IMI Precision Engineering announced it has agreed to acquire Bimba, which will combine the companies valve and air preparation and cylinder products, respectively.
What’s next for motor efficiency?
Motors and motor efficiency: Standards efforts continue to shift from looking at motor efficiency to measuring power use; attention to the system in the application is very important when optimizing energy use, according to NEMA Motor Generator Section representatives.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles May 8-14: Project scope expectations, DCS migration, project quality, more
Articles about project scope expectations, DCS migration, measuring project quality, data center infrastructure, and the programmable controller's origins were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 8-14. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Power supplies for automation, process control applications
XP Power's DPC series of DIN rail ac-dc power supplies are available in 30, 50 and 70 W single output models and they are designed for applications such as include factory automation, process control and other industrial applications.
PLC platform for data logging, Ethernet communication
AutomationDirect has added the BRX PLC platform to their line of programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which are available in four form factors: M series, 10-point series, 18-point series, and 36-point series.
PLC data logger for collecting historical, production, troubleshooting data
InterConnecting Automation's FC-LOG is a programmable logic controller (PLC) data logger that collects historical and production data and can operate as a mass storage device.
Industrial magnetic sensor for industrial applications
The MMC5883MA is designed to provide accuracy, low noise, and little power consumption for drone and industrial markets.
EC: Field Logic Controllers Powered by ARGEE programming environment
Network Integration — I/O systems: With Turck's field logic controllers powered by ARGEE, engineers can program logic directly to compatible I/O devices without a PLC, reducing cost per I/O point and increasing flexibility in control. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Finalist.
EC: Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical
Software — Control design: AutoCAD Electrical is AutoCAD software for controls designers, built specifically to create and modify electrical control systems, providing comprehensive symbol libraries and tools for automating electrical control engineering tasks. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winner.
EC: ConnectCore for i.MX6UL system on module
Machine & Embedded Control — CNCs, board-level products: Digi ConnectCore for i.MX6UL system-on-module (SOM) is designed for a wide range of demanding applications with secure, pre-certified wireless connectivity in a simple, compact, low-profile, connector-less module. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Finalist.
EC: EZTimer, a digitally programmable multi-fuction timer
Machine & Embedded Control — CNCs, board-level products: EZTimers say goodbye to knobs, pots, and hundreds of timer models. It is a digitally programmable multi-function timer with precision settings of 1% resolution, 1% accuracy, and 0.1% repeat accuracy. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winner.
EC: Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5380 Programmable Automation Controller
Machine & Embedded Control — PLCs, PACs, industrial PCs: The Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5380 is a programmable automation controller that is ideal for small to mid-size applications that require low axis motion and I/O point counts. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winner.
Advanced process control and real-time optimization
Advanced process control and real-time optimization are techniques that can improve a plant’s profitability and efficiency by maintaining a process at desired operating conditions while taking process constraints into account.
EC: IEH3-4096 Integrated encoder
Motion Control: The new IEH3-4096 series from Faulhaber is the most compact 3-channel encoder of its class, delivering two square-wave signals as well as an additional index channel. This is a Control Engineering 2016 Engineers’ Choice Honorable Mention.
Motion control system is low cost and plug and play
Optimal Engineering Systems’ Sonata series is a low cost, plug-and-play, stand-alone solution for motion control applications up to 3 axes.
Document for better project
Is project documentation an afterthought? Does the documentation stage of a project seem to be a tedious process? Does the customer understand the importance of proper definition? Documentation is likely the most important part of a project.
Maximize opportunities for code reuse in your control system configuration project
Control system configuration projects and the ensuing maintenance can become very complicated and time consuming if not managed carefully. Here are three concepts that can move your project in the right direction.
Low-pressure transmitter provides overpressure resistance
OsiSense XMLP transmitter for low-pressure ranges that provides resistance to overpressure and harsh operating conditions.
Hardware in the loop, FPGAs help motor testing
Case study: Field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices can advance hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) capabilities for simulation and testing, moving from idea to production more quickly, as this Subaru hybrid example explains, with electric motor and drive testing. Subaru reduced test time to 1/20 of the estimated time for equivalent testing on a dynamometer.
Growth returns to the market for motion controls in 2014
According to the latest IHS study on motion controls market, the outlook for 2014 is more optimistic as growth accelerates in global machinery production. As defined by IHS, the market for motion controls includes general motion control (GMC) and computer numerical control (CNC) servo motors, servo drives, and position control hardware.
Slip ring for packaging systems, machine tools
Moog's AC7257 slip ring has a through-bore model that provides power and signal communications and is designed for applications like packaging systems, machine tools, and work centers.
Solid-state contactors approved for general use
Phoenix Contact's Contactron ELR 2+1 and ELR-3 series of solid-state contactors, which are designed for switching resistive and inductive loads have received UL 508 General Use approval, which allow them to be used in heating-load applications.
Additive manufacturing project for industrial use
Renishaw's EVO Project is an additive manufacturing system designed for single material industrial production for applications like automation, monitoring technologies and reduced operator interaction.
Programmable position transmitter for linear actuators
Festo's SDAT-MHS T-slot programmable position transmitter are designed to offer OEMs a solution for sensing a pneumatic cylinder's position that can be transmitted to a PLC with a repetition accuracy of 0.1mm.
Pneumatic actuator for servo positioning and force control
Festo's DDLI servo-pneumatic actuator delivers precise dynamic movement of large loads for OEMs and can regulate feed forces on the fly.
Integrated drive, motor, gear unit saves 60% electricity compared to traditional products
Video: Integrated electronic drive, permanent magnet motor, and gears, the SEW Movigear was shown to save 60% in electricity compared to a more traditional design with separate drive, motor, and gearbox, which requires more space and creates more heat.
Infrared camera series has thermal, visible, multi spectral dynamic imaging
The Omega OSXL-EX infrared camera series has thermal, visible and MSX (multi spectral dynamic) imaging designed to reveal problems from sources of energy loss, moisture intrusion and structural issues. Thermal images can reveal problems from sources of energy loss, moisture intrusion and structural issues to overheating electrical and mechanical equipment.
Data acquisition modules for harsh conditions
HBM's SomatXR Data Acquisition System series has added three modules—the SomatXR MX1615B-R, the SomatXR MX1601B-R, and the SomatXR MX1609KB-R—to function in harsh operating conditions and manage test data for machine and mining applications.
Five-port managed Ethernet switches
Moxa's EDS-405A-PTP five-port managed Ethernet switches feature PTP hardware time stamping, and they support Modbus TCP, Profinet, RT, and EtherNet/IP for better SCADA integration.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, November 17-23: Automation and beer making, ladder logic, manufacturing visibility, more
Articles about reasons why automation improves beer making, ladder logic, manufacturing visibility beyond the cables, industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, and tuning PID loops for level control were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, November 17-23. Were you out last week? Miss something? Catch up here.
Servo drive with auto tuning function
Mitsubishi Electric Automation's MR-JE servo system, which was displayed and featured at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago is designed for applications that require precise control of servomotors like packaging, labeling, and machine tool applications.
PC-based control technology, stainless steel housing, wearable HMI support Industry 4.0
Beckhoff Automation highlighted its PC-based control technology and its innovation supporting Industry 4.0 with Google Glass human machine interface (HMI), multi-core embedded PCs, and HMIs with RFID and stainless steel housing.
Pneumatics, motor and drive units for food industry on display
Festo displayed its new line of motor/drive units, pneumatic valves and manifolds, and process automation components at Pack Expo 2014, as demonstrated in a video.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, November 10-16: Tuning PID loops, smart devices, control system programming, more
Articles about tuning PID loops for level control, manually configuring smart devices, control system programming, automation vs. headcount, and optimizing servo controls were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, November 10-16. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Servo drive with integrated safety
The Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 servo drive with integrated safety from Rockwell Automation uses the EtherNet/IP network for streamlined machine safety functions and is designed for machine builders and end users.
Motor Summit 2014: Energy efficiency focus is on total motor systems
Presentations at this biennial technology conference showed growing movement to embrace work on the larger electrically driven system beyond the motor itself. This approach can enable large efficiency gains. Motor Summit was hosted by European and international energy associations and co-hosted by the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) of the U.S.
Cabinet free modular machines saves space for OEMs, plant operators
Automation and machinery applications designer Bosch Rexroth demonstrated drive, motion and controls products, and cabinet-free devices that allow fully distributed control. There were also working presentations of mechatronics, anti-slosh and anti-vibration systems at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago.
Optimizing servo control with an adaptive nonlinear algorithm
Servo control software improves applications requiring accurate path tracking and low settling time, such as CNC and cutting, conveyor tracking, pick-and-place operations, PCB mounting, welding, as well as painting, coating, and gluing. A gantry robotic application resulted in a 33% increase in machine throughput, compared to prior technology.
Line scan camera with RGB, NIR ouputs
Teledyne Dalsa's Piranha4 2k quadlinear line scan camera featuring red, green, and blue (RGB) outputs plus a Near Infrared (NIR) channel for multispectral imaging and is designed for machine vision applications.
2014 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit videos
The 2014 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit highlighted a number of topics and challenges facing manufacturing.
Brushless slotless motor for high performance applications
Portescap's 16ECH brushless motor is optimized for high continuous torque at low to medium speed and is constructed with an enhanced magnetic circuit designed to reduce both iron and recirculation losses, the primary causes for motor stator heating.
EC: Freelance AC 900F controller
Process Control Systems: The AC 900F controller expands ABB's Freelance control system capabilities. Enhanced PROFIBUS and digital fieldbus support for remote I/O, actuators, drives, and instrumentation helps reduce project wiring and engineering costs. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: TwinCAT 3 Automation Interface
Software — HMI Software: TwinCAT Automation Interface enables automatic generation of code and configurations as well as the remote control of engineering systems. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: DataMan 8600 series readers
Machine & Embedded Control — Machine Vision, Barcode Readers: DataMan 8600 readers are ideal for applications in any manufacturing environment that requires robust DPM and label-based barcode technology and unparalleled reading capability. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Do-more T1H series PLC
Machine & Embedded Control — PLCs: Do-more T1H Series PLC uses proven Terminator I/O hardware for a flexible control platform with fast and powerful performance. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Ensemble QLAB Piezo motion controller
Motion Control: The Ensemble QLAB is a high-performance nanopositioning piezo stage controller for 1 to 4 axes of motion that allows user-configurable open-loop and closed-loop operation on a per axis basis. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Ampgard XP3 MCC
Motion Control: The Eaton Ampgard XP3 motor control center helps meet the challenges of today's demanding motor control environments by helping identify equipment fatigue and simplify preventative maintenance. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: 17/1 series planetary gearhead
Motion Control: The 17/1 gearhead is available with up to five gear stages, with standard reductions of 3.33:1 to 1,367:1. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: FDM0620 stepper motor
Motion Control: With a holding torque rating of 0.25 mNm and a dynamic torque of up to 0.2 mNm, these stepper motors are a great fit for applications requiring high power in a small space. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: g500 gearbox series
Motion Control: Developed to transform motor speed into torque intelligently and accurately, and designed for mechatronic integration with the Lenze Smart Motor, the g500 gearbox series enables efficiency of over 94% across an entire transmission range. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Smart Motor
Motion Control: For optimal standardization, the simple and versatile smart motor is fully programmable from a smartphone and blends the simplicity of an ac motor with the technical benefits of an electronic drive control. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
EC: PowerXL DG1 adjustable frequency drive
Motion Control — Drives: The Eaton PowerXL DG1 adjustable frequency drive is designed to help reduce energy consumption compared to traditional control methods, improve safety, and support reliable operations. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
EC: 3890 CR dc motor
Motion Control — Drives: The 3890 CR coreless dc motor ensures cogging-free, precise synchronization with very low energy consumption. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: EL7211 servo terminal
Motion Control — Servo Drives: The Beckhoff EL7211 servo terminal is a complete compact servo drive with an output current of up to 4.5 ARMS—integrated into a 24-mm wide EtherCAT terminal housing. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Gold Twitter servo drive
Motion Control — Servo Drives: Gold Twitter is a nano servo drive that provides over 4,000 W of qualitative intelligent power. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 servo drive with integrated safety
Motion Control — Servo Drives: The Kinetix 5500 drive controls servo and induction motors using EtherNet/IP to send safety, control, and motion signals over a single wire—eliminating needs for hardwired safety systems and vastly reducing development time. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
UV sensor for industrial automation applications
The UVX-300P Sensor by EMX Industries is designed detects the presence of phosphorescent materials and pigments and is able to quantify light output of phosphorescent additives used in paints, adhesives, films, security inks and plastics.
Brushless DC motor drivers integrate module, transceiver
Microchip Technology's MCP8025 and MCP8026 3-Phase BLDC motor gate drivers integrate power module, LIN transceiver, and sleep mode and are designed to reduce resources needed for control.
Fast, cheap nanomanufacturing
Arrays of tiny conical tips that eject ionized materials could fabricate nanoscale devices cheaply, according to MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, September 10 to October 9: The first PLC, future of the PLC, System Integrator Giants, more
Articles about the competition for the first PLC, the PLC’s future, System Integrator Giants of 2014, cascade control fundamentals, and open- vs. closed-loop controls were Control Engineering’s top 5 reader favorites from September 10 to October 9. You can catch up here.
Linear displacement transducer for original equipment manufacturers
Ametek's Gemco 955 eBrik II Linear Displacement Transducer (LDT) is designed for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and uses magnetostrictive position-sensing technology.
Enclosed soft starter for smaller pump applications
ABB’s enclosed PSE soft starter features two-phase torque control and a built-in bypass contactor and has built-in electronic overload for motor protection in small pump applications.
3-phase induction motors
WEG Electric's W40 three-phase induction motors are suitable for inverter operation up to 460 V are designed for compressors, blowers, oil well and fire pumps and industrial refrigeration applications.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, September 22-28: Electronic motion control, motion control developments, in-line flowmeters, more
Articles about electronic motion control, the greatest motion control development, in-line flowmeters using SAW-based technology, the PLC’s future, and the competition for the first PLC were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, September 22-28. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Laser sensor for positioning and measuring
Banner Engineering's LE250 laser sensor is optimized for measurements ranging from 100 mm to 400 mm and has a small spot size, which makes the sensor useful for small part detection and measurements that involve multiple colors.
Danfoss bid to acquire Vacon: Low voltage VFD suppliers may join forces
Denmark’s Danfoss A/S has bid $1.34 billion for the acquisition of Finland’s Facon Oyj, which would result in the union of two of the 10 largest variable frequency drive suppliers globally.
What is the greatest development in motion control in the past 60 years?
Ask Control Engineering blog links to 60 years of motors, drives, and motion control coverage for the answer.
Electronic motion control, then and now
Automation tales in motion: Great changes have taken place in motion control systems over the past 60 years. From proprietary, “black-box” controllers and early analog drives, electronic advancements have led to today’s largely automated controls that rely on digital signal processors, accurate motor models implemented in software, and ability to connect with other systems in a facility. Four online extensions, with a historical photo gallery, cover more functions and history.
Electric motors’ influence on motion control
Motor design and motion control: Earliest electric motor designs reach back 150 years. While motor principles have changed little over time, much has changed in how motors are manufactured and packaged. Advances in construction materials—especially magnet materials—dramatic physical size reductions, and design innovations have occurred. Some of these developments are explored in this online extension (1 of 4) of the main article “Electronic motion control, then and now,” in Control Engineering’s 60th anniversary issue, September 2014.
More motion developments, last 20 years
Various motor control and motion control developments were covered in the main article “Electronic motion control, then and now,” appearing in Control Engineering’s 60th anniversary issue, September 2014. Newer developments over the last 20 years are discussed in this online extension (2 of 4) of the main article.
Motion control from the archives
This motion control product and technology roundup looks at motor, motion, and drives developments from 60 years ago through 2008, with more than 20 historical images. Original wording of excerpts from the pages of Control Engineering has been kept where possible to portray the flavor of the times. See added remarks; add your comments.
Compendium of references for electronic motion control
See motion control, motor control article series references, additional motors, drives, and motion control discussion, and 6 more images from the Control Engineering archives.
Composite materials are big business in the aerospace industry
Manufacturing of advanced aerospace composite materials was covered by Dr. Greg Hyslop, Boeing Research and Technology, in his keynote speech at the TRAM Aerospace Conference at IMTS. He also commented on the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Barrel sensors for tight spaces
Turck's EG05K and EH04K barrel sensors are housed in a stainless steel barrel and are designed for applications where small sensors are a requirement like the stamping industry or medical device manufacturing.
ISO standard used to improve machining efficiency
STEP-NC is an ISO standard designed to improve machining efficiency between end-users and cutting machine tool manufacturers. Presenters Jim Kosmala and David Odendahl explain the benefits of STEP-NC at the TRAM Aerospace Conference at IMTS.
Laser shaft alignment tool helps increase machine life
The Fluke 830 Laser Shaft Alignment Tool is designed to deliver precise shaft condition measurements. It helps plant maintenance teams to increase machine life and keep plants running at maximum efficiency.
Two-channel CNC system for machine tools with up to five axes
NUM's Flexium+ 8 CNC, which is being showcased at IMTS 2014, is designed to be a control solution that in many cases eliminates the need for a second CNC kernel.
Compact logic-based controllers
Schneider Electric's next-generation MachineStruxure is a comprehensive suite of compact logic-based controllers for hardwired applications, CANopen communication, and modular architectures.
Belt drive for long-stroke applications
The ELGA-TB-RF by Festo uses roller bearing guides, it can be used in rugged and built-to-last solution for dynamic, long-stroke applications where high speeds, feed forces, and accelerations are required.
Compressive force transducers for harsh environments
HBM's C10 line of compressive force transducers applications range from propulsion testing, end-of-line testing, and any application where precision force in harsh environments is required.
Open- vs. closed-loop control
Automatic control operations can be described as either open-loop or closed-loop. The difference is feedback.
Companies reach agreement on linear motor technology
Rockwell Automation has granted Beckhoff Automation a license to more than a dozen U.S. and European linear motor patents in an amicable agreement over patent infringement litigation.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, August 18-24: Cascade control fundamentals, System Integrator Giants, world’s tallest observation wheel, more
Articles about cascade control fundamentals, the System Integrator Giants of 2014, the world’s tallest observation wheel, tuning PID control loops, and writing a process operating description document, were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, August 18-24. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Active surfaces control what’s on them
Researchers develop treated surfaces that can actively control how fluids or particles move.
Linear piezo nanopositioner series
Aerotech's QNP-L series of linear piezo nanopositioning stages give nanometer-level performance and its travel and feedback options and also offer closed-loop feedback using a capacitive sensor design for high accuracy and nanometer positioning.
A new way to make microstructured surfaces
Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties.
Single-phase variable speed mini drive
WEG Electric's CFW100 mini-drive comes in a small package and features CFW programming that is completed with the built-in keypad that monitors two different parameters at the same time along with operation status, alarms, and faults.
More from 1955: Nuclear energy breeds new markets for control
1955 Industry Pulse: Instrumentation and control have merged to become one of the most profitable phases of nuclear energy. The control makers have taken notice and are profiting.
Rotary actuators for automation processes
Bimba's MHRQ rotary actuator line is suited to a broad range of general light-duty automation processes.
Isolated DC-DC converter series for industrial applications
Schaefer's TEC-100 and TEC-200 Series of isolated dc-dc converters that provide 100 W and 200 W of continuous power and offer protection circuitry including over-current, over-temperature and short-circuit protection.
RFID read and write head for close and medium HF applications
Turck's Q80L800 HF read/write head is an RFID industrial solution for close and medium high frequency (HF) applications can be integrated into existing control systems and supports all of the major protocols.
The world PLC market faced another decline for 2013
After a downturn in 2012, the global PLC market declined again in 2013, with revenue falling by 2.1% annually. The overall market for PLCs in the United States is growing strongly, IHS said. In end-user sectors, the fastest growing segments are the oil and gas and food and beverage industries.
Stator ground protection relay for IO, communication protocols
Schweitzer Engineering Labs' SEL-2664S Stator Ground Protection Relay provides stator winding protection with built-in I/O contacts and multiple communications protocols including Modbus, IEC 61850, and FTP.
Brushless dc motors with extended battery life
BEI Kimco Magnetics' frameless brushless dc motors enable extended battery life and higher operation efficiency.
Testing software for motor, inverter measurement performance
HBM's eDrive testing software is an integrated system for measuring the performance and efficiency of electric motors and inverters.
Real-time monitoring system
The Cognex Explorer RTM incorporates a scalable architecture, a web-based performance statistics interface, and Cognex vision technology.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, August 4-10: PID control loops, PID math, process operation descriptions, more
Articles about centralized tuning PID control loops, PID math, writing a process operating description document, radio frequency basics, and motion control and robotics integration were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, Aug. 4-10. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Magnetism improves electric motors
Magnetic materials can help develop electric motors and generators that promise energy savings.
Decentralized drive for precise motor speed control, in IP66, NEMA 4 enclosure
Mitsubishi Electric's PowerGate 66 IP66/NEMA variable frequency drive is designed to improve motor efficiency and prevent motor damage.
Of control design, motor measurement, and trains
Control systems are a major part of the control engineer's day-to-day activities and there are many challenges when it comes to equipment as well as execution.
Miniature force transducers for welding, hardness testing, other applications
The U9C and C9C lines of flexible miniature force transducers can be used for measuring contact forces in ultrasonic welding, calibration of hardness testing machines, testing Bowden cables, and more.
Cameras with 3.0 USB vision
Basler's CMV2000 and CMV4000 cameras offer full USB bandwidth, USB 3.0 interface technology and Basler's USB3 Vision implementation.
Long range ultrasonic sensors with flexible outputs
Carlo Gavazzi launched its new Long Range UA30CAD60 Series Ultrasonic Sensors with digital and analog output configurations.
Servo terminal for EtherCAT IO systems
The EL7211 servomotor terminal from Beckhoff is suitable for servomotors up to 4.5 ARMS and the EL7211-0010 variant also supports the OCT connection technology which saves material and commissioning costs.
Following two consecutive years of stagnation, low-voltage (LV) VFD market poised for growth in 2014
As process markets improve in Europe, growth will recover in VFD markets, which will in turn lead to a recovery in premium drives sales.
Helical gearboxes with shaft output and drive flange
B&R Automation's 8GP70 and 8GF70 helical gearboxes series are IP65-rated and are designed for precise synchronization while emitting a low noise level at high speeds.
Fractional horsepower explosion proof motors
WEG Electric’s full line of High Efficiency Explosion Proof motors is now joined by a line of fractional single phase and three phase hp motors.
Product replacement trends in the market for geared products
The market is forecast to return to growth in 2014, with revenues projected to increase 4.7%.
Angular rate sensor can withstand 10,000 g shock
Measurement Specialties' Model 620 angular rate sensor that accurately measures angular velocity in test and measurement applications like munitions and biomechanics testing.
Industrial amplifier measure torque and angle with no programming
HBM's PX460 industrial measurement amplifier is designed to enable users to make precise measurements of raw and filtered torque and angles as well as other data with no programming.
Lathe controller helps operator structure the program
Heidenhain's CNC Pilot 640 lathe controller features smart.TURN, which helps the operator structure the program and define technology data, machining strategy and global data settings and it can be programmed to learn simple, non-recurring tasks or thread repair.
What resources could help with an engineering-related job hunt?
Ask Control Engineering blog offers links to resources that could help a subscriber with a engineering-related job hunt.
Electric induction motor series for high torque industrial applications
Baldor Electric Company's Large AC - GPM Induction Motors are designed for high torque industrial applications and feature an insulated opposite drive end bearing and drive end slinger and provisions for bearing RTDs.
Infrared cameras with wireless connectivity
Fluke's Ti90 and Ti95 Infrared Cameras with wireless connectivity are designed to work in conjunction with Fluke Connect and feature 8 GB of removable or wireless SD card memory and a 3.5-in color LCD screen.
Multi-camera vision system includes touch screen display
Teledyne Dalsa's Geva-312T multi-camera vision system is designed to meet diverse requirements in industrial inspection for end users and features a touch screen display, 1.6 GHz dual core processor and two Gigabit Ethernet camera ports for camera and network interfacing.
Autonomous motion, guidance, and monitoring system
The eMotionSpheres demonstration system from Festo is an autonomous motion, guidance, and monitoring system that is designed for logistics and fulfillment applications and has 10 cameras installed and its adaptive propeller is modeled after a dragonfly's wing.
Linear positioning stage with preloaded ball-screw
Aerotech's MPS75SLE linear position stage features a precision ground, preloaded ball-screw coupled has low thermal expansion and motor options like a dc servomotor with a high-resolution rotary encoder or a stepper motor.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, June 9-15
Articles about things noncontrol people should know about control engineers, career and salary survey analysis, Google Glass, programming PLCs, and PID controllers were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, June 9-15. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Linear kit encoder series with high mounting tolerances
Heidenhain's LIC 2100 absolute linear kit encoder series is designed to serve applications that require high mounting tolerances and reliability.
Servo pressure transducer monitors air pressure
Marsh Bellofram's Type 3110 single-loop electro-pneumatic analog circuit-card servo pressure transducer is designed to provide air pressure monitoring within OEM applications and has analog monitor output along with 0-10 V dc or 4-20 mA control signals.
Industrial cameras with GigE interface and PoE capability
IDS Imaging Development's UI-5360CP and UI-5370CP industrial cameras have a GigE interface and Power-over-Ethernet as well as a resolution of up to 2048 x 2048 pixels with strong light sensitivity and rapid frame rates.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, May 19-25
Articles about things noncontrol people should know about control engineers, fixing PID, the world’s largest wind turbine test facility, reducing harmonics, and automation improving an alternator test system were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, May 19-25. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Machine controller integrated with motion engine
The MP2300Siec machine controller from Yaskawa integrates a motion engine with the IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen programming standards and is available in 4,8, and 16-axis and preconfigured with a local I/O module.
Super efficient motor series has shaft grounding brush to divert currents
Baldor's Super-E electric motor series comes with the Baldor Shaft Grounding Brush, which is designed to divert shaft currents away from the motor bearings as well as reduce voltage spikes in the rotor.
Motor controller designed to improve motor protection and increase wire efficiency
Mitsubishi Electric Automation's MMP-T32 motor controller protects the motor branch circuits from overload or phase loss during short-circuit conditions while reduces the number of required devices and wiring.
LED scanner for indoor and outdoor mobile equipment
Pepperl+Fuchs' Multi-Ray LED Scanner R2100 delivers two-dimensional area measurement for challenging indoor and outdoor and applications where unique surfaces need to be accurately detected.
Fiber optic amplifier has 10 microsecond response time
Banner Engineering's DF-G2 fiber optic amplifier is designed to achieve a 10-microsecond response time while giving the user control and providing manipulation of all operating parameters. It has an easy-to-read dual digital display and six teach and set methods.
Industrial inclinometer for harsh applications
BEI Sensors' T-Series industrial inclinometer is a compact sensor for measurement that uses MEMS technology and motion feedback and incorporates built-in linearity and temperature compensation for offset and sensitivity.
Inductive miniature sensor is designed for extreme applications
Balluff BES R04 block sensor is designed for harsh and demanding mechanical environments and its ceramic cover protects the sensor from debris and vibration.
Terahertz imaging on the cheap
New theory could reduce number of sensors required for high-resolution imaging systems.
Ultrasonic proximity sensors have 10 output types, IP67 rating, and LEDs
The UK6 and UT2F proximity sensors from AutomationDirect have 10 output types and are IP67-rated and equipped with LED status indicators.
Servo terminal IO provides power, feedback signals
Beckhoff Automation's EL7201-0010 servo terminal supports One Cable Technology (OCT) and has an EtherCAT I/O system integrate a complete servo amplifier for motors.
World’s largest wind turbine test facility aims to resolve stresses of more wind generation
Clemson University created what it calls the world's largest 15-megawatt (MW) Wind Turbine Drivetrain Test facility to create new technologies for the energy market. The facility, which opened November 2013, uses National Instruments (NI) integrated hardware and software tools.
All-in-one variable frequency drive series
Mitsubishi Electric Automation's A800 Series all-in-one variable frequency drive (VFD) combines induction and permanent magnet motors and is suitable for low performance applications and high performance industrial applications.
Linear inductive sensors are available in five ranges, 14 mm to 120 mm
Pepperl+Fuchs' PMI40-F90-U-V15 and PMI40-F90-I-V15 linear inductive sensors are designed for vertical valve measurements and delivers accurate linear position regardless of sensing range.
Upgrading control systems: Phase migration vs. complete replacement
After receiving the approval for a control system replacement project, how do you decide between phased migration and a complete replacement? Do you keep some of the old and integrate the new, or just go with a fresh start?
Standardized sensor profiles improve safety-related process data
Controller Area Network (CAN) in Automation (CiA) recently released CAN device profiles that aim to standardize safety-related process data.
Disc magnet motor series for rapid acceleration, direction changes
Portescap's P760 series disc magnet motor has been optimized to deliver high torque and acceleration up to 5,000 rpm for applications where rapid changes in acceleration and direction of rotation are required, such as robotics.
Metrology company is acquired; programming appreciated
Renishaw has purchased Advanced Consulting & Engineering Inc. (ACE), a U.S.-based supplier of dimensional measurement products and services in an attempt to enhance its programming capabilities.
Gantry handling system for assembly and medical automation
Festo's EXCM mini-H gantry is a handling system designed for small parts assembly and medical laboratory automation and is programmed with critical parameters for plug-and-work operation.
Vision sensor for assembly and presence control
Balluff's BVS Universal Vision Sensor has a 360° algorithm and is designed for assembly and presence control as well as reading and verifying codes.
Remote machine management promises numerous operational improvements, including more efficient energy use
While smart factories in which every step in the value chain is automatically tracked and recorded may still be a distant prospect, technology that allows remote management of at least of some plant equipment is becoming mainstream.
Linear position sensors gain acceptance
Linear variable differential transformers (LVDT) can deliver better machine operation.
Electric motor power measurement and analysis
Understand the basics to drive greater efficiency.
Big plans for small nuclear reactors
Cover story: U.S. nuclear power plant outlook: new designs, safety, plant openings are part of the nuclear energy spotlight in 2014. Speakers at a recent American Nuclear Society meeting discussed more efficient nuclear reactor designs with simpler controls, nuclear plant safety, small modular reactors, and timeline for next new nuclear power plants.
High-pressure axial piston pump
Rexroth's A15VSO hydraulic axial-piston pump for stationary applications in open circuit operation is designed to meet pressure requirements to 420 bars and has minimum sound emissions for a quieter, more efficient operation.
Motion control motor company acquired
Blufton Motor Works' affiliate, DC Products Group, acquired RAE Corporation, which manufactures motion control motors and gearmotors.
Inductive linear sensor is rated IP67
The Q25 inductive linear sensor from Turck enables real-time monitoring and measuring and is IP67 rated and can be used in harsh temperature conditions.
DIN-Rail controller with programmable warning lights
Advantech's Uno-1110 DIN-rail controller features four programmable LED warning lights and isolated digital I/O ports so users no longer require extra signal converters.
Rotary encoder for hazardous conditions
Heidenhain's ExN 400 rotary encoders are designed for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX) and handle shaft speeds up to 6000 rpm in a temperature range from -20 C to +60 C.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, March 10-16
Were you out last week? Miss something? Here are Control Engineering’s five most-clicked articles from last week, March 10-16, including articles about high-voltage fault, selecting a level instrument, wireless connectivity, the 2014 Engineers' Choice Awards, and the 2013 HART Plant of the Year.
Electric actuators avoid some classic hydraulic actuator challenges
Hydraulic vs. electric actuators technology update: When less than 2000 lb of force is required, electric actuator systems provide a better performing, more cost-efficient, more environmental, less risky solution with improved control and precision.
High speed machining provides dynamic accuracy to machine tools
To evaluate the capability of a machine tool for high-speed machining (HSM), it is more important to consider acceleration than velocity, according to Control Engineering Poland.
Squeezing light into metals
University of Utah engineers produced microscopic structures that use light in metals to carry information with an inkjet printer.
Capacitive displacement sensor has bar graph to ease setup
Lion Precision's CPL490 Capacitive Displacement Sensor measures position/displacement up to 100 picometers and has a bandwidth of up to 50 kHz.
Sealed linear encoders have transmission speed up to 5 MHz
The absolute LC 195M and LC 495M sealed linear encoders from Heidenhain can be used on machines that require a Mitsubishi interface. They feature a transmission speed of up to 5 MHz.
Case study: Pumps provide effective wastewater handling at California winery
Ecolabs designed and now manages the wastewater treatment process for a Northern Californian vineyard producing premium varietal wines for global markets. Learn about the challenges and solutions in developing the system.
Motor controllers for commercial, industrial applications
Schneider Electric's TeSys U Self-Protected Combination Motor Controllers and Square D TeSys N Self-Protected Combination Motor Controllers are designed for industrial and commercial buildings as well as OEMs.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, March 3-9, 2014
Were you out last week? Miss something? Here are Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, March 3-9, 2014, including articles about motion control, training simulators, CFE Media’s Apps for Engineers mobile application, Microsoft in process control systems, and control charts.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, Feb. 24-March 2, 2014
Were you out last week? Miss something? Here are Control Engineering's five most clicked articles from last week, Feb. 24-March 2, 2014, including articles about process control systems technology, high-voltage fault detection, pressure instrumentation, vendors and the engineering gap, and operator interface standardization.
Precise motion control gives famous vessel new life
A piece of Cold War history uses automation for precise control of its floating dry dock. Less expensive components and in-house engineering allowed for a more advanced system.
Cageless, high peak torque motors
ETEL's TML and TMM series of cageless and high peak torque motors use direct drive technology and have multiple mounting options while reaching speeds of up to 2100 rpm.
Gestures can control cranes
Haptic control is proven for cranes, by using a Microsoft Kinect system.
Precision linear motor stages
Kollmorgen's MMG series of precision linear motor stages deliver facilitate reduced-time-to-market with a higher performing machine for OEMs and can deliver up to 150mm travel.
Subminiature sensor series expanded with LED and laser
SensoPart's F 10 subminiature sensor series now includes LED sensors as well as laser sensors that includes a proximity switch and a blue light version for light-absorbing objects.
Vision sensor for inspection, stock management
Balluff's BVS-E Universal vision sensor is designed for inspection tasks and stock management and can inspect many characteristics in one pass like checking brightness, comparing contrasts, and detecting patterns.
Synthetic molecular oscillator could serve as a timer to control artificial cells
Researchers have made important discoveries regarding the behavior of a synthetic molecular oscillator, which could help create artificial cells.
Automation system retrofit transforms 175-ton hydraulic forming press
Application Update: In less than one month, a rebuild automates press operations to increase production rates and improve quality.
CFE Media’s 2014 ARC Industry Forum coverage
This year’s ARC Industry Forum convenes in Orlando, Fla., February 10-13, to discuss its central theme “Industry in transition: The information driven enterprise in a connected world.” Experts will present on the Internet of Things, predictive analytics, additive manufacturing, 3D visualization, and more. Check this page for CFE Media’s daily coverage and reactions to the show.
Go beyond horsepower when sizing a servo motor
When using a servo motor, one should consider torque, speed, and other applications for a specific motion control application.
2014 ARC Industry Forum: The information-driven enterprise
Andy Chatha, president of the Arc Advisory Group, opened day 2 with remarks on the forum’s theme, “Industry in transition: The information-driven enterprise,” focusing primarily on the Internet of Things, cyber security, and interconnectedness.
GE Intelligent Platforms manufacturing software
Bob Gates, market director of manufacturing, announced significant updates to GE Intelligent Platforms’ suite of Proficy manufacturing software and explained how these apply to the new realities of business potential enabled by the industrial Internet, at the 2014 ARC Forum.
Yokogawa process control advances
Mr. Masatoshi Nakahara, senior vice president, head of industrial automation platform business HQ, and Chet Mroz, president and CEO, Yokogawa Corporation of America, introduced Yokogawa’s new Centum VP system offering and explained how it will advance the company’s vision for Yokogawa’s VigilantPlant as the ideal facility for industrial automation.
EtherCAT box for angle, acceleration measurement
Beckhoff's EP1816-3008 EtherCAT Box is an I/O module that is IP67-rated with built-in tilt monitoring and has two integrated 3-axis acceleration sensors and 16 digital inputs.
Micro drive for simple machine interface
The ACS250 Micro Drive product line by ABB features an IP20 panel-mounted chassis and features an IP66/NEMA 4X drive for harsh conditions.
Handheld barcode readers
Cognex Corporation's DataMan 8050 Series of industrial handheld readers are designed with a ruggedized housing and are available with corded and wireless communication modules.
Manufacturers are investing in Mexico
The U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Import/Export Statistics indicates that Mexico increased imports of U.S. packaging and processing machinery by more than 15% and that major companies like PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Cisco are planning to expand their business operations in the country.
Switching servo drives deliver sub-nanometer position jitter
ACS Motion Control's NanoPWM delivers sub-nanometer position jitter performance and are included with an EtherCAT motion controller and power supply.
On-machine PAC has multidisciplined control
Allen-Bradley Armor GuardLogix PAC by Rockwell Automation offers multidisciplined control in a hardened, on-machine package.
Monochrome and color imaging dual line scan cameras
Teledyne Dalsa's monochrome Piranha 4 dual line scan camera and Piranha 4 2k trilinear model are designed to solve challenging machine vision inspection problems.
DC transmitters with potentiometer input
Omega’s DMD4008 series of transmitters accepts a resistance input from potentiometer, slidewire, linear position, displacement, or rotational devices and has removable plugs for fast installation.
Model-based control, dead times, lag times
Distillation columns and precise composition control: Composition control is critical for economical operation of distillation columns. Model-based control techniques prevent purity problems associated with dead and lag times.
More from 1955… Automatic freightyard shuffles cars quickly yet gently
American railroads pay $100,000,000 a year for freight damaged—much of it in yards where trains are assembled. This new computer-controlled system promises to slash the bill. It controls the rolling speed of cars so that they couple gently.
Inductive sensor monitors speed, acceleration
Sick's Sam inductive sensor is designed to monitor speed and acceleration changes and has a monitoring range of up to 12,000 pulses per minute and three modes to reduce false trips.
Linear motor series has anti-clogging design
The LMS ironcore linear motor series by Etel is designed for high-end automation to demanding semiconductor machines where a high power density is required.
Data acquisition card with real time calculation
The isolated Genesis 1 kV data acquisition card by HBM can perform real time calculations on the fly and provides values per half cycle at sampling rates of up to 2 million samples/second.
Multi-touch improves data analysis
Multi-touch technologies have rapidly moved from the commercial to the industrial sector where they are being used to enhance data analysis.
Motion control market revenues reached $12.2 billion in 2013
According to an IHS study on the market for motion controls, strong growth is forecast to return to the market in 2014, propelling market revenues to a new record high by the end of the year.
Inductive proximity switch has rotating, 5-position head
The Model IPH 5-Way Rotatable Head Inductive Proximity Switch by BlueLevel Technologies features a rectangular 4-wire AC sensor with open and closed switch outputs.
Algorithm to improve servo performance
ACS Motion Control's Advanced ServoBoost algorithm provides significant throughput enhancement by minimizing settling time and can adapt to large load changes and disturbances.
Desalination plant in Saudi Arabia to receive control system
The SWRO-4 Desalination Plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, will be using a control system provided by Yokogawa for monitoring and online diagnosis of the instrumentation devices in the plant.
Direct current drives are PWM controllers with current limit feature
AutomationDirect IronHorse line of motors and drives now includes the GSD series of dc drives.
Control Engineering Digital Edition Exclusives, December
Control Engineering Digital Edition Exclusives provide additional information not included in the paper edition, this month with information on isolating high-speed data interfaces, crane controls, and automated guided vehicles.
Magnetic angle sensor for automated applications
ASM's PRAS26 magnetic angle sensor is designed for automated and OEM applications and has IP67 protection as well as 360° measurement range.
Integrated vision system helps speed production, maximize efficiency at Pleasant River Lumber
Application Update: Integrating a new vision system can calculate the measurements of each tree-length log in about 7 seconds, 9 logs per minute, nearly 10 times faster than previously.
Modular energy controller for power automation, renewable energy
Advantech’s ECU-1871 is modular energy controller designed for power automation and renewable energy needs and features two integrated I/O slots and isolated IO ports.
Digital pressure sensor in a traditional package
The Ashcroft DG25 digital pressure gauge provides a 5 full digit LCD in ranges up to 25,000 psi.
Hollow shaft angular gearbox
Cable feed-through and output shaft flanges on both ends
Crane controls help make energy from waste
Application Update: Olmsted County increased the energy processed at its waste-to-energy facility by doubling the amount of refuse burned daily, with integration of updated drives, motors, and controls.
Sealed subminiature switch are designed for valves, actuators
The sealed V5 sub-subminiature microswitches by Crouzet Switches have an IP67/IP69K rating and are designed for valves and actuators.
Some perspectives on MES implementations: Part 1
A lack of understanding or definition of MES within a company can lead to the same mistakes being made on project after project.
Retrofit package to replace control system
MEAU has developed a retrofit package designed to replace control systems using the company's Meldasmagic 64 controls. The retrofit package includes a control unit, LCD, keypad, and two power supplies.
Website launched for Automate 2015
Automate 2015's website has been launched to deliver information about the upcoming trade show, which will be held March 23-26, 2015, at McCormick Place in Chicago.
X-Ray detector and sensor
The Xineos-1515 flat X-Ray detector by Teledyne Dalsa is designed for medical diagnostics and features a switch saturation dose for technicians as well as an extended Field of View (FOV).
Emerson signs agreement to acquire minority stake in company
Emerson has acquired SPX Corporation's minority interest in EGS Electrical Group for $571 million.
Smart camera system for vision-guided robotics
ABB Robotics' Integrated Vision works with PC-based ABB RobotStudio to provide a platform for creating vision-guided robotic applications.
Wireless vibration sensors
Parker Hannifin's wireless vibration sensors are part of an advanced conditioning monitoring system that combines remote monitoring and high-fidelity machine analysis with low cost and simple installation.
Servo motor series has high torque
The 8KS servo motor series by B+R Automation provides up to 140 kW of power and stall torque up to 555 Nm and features a resolver interface and optical encoder.
Applying automation to baked goods production
Automation Integrator Guide: Pattern toppings applicator, pie makeup machine, and snack cake and snack pie lines added consistency, speed, and flexibility with smart integration of automation.
Customized direct drive motor kits solve complex motion challenges
Applimotion brushless direct drive motor kits provide complete motor assemblies for complex motion assemblies in automation, semiconductor equipment, medical devices, and satellite communication systems.
Automated guided vehicles integrate power, without batteries
Automation Integrator Guide case study: SuperiorControls doubles assembly line throughput without increases in floor space or staffing by integrating battery-free automated guided vehicles (AGVs) with controls and manufacturing execution system (MES). See photo gallery of application.
Motion control company to be acquired, integrated
Rockwell Automation announced it will purchase Jacobs Automation, a motion control company, which will be integrated into Rockwell's Automation Motion Business.
Fieldbus node for pneumatic valve terminals
Festo's CTEU bus node opens up Fieldbus connectivity for two pneumatic valve terminals at the same time and meets IP65 and IP67 ratings.
The long and short of connecting sensors to control rooms
Temperature sensors, more than most other types of instrumentation, can require specialized cabling and treatment to provide accurate data.
Control unit for variable speed drives has universal vector control, encoder feedback
Siemens' CU250S-2 control unit supplements the Siemens G120 drive with universal vector control and encoder feedback for applications including material handling and chemical processing.
Showcase your plant’s success to a global audience
Control Engineering seeks presentations for 2014 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit
M&R Printing Equipment uses advanced servo, controller
Mitsubishi Electric Automation MR-J4 Servo and Q170 stand-alone motion controller help M&R Printing Equipment beat its own world record.
Printer breaks world record with advanced servo, motion controller
Application Update: M&R Printing Equipment beats its own world record by 12% for speed printing using latest generation, advanced servo motor and stand-alone motion controller in its new machine design.
Motion control: Long-length linear encoders look lively
Linear encoders provide direct position feedback to various machine tool and automation systems. Working in a linear format allows extreme length position measurement and control—critical for machine tool accuracy and production of precise large-scale parts. Focus here is linear encoders with 3-meter (about 10-ft) or greater measurement length.
Solar tracking motors
The Gen 4 Solar Tracking Motors (STM) by Dunkermotoren features integrated electronics and inclinometer options and can interface directly with the main power plant tracking controller.
Long-length linear encoder addendum
Motion control: Successful implementation of linear encoders requires appropriate installation, calibration, and connectivity to the control system—in addition to an accurate encoder scale. Coverage of these areas here supplements the article, Long-length linear encoders. See the table of selected encoder manufacturers and products.
Cable actuated position sensor has 6 pulses per millimeter
The WS42 cable actuated position sensor by Automated Control delivers a resolution of 6 pulses per mm and has IP50 protection.
Fanless vision system for harsh industrial environments
Teledyne Dalsa's GEVA 3000 is fanless and is equipped with a Gen3 Core i7 processor, choice of camera interface and ready-to-use application software.
Fractional order PID controller improves motor velocity control
Compare the integer order proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller (IOC) with the fractional order PID controller (FOC) for improving the velocity control loop of the permanent magnet switched motor (PMSM), according to research highlighted in Control Engineering Poland. See supporting equations, diagrams, and graphs.
EC: SINAMICS V20 Variable Frequency Drive
Motion Control - Drives: The SINAMICS V20 variable frequency drive is the cost-effective, reliable and easy-to-use ac drive for basic applications. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: MV1000 Medium Voltage AC Drive
Motion Control - Drives: The MV1000 is a full featured medium voltage drive, providing outstanding quality, performance, flexibility and system friendliness for medium voltage applications, from 200 to 5,000 hp. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Ensemble LAB Motion Control Platform
Motion Control - Motors: The Ensemble LAB motion control platform is designed to provide full capability motion control for laboratory automation and light industrial manufacturing applications in an easy to use and intuitive package. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: AM8500 Servo Motors
Motion Control - Motors: The Beckhoff AM8500 servo motor series with One Cable Technology features an increased rotor moment of inertia and is ideal for applications with larger external mass inertias, such as CNC applications, for example. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: EXCM Mini H-Gantry
Motion Control - Motors: The Festo H-gantry EXCM is a company planar surface gantry with rectangular working space offering extensive functionality with a highly compact design. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: SIMOGEAR Gear Motors
Motion Control - Motors: SIMOGEAR, the new Siemens gear motor series, is specifically designed for automation and motion control applications. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
EC: PlantTriage v12
Software - Diagnostics: PlantTriage Control Loop Monitoring system watches over a plant 24 hours a day, prioritizing and diagnosing each improvement opportunity. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Cognex DS1100 Series 3D Displacement Sensors
Machine & Embedded Control - Discrete sensors, vision: The DS1100 is an industrial 3D sensor that can determine an object's shape on the production line—its length, height, and width, even its overall volume and topographical information about its surface. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Inductive Angle Sensor
Machine & Embedded Control - Discrete sensors, vision: TURCK inductive angle sensors deliver enhanced valve monitoring on rotary actuators. Operating with the inductive resonant circuit measuring principle, inductive angle sensors can monitor three-way valves, while also detecting the valve position during cleaning cycles. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
EC: NI cRIO-9068 Software-Designed Controller
Machine & Embedded Control - PLCs: The NI cRIO-9068 software-designed controller, based on the NI LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, features a new, improved design for embedded control and monitoring applications allowing engineers to design and deploy faster than ever before. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: SIMATIC S7-1500
Machine & Embedded Control - PLCs: The SIMATIC S7-1500 is the new generation of controllers that sets new standards in power and efficiency for maximum productivity. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
EC: SLIO PLC
Machine & Embedded Control - PLCs: VIPA's unique SLIO PLC is programmable with Step7 or TIA from Siemens, having the power of a 300S CPU. One PLC is configurable in 12 different versions. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Micro Motion Compact Density Meter
Process Control - Flowmeters: The Micro Motion compact density meter is designed for the custody transfer metering of crude oil, refined hydrocarbons, alcohols and many agressive process fluids and is ideal for customers who confront measurement problems on a daily basis. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: XT Motor Control Center
Motion Control - Drives: Eaton XT motor control centers provide 24-Vdc control power in a compact footprint, and are designed to improve uptime and enhance safety for commercial, industrial, and OEM applications. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 servo drive with Kinetix VP low-inertia servo motor
Motion Control - Drives: The single-cable Kinetix motion solution gives machine builders a proven solution for servo and induction motor control on a single development platform to reduce design time and cabinet space, and improve power density and efficiency. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 525 AC Drive
Motion Control - Drives: The compact Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 525 ac drive helps machine builders and end users simplify equipment design and operation, and speed installation and configuration. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice award winner.
Medium voltage AC drive is compact, saves energy
Yaskawa's MV1000 medium voltage ac drive family use a modular, compact design for energy savings and are compatible with the 1000 series low voltage ac drive products.
Going green in powertrain and engine testing
Flexible test machines that regenerate energy promise to revolutionize the world of aircraft and automotive subsystem testing.
Vertical lift stages, in 2 sizes, with dc servomotor
Aerotech's MPS-SV series lift stages are offered in two sizes, the MPS50SV and MPS75SV, and feature a DC servomotor as well precision-ground ball screws for accurate geometric performance.
Top Control Engineering articles, September 2013
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during September 2013 included: Alarm management standard, IT vs. OT, automation upgrade help, Invensys acquires InduSoft, thermowell selection, motor shaft grounding, machinery directive help, help from IT, big structures from small interlocking pieces, human-robotic collaboration, automation justification, modular PLCs, and more.
Self-assembling robots from MIT have simple design
Resolves problem for modular-robotics community: Small cubes with no exterior moving parts can propel themselves forward, jump on top of each other, and snap together to form arbitrary shapes. Link to video of the robots.
Safe motion modules, hygienic servos, fighting robots
Kollmorgen Safety Modules (KSM) help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) deliver higher productivity by combining machine safety logic and safe motion. Servo drive advancements, stainless steel motors, and fighting robots were also shown.
Integrated-motor market to expand by more than 40 percent in five years
Integrated-motor market sales are projected to reach $553 million by 2017 due to a larger global market size and additional market revenues from ac brushless servo and dc brushless integrated motors.
Electropneumatic controller series offers PID control
Emerson Process Management's Tescom ER5000 Series of electropneumatic controllers are a microprocessor-based PID controller designed to ensure desired pressure even as system process parameters change.
Pneumatic components market: Changes stir tranquil waters
IHS reports that the pneumatic valve market landscape is starting to radically change as Chinese suppliers start to expand into the U.S. and Europe.
Latin American low-voltage motor drive market takes uphill path to $600 million in sales in 2017
The low-voltage ac and dc motor drive market is expand to grow to $600 million by 2017 thanks to lower commodity prices and concerns about potential mining and hydroelectric projects.
Saturated control elements: When you hit the end of the scale
Scotty’s “Captain, I’m giving you all she’s got,” tells Kirk that he’s reached maximum output. The same thing can happen in your production unit. What results depends on the nature of your process.
PLC coding conventions initiative launched
PLCopen's coding conventions meeting worked out ways to define a set of rules to provide a PLCopen proposal on how IEC 61131-3 should be used.
Digital valve controller with stainless steel housing
The Fisher Fieldvue DVC6200 digital valve controller family from Emerson have a stainless steel housing to withstand harsh conditions as well as an isolated weather-tight field wiring terminal box.
Rugged programmable controllers
MTNW’s LCI-90i-IS Rugged Programmable Controller is approved for use in Class I, Division 2, T5, Group A, B, C, and D hazardous locations.
Foundation offering grant for electrical motor power density tests
EMERF is offering a $15,000 grant to a university or research facility to develop research concepts on improving power density and efficiency in small electric motors.
North American machine vision sales rise for second straight quarter
The AIA reports North American machine vision sales rose 6% for the second quarter of 2013 with machine vision systems having the highest growth of any category.
Top Control Engineering articles, July 2013
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during July 2013 included: System Integrator Giants of 2013, temperature sensor selection, future human-machine interfaces, Invensys sales talks, programming methods, top articles in June, when to automate advice, and industrial network selection, among others.
Linear positioning drives deliver 40 N force
Nanotec Electronic's Nema 8 and Nema 14 hybrid linear positioning drives deliver a force of up to 140 N and a resolution of up to 0.01 mm.
Direct drive motor assemblies
Applimotion's customized direct drive motor assemblies include precision bearings, encoders, and cabling for a low-profile direct drive solution.
Of PLCs, control panels, and VFDs
PLCs have come a long way since the late 1960s and their applications in engineering are both innovative and seemingly endless.
Global motion control shipments fall in first-half 2013, optimism expressed
Global shipments for motion control products fell 6.8% for the first half of 2013, but there is still general optimism that sales will increase by the end of 2013 according to the Motion Control Association.
Loop detector with DIN rail mounting
The ULT-DIN loop detector by EMX Industries features two output relays and 10 sensitivity settings and has a detect-on-stop feature for cross traffic situations in warehouses.
Asia to become largest PLC market by 2016
Increased demand by China as well as Korea, Taiwan, and Japan as well as a stagnant European economy suggest Asia will be the largest programmable logic controller (PLC) market by 2016, according to ARC Advisory Group.
Industrial networking expands PLC functionality
Combining real-time Ethernet with visualization, control, and communication capabilities allows PLCs to open the door to a new level of visibility and control for manufacturers.
Servo drives receive expanded IO capability
Ormec's XD indexer family expands analog I/O, adding motion control features for new applications and it also features software for complex applications.
Integrated linear motor stage
Aerotech’s PlanarDL-series delivers geometric performance for applications where precision is critical and it has three positioning performance options as well as anti-creep crossed-roller bearings.
Torque transducers also measure speed
The T40B and T40FM torque transducers by HBM are able to measure torque and speed at the same time in harsh conditions.
Transmitter with batch controller capabilities
The Signet 9900 Transmitter by GF Piping Systems has a batch controller system that helps consolidate multiple platforms and parameters for diverse use.
Incremental encoder for IO system
The Speedway IP67 I/O-System by Wago has an HTL Incremental Encoder/Counter module designed to evaluate encoders at 24 V signal levels in harsh environments.
Machine tool optimization: Future machines will talk to other machines, systems
Manufacturers are “standing on the next of the next major step” in efficiency with improvements in machine tool optimization, said Siemens officials on Monday, July 29, in advance of the EMO machine tool show in Hannover, Germany, in September. More integrated, self-optimizing future machines will be 50% more efficient.
Motion controller for end users with third-party controls
The Q170MCPU-EIP motion controller by Mitsubishi Electric is designed for end users who have third-party control system to incorporate and create Mitsubishi positioning applications via the Ethernet.
Closing the loop to maintain precise hydrogen pressure
Inside Machines: A programmable electro-hydraulic motion controller improved standard deviations of the discharge pressure distribution by about 70%, helping improve manufacturing productivity in an Alberta EnvironFuels application. A closed-loop controller runs at 1000 loops per second to optimize tuning and respond more quickly and automatically to changing conditions.
CNC platform series offers higher output, faster cycle times
The M70V CNC Platform Series by Mitsubishi Electric Automation is designed to deliver increased production output and faster cycle times for production machining in a wide range of applications.
How to size servo motors: Advanced inertia calculations
Inside Machines: To properly select the appropriate servo motor for a motion control application, find the inertia of the load being rotated. Applications where the center of rotation is on a different axis than the center of mass can lead to some challenging inertial calculations.
NASCAR driver, an engineering major, appreciates high technology, charity donation
Vecoplan donated to a NASCAR effort that aims to deliver 500,000 lb of food and supplies to families in U.S. racing communities; the driver, an engineering major, and team owner of the #23 Vecoplan Ford Mustang toured a Vecoplan plant and noted appreciation for its high-tech biofuel and bioenergy products.
Portable pressure calibrator
The Yokogawa CA700 Portable Pressure Calibrator can measure pressures with an accuracy that is within ±0.01% of reading and is able to store calibration procedures for transmitters and switches in its internal memory banks.
Servomotor line with field-replaceable encoders
Siemens' Generation II Simotics 1FK7 servomotors are field-replaceable 24-bit encoders in 10 styles as well as three inertia versions and seven shaft heights.
Automation company opens regional office in Chicago area
Beckhoff opened their seventh North American regional office in Woodridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb, and will primarily focus on sales and engineering support.
Consortium formed for semiconductor wafer fabrication challenges
Ten global companies formed the Facility 450 Consortium (F450C) and five companies formed the Global 450 Consortium (G450C) with the intention of addressing facility and infrastructure challenges of 450mm semiconductor wafer fabrication issues.
Rotating torque sensor series
The Dyno LaborSaver rotating torque sensor series from SensorData Technologies allows for dual measurement and has a wide range of measurement options.
Electric cylinder and closed loop servo drive
Festo's EPCO electric cylinder and CMMO-ST closed loop servo drive are designed to quickly assist in machine and product changeovers and offers the flexibility of commissioning via the Internet.
Understanding state-full programming methods
A straightforward approach that enforces discipline with preparation, planning, and documenting.
5 proactive CNC maintenance tips for holiday weekends
Avoid costly CNC equipment repairs. Perform these five simple, proactive maintenance steps during the holiday shutdown, advises Mitsubishi Electric Automation.
Multi-purpose digital panel meters
Product Exclusive: Precision Digital introduces PD6080 and PD6081 Super Snooper Modbus Scanners capable of displaying 16 process variables, including Modbus registers and two analog inputs.
Beyond automation: Humans as process controllers
While automated control systems can keep our manufacturing processes running efficiently, new variables are entering into the production equation that are beyond what we can expect from PID. In an interview, Peter Martin explains forces pushing a return to humans as controllers to accommodate these changes, at least for a while.
WindPower 2013: Fair winds, prosperous show in Chicago
The American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and exhibition, WindPower 2013, assembled leading international manufacturers and suppliers of wind power technology exhibiting wind energy products, speakers delivering numerous papers in multiple tracks, various expert panel discussions, and networking opportunities for attendees. Automation and controls help the manufacturing and use of wind-power technologies.
New high-powered temperature controller
Oven Industries now offers high powered temperature controllers for applications greater than 15 A.
Software wizard provides easy embedded motion controller setup
Product Exclusive: PMD Pro-Motion software offers axis wizard and support for digital amplifiers and embedded motion development, providing easy setup of embedded motion controllers.
Magnetic guide sensor can help robot navigation
The MGS1600C by Roboteq is a magnetic guide sensor capable of detecting and reporting the position of a magnetic field along its horizontal axis for mobile robot navigation.
Top Control Engineering articles, April 2013
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during April 2013 included the following topics: PID tuning rules, April Fool’s Day article, salary and career survey, lower PLC software costs, remote I/O, robotic innovations and safety, lambda tuning, motion control, cyber security, and energy efficiency, among others.
Demand for DC brushless motors in automotive applications expected to grow 52 percent by 2017
DC brushless motor shipments will outpace shipments of DC brushed and stepper motors used in automotive applications from 2012 to 2017.
Integrated steppers and stepper motors
Applied Motion Products' NEMA size 23, 24 and 34 stepper motors with IP65 ratings and size 24 integrated steppers are designed for severe environmental conditions and wet factory environments.
Inductive sensors measure position for hydraulic, pneumatic cylinders
Alliance Sensors Group's MR Series of Linear Position Sensors are designed for use in measuring the ram position of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders.
Multi-conductor control cable
AutomationDirect's multi-conductor control cables are available in reels up to 1,000 feet and come with up to 41 unshielded conductors and sizes up to 10 gauge.
China’s motion control market falls nearly 20 percent in 2012
Revenue from sales of motion controls in 2012 fell to $2.2 billion, down 19 percent from $2.7 billion in 2011.
Stepper motion systems addendum
Cost, simplicity, and continuing innovation are keeping stepper motion technology competitive—as described in the May 2013 main article. Additional developments and perspectives on motor-drive integration, controls, component miniaturization, and stepper motion system suppliers are provided here.
Step-motor-based systems stay competitive
Motion control: Traditional stepper-motor systems represent the only motion-control technology able to operate in open loop—although the addition of position feedback to enhance performance is on the rise. Simpler controls, lower cost components, and other innovations keep stepper systems competitive with servo motion systems in numerous applications.
Simulation and modeling software
MSC Software’s Adams and Easy5 Simulation software models and simulates motion control systems to improve machine performance.
Simulation software boosts machine productivity
Application Update: Armor increased machine productivity 20% with simulation software to create improvements and decrease downtime.
Program for retrieving CNC data
FasOPC by Fanuc is designed to retrieve, read, and write machine production data from CNC's and is designed to work with most OPC clients.
A video game platform as your next process controller?
While some say current HMIs look like video games, is it practical to run a process unit using an obsolete Xbox as a controller? One supplier says it’s possible and even economical. Get your gaming thumbs back in shape.
Is your controller tough enough?
Controllers are the nervous system of the production process. Reliability is important. Controller malfunctions can throw a wrench into your production processes or even paralyze your factory. You need a rugged controller. See three tips to help choose a controller.
Motorized rotary stages
AGR series motorized rotary stages by Aerotech provide a worm-gear-drive designed for positioning in industrial and labortory use with a stage base that can be used in multi-axis arrangements and other weight critical options.
Valveless pump for gearbox lubrication
The PDS-100 by FMI provides metering high viscosity grease at low pressure for precision lubrication of industrial robot gearboxes.
Motion control: Statue of Liberty rescue elevator
Application Update: At the Statue of Liberty, the new fast, efficient rescue elevator features a smooth ride to the top, ensured by a motor drive, to improve safety, emergency access, and evacuation for the crown jewel of U.S. statues and tourist destinations.
Board of directors for motion control group named
The Motion Control Association appointed John Hegel, the Preisdent of American Control Electronics, as the chairman of the board during the group's annual conference.
Digital roll-to-roll web processing revolutionizes printed electronic production
Tension control solution for digital roll-to-roll web process enables highest quality, high throughput of printed electronics.
System integration firm joins OMAC
Control system integrator, Patti Engineering, joins OMAC (Organization for Machine Automation & Control), an organization that provides expertise for machine automation, machine performance, quality, and reliability in manufacturing.
Products used: Automaker changes gears without changing grippers
Original equipment manufacturer Moore Controls used Festo HGPLE electric grippers to help an automaker’s transmission operations eliminate costly changeovers.
Automaker changes gears without changing grippers
When a major automaker sought a new strategy for automated transmission operations, an original equipment manufacturer put electric grippers at the cutting edge to eliminate costly changeovers.
China market for motion-control gear slowed in 2012, but picture brightens starting this year
The overall motion-control market in China contracted 19 percent last year compared to 2011.
Keeping CNC machines profitable
Mitsubishi Electric Technical Services & Support Group helps keep machines in production and profitable.
CNC services and support
The ‘right’ technical services and support capabilities for CNCs will maximize uptime, boost profits, and reduce maintenance costs.
Solid-state cylinder switch
The SMT-8M-A solid-state cylinder switch by Festo features a supplemental on-board LED for proper field commissioning and is designed for T-slot applications on pneumatic drives.
Pneumatic cylinder position switch
AutomationDirect's Nitra line of pneumatic cylinder position switches feature nine solid-state electronic switches that are available in 3-wire DC PNP and NPN configurations.
Taking the complexity out of designing Smart-Grid devices
National Instruments executive says a new development platform should bring renewable energy sources to the grid much faster.
The right system components are critical to maximizing the energy-saving potential of VFDs
Cabling—like other components—must be vetted for its ability to withstand the harshest operating conditions.
Understanding servo system application requirements
When selecting servo-based motion control systems, it’s all about the application.
Cover story: Smaller, faster, higher accuracy, and easier to use are among servodrive control advances. Servodrive controls offer high accuracy and repeatability for precise applications, as shown in the cover application video and in the articles, explanations, and examples about each.
Top Control Engineering articles, January 2013
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during January 2013 included the following topics: U.S.-manufacturing of medium-voltage drives, decentralized process control, a new engineering research center, 5 ways to enable the next generation workforce, automation programming, and Ethernet communications, among others.
Arc flash system uses trip signal to minimize damage
The Multilin A60 Arc Flash System uses a trip signal to minimize damage to medium-voltage switchgear and motor control center applications.
Open architecture digital PMSM servodrive control
Milling machine axis control system uses real-time open architecture and digital permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) control, based on a high-performance PXI platform. Updated with reader comment Feb. 5.
Motion control: Product handling, re-feeder challenges
Integrator update: Controlling the product flow in adjacent machines can be challenging. Polytron and Finesse Manufacturing address product handling and re-feeder interruptions, turning a three-legged race into a winning relay.
Advanced motion control for product feed, unique packing needs
Manufacturers have motion control solutions available to decouple and buffer between components in the production line in an automated way that is efficient and cost effective as a result of Polytron software development and the mechanical design of Finesse Manufacturing Solutions.
6-dimensional motion sensor
Honeywell's Interial Measurement Unit (IMU) is a 6-dimensional motion sensor designed for precise control to increase accuracy and operator productivity.
Liquid-based inclination sensors
The BSI inclination sensors from Balluff offer an enclosure rating of IP67 and are designed where inclination angles need precise detection.
Eaton dedicates new innovation, engineering center
Electrical reliability, efficiency, and safety were key points of emphasis during a Jan. 9 ribbon cutting, tour, and lunch for Eaton employees, media, and other selected guests at the new Menomonee Falls Innovation Center. See photo gallery and video clip, below. Updated Jan. 16.
Top Control Engineering articles for 2012
Think Again: Control strategies, optimization, safety and security, and system integration were among top Control Engineering articles for 2012, based on online traffic. What advice here will help your 2013 be more productive?
Elevator industry invests in energy efficiency in U.S.
Machine-room-less (MRL) elevator sales in the U.S. are continuing to grow, according to IMS Research, though its continued growth depends on the demand for hydraulic elevators, which remains the dominant force in the industry.
Creating an HMI that doesn’t get used
When that new equipment skid or machine comes in, it probably has its own HMI, but that equipment will be controlled from a larger system. What should you want that redundant HMI to do?
Yaskawa commemorates first U.S.-manufactured MV1000 medium-voltage drives
The Kagami-Biraki sake ceremony celebrates the start of U.S. manufacturing of the Yaskawa MV1000 medium-voltage ac drives, first in that series of drives to be built in Oak Creek, Wis., with an investment in manufacturing and testing in excess of $3 million. See photo gallery from the ceremony and plant tour, below.
CNCs offer predictive, preventive maintenance tools for motors
Fanuc's Series 30i/31i/32i-Model B CNCs offer predictive and preventive maintenance tools for motors and fans. Fanuc can judge when the fan will fail through monitoring tools, enabling maintenance personnel to repair the problem at their convenience.
Integrated motion servo drive with EtherNet/IP connectivity
Kinetix 5500 servo drive by Rockwell Automation joins the Kinetix 350 and Kinetix 6500 drives to provide users with more options to match motion control needs.
Integrated CNC controller with HMI functions
The M700V series by Mitsubishi Electric is an integrated CNC designed for metal-cutting, forming, plastics, and woodworking applications.
Top Control Engineering articles, November 2012
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during November 2012 included the following topics: Leaders Under 40, best products, mobile apps, feedback controllers, machine commissioning, System Integrator Giants, fieldbus project help, level control, project management, and lean manufacturing, among others.
Worldwide CNC market plateaus
According to a study by ARC Advisory Group, the computer numerical controls (CNC) market faces an uncertain future after strong sales from 2009 to 2011.
Top Control Engineering articles, October 2012
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during October 2012 included the following topics: Best products, HMI, mobile apps, motors, level control, system integrators, safety, PLCs, energy efficiency, and project management, among others.
EC: EPCO Electric Cylinder
Motion Control: The EPCO electric cylinder is a ball screw driven actuator with integrated stepper motor (closed loop / with encoder) used in light industrial applications. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
EC: H-Max Series Adjustable Frequency Drive
Motion Control - Drives: The H-Max Series drive sets a new standard in efficiency and stability over traditional variable frequency control methods. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
Motion Control - Drives: The DSBC is an ISO 15552 pneumatic cylinder with an anodized aluminum profile body which provides linear movement and force. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
EC: IndraControl L85 CNC Controller with Multi-core Processor
Machine and Embedded Control - CNCs, board-level products: The IndraControl L85 is a CNC controller with multi-core processor that establishes new levels of sophistication, performance and processing power for advanced multi-axes CNC applications. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
EC: Sinamics DCM Base Drive
Motion Control - Drives: The Sinamics DCM Base Drive, based upon the Sinamics DC Master converter, is an extremely flexible and cost-effective solution for new machine installations and retrofits where space is limited. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
EC: CNX Wireless System
Hardware - Handheld test, measurement, calibration: The Fluke CNX Wireless System simplifies troubleshooting by enabling up to 10 simultaneous electrical and temperature wireless measurements. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
EC: IndraDrive Mi Integrated Motor-drive System with Multi-Ethernet Interface
Motion Control - Servo drives: Rexroth IndraDrive Mi with Multi-Ethernet interface is a milestone in drive engineering, combining control electronics and servo motor in one ultra-compact unit. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
EC: MR-J4 Series Servo System
Motion Control - Servo drives: The MR-J4 servo system from Mitsubishi Electric Automation combines high performance features (for maximum throughput and OEE), user-friendly, HMI functions (to accelerate set-up, reduce installation costs and improve operator safety), and energy saving features. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
EC: M700V CNC System
Machine and Embedded Control - CNCs, board-level products: The M700V Series CNC is Mitsubishi Electric Automation's full-featured, multi-axis machine controller for high-speed and high-accuracy machining applications. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Award winner.
EC: SureCross Q45 Wireless Photoelectric Sensor
Machine and Embedded Control - Discrete sensors: The Banner Engineering SureCross Q45 is the world's first completely self-contained wireless photoelectric sensor solution, designed to provide untethered communications for control and monitoring applications. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Award winner.
EC: Piranha HS NIR 8k Camera
Machine and Embedded Control - Machine vision, barcode readers: The Piranha HS NIR camera is designed to meet the requirements of low light applications such as solar cell inspection, PCB / electronics inspection, large web applications, and food and drug inspection. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
EC: Opto 22 SoftPAC
Machine and Embedded Control - PACs: Opto 22 SoftPAC works like a hardware PAC but uses a PC's processing speed and file handling to run computationally intensive applications or those needing to log, manipulate, and exchange large amounts of data. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
Hardware - Industrial PCs: Advantech's UNO-2184G is a compact high-performance fanless industrial grade automation computer with an i7 processor that is designed for applications with tremendous volume and 3D content. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
EC: Controller p500
Hardware - Integrated HMI controllers: A powerful hardware platform for machine-oriented visualization and control applications, the p500 combines logic, motion and visualization in a smart integrated device, delivering a scalable platform and precision control for optimal manufacturing results. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
EC: XC Series High-Performance PLC
Machine and Embedded Control - PLCs: XC PLCs provide fast, cost-efficient control for global food packaging, renewables, and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) applications. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
EC: AM8000 Servo Motors
Motion Control: Synchronous servo motor with One Cable technology, with which the power and feedback system are combined into one standard motor cable. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.
Industrial software provides energy intelligence
Enhancements to FactoryTalk VantagePoint, FactoryTalk EnergyMetrix, and the IntelliCenter software from Rockwell Automation let users make more informed decisions about industrial energy use.
SMMA 2012 Fall Technical Conference
SMMA 2012 Fall Technical Conference is Nov. 6-8, 2012, in St. Louis, Mo. Pre-Conference options include three SMMA Motor & Motion College course and the Permanent Magnet Division (PMD) Meeting. During the conference, 28 table top exhibitors will showcase products and services.
Servo motor versus induction motor systems
Cover story tutorial: Choosing between permanent magnet servo motor or induction motor systems depends on application performance criteria. Consider this advice for the best fit. See more information and photos online, including comparative table.
Motor-integrated servo drives
The Acoposmulti65m by B+R Automation is designed to unite motors, sensors, and servos into one compact unit. It comes with IP65 protection and is equipped with STO.
Servo amplifier has EtherCAT connectivity
The Mitsubishi Electric Automation MR-J3-xA-RJ158 is an AC servo drive that provides users connectivity to servo amplifiers through EtherCAT communication. It is designed for automotive applications and has an amplifier with a capacity that ranges from 100W to 22kW.
New software tools integrated with larger robotic platform
Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s RT Toolbox2 now integrated with iQ Works Software Suite.
Mobile showroom demonstrates motion control solutions
Mitsubishi Electric Automation's Solutions in Motion is a mobile showroom that has interactive demonstration pods as well as an industrial, bottling-line demonstrating new products.
Motor lineage, design knowledge help when choosing servo or induction motors
Webcast: In the Control Engineering RCEP Accredited webcast, “Servo vs. induction motors: Which should be considered for what applications?” information presented suggests that understanding motor lineage and motor design help with motor specification. See graphics.
Modular multiplexor for gauging applications
The MSE 1000 by Heidenhain uses multi-channel electronics for metrology applications. It can combine up to 250 sensors for a variety of measurement needs.
Ceiling-mounted SCARA robot
The RH-3SxHR robot by Mitsubishi Electric is a ceiling-mounted SCARA robot that features speeds of up to 188 parts per minute and 0.01 mm repeatability.
Electric slide series for pick and place systems
The Festo EGSL electric slide series is designed for pick and place systems and is available in four sizes. It is energy efficient and extremely accurate, the company said.
Touch sensitive sensors
The KT Series sensors by ifm are designed to be used in the automation industry as machine start/stop buttons. They are IP69K rated.
Yaskawa acquires Canadian drives and controls company
Yaskawa acquired Wermac Electric, a Canadian company that specializes in drives and controls in the oil and gas industry.
Multifunctional capacity controller
The AK-PC 781 capacity controller by Danfoss constantly optimizes compressors and condensers and offers oil management, heat reclaim and CO2 control.
Actuator with reverse parallel motor mount
The new reverse-parallel motor mount reduces the length of the Tolomatic ERD actuator while increasing mounting flexibility and motor selection in electric actuator applications.
Energy management: What’s next for manufacturing?
Small changes in how energy is managed in manufacturing can add up to millions of dollars in energy-consumption savings. See below for four tips for saving energy in motion-control applications.
AC current displays, low cost, visual current indicators
The CurrentMark Series by CR Magnetics are designed to provide indications and measurement of electrical current flow and come in three models with different types of visual indicators.
New controller supports Visual Studio .Net programming
Advantech launches a RISC-based controller designed for easy user program development.
Advances in direct-drive rotary servos
Inside machines: In performance and market growth, direct-drive servo motors are outpacing conventional servo motors and gear motors. Advanced designs and new technologies can add efficiency.
Industrial permanent magnet motors, and DC motor lines expanded
Baldor has expanded its permanent magnet and wound field industrial DC motors.
Technologies inside: Gigabit Ethernet, PLC, servos, drives for new packaging machine
Newly designed VC999 thermoformer packaging machine uses a Gigabit Ethernet bus network, CC-Link and Mitsubishi L Series PLC, servo motors and drives, and I/O modules.
Gigabit Ethernet used in new packaging machine
Case study: Newly designed thermoformer packaging machine with programmable logic controller, servo motors and drives, and I/O modules uses a Gigabit Ethernet bus network.
Drives optimize energy efficiency, reduce control room, panel space, cooling costs
Up to 68% smaller than previous generation drives, compact D-frame drives from Danfoss VLT Drives are optimized to deliver highly reliable performance in the 125 – 450 HP range while exhausting 90% of the drive-generated heat outside the enclosure via the backchannel.
Integrated motion control programming software
B&R’s Automation Studio software programming environment integrates motion programming within the B&R Generic Motion Control platform.
Stepper drive for motion controller
DMC-30016 1-axis motion controller by Galil Motion Control has been packaged with a 1.4A/phase stepper drive in a single package.
Integrated programming environment includes drive programming software
The most significant improvement to drive programming is the move to centralized programming platforms that cover an entire automated system rather than learning separate programming software only for drive programming.
Drive programming software is an integrated programming environment
The most significant improvement to drive programming is the move to centralized programming platforms, such as TwinCAT 3 from Beckhoff Automation, which allows users to program an entire automated system rather than having to learn separate programming software only for drive programming. One-cable motors and drives further simplify installation.
Adaptive tools, engineering can reduce drive system energy consumption
Tricks and Tips: Design tools and electric drive components can reduce energy use and pollution, conserve resources, and lower energy costs without sacrificing productivity. Overall cost effectiveness of the drive system should be assessed as part of a lifecycle costs (LCC) analysis.
EtherCAT box for incremental encoder connection
Beckhoff Automation's I/O module synchronously reads encoder values via high-precision EtherCAT Distributed Clocks.
Spinning into New Green Power Sources
Generator types: Generators have taken on a new importance in this era of brownouts, blackouts, and energy shortages. New wind and solar renewable energy sources have emerged as major sources of local and grid electrical power, and direct-drive generators using permanent magnets are helping, along with advanced power electronics.
Use intelligent servo drives to filter mechanical resonance
Inside Machines: Learn how to control machine resonance—the “white noise” generated by machine motion—in servo-driven printing and converting machines. Intelligent servo drives provide advanced programming tools, diagnostic features, and integrated filtering capabilities to combat mechanical resonance.
CC Link option for field inverter
The FR-A700 inverter by Mitsubishi Electric has added a CC-Link IE Field option card that controls remote I/O and read/write functionality up to one Gbps using the industrial Ethernet protocol.
CNC software tools for job shops
IMTS 2012: The Sinumerik 828D Basix T (turning) and Basic M (milling) by Siemens are designed to enhance job shop performance.
Energy-Saving Drive Solutions
Industrial Energy Management: Intelligent concepts cut costs and protect the environment while saving energy; high-efficiency energy conversion and recovery of braking energy also can help.
Multi-operation machine tool control
IMTS 2012: Heidenhain's TNC 640 control is designed for machine tools capable of multi-operation machining.
CNC productivity innovations, handheld unit
IMTS 2012: Fanuc FA America's CNC productivity innovations including enhancements to the Series 30-i Model B CNC and a handheld CNC operator unit.
Real-time diagnostics system for micromilling
Control Engineering International: Tool condition monitoring is important for quality of micromilling processes and can be improved with a real-time diagnostics system. Diagnostic signals selection, tool wear inspection algorithm, and proper measuring system selection all help. Testing and validation were completed in operating conditions.
Optical UHV encoder
IMTS 2012: Resolute UHV from Renishaw are ultra-high vacuums that offer true-absolute position feedback and sub-micron accuracy for semiconductor and scientific applications that require vacuum compatibility.
Profiler sets metal removal rate record
MAG's XTi profiler, which uses five spindle motors capable of 3500 rpm, demonstrated a 90-cubic-inch-per-minute metal removal rate (MRR) of titanium. They will be used by ADI for multi-part production of titanium components for aircraft.
Automatic guided vehicles
Industry sales projections for 2012 remain strong, bolstered by key selling points such as flexibility, versatility, and evolutionary advances in controls.
Photoelectric sensors have high-function reserve, rugged housing
The BOS 18M photoelectric sensors from Balluff have exact switching response and use LED technology that allow the sensors to be used in indoor settings or in daylight.
Gearbox and gear motors market faces challenges in Europe
Analysis from Frost and Sullivan that the gearbox and gear motors market, while growing at a steady pace in Europe, is challenged by recession there and by competition from other markets.
Servo, drive, motion controller
Product Exclusive: Mitsubishi Electric’s new MR-J4 Series Servo and Motion Controller boosts productivity with speed, safety, and performance.
Challenges of Motor Selection and Sizing
The range of sizes, types, and configurations of electric motors can seem endless. Here are a few ideas for navigating the choices.
Patent for CNC adaptive control system
Fanuc Factory Automation America (Fanuc FA America) received a patent for developing on-demand integrated adaptive control for their CNC control system.
High pressure inductive analog sensor
Balluff's analog sensor is rated up to 500 bar and is IP68 rated and is designed for application that involve control and service measurements of valves and position monitoring.
Monitor machine conditions
Control Engineering International: Machine condition monitoring can be integrated within digital control of permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM).
Bionic grippers for automation
The NanoForceGripper by Festo is modeled off of the gecko and birds to improve accuracy and durability for better robotic product or part handling.
Efficiency needs a system approach, depends on individual applications
Energy-efficient motion control: To identify the most energy-efficient pneumatic and electric automation, a technology-neutral comparison is required. After considering different alternatives, a German automotive components supplier adopted a ready-to-install energy-efficient handling system.
Control is in the Details
Don’t underestimate how little things can affect the big picture.
Machine tool controllers, HMIs add efficiency
Inside Machines: Human-machine interface and controller advancements enhance machine tool productivity by combining highly advanced graphics and open architecture of the CNC to render animated graphics and intuitive operator and programming interface. See examples in photo gallery.
SIL3 actuator control valves for safety instrumented systems
Midland-ACS announces that a wide range of its actuator control valve products have undergone third-party assessment to the IEC 61508 functional safety standard, and are now certified to support SIL 3 capability.
Digital servo drives for embedded applications
Servo2Go.com announces the release of the Dzralte Series of High Performance Digital Servo Drives from Advanced Motion Controls of Camarillo, CA, which are engineered to conquer the most demanding industrial applications.
Technologies used in the Ulmer Automation application
Festo PositioningDrives engineering software helps with appropriate component selection and sizing to optimize mechanical drive and transmission components and motors and to prevent duplication of safety factors, reducing energy costs by as much as 70%.
Machine vision: Focus on design
A well-designed machine vision system enables manufacturers to improve product quality, enhance process control, and increase manufacturing efficiency while lowering the total cost of ownership. A good machine vision design starts with selecting a motion-vision integration type, based on the machine’s automation tasks.
Filling Bottles: Go with the Flowmeter
As bottle-filling machines look for greater speed and consistency, some users move from older weigh cell technology to flowmeter-based systems, but it’s a tough application.
Field wireable connectors and couplers
M8 and M12 connectors and T-couplers from AutomationDirect are designed to make patch cables in custom lengths from existing cables or bulk wire.
Mobile wine bottling truck integrates controls, HMI
Application Update: Marathon Bottling and Automation, a mobile wine bottling and custom automation original equipment manufacturer, automates its new mobile wine bottling operation with an integrated PLC and HMI, requiring less configuration for 50-bottles-per-minute performance.
Pocket motion controller
The DMC-30017 motion controller combines a single-axis motion controller and a 6A microstepping drive for operating a two-phase bipolar stepper motor.
Controller offers Modbus RS-485 multi-drop support
Model 5300 from Control Technology can serve as a bridge between different networking protocols.
Machine-tool Energy Efficiency: Current Issues
Industrial Energy Management: A range of energy consumers, such as pneumatics, hydraulics and lubricant processing, influence a work center’s power profile.
Reconfigured ball screws move tons for politics
Nook’s reconfigured ball screws move tons in a small footprint for Democratic National Convention stage.
Study: Supply chain planning market to grow 44 percent
An ARC Advisory Group study forecasts the SCP market will grow 44 percent in the next five years thanks to the global economic recession being largely over and capital spending on information technology increasing.
600V ICs for energy efficient inverter motor drive applications
International Rectifier introduces the compact IRS2334SPbF and IRS2334MPbF three-phase 600V ICs.
Technologies resolve 3 motion integration engineering deficiencies
Motion Analyzer mechatronic design software, Integrated Architecture and Logix Control Platform from Rockwell Automation, and EtherNet/IP enabled devices help resolve motion system integration challenges with mechatronics, scalability, and automation architecture.
Motion system integration, 3 overlooked points
Tips and Tricks: Control Engineering asked what engineers overlook when doing motion system integration. Pay attention to mechatronics, scalability, and the advantages of using one automation architecture.
Automated gripper set for handling and assembly systems
Parallel, three-point, radial and angle DHxS grippers from Festo are designed for handling and assembly systems and have gripping force retention and overload protection for safety.
Industrial PC Serves as PLC, CNC, HMI
Inside Machines: Seal Tech’s FIP Polyurethane Dispensing Systems cost as much as $100,000 less than the competition and require 20 to 30 hours less wiring, by using industrial PCs for PLCs, CNCs, and HMIs.
Easy Motion System Integration: Practical Strategies, Tools
Inside Machines: When designing machine motion controls, remember that motion starts at the load. Applications that guide motion system integration decisions can result in a more strategic machine design for more efficient and intuitive operation.
Dual display sensor
The DF-G1 Expert Dual Display Fiber Amplifier by Banner Engineering is designed to detect breaks or changes in assemblies including small part and wire break detection.
Automation technology to be used in infrastructure projects in South America
Metso has been awarded contracts to deliver its automation technology for a hydroelectric plant in Brazil and a dam project in Caracas, Venezuela.
Rotary position sensors
The RTY Series Hall-Effect Rotary Position Series by Honeywell have flexible options for specific application needs, particularly in harsh environments.
Tubing, fittings offering expanded in pneumatics line
The Nitra line by AutomationDirect has expanded its tubing and fittings offering with brass adapter fittings and plugs and polyurethane tubing, aluminum manifolds, and blowguns that are designed to meet most pneumatic applications.
Ethernet-based servo drive for machine automation
ABB Microflex e150 servo drive is designed for the Ethernet-based machine automation market and offer encoder interfacing, motion control programming and integrated functional safety capabilities.
Integrated motor communicates on EtherNet/IP systems
The MDrive integrated motor by Schneider Electric is designed for EtherNet/IP systems enables the networking of products from different manufacturers without the need for special interface adaptation.
Industrial networks: Free membership upgrade offered
The Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA) is offering its Regular Member package for free until March 31, 2012, which is good for an entire year thereafter, the group said.
Automation, integrated options key for copper mine’s success
Comprehensive automation and power, integrated operations center help Antofagasta’s Esperanza copper mine in Chile reach peak productivity
Solar photovoltaic power plant being built at Arizona State
Arizona State agreed to build a 1-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant with Salt River Project and SunPower Corp. at the university's Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Ariz. It uses motion control technology and parabolic mirrors to maximize output.
Miniature extended range proximity sensors
X-Series Pile Driver Extended Range Inductive Series by Pepperl+Fuchs are now available in 8 mm diameter models that can be used in metal-forming and welding applications.
Motion control synchronization
Inside Machines: Simpler, more advanced, cost-effective motion control techniques hone a competitive advantage in new machine designs for Sunnen, a precision original equipment manufacturer.
Inside Machines: Upgrading Boeing 777 Wing Fastening Machine
Wing fastening machine upgrade lifts productivity for Boeing 777 factory.
Medium voltage AC drives market in India expects strong growth
ARC Advisory Group expects the medium voltage AC drives market in India to continue to grow through 2015 thanks to increased consumer demand and India's demand-side energy management initiatives.
Product Exclusive: Unified CNC user interface
Enhancements to Siemens Sinumerik Operate user interface add convenience, features.
Product Exclusive: Integrated software adds machine tool productivity
Sinumerik MDynamics CNC milling and turning technology package from Siemens increases user productivity and tool speed, and improves part finish.
Siemens strengthens U.S. gas turbine manufacturing
In mid-November 2011, Siemens Energy substantially increased its capacity to produce advanced gas turbines in the U.S. by officially opening a 450,000 ft2 (41,800 m2) expansion to the company’s Charlotte, N.C., facility. The state-of-the-art manufacturing center adds ability to build gas turbines, in addition to generators and steam turbines already produced there.
More wind power in Texas, part of an 1 GW initiative
ABB received an order worth more than $50 million from Electric Transmission Texas LLC as a part of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) program. It helps increase renewable energy in Texas by up to 18 GW, making it one of the world’s largest land-based wind initiatives.
Recorder/controller maintains high-integrity data collection
Invensys’ Eurotherm nanodac links easily to enterprise-level systems while providing powerful control and data recording functions. Video: Bob Postlethwaite explains its capabilities.
Asia Pacific to become largest market for industrial hydraulic components
Changes in the oil market and the European economy, coupled with economic growth, suggest Asia Pacific will be the largest market by 2014, IMS Research said.
Line scan camera with near-infrared technology
The Piranha HS NIR Line Scan Camera Camera from Teledyne Dalsa has enhanced quantum efficiency in near-infrared and features time delay and integration technology.
OEM Sustainability: Energy Efficiency for Machines
Purchase price of a machine accounts for just 2%-3% of its overall cost. Making intelligent choices when choosing motors can save up to 30% of energy consumption over the life of a machine.
Servo drive with Multi-Ethernet
With a Multi-Ethernet interface the IndraDrive Mi from Bosch Rexroth simplifies the realization of varied automation structures with one type of hardware.
Photoelectric clear object detection sensor
The Q26 series is designed for testing high-speed applications where positioning and accuracy are critical.
OEM Sustainability: Better design, controls make OEM greener
Original equipment manufacturer promotes green initiatives. Automation and smarter machine design help bottle packing equipment use less plastic, less heat, and produce less scrap.
Integrated, open PLC and motion programming for packaging
IndraMotion for Packaging from Bosch Rexroth is designed to reduce the amount of engineering by implementing all PLC and motion programming tasks in the same same programming language.
Vision and motion hardware added to controller platform
A reconfigurable Camera Link frame grabber for embedded vision and a motion module were added to the CompactRIO controller platform from National Instruments.
Motion control market up 19% in 2011
A report by the Motion Control Association (MCA) indicates industry growth and recovery, but at a slower pace overall.
Photoelectric sensor line has M18 housing
Wenglor photoelectric sensors are available for straight and angled reflex, retro-reflex and through beam sensors and are available in housing lengths of 35 mm and 50 mm.
Company to expand production in the U.S.
Bosch Rexroth plans to double production area at their South Carolina plant. The company will invest $80 million in the site and is planning to hire approximately 160 additional associates in the next five years.
Vision sensing technology in track-and-trace applications
Sensors work with control systems to follow perishable and critical products through manufacturing and distribution.
Energy management at Rockwell Automation fair
Online energy savings calculator offered for free download.
System Integration Case Study: 5,000 hp Robotic Birds
Giant dancing birds at a Singapore resort help define the limits of synchronized, large-scale motion control. Mega-scale robotic animatronics system guides two large steel crane structures, each weighing 80 tons and standing 100 ft tall. Four giant hydraulic power units, totaling nearly 5,000 hp, drive an elaborate 10-min. dance.
More than 5000 gearmotors for solar thermal plant in France
The Nord Drive System is being installed for a solar thermal plant. A total of 2,650 mirrors equipped with 5,300 gearmotors are being supplied.
Machine automation controller provides motion, logic, vision
Omron Industrial Automation's Sysmac NJ-Series machine automation controller is designed to provide motion, logic, and vision on one unit to simplify use and increase efficiency.
Motion controller for demanding applications
Galil Motion Control’s PCI BUS Econo Motion Controller, The DMC-1417, is designed to handle demanding applications.
NYC Tunnel Boring
Automation Integrator Case Study: Communications network, variable frequency drives, and controllers integrate miles-long underground tunneling and motion control project.
Diagnostics for machine tool monitoring
An open modular architecture diagnostic system is designed for machine tool condition monitoring, as reported by Control Engineering Poland.
Metso opens new technology center in Helsinki, Finland
Metso, a valve solutions and services provider, advanced its capabilities with a new factory that increased production by 50%. Metso provides intelligent on-off and emergency shutdown (ESD) valves, real-time condition monitoring, and other technologies, especially in oil and gas, pulp and paper, refining, chemical, and petrochemical industries.
Machine production set to rebound
IMS Research's report indicates machinery production revenues are expected to rebound in 2011 and continue to grow through 2014.
EC: 3200 C L-Force Controller
Machine and embedded control – PLCs: The 3200 C L-fForce Controller from Lenze combines the program logic controller, motion controller, and visualization in one compact device that simplifies engineering and extends cost savings. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
EC: Eaton Soft Start Controller
Motion control – Drives: The S611 soft starter from Eaton provides OEM and construction customers with an economical and feature-rich product including overload, overcurrent, phase loss, jam and stall protection, and power monitoring capabilities. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: Electric Mini Slide EGSL
Motion control: The EGSL from Festo is a ball screw-based electromechanical slide used in conjunction with servo and stepper motors in precise positioning and pressing/clamping applications. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.
EC: CRDSNU Stainless Steel Cylinder
Motion control: The CRDSNU stainless steel round pneumatic cylinder from Festo offers two unique and innovative design features that improve productivity, reduce operating costs, and extend the operating service life. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
Machine and embedded control – Discrete sensors: The Smart-Encoder is a new line of rotary encoders from AVG Automation’s Autotech Technologies division that are field programmable through a built-in LED display and two push-buttons, allowing for programming and adaptation to a wide variety of applications without the need for a computer, cable, or software. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
New Controls Help Old Icebreakers
New crane control systems and operator interfaces improve safety, reliability, and flexibility of old ships, making them ready for new missions.
Digital pressure switch, transmitters for non-flammable, non-corrosive gas applications
ProSense switch and transmitters are fitted with a two-meter cable, color LCD display, and are designed for non-flammable and non-corrosive gas applications.
Energy-efficient sensorless motor control, variable speed motor control
Sensorless speed control motor and variable speed motor control technology are key energy-saving technologies.
EEMODS ’11—efficient motor systems conference: standards, new technologies
Energy Efficiency in Motor Driven Systems (EEMODS)—a notable international conference on electric motors, drives, and numerous related systems—drew some 150 attendees from industry, academia, government, research labs, and other service organizations to Alexandria, VA (greater Washington, D.C. area) during Sept. 12-14, 2011, to discuss, debate, and promote advances in energy-efficient technologies. This part 2 of two articles covers developments in efficiency standards and newer motor technologies.
EEMODS ’11—successful 1st U.S. staging of efficient motor systems conference
The latest edition of Energy Efficiency in Motor Driven Systems (EEMODS)—a notable international conference on electric motors, drives, and associated systems—had the objective to explain and promote commercial advances of energy-efficient systems to OEMs, energy users, and other stakeholders. This part 1 of two articles covers system issues, recommendations, and a market overview of efficient motors and drives. See graphics.
Modular power solutions
Molex's Brad modular power solutions features feeder circuits up to 30 A and molded drop cables for branch power distribution up to 15 A.
Exoskeletal arm support reduces risk
The X-Ar is an exoskeletal arm support designed to provide additional support for difficult manual tasks.
Modular IO Cuts Wiring Time 20%
RRR Development reduces machine wiring time by 20%, helps tire manufacturers decrease maintenance woes. Time to market increases, boosts sales by $2.5 million a year.
Back to Basics: Limit switches for conveyors
Process monitoring and control improves with proper application of limit switches in conveyor applications. See diagram.
Leader Under 40: Brady Melchior
President, Rugid Computer Inc. – BS Electrical Engineering, University of Washington
Pneumatic air cylinders, heavy duty
AutomationDirect Nitra D-Series pneumatic, heavy-duty air cylinders are designed for applications with abusive conditions.
Accreditation for WPI, first U.S. robotics engineering undergraduate degree program
Four years after the program's launch, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) said it is the only university in the nation with bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in robotics engineering.
Ultra compact I/O terminal for servo motor control
Beckhoff Automation introduced an ultra compact I/O terminal for servo motor control. The “revolutionary EL7201 Terminal permits direct connection of a servomotor and resolver to a 12 mm EtherCAT Terminal,” the company said. Five axes can be controlled in width of less than 2.5 inches.
Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011: Automation products target machine builders
Automation and controls introduced and discussed at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 last week aimed to help machine builders optimize designs, become more energy efficient, and improve safety. A sampling follows with more to come.
Energy efficiency: Open, modular control system cuts waste, adds throughput
Meat processor gains line flexibility with new controls, reduces scrap 10%, increases throughput 15%, and cuts troubleshooting time by 20% with anticipated 12-month return on investment.
Disturbance-Rejection vs. Setpoint-Tracking Controllers
Designing a feedback control loop starts with understanding its objective as well as the process’s behavior.
NEMA 1 inverter drives in 40 hp, 50 hp, 60 hp
Lenze SMVector NEMA 1 inverter drives ramp-up to 60 horsepower; new drives are said to be compact and cost-effective. The drives are among Lenze technologies at Pack Expo 2011, booth S5360, in Las Vegas, Nev.
Control capabilities on display for machine builders
Multidisciplined control and information technology for machine builders is to be demonstrated and showcased at Pack Expo 2011.
Machine safety faces paradigm shift
Time’s running out: How will your company embrace the new international standard?
Product Exclusive: New Smart encoder eases setup, eliminates part numbers
Autotech Controls Smart-Encoders, from AVG Automation, size 25 (2.5-in. dia.) and size 40 (4-in. dia.), can eliminate dozens of part numbers and speed startup with pushbutton setup and digital readout without a computer. It is a form-fit functional replacement for major brands.
Wind turbine at manufacturing plant has hydraulic tip-up tower
Wago Corporation installed a Renewegy VP-20 Wind Turbine capable of generating 20 kW for its Wisconsin headquarters. Hydraulics raise and lower the tower; Wago components are used.
Automated tube testing system shortens time to delivery, improves quality
Cerulean's Q-Test, the first fully automated tube testing system for laminate and plastic tubes, will allow industries such as packaging and consumer goods to reduce time to delivery, eliminate labor intensive manual testing. The machine is at Pack Expo, Sept. 26-28.
Medium flow controller
Sierra Instruments expands the Smart-Trak 50 Series with its Medium Flow Controller. The controller is designed for OEMs that require higher mass flow control capability.
Inside Machines: Torque production
Case notes: Robots that use motors in the joints present a motion-control challenge. Should the application produce torque using a six-step technique or sinusoidal commutation for brushless dc (BLDC) motors? See diagrams, equations.
Back to Basics: Motion, guidance, positioning
Setting any object in motion makes it necessary to transfer power and overcome friction. For millennia humankind has used rollers and slides; modern technologies are much better. Here’s a quick guide to types of linear guides.
Pressure sensor family introduced
Balluff's BPS series of pressure sensors come with IP 67 protection and have 11 pressure range versions for monitoring in process media in factory automation.
Control system design contest for students
Phoenix Contact's fourth annual Nanoline Contest challenges students to design an original control system. The winning group will receive a trip to Germany.
Pulse control module for time proportional output
Omega Engineering's PCM5 is designed to transmit a signal of up to 20 mA from a process/temperature controller to a time proportional output.
Inside Machines: Reduce servomotor instability
Motor instability, uncontrolled and unintended motion at the motor shaft, can occur at low or high frequencies and often cause growling at higher frequencies. Effectively reduce or eliminate servo instability without increasing position errors or decreasing performance.
Mechatronics a main focus at Pack Expo 2011
Bosch Rexroth is emphasizing automation technology to enable modular, safe and energy efficient packaging machinery at Pack Expo 2011 in Las Vegas. Technologies include open control motion software, an integrated motor/drive with Ethernet communications, and corrosion-resistant pneumatics.
Dual channel brushless DC motor control
Roboteq's HBL2350 is capable of driving two brushless DC motors at 75 Amps and can accept commands from analog/pedal, R/C radio, USB or RS232 interface.
Think Again: Control engineering technologies can save the world
Apply the control loop—sense, decide, actuate—to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s 14 Engineering Grand Challenges, giving the world a better, more just, future. See photos; link to related stories, videos.
Linear actuators for Lockheed Martin
Exlar Corporation receives contract from Lockheed Martin to provide linear actuators for target acquisitions systems for the U.S. military.
Spacecraft Technology Expo 2012
Smarter Shows Limited's Spacecraft Technology Expo will be in Los Angeles, Calif., from May 8-10, 2012, for spacecraft and space-related technologies.
Mechatrolink membership continues growth
The Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA), a group of product developers that use and promote Mechatrolink, reached its 900th member. 50 firms in North America are currently members. Mechatrolink is available in RS-485 and Ethernet versions, operates at speeds up to 100 Mbps, and can support up to 62 simultaneous devices.
Product Exclusive: Controller combines logic and motion
Lenze Compact 3200 C L-Force Controller combines logic and motion. It is engineered for precision robotics and packaging automation applications, using EtherCAT Ethernet protocol.
26th Annual Material Handling and Logistics Conference
MHC2011, sponsered by Dematic, is scheduled for September 18-21 in Park City, Utah.
CNC system used to create 9-axis rotary transfer
Italian manufacturer Sinico used NUM's CNC system to develop the 9-axis rotary for manufacturing volume batches from metal bars and tubes.
Wind turbine gear production accelerated by refurbishing gear shaper
Linear actuator reportedly enables gear profile changeovers in minutes instead of hours, speeding wind-turbine gear production.
Many participants in wind power technology
Wind power suppliers: There is a large community of manufacturers and developers whose scope of supply ranges from complete wind turbine systems to hardware and software components and to numerous auxiliary subsystems that make up a wind farm. See list, photos, links.
RS-232 to USB thumb drive data collector can log production data
Serial data collector from Brigantine Electronics can replace many types of devices.
Digital pressure gauge, range up to 10,000 PSI
Mico's new digital pressure gauge is reportedly designed with a pressure range of up to 10,000 PSI and is to be used in measuring hydraulic and vacuum pressures.
High-Efficiency gas turbines add new flexibility
Siemens’ H-class gas turbine, the largest machine of its type in production, recently broke the 60% net thermal efficiency barrier in combined-cycle (CC) operation. Other gas turbine makers with efficient machines also are exploiting design and control advances in CC power plant applications—and in evolving hybrid CC plants that incorporate renewable energy.
Variable frequency drive for ultra high-speed motors, spindles
Amtech Drives Eazy Series Variable Frequency Drive system is designed to manage electrical currents for high-speed motors and spindles.
Inside Machines: Winding Technology in the Drive
Winder applications that can be integrated into drive systems by setting parameters, rather than configuring and programming, provide an advantage. See photo, diagrams, table.
When buying a CNC, what should I consider?
If I'm buying a new machine with CNC controls or retrofitting an old one, what are some questions I should ask prospective vendors? See our advice and leave your own tips.
Linear shaft motor stage offers nanoprecision
Nippon Pulse America released their SCR100 stage, which has a coreless direct drive motor, which allows for higher accuracy and precision.
Computer Numerical Control: CNC Faceoff
When choosing computer numerical control (CNC) technologies for new or retrofit machinery, use this checklist to help compare capabilities. Look for faster program processing, easier integration and use, and customization capabilities. See checklist, related article links. Engineering interaction: Leave your advice.
Frequency inverter drive for decentralized applications, integrated positioning
Lenze Americas Plug and Drive 8400 protec frequency inverter drive is said to be quick to commission in demanding applications in the automotive, logistics, and printing industrial applications.
Benefits the Space Shuttle Era
What are some of the more earthly benefits that have come out of the space program?
Tiny piezoelectric accelerometer
Meggitt's Endevco model 25A, the smallest Isotron piezoelectric accelerometer is designed for very small structures and other objects. With a total weight of just 0.2 gram, the lightweight design effectively reduces unwanted mass loading effects.
Spring applied brakes for servo, stepper motors
Inertia Dynamics released new reverse mounted spring applied brakes to help with demanding motor-braking situations.
Inverters feature high dynamic performance, efficiency for motion control
Lenze Americas’ high efficiency, dynamic performance 8400 inverter series boosts motion control and logistics automation control productivity.
Two variable speed drives add efficiency to pumps, fans
Schneider Electric Altivar line adds two new models of variable speed drive (VSD) designed to make pumps and fans more energy efficient.
Intelligent linear and rotary motion in one actuator
Wittenstein’s ternary actuator offers an all-in-one system with controller, motor, amplifier, and drive.
Moog acquires Animatics
Moog, a motion-control company, acquired Animatics, advances smart motor capabilities.
CNC outlook: making tracks in midrange products
Easier CNC programming is creating growth in midrange computer numerical control products, said Siemens Industry. Advanced features, once available for high-end CNC tools used for aerospace, automotive, and medical applications, provide competitive advantage to a wider range of machine tools.
Application: Unusual CNC Design
Milling center has highly dynamic 3-axis processing with exceptional stability, high energy, efficiency, and compact dimensions, using industrial PC (IPC) and industrial Ethernet automation technologies.
CNCs: Faster processing, easier integration, customization
Key Siemens developments in computer-numerical control (CNC) for machines include faster 5-axis machining, CAM integration, customizable kernel, CNC volumetric error compensation, and better integration.
Smartmotor design fits numerous applications, uses
Animatics' new smartmotor is designed to bring integrated benefits in harsh environments. It is rated IP65 with optional IP67 protection.
Stainless steel enclosures in enhanced 316 Grade material
Hammond Manufacturing upgrades enclosure materials to improve corrosion resistance and durability in aggressive chemical environments.
Robotic legs, motion control: Advances exceed some human capabilities
Smart prosthetics, including robotic replacements for human legs, meet and exceed some human capabilities, and advanced sensor developments will soon close the control loop between humans and robotic limbs, said Dr. Hugh Herr, biomechatronics researcher and professor, MIT Media Lab. See photos. Link to video.
Absolute fiber optic position sensor provides EMI immunity
Micronor MR330 series FOP sensor is an all-optical design immune to harsh environmental conditions.
Choosing the right motion control architecture
Building a controller has never been easier—or more confusing. This tutorial guide can help determine which motion control architecture to use. See tables, diagrams, and link to video.
Explosion-proof motors for extreme applications
Siemens Industry’s toughest line of hazardous duty motors feature NEMA Premium logos and are available from 1 to 300 hp.
Shorten development cycles and lower overall electric vehicle life costs
Compact, high quality and easy-to-integrate controllers deliver unparalleled reliability and performance to minimize total cost of ownership in vehicle applications.
Advanced system diagnostics via the web
B and R Automation has added a range of new diagnostic functions to its System Diagnostics Manager.
E-stop switches for automation and specialty machines
Elobau Sensor Technology Inc. offers a line of e-stop switches for the automation and specialty machine market.
Minarik Corporation acquires Automation Technology
Minarik Corporation has acquired Automation Technology, increasing Minarik's motion control expertise in Intermountain and Pacific Northwest regions.
ISA88 Part 5 draft: Command, control, status, and functional strategy
We're seeking input on possible language in ISA88 Part 5 draft standard. Figures 6-12 follow, on functional strategy, and other concepts. Please provide comments to ensure the standard is understandable, appropriate, and useful across industries and areas of control, machine control, batch control, and continuous control, as well as flexible and scalable, across hybrid applications. See diagrams. Leave your comments.
Power module enhancements make energy monitoring simpler
New Opto 22 Snap I/O Modules offer greater connectivity, easier scaling and improved 3-phase power monitoring and management, said Opto 22.
Quick release mechanism protects against vibration shakeout
Speed Connect from Siemens Industry Inc. protects against vibration shakeout on its Motion-Connect line of power and signal cables.
Modular solenoid valves join pneumatics product line
AutomationDirect Nitra pneumatic BVS series modular solenoid valves are body ported, three-port (three-way), two-position poppet valves available in normally-open or normally-closed configurations.
8-bit low-power microcontrollers
Microchip Low-Cost 8-bit PIC Microcontrollers have eXtreme Low Power Technology and Integrated LCD Control. MCUs enable low-cost LCD control with low-power capabilities.
Michael Babb, long-time Control Engineering editor, dies
Michael P. Babb passed away April 6, 2011, after a short illness. Babb began his editorial career with Control Engineering in 1985. Babb was recognized globally for 26 years of writing and editing about automation and control systems. Leave a remembrance of Mike, if you'd like, using the link below.
Can I leave a memory about Michael Babb?
Leave a memory below about Michael Babb, former editor of Control Engineering and Control Engineering Europe. Link to additional information about Babb, who passed away April 6, 2011.
Powerful transfer switch control
Russelectric RTS Series 30-cycle-rated and 3-cycle-rated automatic transfer switches have the company’s new RPTCS microprocessor automatic transfer control system for the emergency/backup power industry. Systems are programmed at the factory to include customer options.
CNC standard package for machine tool manufacturing
Software package makes it possible to shorten development times, quickly implement automation processes.
Motor encoding systems have 3-channel reflective encoders
Avago Technologies’ 3.95 mm by 3.4 mm, integrated modules feature built-in interpolator for high-resolution motion feedback in commercial, industrial applications.
HMI operator panel uses CANopen interface
IP65-rated operator panel from Baldor Electric suited for intelligent drives and multi-axis controllers
Product development services company recently launched
MB Pulizzi provides new product development engineering services to the data center, medical, military, aerospace, government, financial, and other industries where only a custom design will fulfill requirements.
USB interfaced I/O card for downloading configuration options
Mesa's 7I61 is a USB interfaced version of the FPGA based Anything I/O card series. It provides 96 I/O bits of easy to access programmable user I/O.
Worm gear screw jack systems provide environmental efficiencies for solar applications
Nook expands line of screw jack systems to provide linear actuation with less electricity consumption, no hazardous materials, fewer necessary accessories.
Mbed racing robots featured at National Electronics Week
Mbed racing robots will be one of the highlights at the National Electronics Week exhibition, a showcase of cutting-edge technology that is both fun, educational.
Coordinated Variable-Speed System Drives
A paper machine example illustrates that large electric drive systems have special requirements, for example, special inverter packaging with a separated dc converter to save space and cost, and provide the best reliability.
4-axis 750 W servo drive for Ethernet motion controllers
Galil adds to multi-axis drive family, the packaging of multio-axis drives with motion controllers saves cost, space, wiring.
Getting money back for efficiency
Aren't there tax credits and rebates if I find ways to save energy? How do I apply?
Yaskawa names Ogawa as CEO; Kudo retired
Masahiro Ogawa has been named Chief Executive Officer of Yaskawa America Inc. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Ill. Ogawa replaces Gen Kudo who retired.
Advanced hydraulic controls save 40 percent in fuel: Excavator at IFPE 2011
The Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) will highlight the center’s booth with a high efficiency excavator developed at Purdue University. Advanced controls result in 40% fuel savings.
Rotary inductive sensor has 360-degree angular measurement for outdoor applications
Turck’s inductive analog sensors provide 360-degree angular measurement by using resistance inductive capacitance measuring technology.
Rapid design, prototyping of PID controllers
Computer models can simulate processes, allowing you to design and refine PID controller action before it is implemented and deployed.
SMMA Management for Motion Control Conference
Motor and Motion Association’s Management Conference brings motion control exhibits, meetings, information to industry professionals.
Honorable mentions for 2011 Engineers’ Choice Awards
HONORABLE MENTIONS - click on the link for each product to learn more.
Linear motion control system helps Biotech Lab robot
The RoToR by Baldor Electric allowed Singer Instruments’ innovate biotech laboratory robot for pinning arrays of cells, more than 200,000 cell samples per hour.
Which Industry will Fuel the Chinese Motion Controls Market?
IMS Research report sees high demand for motion control products used in end-equipments, machinery in Chinese GMC market
Gray Backgrounds for DCS Operating Displays?
With all the sophisticated and cool graphic capabilities available today, why does the ASM Consortium recommend such muted and boring colors? The answer involves the human factors behind the selections.
Multi-axis conformal coating machine handles high volume throughput
Baldor Ethernet-compatible Powerlink servos simplify machine build in small packages.
Feedback: Advanced motor designs, gain scheduling
Readers provide feedback on Control Engineering articles on advance motor designs and on gain scheduling. See links, comments, below.
Advanced motor design: New Motors Reach New Applications
Permanent magnets, axial, transverse, and radial flux designs optimize torque, power, efficiency, size, weight, and other motor performance parameters, as explained in this February Control Engineering feature article. Reader feedback added below on Feb. 16.
Retrofit brings old floor-type mill up to modern standards
NUM’s CNC technology helps bring an old-floor type horizontal boring mill up to state-of-the-art standards, areas improved include programming software, motion control system.
Rotary actuators with class I, division 2 option for hazardous locations
Exlar features rotary actuators with Class I, division 2 certification, suited for operating quarter turn, multi turn valves.
Video helps with servo motor tuning
Viewers now can learn to use the Galil Motion Control GalilTools scope to help tune a servo motor. View and measure the system step response and adjust the PID tuning parameters until optimum performance is observed.
Revised ISA88 Part 5 draft definitions
ISA88 Part 5 draft definitions have been revised using input from comments. Automation object, control strategy, device, and engineered control component are among the terms. See below.
VME module intended for industrial control loop applications
The V220 from Highland Technology features 12 fully isolated channels, is capable of sourcing and measuring voltage and current, and is intended for use in 4-20 mA industrial control loop applications.
Top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2010 at www.controleng.com
Link to the most-read Control Engineering articles of 2010 at www.controleng.com. Energy-efficient motor technology topics, pushed by a Dec. 19 regulatory deadline and increased sustainable engineering efforts, ranked very high. Also very popular were industrial communications technologies, wireless and Ethernet, various Tips and Tricks tutorial-type advice, as well as awards recognition. This was the topic of the January 2010 Think Again column.
Servo drive: cost-effective, easy to use for motion control applications
Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive from Rockwell Automation provides a solution for machines requiring less than 1.5 kW, up to 12.55 N-, of instantaneous torque.
Motion controller can rejuvenate your machine
Add productivity to your hydraulic machine with a new motion controller. Adding an electro-hydraulic motion controller can increase machine productivity. PLCs typically do not have instruction sets that are tailored for this function, and machine scan times can vary from scan to scan, making it difficult to deal precisely with feedback information. Old machine can add new life with a motion controller retrofit. See more photos and motion control diagram.
Circuit breaker enhancements promote safety, protect equipment
Eaton Corporation expanded circuit breaker capabilities to offer enhanced ground fault protection and non-fused current limiting breaker modules for the Series G circuit breakers.
Serial synchronous interface module for motion control, position sensing applications
Opto 22 Snap-SCM-SSI serial module offers a communications interface between digital encoders and Snap PAC System I/P processors or programmable automation controllers; designed for use in motion control and other tracking and identifying applications.
Precision planetary gears added to stepper motors line
The addition of precision planetary gears to B&R’s line of synchronous and stepper motors results in an economical drive program suited for all industrial fields, meeting individual needs.
Motion software upgrade analyzes, optimizes motion control systems
The Motion Analyzer 5.000 is part of a set of Rockwell Automation mechatronic design tools intended to provide mechanical, electrical and controls engineers the ability to collaborate to digitally prototype machines. Upgrade includes user interface, Profile Editor, selection assistants.
Spindle motors for heavy-duty machine tool, motion control applications
Siemens Industry’s 1PH8 family of high-performance induction motor drives and servomotors provide dynamic response, smooth operation and low vibration levels
Soft start/soft stop motor controller
New Enclosed Altistart 22 soft start/soft stop motor controller by Schneider Electric offers advanced performance and reliability in a packaged starter.
Software connectivity boosts sales, adds product flexibility
Embedding enhanced communications software capability into its machinery helped a precision press manufacturer improve its product and its sales, giving its servo systems the ability to connect with customers’ components regardless of the protocols being used.
ABB to acquire Baldor Electric Co. in a $4.2 billion transaction
ABB and Baldor announce a recommended offer for ABB to acquire Baldor for $63.50 per share, an overall transaction value of $4.2 billion, including net debt of $1.1 billion. (See photos and links to additional analysis at bottom of story.) The move, the companies said, is in line with ABB’s strategy to lead the multibillion dollar North American industrial motors business and be a global leader for movement and control in industrial applications (industrial motion).
High-inertia servomotors for high, variable loads
Siemens Industry Inc. 1FK7 servomotor provides highly robust control response suitable for high- and variable-load inertia applications, such as feed and auxiliary axes on machine tools, and winders and unwinders on converting, packaging and printing equipment.
Mechatronics: Trajectory planning with electronic cams
Is the mechanical engineer or the electrical engineer most responsible for understanding motion? Electronic cams can help mechatronic designs.
Differential pressure switch with low range
High-precision device from United Electric Controls covers 0 to 140 in. water, serving as gage and switch.
Sundeep Chandhoke, among Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 for 2010
Want to meet the next generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders? In November 2010, Control Engineering highlights 19 young professionals from around the globe who are making their marks in everything from system design to academia. These leaders aim to inspire others to get involved in engineering and resolve local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies. Meet Sundeep Chandhoke...
IR sensor for packaging coated products
The Reflectance Infrared Spectrometer from Honeywell uses proprietary array detector technology, designed to help reduce defects and amount of raw materials used.
OMAC’s PackML – A butter knife or a real tool?
ISA88 Part 5 draft Make2Pack standard is the next logical progression, extending the usefulness of the PackML Version TR02 technical report, aiming to get more efficiency throughout continuous, batch, and machine control applications, from the process through packaging.
Pack Expo: Process to packaging control capabilities expand
At Pack Expo International 2010, Rockwell Automation offers control capabilities to help improve machine performance, flexibility, and longevity.
Explosion-proof linear actuators for demanding environments
Exlar’s linear actuator line has been expanded to include the EL100 explosion-proof linear actuators, rated for Class I, Div 1, Groups B, C, D and T3 hazardous environments.
Cable assembly for applications with limited space
Harting has increased the extensive product portfolio with the new High Density D-Sub 44 pole over moulded cable assembly, suited for use in cabinets and control units.
Control Engineering-Engineers’ Choice nominees, 2011
Nominations are closed for the 2011 Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Awards. Nominees follow, by category. Subscribers may now vote once per ballot if they meet the appropriate criteria ...
Control Systems, HMI Change Management, Security
Change management and security concerns have increased as human-machine interfaces have become more open and expose process data and metadata. Security precautions need to provide selective availability to control functions. Standards such as OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) can help off-the-shelf products be flexible and reusable, even in demanding applications.
EC: ISaGRAF 6
Software - application software: ISaGRAF 6, Modular and flexible automation IDE. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.
EC: Raytek MI3 Infrared Sensor
Process sensors, other: Raytek Corporation MI3 Infrared Sensor. The Raytek MI3 is a powerful two-piece infrared temperature measurement system with miniature sensing head and separate communications electronics. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Award winner.
EC: eATM tManager Appliance Transaction Module
Network Integration - data acquisition, integration - Online Development Inc. eATM tManager Appliance Transaction Module - Simplifies the exchange of data between controllers and enterprise and plant computers. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.
EC: Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive
Motion Control - servo drives - Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive. The Allen-Bradley Kinetix 3 component servo drive from Rockwell Automation provides machine builders the ability to better match the needs of manufacturers without the complexity of traditional servo solutions. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Honorable Mention.
Motion Control - servo drives - GE Intelligent Platforms PACMotion GE Intelligent Platforms motion controller can control up to 40 axes of synchronized motion at extremely fast loop rates. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.
EC: Gold Whistle Intelligent Servo Drive
Motion Control - servo drives - Gold Whistle Intelligent Servo Drive from Elmo Motion Control. The Gold Whistle is an Intelligent Digital Servo Drive using the latest technology and offering the highest performance motion and network communication architecture to run Brush & Brushless Rotary and Linear Motors. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.
Motion Control - drives: Galil Motion Control Inc., DMC-41X3. Multi-axes Ethernet-based programmable motion controller. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.
DC electric motors with Hall sensors
Bosch i-Business Group explores new uses for Bosch DC electric motors with hall sensors in industrial, medical, and commercial applications that require precise control of motor speed or positioning mechanisms.
Comment on ISA88 Part 5 Draft definitions: Automation object, AO functional manager, device, others
Make2Pack ISA88 Part 5 conference call included discussion of definitions, perhaps particularly timely since the Pack Expo 2010 (www.packexpo.com) conference is so near. We’ve had a number of discussions as this draft has progressed about terminology, especially since that the terms people use from processing and packaging automation can differ.
SERCOS III planning, installation guide
The SERCOS III Planning and Installation Guide is available and intended to support engineers and electricians using industrial networks for machines and industrial systems.
IMTS innovations: 6-axis servo system, micro CNC, robotic cell, machine sensors, easier programming, large servos
Diverse product introductions, targeting greater machine tool efficiency, accuracy, speed, and ease of use included 6-axis servo system, micro CNC, robotic cell, machine sensors, easier programming, large servos with peak power output as high as 530 kW (710.74 hp).
Full-function robotic finishing solution
PerfectEdge, a complete, full function robotic solution, meets the challenges of tight tolerance chamfering, deburring or finishing processes, while offering a non-touch teach method of programming.
Control Engineering Applies For BPA Worldwide Business Publication Membership
Control Engineering has applied for business publication membership in BPA Worldwide. The magazine is published by CFE Media, LLC (Oak Brook, IL). Established in 1954 and formerly a member of BPA Worldwide (under Reed Business Information ownership), Control Engineering serves the engineering community providing automation, control and instrumentation information across processing, discrete and hybrid manufacturing industries.
Robots look for opportunities too
Dear Control Engineering: After looking at the article on Recycling Robots, it seems the company thinks about those machines like people. Well, yes. In this particular case, Navistar found itself having to close a plant and relocate manufacturing to keep up with changes in demand. The robots had to pick up and move to where the work is just like people may have to do when circumstances change.
Industrial Ethernet: SERCOS III
Specialized fieldbus systems were used for simplified networking of machine drives, I/O, PLCs and other devices, but fast Ethernet technology replaces these systems, and offers advantages. SERCOS III industrial Ethernet platform combines SERCOS I and II interfaces, optimized for high-speed motion control, with the stability, cost-effectiveness and widespread acceptance of the Ethernet physical layer. SERCOS III provides hard real-time for motion control.
Video: Mitsubishi Electric Interview at IMTS with Sloan Zupan
Sloan Zupan from Mitsubishi Electric speaks with Peter Welander about the technological advances in machining control at the International Manufacturing Technology Show at McCormick Place Convention Hall in Chicago, Illinois on Sept. 16th. For more information about machine control topics, please visit the machine control channel.
Greenhouse gas flow meter for process, plant flue gas applications
A mass flow meter designed to monitor greenhouse gases can help users in chemical, food processing, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical, electric power generation, and other plants be in compliance with the EPA emission requirements.
Electromagnetic Linear Encoders to the Rescue
Automated motion control beyond traditional robotic applications requires non-traditional linear encoders. Electromagnetic encoders are the answer. Control Engineering feature article; see diagrams.
Motion controller with Ethernet, takes encoder inputs up to 15 MHz
Enhancements to this motion controller, the latest product in a series, includes Ethernet 100Base-T, a USB 2.0 port, higher speed performance, larger program memory, and more. It can close a loop in 62 microseconds.
CNC machines push linear encoder limits
The bleeding edge limitation for CNC accuracy and reproducibility involves thermal expansion. One solution is to provide a second, shorter, encoder axis at right angles to the main axis. Here's how.
Global Perspective: Engineering Poland
2010 has been a promising year in Poland innovative automation that can increase productivity and flexibility, especially among smaller companies and with technical university partnerships.
Festo Codesys controller integrates drives, pneumatics, I/O
An embedded controller uses Codesys programming to integrate control of electric drives, pneumatics and I/O connections, the Festo CPX-CEC. This is a Control Engineering August 2010 North American edition Product Exclusive.
Piezo motors, actuators streamline medical device performance
For the execution of precise movements with medical equipment, the latest piezoceramic motors and actuators are more compact, require lower voltage, deliver higher torque, have shorter response time, generate less heat, and are nonmagnetic and vacuum compatible, compared to conventional electromagnetic motors.
Basic piezo technologies for motion control applications
The most common piezo actuators and motor types are “simple” piezo actuator, flexure-guided, piezo actuator, ultrasonic friction motors, piezo stepping motors, and Ultrasonic transducers. Different piezo actuators and motor types are available. The most common ones are:
11 ways piezoelectric motors improve equipment performance
Piezoelectric Motors Help Equipment Performance: Ten reasons to consider piezoelectric motors for motion control application follow, along with one more point that many motion system or product designers might not have considered. This is an August 2010 Control Engineering Inside Machines feature article.
Expansion: Motoman Robotics expands manufacturing in Ohio
Motoman SDA10D robot from Yaskawa (a dual-arm robot called “Dexter Bot”) wore a hard hat and turned the first shovel of dirt on a new 300,000 square foot state-of-the-art office and production facility, for the company's North and South American operations.
Video clip: Telsa Coils, frequency conversion create music
Alternative music group ArcAttack, as seen on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, uses Tesla Coils to make music.
NIWeek: New high-performance servo drives, motors, use Ethernet
New products provide distributed motion solutions with EtherCAT technology and the NI LabVIEW 2010 NI SoftMotion Module. The products are designed so engineers and scientists can more easily build scalable, distributed motion control systems. They are said simplify setup and configuration for deploying custom motion applications to any NI real-time controller supporting NI EtherCAT technology, including NI CompactRIO, PXI real-time controllers and NI industrial controllers,
Premier Automation: 2010 Control Panel Contest Finalist
Control Engineering 2010 Control Panel Design Contest Tutorial Video Finalist: The Art of Panel Building at Premier Automation.
Panel Design by Concept Systems: 2010 Control Panel Contest Finalist
Teamwork in panel design is key to compete and exceed customers' expectation.
Specialty Tooling Inc.: 2010 Control Panel Contest Winner
With integrated motion, logic, control and Safety-On-Board drive technology, Specialty Tooling's control cabinet design is 25% smaller with 35% less wiring costs and 15% higher machine productivity.
Control Engineering job satisfaction poll results: Feeling of accomplishment
Most important factors adding to job satisfaction were "feeling of accomplishment" and "technical challenge," according to an April poll of visitors to the Control Engineering web site.
Variable frequency drives: Mitsubishi Electric Automation enhances F700-NA Series VFDs
Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. released a version upgrade for the F700 VFD Series variable frequency drives. The new version incorporates many new features and functions tailored to meet the requirements of the Water Handling Industry and a new level of flexibility for application specific requirements, Mitsubishi says.
CFE Media acquires Control Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Plant Engineering from Reed Business Information
CFE Media LLC announced on April 30, 2010, the acquisition of the Control Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, and Plant Engineering publishing assets from Reed Business Information. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Chip-level motor, motion control vendors
Motor control and motion control have similarities and different objectives; motor control typically needs less precise regulation of speed and torque than motion control. See suppliers.
Motion control: Packaging machine builder saves with servo system, controls upgrade
Siemens Simotion Shaftless Drive Standard software helps machine builder gain 50% savings on components and 30% savings on control cabinet footprint with comparable performance.
Instrumentation: Extech clamp meter transmits readings to Flir IR cameras
Separately, Flir Motion Control Systems delivers new pan-tilt solutions.
High-torque gearhead provides longer life, higher performance
Bodine Electric gearhead offered with new 3-wire-reversible 34R frame ac induction motor.
Control Engineering North American edition, April 2010
Click on the cover image to see the table of contents, including the salary survey cover story.
Global Perspectives: Mitsubishi Electric's reputation for quality is largely directed by customer requirements. Customer visits to the company's Tokyo headquarters and Nagoya Works facilities foster the two-way communication necessary for maintaining high quality levels.
Proximity sensors for high-temperature applications
For sensing applications in temperatures ranging from -25 to 180 °C (-13 to 355 °F), Baumer has introduced its new IFRH Series of inductive high-temperature sensors. This family of two-part proximity switches is available in M8, M12, and M18 designs with chromium nickel steel housings. The IP67-rated IFRH sensors are intended for flush-face installation.
2-axis motion control card
Industrial Automation Group of Advantech introduces the PCI-1220U, a 2-axis motion control card for stepping and pulse-type servo motors. Hardware controlled linear and circular axis interpolation ensures synchronized movement across both axes, without consuming the PC’s CPU. Other features include programmable T/S-curve acceleration/deceleration rates, constant speed control and more.
New Porsche Hybrid: Two 60 kW motors, no batteries
Porsche racing hybrid technology used in its new 911 GT3 R Hybrid uses electrical front axle drive with two electric motors creating 60 kW. Each motor supplements the 480-bhp four-liter flat-six cylinder engine at the rear of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Uncommon features of this hybrid vehicle, include: The car will be tested in long-distance races on the Nürburgring.
Sensorless Control of a Brushless DC Motor
Digital signal controllers make it possible to meet motor torque and speed demands without employing rotor position sensors.
ABB robots take the stage with Bon Jovi
A primary component of this Bon Jovi concert tour is five ABB IRB 7600 industrial robots positioned toward the back of the stage, each with a 6 ft x 9 ft LED video panel attached to their articulated arm. The robots and screens are integral to the concert production, moving to the beat of the music while displaying real time video footage of the show and digital animations, according to ABB.
Mitsubishi Electric L Series PLC
Mitsubishi Electric L Series programmable logic controller (PLC) is the company’s newest generation of industrial control, combining advanced networking with motion and sequence control. This is an April 2010 North American edition Product Exclusive.
CNC machine gets integrated drive system
Machine builder sought lower stonecutting machine component costs, reduced footprint and build time, and improved performance. AIM Inc. gained those and other benefits by installing a new drive and control system.
Controller programmable in ladder logic with function block
Divelbiss Corp. announces availability of Micro Bear, an OEM controller programmable in Ladder Logic with Function Block. With a mounting footprint smaller than a 3 x 5 in. file card, the controller is a small yet versatile logic controller. Based on patented PLC on a Chip technology, it is easy to apply and program in ladder logic with function block using related Divelbiss PC based software.
FR-D700 variable frequency drive from Mitsubishi Electric
Mitsubishi Electric FR-D700 variable frequency drive allows adjustable speed control of an ac induction motor.
Panasonic FP0R Series Micro PLC, Panasonic Electric Works
FP0R Series micro PLC from Panasonic Electric Works has 0.08 micro sec step processing speed and many motion functions of dedicated motion controllers.
Baldor delivers motor energy calculator via iPhone app
BE$T software conveniently shows potential savings when single or grouped motors are changed to energy-efficient designs.
Japanese automakers establish electric car group
Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and others set up group to promote electric vehicles, charging standard.
Lexium 32 servo drive range with servo motors
Schneider Electric's Lexium 32 servo drives reduce cabinet space, simplify interoperability, and improve machine performance.
2-axis motion control card for stepping, pulse-type servo motors
Advantech Universal PCI Card ensures synchronized movement across both axes, without consuming the PC's CPU.
Roboticists saved from integration workload
Maxon partnership with National Instruments results in easier robot development, ViNI robotics platform.
Siemens low vibration motor exceeds IEEE STD 841-2009
Siemens Industry Inc. has introduced a new design concept for the low vibration version of its rugged SD100 IEEE841 motor. The frame, bearing housings, stator and rotor employ the company's most technologically advanced designs to surpass the vibration requirements of the IEEE Std 841-2009. Separately, Siemens 1FK7 servomotors are now available in three weeks.
SR motor anatomy: See inside switched reluctance motors
Simple electromechanical structure of switched reluctance (SR) motors offers benefits of robustness and reliability by eliminating permanent magnets, rotor bars, and more - tutorial.
Porsche unveils 918 Spyder hybrid sports car concept
New concept from Porsche is an efficient, low-emission, mid-engine super sports car that features hybrid and electric drive technology.
Manufacturing/Automation Summit to tackle energy, asset management, maintenance
The 2010 Manufacturing/ Automation Summit, hosted by Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, will be March 28-30, 2010, in Chicago.
Invensys Operations Management names new Wonderware integrator partners
Avanceon LP and Tegron LLC become Invensys endorsed Wonderware systems integrators.
Four Video Media Test
Video #2 Video #3 Video #4.
Slim PLC from Panasonic Electric Works
Panasonic Electric Works "Slim" PLC, the FP0, starts from 10 I/O to 32 I/O and the CPU is only 25 mm wide x 90 mm high x 70 mm deep, about 1/4 the size of the traditional PLC brick style.
Piher non-contacting 360° rotary position sensor: programmable, high temperature
Piher North America's new non-contacting PSC-360 programmable Hall effect magnetic sensor has a switch function not found in other 360º absolute position sensors; program it at any angle for more design flexibility.
Motors shipments gain 6.1%, fourth-quarter 2009, NEMA says
NEMA's Motors Shipments Index (MSI) increased 6.1% during the fourth-quarter 2009, marking the second consecutive gain for the index.
By the Numbers – 2010-03-01 – 2010-03-01
5 degrees of freedom positioning and inspection helps produce better sensors, cell phones. http://budurl.com/2pmy 2 energy sources: Wind creates gaseous hydrogen & oxygen from water. Hydrogen drives a generator to supplement electricity production. http://budurl.com/fjxh 4 attributes—size, speed, flexibility, and economy—make PC-based control better than PLCs for almost all appl...
Collecting Data Reports from Controllers
A tutorial on how to create a simple solution using common off-the-shelf software to solve a variety of manufacturing data collection needs.
Smart machine control creates unique sortation system
Sortation subsystem benefits from integrated automation to redefine efficiency in high-speed distribution centers.
MEMS motion sensor: Bosch
Bosch Sensortec introduces the smallest BMA220 g-sensor in LGA housing. This Triaxial digital sensor reduces surface area 55% over current 3 x 3 mm LGA housings, automatically recognizes specific movements, and needs no external microcontroller for signal analysis. The company says that, at 2 x 2 mm, BMA220 is the smallest digital acceleration sensor in LGA housing in the world.
Intel-led $3.5 billion Invest in America Alliance helps U.S.-based tech companies
IEEE-USA president says U.S. job growth will result from Invest in America Alliance, an Intel-led program that pledges 2 years of help, more jobs for college graduates.
Rockwell Automation A-B solid-state overload relay: voltage protection, energy monitoring
Allen-Bradley Bulletin 193-EC5 E3 Plus solid-state overload relay provides enhanced motor protection and motor energy consumption information, helps users improve energy efficiency and protect electric motor investment, says Rockwell Automation.
Keyence IM-6000 series image dimension measurement system
Without positioning XY-Stages, instantly measure up to 99 features in seconds and create instant reports with the Keyence IM-6000 series image dimension measurement system.
Carlo Gavazzi EM21 Series is a very compact 3-phase energy meter
Compact 3-phase energy meter from Carlo Gavazzi allows the user to configure the instrument for panel mounting (72 mm x 72 mm) or DIN-rail mounting, either as an energy meter or a transducer.
Are you doing anything special for Engineers Week?
So have you been doing anything special this week, for National Engineers Week? Do you have anything planned? Leave a comment below.
Advantech launches PoE switch with fiber connectivity
Industrial Automation Group of Advantech introduces the EKI-2525SPI, a ruggedized 4-port 10/100Base-TX Power over Ethernet (PoE) unmanaged switch with integrated 100Base-FX single-mode fiber connectivity.
Video addresses common motion, I/O problems
Galil Motion Control debuts 2-minute videos for busy engineers seeking technical solutions.
Sortation system benefits from smart machine control, integration
Smart system integration and machine control enable a new integrated sortation subsystem to redefine efficiency in high-speed distribution centers.
Cicoil cables help NASA robotic arm for Mars
Cicoil High-Flex Cables are allowing NASA to perform critical, extreme environment robotic tests, in preparation for the Mars Exploration Program.
Motors & Drives: Energy savings predictor available through iTunes
Yaskawa offers variable frequency drives message through pop culture software service, Apple iTunes. The simple-to-follow, five-step savings estimator from Yaskawa Electric America helps compare VFD performance to other methods of motor volume control (based on motor output or shaft horsepower).
Thermostatic controller for thermoelectric assemblies
Microcontroller-based device from Laird Technologies adds integrated temperature control to protect assemblies.
Control Engineering Launches Engineering Education Center
Education site launches with Machine Control module. Additional modules to be launched in first quarter of 2010.
Control Engineering North American edition, February 2010
Control Engineering February 1, 2010, North American edition has seven feature articles, including a cover story on PID tuning, plus applications, columns, news, products, and video links covering automation, controls, and instrumentation. Also see the Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Award winners.
Snap-PAC-R1-W Wired+Wireless Programmable Automation Controller
Opto 22 Opto 22 calls its Snap-PAC-R1-W Wired+Wireless Programmable Automation Controller the most powerful and versatile I/O and controller combination in Opto 22’s history. The company also claims this is the first controller in the industry to offer IEEE 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi wireless networking along with standard EtherNet networking in the same package.
Allen-Bradley ControlLogix 1756-L63XT Programmable Automation Controller
Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley ControlLogix-XT Programmable Automatic Controller (PAC) from Rockwell Automation is designed for applications requiring increased reliability in high-temperature and corrosive environments. As part of the Rockwell Automation extreme environment system, the ControlLogix-XT PAC uses the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture control engine with enhancements ...
Motion Control Winners, Engineers’ Choice Awards 2010
In discrete control, Control Engineering gave 2010 Engineers' Choice Awards for drives, motion control, and motors.
Electric servo precision for tube bending
Actuated by servo motors, this new breed of CNC machines boasts as many as 15 motion axes on some models.
Motor control terms, braking
Are there differences in servo drives and servo amps? What are the different kinds of motor braking strategies? 'Brake' now for motor learning.
I/O Modules: Product research and advice from Control Engineering subscribers
I/O module research shows that Control Engineering readers want modular, easy-to-use, rugged I/O, with many analog, digital, and networking options. Manufacturers say new I/O modules pack in those features. See more results, advice, products. NEW: PDF research report attached April 2.
Cognex offers 3D vision software to help vision guided robotics, assemble, inspection
Cognex 3D-Locate delivers accurate, real-time, three-dimensional position information that enables automation equipment to work with a wider variety of parts, including items that are stacked or tilted.
Nonintrusive clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter
Economical transit-time unit from Shenitech reads flow with no pipe penetrations.
Note to CNC machine shop owners: Texting is not just for teenagers
While users of larger systems have enjoyed such technology for a while, owners and operators of small machine shops can now get alarm alerts by phone, fax, e-mail or mobile phone text message with software embedded in Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC controller.
Protect linear transducers in rough environments
Housing designed for steel mills protects sensors from corrosion, shock, and vibration in very rough applications.
Control Engineering North American edition, January 2010
Click on the cover, left, to get to the Control Engineering January 1, 2010, table of contents, with seven feature articles, plus application stories, columns, news, products, and video links covering automation, controls, and instrumentation.
More mechatronics products, services from Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation has expanded its mechatronic solutions portfolio consisting of software tools, motion control products and support. According to Rockwell, the portfolio helps engineers to better collaborate, and reduce machine costs and development time by providing a common forum where design input from the mechanical, controls, software and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered...
What 2009 can tell us about 2010
Looking back at the top 20 articles accessed at www.controleng.com during 2009 illuminated some clear areas of interest among our engineering audience. (See the full rundown of top 20 articles at http://tinyurl.com/ylbx9zu.) Four clear categories of article types can be seen across the top 20 articles: Educational/tutorial, cutting edge applications, green/sustainable engineering, and contests/...
Yaskawa adds more manufacturing to Milwaukee-area facility
Yaskawa expands manufacturing space in Milwaukee-area facility; 140,000 square feet total helps continued growth in the Americas. See photo.
Upgrade: PLC integration engineering improves machine builder options
When Weiler Engineering upgraded the drive systems on its aseptic blow-fill-seal machines, controller compatibility was limiting the functionality of the equipment. A PLC-integration engineering solution by Siemens provided an operator interface, and expanded application flexibility.
Help for tire and rubber manufacturing: Inspection system improves quality
Laser sensor innovations improve tire manufacturing. LMI Technologies explains how. See diagrams.
Intelligence at the Device
Cover story: As components get smarter and more powerful, manufacturers are finding themselves managing high-performance automation and control systems whose parts are capable of monitoring themselves, diagnosing their own problems, and maybe even making a decision or two, economically and easily.
Understanding Intelligent Motor Control
A number of trends are pushing motor drives to operate more intelligently. The first is that more intelligent algorithms can drive motors more efficiently at a given torque and speed. The second is that system efficiency increases when the motor is driven at the exact power level needed, rather than throttling.
Packaging Integrator of the Year
Stone Technologies Inc. is recognized for its work with packagers and industry standards.
PackML Clarification and Implementation Assistance
The OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW) has been busy clarifying the recently ratified PackML standard and, at PackExpo Las Vegas 2009, it announced the availability of an implementation guide developed by Proctor & Gamble (P&G). OMAC technical director, Dave Bauman, also recently responded to some comments made by Dave Chappell through Control Engineering’s Make2Pack/ISA88 blog, furth...
Recently, a major medical device manufacturer was getting some discouraging feedback from its main customer group: endoscopy surgeons. They said the company’s surgical scissors were difficult to control. It seemed the screw and small nut used in the hinge mechanism, although secure and reliable, was either too loose or too tight to allow pinpoint accuracy.
Tools for Complex Machine Design
At its Automation Fair conference in November, Rockwell Automation announced an expanded mechatronic solutions portfolio consisting of software tools, motion control products, and support. The portfolio enables better collaboration among machine builders by providing a common forum where design input from mechanical, controls, software, and electrical engineers can be more easily gathered and e...
Molex: New DeviceNet diagnostics, add-on profiles, integration help, proactive DN
Molex updated Brad NetAlytix v2 Software for its eNetMeter Diagnostic Solution; Brad PLC Communication Modules include add-on-profiles for Rockwell Automation RSLogix 5000 software; system integrated architecture builder helps PLC system design, Molex explains proactive DN diagnostics.
Control Engineering offers 2 tutorial videos on proximity sensors
Two tutorial videos from Control Engineering cover trends in photoelectric and fixed-frame proximity sensors and inductive and capacitive proximity sensors. Link to the Control Engineering video library, CEtv.
Pneumatic cylinder position switches
AutomationDirect's NITRA line of pneumatics products now includes products that connect pneumatic actuators and electrical control systems.
MTS linear position sensors increase linear actuator performance, productivity
MTS Systems Corp., Sensors Division's Temposonics linear-position sensors are used for precise position measurement for linear actuators to increase output by reducing cycle times and downtime.
QuickSilver Controls: NEMA 23 servo motor has improved efficiency, power
QuickSilver Controls Inc. expands its line of servo motors with the QCI-A23L-3. This servo motor provides almost 33% higher power output capability than the similarly sized motor it replaces.
Panel PCs handle extreme heavy lifting
Integrated control system helps Wheelift automated guided vehicles move turbine generators, transformers, and other massive payloads.
Pack Expo 2009: PackML Implementation Guide
The OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW) announced the development of the P&G PackML Implementation Guide and demonstrated its capabilities at PackExpo Las Vegas 2009. This implementation guide has been created to aid software developers in achieving a clean and efficient implementation of PackML. Rob Aleksa, P&G corporate machine control section head, said, “Although the PackML standa...
Quick, easy safety controller monitors safety circuits
Phoenix Contact PSR-Trisafe, a new safety controller, can monitor an entire safety circuit, from emergency stops to safety doors, in a machine or plant. The slim 67.5 mm safety controller can monitor up to 20 safety input signals, such as up to 10 dual contact emergency stops. It also provides four safety Category 4 outputs, as well as outputs for a test pulse, alarm (aux) and ground switching.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation molded case circuit breakers, 5-600 A
UL-approved MCCBs complement Mitsubishi Electric Automation drives and servos.
Schneider Electric confirms B&R technology partnership; next: machine controller, I/O
Machine control and I/O system updates will be Schneider Electric's next step in a technology partnership with B&R.
Integrated resource for discrete sensor-related issues
Redesigned website for Schneider Electric Sensor Competency Center has a wide range of discrete sensor resources.
Rockwell medium voltage drive developer wins award
Integrated DC choke invention earns Zargari innovator of the year honors.
Advantech launches its first embedded motion controller
PEC-3240 features four-axis motion control, 32-channel isolated digital I/O.
Pack Expo 2009: OMAC Packaging Workgroup: PackML Implementation Guide
The OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW) has announced the development of the P&G PackML Implementation Guide, created to aid software developers in a clean and efficient implementation of PackML.
Using Algorithms to Increase Motor Efficiency
In the face of economic uncertainties and increasing environmental concerns, many businesses are trying to make their operations more lean, efficient, and environmentally friendly. Examining your electricity bill is a good place to start. The top consumers of electricity are HVAC systems, water heating, lighting, office equipment, and machinery.
Digital mass flow controller
Bronkhorst High-Tech B.V. metal sealed mass flowmeters and controllers are designed specifically to meet the requirements of semiconductor manufacturers as well as other high-purity gas applications. Instruments feature high surface finish components and modular construction with metal-to-metal seals to eliminate sources of contamination and ensure long-term leak tightness.
Embedded PCs Keep Drilling Machines on Budget
The need to drill straight and precisely shaped holes has been with manufacturers since the very beginnings of industry. Ever since the introduction of hand guns and rifles, the precision benchmark has been set high for deep hole drilling. Even today, these drilling systems are often referred to as “gun drills” because gun and rifle manufacturing was one of the first applications to...
P+F rugged extended range inductive proximity sensors have 5-15 mm sensing range
Pepperl+Fuchs X-Series Pile Driver Extended Range Inductive Sensors in 12 mm, 18 mm and 30 mm diameters have 5 mm, 10 mm or 15 mm ranges, up to 2.5 times more than traditional inductive sensors; stainless steel housings deliver durability.
Balluff UltraFrame thru-beam sensors
Balluff's UltraFrame series is the latest in self-contained thru-beam sensor technology and is designed to solve problems many other sensors cannot. Error-proofing and process monitoring are included.
Turck Q10S Factor 1 inductive sensor has 5 mm range, compact size
Turck uprox+ line of advanced factor 1 sensors expanded to include the Q10S inductive sensor, 10 x 10 x 28 mm. It senses up to 5 mm and an active side face detects all metals-including aluminum, copper and steel-at the same rated distance without reinstallation. See related video.
Banner Engineering World-Beam QS30 Clear Object Sensors are robust, easy-to-use
Banner Engineering World-Beam QS30 Clear Object Sensor is said to provide reliable clear object detection to solve challenging applications by using an advanced optical design to allow the sensor to see translucent materials. Link to related video.
Robotics development for academics, hobbyists
Microchip Technology announced the availability of a PIC32 32-bit microcontroller (MCU)-based robotics development kit through Digilent Inc.
Engineering in Balance: Seeing more, faster
Control Engineering presents a monthly comic, "Engineering in Balance" by Mark T. Hoske and Tom Rybarczyk.
How to Choose a Controller
A dozen application-specific lists, and more detailed information online, help you sort through controller choices no matter what type of system you're building or upgrading.
Modbus TCP/IP to Profibus DPV1 gateway for Modicon controllers
ProSoft Technology announces the release of the new Modbus TCP/IP to Profibus SE Gateway (5204SE-MNET-PDPMV1), designed with special features to better support and easily integrate with Schneider Electric Modicon M340 processors. The gateway offers the new Application Communication Logic (ACL) feature built into the latest ProSoft Configuration Builder (PCB) software.
Alstom: Ethernet for Plant Control System
Alstom's distributed control system uses Modbus and Ethernet Powerlink fieldbuses to address interoperability, speed, determinism, and safety.
What kind of engineer uses Facebook?
Demographic data shows engineers using social media to be highly experienced decision makers working across a variety of industries.
Enhanced motion control development environment, controller modules
MotionWorks IEC Pro from Yaskawa is an integrated development environment based on the IEC61131-3 international programming standard. It is built upon the same code as the company's MotionWorks IEC Express software, including all additions made since the May 2008 release. The Pro version allows users to program in Sequential Function Chart language, configure projects with up to 16 tasks, and s...
CC-Link leads in Asia among open fieldbus networks; helps pharmaceutical manufacturing in Brazil
CC-Link Partner Association says CC-Link is the leading open network in Asia. In other news, CC-Link and Mitsubishi Electric controls serve as the SCADA system for the Mantecorp pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Brazil.
System integration: How to design a PC-based test system
Motion controller and DAQ PC combine to produce high performance pipe-testing applications. System integrator Advanced Machine Automation used National Instruments LabVIEW, Microsoft Visual Basic, Delta Computer Systems RMCLink software, and other tools for the system.
Basics of PLC 61131 programming with Wago CoDeSys software
Wago-I/O-Pro CAA is the Wago version of CoDeSys (Controlled Development System) by 3S Co. Here are some basics about how it works.
Control Engineering Industry Leaders
Control Engineering is a magazine for engineers in all industries who buy, specify, design and maintain automation, control and instrumentation devices, networks, systems, and software for automated process, manufacturing, and hybrid solutions. Visit the partner sites below for insight into their market expertise, products, and services. Click on an Industry Leader logo and you will be taken through to view this valuable information Honeywell Honeywell Process Solutions serves several industries, including refining, oil and gas, pulp, paper and printing, power generation, chemicals, life sciences, and metals, minerals and mining.
Machine builders: Application-specific reference
Eaton Corp. has developed an OEM Product Guide covering motor control, industrial logic, machine interface and more.
Machine control: Long bed CNC gantry mills achieve unprecedented accuracy
A Siemens Volumetric Compensation System and proprietary temperature compensation system combine with laser calibration to achieve +/- 0.003 in. accuracies.
Northrop Grumman recommends Siemens CNC technologies for use by F-35 supply chain
To achieve high-tolerance machined parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the company is "strongly encouraging" its supply chain to explore use of Siemens Sinumerik Volumetric Compensation System.
Engineering in Balance: Password, please
Engineering in Balance cartoon by Mark T. Hoske and Tom Rybarczyk
Can linear motors replace ball screws?
A reader of Control Engineering recently asked, “When I hear the sound of a ball screw that’s beginning to fail on a CNC milling center, I have to wonder: Isn’t there a better way to get that kind of linear movement? Are there other technologies?” We put that question to John Meyer at Siemens Motion Control Group, and he suggests linear motor technology.
Where in the world is Control Engineering? Photo Contest
Show us where you read Control Engineering magazine and your picture could be on the cover!
Controller: CANbus controller weighs less than 1 lb.
CANminiBOX from Saelig is a compact embedded controller for embedded CANbus control applications.
Machine control: Yaskawa enhances MotionWorks hardware, software
Yaskawa Electric America announces MotionWorks IEC Pro, an enhanced development environment, and MP2310iec controller modules.
Industrial networks: CAN, CANopen find new applications, including wind power
Besides traditional industrial machines, this serial bus system for embedded control is in wind power systems, medical machines, and more.
Distribution: Higher coil voltage Fuji contactors available from AutomationDirect
AutomationDirect has enhanced its motor controls offering with higher coil voltage versions of Fuji electric contactors. New SC series components operate with ac coil voltages of 440-480 V to 500-550 V at 60 Hz, and are available in frame sizes of 43 mm, 54 mm and 67 mm.
OEMs find advantage with mechatronics use, sustainability goals
A Rockwell Automation motion control expert describes how machine builders can use mechatronics modeling software to realize sustainability targets for their customers.
Programmable controller fundamentals
Programmable Controllers, 4th Edition teaches the fundamental principles of programmable controllers for process and machine control in a clear and concise manner. This applications-based book was written by Thomas A. Hughes and has been used as a textbook for programmable logic controller (PLC) courses, and as a self-study guide and resource for thousands of technicians and engineers.
Compact current-to-pressure transducer
New Type-595XP explosion-proof current-to-pressure I/P transducer provides precise regulation necessary for accurate and repeatable control of actuated valves. With its small size and light weight, the device is stable with ability to tolerate shock, vibration and position changes. A low mass control circuit provides reliable linear output in difficult applications at an economical cost.
Decreasing semiconductor manufacturing a European competitive concern
Technological innovations in the machinery industry, and thus the competitiveness of the engineering sector as a whole, increasingly depend on the application of intelligent electronics, says VDMA, the German Engineering Federation. Access to customer-specific microchips could be threatened with a vanishing European semiconductor industry, according to the organization.
Alstom launches new Alspa Series 6 control system offering
Platform designed for power plant automation covers the full plant-wide operational range.
Miniature triaxial accelerometer for submersible applications
Dytran Instruments has released a miniature triaxial accelerometer designed for submersible applications.
Encoders: Heavy duty magnetic rotary and tiny micro inductive models debut
Baumer introduces MHXX Series of magnetic rotary encoders, while Maxon Motor USA introduces the Mile inductive encoder for micromotors.
Industrial sensors fit range of factory, logistics applications
Sick has launched four new sensor lines for harsh industrial environments: AT20 line array, MPS and MXT8 magnetic cylinder, low-cost photoelectric, and WFL laser fork sensors.
Advanced drive module for integrated control system
ACS Motion Control has enhanced the drive operation of its MC4U integrated modular control system with the development of an advanced 4 axis high-voltage universal digital drive module.
Programmable controller fundamentals book
Applications-based book written by Thomas A. Hughes has been used as a textbook for programmable logic controller (PLC) courses.
Motion and logic controller family enhanced
Ormec Systems Corp. has enhanced its ServoWire Motion & Logic Controller (SMLC) family.
SureStep motion control line expands AutomationDirect stepper systems
AutomationDirect has expanded its line of SureStep motion control products.
Less semiconductor manufacturing is a European competitive concern, Germans say
VDMA: Engineering industry relies on intelligent electronics made in Europe. Semiconductor production sites in Europe are important for the engineering industry, says the federation of German engineers.
5 bottom line improvements to packaging automation
Packaging automation, such as Yaskawa Sigma-5 servo amp and motor pairing, can improve machinery in five key ways.
Packaging Technology and Solutions Center adds efficiency to machine design
The Schneider Electric Packaging Technology and Solutions Center (PTASC) supports machine builders' automation, control and power needs to improve machine design and efficiency.
Manufacturing air conditioning and engine cooling systems for passenger and commercial vehicles accurately, in the proper sequence, is a priority for Behr GmbH & Co. KG, of Stuttgart, Germany. The company produces automobile and truck engine cooling systems in its Charleston, SC, facility using programmable logic controllers (PLCs), radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, and machine-vi...
HMIs: Graphical touch screen interface delivers intuitive packaging machine control
Standard-Knapp has designed a graphically-driven color touch-screen interface with the look and feel of a car dashboard that can be customized to each packaging machine it builds and sells.
SCADA systems controller provides 32-bit processor, basic functions
Control Microsystems announces its high-powered, low-cost SCADAPack 314 controller, designed as a back-to-basics solution for effective processing at a low cost.
Sensor spotlight: Round up of encoder news
News on motion control related sensors from Renishaw, Portescap/Danaher, BEI, Heidenhain, and others.
Yokogawa introduces UTAdvanced digital indicating controller
Yokogawa Electric UTAdvanced controller family improves measurement, display, operation, control, and networking functions, enhances the efficiency of user design, and saves money by eliminating the need for peripheral devices and associated wiring. This embedded instrument replaces company's Green series controllers for machine builders.
Multi-axis system includes PLC with 1 ms update rate
Motion controller includes a PLC programmable in any IEC61131-3 language.
Motion controller aids fine art of carpet cutting
CNC Machines International created a high performance waterjet cutter. Here's how engineers chose a controller.
Automated: Pumping station doubles capacity, saves energy
When the process control of the pumping station at Parksluizen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was automated, an Emotron FDU variable speed drive for 690 V with 12 pulse power supply was included. Pumping capacity doubled and energy consumption was minimized. Other benefits include...
Controller uses microSD memory card
Opto 22 announces that its standalone and rack-mounted programmable automation controllers are now equipped with a microSD card slot that supports standard cards up to 2 GB. Such removable data storage in controllers enables easy firmware and control strategy updates, and can be used to store process and other machine control data.
Smart Drives Protect Their Motors
Like the self-maintaining robots of science fiction, modern machines have become more intelligent, and in some ways also more human. They are incorporating more decentralized intelligence, which operates like a human’s autonomic nervous system. This makes it possible for a packaging machine, for example, to protect itself from expensive breakdowns through quick reflexes, in the form of er...
Successful system integration in a recession: 10 tips
An economic recession may be the perfect time for smart engineers to upgrade their plants and plan for recovery. While the sales staff works on finding new business, operations and design staff can take the make the most of relatively idle time to retrofit existing machines. Here are 10 steps to success for wisely using a system integrator to help with the hard stuff.
Control Panel Design: 60% Less Space
The winner of the 2009 Control Engineering panel design award is CP Packaging of Appleton, WI. The company’s design for a plant-floor machine control panel reduces space on the machine, provides easy access for maintenance, reduces costs, and saves build-out and installation time. In the winning video describing the entry, CP Packaging’s Ray Buchko Jr. Link to videos, more photos.
Report from Hannover: New Beckhoff automation hardware, software
At Hannover Fair (April 20-24, 2009), Beckhoff introduced several new products, including an expansion to its AX5000 servo drive series; software that integrates robotics, motion control, and PLC; and a condition monitoring terminal. The company also previewed the upcoming release of a PC-based safety PLC.
Automation breakthrough: Opto 22 adds wireless capabilities to programmable controllers
Opto 22 says it has made the use of wireless for programmable automation controllers and I/O is as easy as it is for PCs and laptop computers.
HMIs: Open frame panel PCs for industrial applications
WinSystems family of open frame color flat-panel PCs handles all the messy issues of flat-panel integration.
Industrial Ethernet: Environmental conditions determine hardware selection
Selection of commercial or industrial hardware like Ethernet switches should be based on the environment, says Carl Henning, deputy director, PTO, Profibus and Profinet North America.
Pressure sensor: New design uses fused silicon glass element
Robust diaphragm of pressure sensor thrives in hostile environments, says Tel-Tru.
Broadway Automation: Behind the Scenes
Ideas in Automation: Creating modular motion control systems that can move multiple pieces of scenery during the same show is the typical system integration and design work for Hudson Scenic Studio. The typical Broadway show today requires automation to move scenery because of its design, size, or complexity. Actuation includes ac motors, hydraulics, and pneumatics. See photos.
Commentary: Integration of Make2Pack concepts helps packaging industry
The world needs the savings associated with seamlessly moving product and information from production to packaging. That's Make2Pack.
Embedded systems: SUMIT-ISM Type 2 seeks to unify PC/104 SBC market
SUMIT-ISM Type 2 and UEMF is a new modular standard for stackable expansion of single-board computers.
New motion controller and motion control library
Ingenia has introduced the Mercury motion controller and motion control library.
Controllers: PAC system gets microSD memory card slot
All Opto 22 standalone and rack-mounted automation controllers now have a microSD card slot that supports standard microSD memory cards up to 2 GB in capacity.
Photoelectric sensor has extended range background suppression
Balluff BOS 50K sensor also has IP67 housing.
Industrial automation fair expands to China
Though trade fairs in the U.S. have declined significantly over the past several years, they are still big business in Europe and Asia. Further evidence of trade show popularity overseas can be seen in the expansion of the SPS show—the Nuremberg, Germany event recognized as one of the premier industrial trade shows in Europe—to China.
New module extends benefits of FieldQ for control valves
Module expands scope, scalability of Emerson Process Management FieldQ range in conventionally wired applications.
Motor controller with optical encoder inputs targets mobile robots
Designers of mobile robotic vehicles have a new motion controller choice from Roboteq Inc. See photo.
Control Engineering control panel design tutorial video – due 3/16/09
Upload videos showcasing your control panel design prowess and receive industry-wide recognition. To enter the control panel design video contest, all you have to do is submit a video (5 minutes or less) by March 16 demonstrating some of the following points ...
SPS: Industrial Automation Fair goes to Guangzhou, China
Four exhibition organizers from China and Germany have joined to launch a new show in China for the industrial automation and motion control solutions sector. See images.
System integration: Flexible assembly system delivers in-sequence automotive cooling modules
Pre-assembly of components leads to flexible, accurate assembly of multiple combinations sequentially. RFID helps information flow. Machine vision guides robots that check quality. PLCs provide control, from order to shipping.
Explosion-proof electronic switches
United Electric Controls (UE) has added explosion-proof versions of its One Series line of digital electronic pressure switches and electronic temperature switches. Designed to meet the needs of harsh and hazardous applications, the One Series is available in explosion-proof pressure and temperature models for Division 1 (Zone 1) and Division 2 (Zone 2) areas.
Application: CNC retrofit helps mold shop succeed
There comes a point in the life of every business when it has to choose between investing in an advanced technology and staying with the tried-and-true—the potential big payback versus the safe status quo. When that choice confronted the owners of Fidelity Machine & Mould Solutions, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (see more photos), they chose CNC machine controls from Miceli Technologies because...
Stimulus package to help battery technologies; blog sees engineering opportunities
The latest economic stimulus bill contains more than a few opportunities, such as $2 billion in grants for the manufacturing of advanced batteries and components. Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine has an engineering blog called "Give and Take" that "picks apart the stimulus bill."
Motors: Gearmotor designed for washdown conditions
SEW-Eurodrive has introduced a hygienic gearmotor.
Compact integrated stepper motor, drive, controller
Compact Arcus Technology DMX-K-SA-11 integrated stepper package is for applications in medical, motion, and manufacturing automation.
2008 New Product Compendium: Motors, Drives and Motion Control
The following products were introduced in 2008, and participated in the Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Awards competition.
Motor energy-efficiency developments: recycling, efficiency classes
Although an effective date isn’t expected before 2011, mandatory minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for electric motors are coming to Europe in 2009. Learn more about recycling, replacement, and motor classes.
Control Engineering Asia Control Engineering China Control Engineering Czech Republic Control Engineering Europe Control Engineering Middle East Control Engineering Poland Control Engineering Russia .
Top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2008 at www.controleng.com
Below are links to the top 20 articles posted during 2008 that received the most traffic during the calendar year at www.controleng.com. Most popular among Control Engineering readers were articles about electrical design software, rules for software project success, closing the engineering skills gap, copper versus fiber networks, and soft starters. Link to all 20 most valuable.
Polish automation trends mirror global interests
Almost every technology presented by vendors at industrial fairs is called innovative. So, are we truly living in a time of milestone technology solutions, or is “innovative” simply marketing’s favorite new term? The answer is not always easy to discern. Consider the advanced control algorithms now being introduced in programmable logic controllers.
Control Valve Actuators
Reed Research Group surveyed Control Engineering subscribers in December 2008 about their use of control valve actuators currently, and going forward. The results presented here are based on 224 completed responses from subscribers who evaluate, specify, recommend, install, and/or purchase these devices.
Top stories of 2008 and why
Of the myriad things I write, sharing the year’s top stories is best. A) It involves measurement, which is fun — sorting the number of times readers accessed these stories online. B) I get to learn what you found most interesting or useful and figure out why. In 2008, the following stories were most viewed at www.
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...
Remote Access Security Challenges for Embedded Systems
This white paper describes the security considerations as a major issue when deploying a remote access solution and how the difficulties are compounded when solutions must include support for embedded systems. Successful implementations must provide effective authentication and access control and care must also be taken to ensure that data is secured during transport over the network.
Integrated motion, machine logic solution uses open programming standards
GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms received certificates of compliance from PLCopen for its PACMotion system.
Resources: White papers help improve embedded designs
Two new white papers to help embedded system developers create better products more efficiently are available for download. One explores software testing methods and why they are critical for embedded-system developers. The other looks at industrial thermal management challenges for computer hardware designers.
4-axis stepping/pulse-type servo motor control module
Industrial Automation Group of Advantech released Adam-5240, a 4-axis stepping/pulse-type servo motor control module for use with the Adam-5550 Series PACs (programmable automation controllers).
Motion control: Omron selects EtherCAT as its next motion bus system
Omron Corporation announced that it has selected EtherCAT to be its next motion bus system. In addition, the company will take an active role in the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) to help customers transition to EtherCAT smoothly and seamlessly.
Packaging Automation Benchmark Study Vol. 3
Digital Edition System Integrators This third and final installment of the Automation in Packaging Benchmark Study focuses on system integrators, and the role they play coordinating projects for packagers, equipment builders and automation suppliers. Packaging is a specialty that manufacturers in virtually every industry must address. Control Engineering and Packaging Digest set out to investigate this dynamic market through the Automation in Packaging Benchmark Study, a three-part, year-long research project conducted by Reed Research Group.
More outside engineering expertise needed, says HiTech Control Systems
Industry needs technological expertise, even in tough economic times, says Michael Shea, president of HiTech Control Systems, 2009 Control Engineering System Integrator of the Year winner. He made the comments to Control Engineering in a 3:55 minute podcast.
Strongarm Designs unveiled the D755 line of industrially hardened computers, with help from Dell
Strongarm Designs unveiled the D755 line of industrially hardened computers, a sturdy computing system that incorporates the Dell Optiplex.
12-MP CMOS camera captures clear images on fast-moving lines
CMOS-based machine vision camera from Toshiba Teli America Inc., CleverDragon CSC12M25BMP19, has a proprietary and patented 12-MP, 1.9-in. CMOS monochrome progressive scan sensor for high-speed machine vision, parts inspection, robotics, and medical applications.
High-resolution camera features digital interface
5 MP progressive scan camera with GigE Vision digital interface joins the new Jai Inc. 3-tier C3 Camera Suite. See machine vision resource guide, below.
Ultra high-speed vision system for precision inspections
PV500 ultra high-speed gray scale vision system from Panasonic Electric Works Corp. of America achieves 0.4 ms processing time for full-screen gray-scale windows. It can display images clearly for 2 MP cameras with high resolution using any XGA compatible screen. Pre-processing filters ensures high-precision inspection with simple setting operations. It also can handle up to 4 cameras triggered independently to correct mechanical displacements.
Compact, high-density D-Sub interface modules for motion control
Wago Corp. Custom Products Division has engineered a new line of 26-pin D-sub interface modules for motion control applications.
Machine vision development environment builds applications step at a time
Matrox Design Assistant 2.0 from Matrox Imaging is flowchart-based software for the Matrox Iris E-Series smart camera.
Intelligent camera for high-speed image processing applications
HawkEye 1600T intelligent camera from Microscan Systems is a compact machine vision system suitable for a broad range of vision applications.
Siemens announces motors, drives, and motion control advances
The Sinamics S110 drive, C240 PN Simotion motion controller, and the 1PH8 series of motors were debuted by Siemens at the SPS/IPC/Drives show.
Cameras with DSP coprocessors offer multiple options
Three new smart cameras from National Instruments (NI 1744, NI 1762, and NI 1764) deliver faster processing speed, higher image resolution, and more powerful options for embedded machine vision applications than previous models.
Biofuel production: Process automation for greenfield plants in Singapore and Rotterdam
New renewable Diesel fuel plants, while geographically separated, will share same integrated process control and safety system architecture.
PLC/PAC product research information revised
Control Engineering's September Product Research survey on PLCs and PACs (North American print edition, p. 83) included a list of representative products from 20 vendors. The information from Mitsubishi Electric Automation was incorrect, and the list of vendors was in the wrong order. Following is the accurate information on Mitsubishi's iQ Automation product: According to Mitsubishi, the new i...
New controller handles complex motion applications
GE Fanuc says PacMotion is a completely new motion controller designed to serve the high-end needs of complex motion applications. See photo. White paper offers more information.
White paper: Ways to use USB in embedded control systems
Written by Micro Digital R&D embedded software engineer Yingbo Hu, and the company’s president Ralph Moore, white paper presents 11 methods to use USB in embedded systems. See 7 below and link to others.
Correction: PLC/PAC product research information revised
Control Engineering’s September Product Research survey on PLCs and PACs included a list of representative products from 20 vendors. The information from Mitsubishi Electric Automation was incorrect. The accurate information is....
Industrial Ethernet applications in real time
Industrial Ethernet protocols can help real time applications. Examples follow, along with application photos and links to additional industrial Ethernet information. Peek inside multiple industrial Ethernet applications with Rovema, SERCOS III, Automata, Bosch Rexroth, Ilapak, Ethernet Powerlink, Linux, B&R Automation, and...
Targeting Tumors with Motion Control
Focused radiation continues to be an effective means for treating cancerous tumors, particularly when there is a clear shot at the target. Getting a clear shot, however, is no simple task, especially since the target is often surrounded by healthy tissue, can grow, shrink or shift over time, and is affected by changes in the patient’s anatomy.
Robotics tutorial: More diversity, functionality
Robotics are adapted to and integrated with an increasing diversity of applications. Understanding types of robots and their functions can help end users, system integrators, and original equipment manufacturers know how to safely and efficiently apply technologies that save humans from tasks that are both mundane and dangerous.
Book Review: The Art of Designing Embedded Systems
Well written book by noted embedded system expert Jack Ganssle, who was humorous and not afraid to defend his opinions...
Thermometry: Fiber-optic sensor measures temperature to 1,000 °C
Said to be for applications ranging from weld monitoring and control, to turbine engine service and design.
Industrial networking: Partnership to enhance wireless technologies for industrial use
Three-year project expects to make wireless technologies better suitable for all industrial needs by....
Hybrid power: Volvo Powertrain awards Danaher Motion contract to develop hybrid heavy-duty vehicles
Responding to global demand for fuel efficient and environmentally sound vehicles, these companies....
Sustainable manufacturing Website features green machine automation technology
Sustainable manufacturing Website features green machine automation technology.
Look at these demos: Tear down embedded systems, get the point of linear motion control
Participate or watch in live embedded teardowns at an embedded systems event for a chance to win a Beagleboard kit. At IMTS last week, there was a potentially explosive demo on magnetorestrictive sensor technology, among other demonstrations. See photos. Link to tutorial and video videos.
Molded Parts: Stamp, Place, Remove, Inspect
Filtertek, Inc. is a world innovator in filter technology. The Hebron, IL, manufacturer makes custom filtration products and fluid control devices for automotive, healthcare and consumer product applications. The company’s ingenuity is reflected in a portfolio of more than 340 issued patents and pending patent applications for novel designs of fuel filters, transmission sump filters, semi...
Programmable Logic Controllers, Programmable Automation Controllers
The 405 respondents who answered the joint Control Engineering/Reed Research product research study on PLCs and PACs will be increasing their purchases of these devices over the next 12 months. Even with the tight economy, 23% of respondents expect their purchases to increase. Of those polled, 69% expected purchases to remain the same as last year, and only 8% expect them to decrease. More trends, PAC and PLC products, and a link to more research follows.
How to make control programming easier, no matter what the language
ISA88 Part 1, the under-development Part 5 and related technical reports can simplify programming related to machine control, packing, batch, and process controls. Here's how.
Motion Controller Accelerates NASCAR
Automotive test rig manufacturer sets out to improve NASCAR’s standard chassis test stand with improved dynamic capabilities and reduced maintenance.
Barcode scanners tutorial offered
Few things today would disrupt society more than if barcode scanners stopped working. But what is a barcode and how does a barcode scanner work? MechatronicsZone.com presents Mechatronics On-Demand Webcasts to explore the role of mechatronics and, in this case, focus on the development of a nearly indispensable technology.
Pneumatics: Air technology app notes available online
Meech International updated its Website with free, downloadable application notes, including energy saving, noise reduction and efficient cooling.
Transformerless drives: Higher performance, lower cost
Reducing input harmonics using an input isolation transformer with multiple secondary windings to feed VFD bridges can compromise, and raise maintenance cost.
Energy savings: Right-sizing electric motors could save billions in energy annually
Energy efficiency losses through over-sizing of pump electric motors by engineers are commonplace, according to WEG Electric Motors.
Machine control: Analog sensor improves drawbar operation
Position monitoring system with electronic analog sensor allows users to monitor machine-tool power drawbars for performance and wear.
Heavy equipment: Electrohydraulic flow matching increases hydraulic system dynamics
Rexroth says Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM) is next generation of flow-sharing controls.
Robotic cables: Cable carrier handles 6-axis robots
Less-is-more approach may help robot dress packs preserve cables for a longer period of time. Smooth, uninterrupted cable movement is key. (See photo.)
10 by 10: Leading system integrator engineering specialties by vendor
What are the leading engineering specialties by vendor in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide? The 1,737 automation system integrators listed have...
Modeling in motion
The convergence of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering is changing the face of motion control design and development. This tutorial shows how.
By the Numbers – 2008-07-01
4 topics covered in a June 25 Webcast include what machine vision can do for control systems, when machine vision is appropriate, how to incorporate it into control systems, and results others have obtained. www.controleng.com/webcasts 3rd quarter 2008 is when AuthenTec expects to have products incorporating the acquired (in April) software assets of EzValidation, including EzPassport fingerpri...
Tax incentives: Investments in robotic automation can garner tax breaks
Tax incentives said to benefit small companies who install capital equipment.
Expansions: Hydraulic hybrids in motion, more efficient transformer manufacturing
Smarter motion systems and more efficient, more highly efficient transformers seem likely to result from opening of a Bosch Rexroth technology center and a new WEG Electric Motors manufacturing facility.
Microcontroller unit study: A Flashy Trend?
Even the microcontroller market is expanding the use of Flash memory according to a recent study of trends in the use of Flash semiconductor ICs.
Pushbutton control components
Elobau Sensor Technology Inc. has introduced a new micro pushbutton, Model 145MA, a Hall Effect device with linear analog output, designed for integration into an industrial joystick knob or control panel. The device is based on Hall Effect technology with a linear analog output, making it suitable for applications where a simple on/off switching function is insufficient.
Off-the-Shelf PLC Optimizes Motion Control Functionality
Like most blow molding original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Saline, MI-based R&B Plastics Machinery LLC (R&B) in has to coordinate different machine motions very closely. Its machines had been using closed-loop hydraulic motions with dedicated motion control cards, which are not only expensive, but somewhat difficult to coordinate.
Look at what we saw: Hannover Fair 2008, a technology postscript
Did you go? If not (or even if so) take a look at this look back at Hannover Fair 2008 (more photos and links follow) for more controls, automation, robotics, industrial computers, networks, and instrumentation than most people ever see in one location. Highlights include....
Manage wires: Field termination assemblies, rugged cables
Field termination assemblies and rugged cables are said to offer fast, fault-free wire management from field wiring to process or motion controllers.
System reduces VFD ground currents
Company says its solution, which meets NEC 250 grounding requirements, was engineered for use wherever ac induction motors are operating in conjunction with variable frequency drives and for other applications where large switching power supplies are used.
Processor enhances security for embedded applications
Intel says its Trusted Execution Technology brings hardware data security to the embedded market, making its new E8400 dual-core processor ideal for military and government, mid-range network security appliances, and retail applications.
Servos control motion market growth
Rapidly growing servo products sector accounts for 80% of the total motion-control market.
NYC refuse trucks to test hydraulic hybrid technology
Bosch Rexroth reports that it has been selected, along with Crane Carrier Company and ISE Corporation, by Calstart’s Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) Refuse Working Group to examine and test the use of hybrid vehicle technology in refuse trucks. The companies expect the hybrid trucks to demonstrate between 30% and 50% reductions in fuel and emissions use during testing.
A Comprehensible Guide to Servo Motor Sizing
The Importance of servo motor sizing should not be underestimated according to Wilfried Voss, author of A Comprehensible Guide to Servo Motor Sizing.
Continuous architecture for your machine software
Have you ever stopped to think about what “automation software” really means? Don’t “automation” and “software” mean pretty much the same thing? We generally use software to make processes execute automatically. So, what are we trying to emphasize by calling it automation software? Automation software must be more than simply a prescribed process written in software.
PLC open Motion Control by B&R
As industrial automation systems become increasingly complex, software development time and engineering expenses can exceed all other development hurdles. PLCopen offers standard, open motion control function blocks based on the IEC 61131 languages to create efficient, flexible code that is vendor- and product-independent. PLCopen Motion Control reduces software development time while maintaining a portable and easily upgradeable code base for future applications.
Hot hydraulics, controls drive new solar energy field
Powerful hydraulic actuators rotate and tilt solar collector assemblies as they track the sun’s motion in the desert sky over the new Nevada Solar One power plant (link to photos, videos). The actuators and attached controls make minor adjustments to...
Partnership: Advanced, interoperable motion control, machine tools
Factory-wide productivity advances are expected from software that can operate across a variety of brands of machine tools and motion-controlled equipment. Roy-G-Biv Corp. and Siemens....
MechatronicsZone road show kicks off
If you cannot participate in one of the free 2008 Mechatronics road show seminars, browse MechatronicsZone to learn how the mechatronics approach to design can help engineers get the job done better, more quickly and at lower cost.
RoHS-compliant temperature, limit controllers
Watlow’s on-off temperature and limit controllers are now compliant with the European Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive (2002-95-EC). Products include the Series CV, LV, CF, LF and TM controllers. Watlow uses components that meet the hazardous material restrictions outlined in the directive.
Research results: Protocols for Industrial Ethernet
Need for wide-ranging application capability and the ability to handle diverse environments drives protocol development, sparks user interest, survey results suggest. In Reed Corporate Research studies of control products as recent as five years ago, products using the 4-20 mA standard were still dominating the control scene. That’s changing. Here's how.
Self tuning has its limits
Regarding Self-Tuning Control (July 2007 by Vance Van Doren). A linear control loop will not develop a limit cycle — its cycle will either decay or expand, depending on whether loop gain is below or above unity, respectively. Limit cycling requires a nonlinear function somewhere in the loop to limit the amplitude of the oscillation, and the waveform is typically non-sinusoidal.
PLCs and DCSs Converge
In the past it was fairly easy to determine whether a distributed control system (DCS) or a programmable logic controller (PLC) based system was right for your application, because their strengths and weaknesses were well understood. In recent years, however, this has become more difficult, thanks primarily to the advancement of the microprocessor, which has allowed the technologies to converge.
Hinge safety interlock switches
Banner Engineering Corp. SI-HG63 Series hinge safety interlock switches are used in place of standard hinges on swinging guards, gates, or doors. They offer two normally closed safety contacts and one normally open auxiliary contact for application flexibility. When activated, these normally closed safety contacts are forced open by a non-resilient mechanical means, interrupting the electrical ...
Better mousetrap: Design News searches for clever machine designs
Have you built a better mousetrap? Control Engineering sister publication Design News wants you to tell them about the most amazing product you've designed in the past year. It could be profiled along with other great new products in Design News' Special Engineering Awards issue in September 2008.
Electric monorail system
SEW-Eurodrive announces North American availability of an intelligent Electric Monorail System (EMS) for overhead trolley systems in Control Engineering's April North American print edition. Power transfer and communications are wireless. The flexible transport system saves expensive floor space. Load capacity can exceed 4 tons per car, depending on application requirements. Single and multi-axis vehicles are available.
Stepper motors: Keep motion smooth and fine
Ametek says its new MAE brand “HN Series” hybrid stepper motors feature low detent-torque to holding-torque ratios, promoting smooth operation and fine positioning capability required for microstep operation.
Big brake: Brake motors save energy
Baldor Electric Co., a manufacturer of energy-saving industrial electric motors, drives, power transmission products and generators, offers three phase short series brake motors with an integral Dodge spring set brake for a compact and cost effective design.
Old Tools: Retread your old machine tools to make them better than new!
Siemens Energy & Automation implemented its strongest initiative to date in the area of machine retrofits. The company says its commitment evidences the SE&A directive to become a more visible and viable retrofit partner to the machine shops nationwide, who seek to improve their equipment performance and enhance their competitive position in their markets.
Bosch Rexroth CEO has upbeat outlook
Despite continuing difficulties in the U.S. economy Bosch Rexroth Corp. President and CEO Berend Bracht today announced a 3.1% growth in the company’s U.S. dollar denominated sales in the Americas, and projected double-digit growth for the company overall in 2008.
Automation in Packaging
Research, trends, and applications associated with the use of automation in packaging, developed by Control Engineering and Packaging Digest
Switch to SOA spurs trends in IT/automation convergence
Automation is an engineering discipline. Automation products exist in the physical world, and the results they deliver are fairly easy to measure. Software is an information technology (IT) discipline. Users buy something that, ultimately, they can't lay their hands on. Measuring the benefits of collaboration or flexibility can be difficult.
Wireless Control Sets Automated Vehicles Free
As pointed out in the Wireless Control Supplement to the August 2007 Control Engineering, one of the main motivations for incorporating wireless communications into automated control systems is to free moving system components from tethers. Using electrical cables to carry control signals to and from moving system components hobbles them.
Microprocessor-based digital potentiometer
The DP4 Series Digital Potentiometer from Dart Controls is now RoHS compliant. The product is suitable for new equipment, as well as retrofitting most ac or dc drive systems where precise, repeatable speed setting and digital readout are desired. DP4 will also support bipolar connections with power supplies of +/- 10 V dc or lower for regenerative or standard relay reversing control applications.
Higher power over Ethernet: First powered device controller
First Powered Device (PD) Controller implementing the 2-Event Physical Layer Classification of IEEE 802.3at standard (Draft 2.0); upcoming PoE standard raises available PD input power to 30 W from 13 W in the existing 802.3af standard, says Akros Silicon.
Monochrome modules: touchscreen, backlight options
A new line of 5.7-in. monochrome, modular graphic displays can be customized.
Considerations for Choosing a Programmable Automation Controler (PAC) by Opto 22
Perhaps you’ve been reading about programmable automation controllers (PACs) and how they combine the capabilities of several traditional control and monitoring systems. (See “Comparing PACs to Other Technologies” on page 3.) As industrial applications become more complex—requiring the integration of multiple systems; incorporating process, discrete, and motion control; providing realtime data to company databases—perhaps you’re thinking PACs could be useful in you
Software for Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs) By Opto 22
Programmable automation controllers (PACs) meet the complex demands of modern industrial automation applications because they combine features of more traditional automation technologies: programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control systems (DCSs), remote terminal units (RTUs), and personal computers (PCs).
Research: Process Automation Systems
Impact to plant operations is the leading consideration when upgrading process automation systems, according to recent monthly research of Control Engineering subscribers. Other very important considerations: manufacturing cost pressures, changes in the process, and getting needed bug fixes. More research, advice, and latest products follow.
Poland: “Small China” in Europe
Polish industry: A time of significant investments
Fieldbus: Growing Globally
While considered mainstream technology, fieldbus adoption in process industries is still far from commonplace. The picture for users remains upbeat, but incomplete in many respects. Why?
Manufacturing in Poland: Creating a “mini-China” in Europe
Many investors and analysts have begun calling Poland “small China”. According to a November 2007 Forbes report, Poland, China and Vietnam are among the best places in the world for production and service investments. Recently, Ernst & Young ranked Poland as second among countries in which companies are planning to invest, stating that Poland offers “excellent productivity...
Japan considers EtherCAT, other networks
With more than 108,000 visitors gathered at the System Control Fair 2007 (SCF2007) in Tokyo last November, the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) took its first steps toward promoting its unique and advanced technology in Japan. This was the first time the group exhibited its high-speed industrial Ethernet technology there.
In the thin of it: Real-time viscosity sensor
SenGenuity’s ViSmart viscosity sensors can correlate readings with instrument data for real-time, oil-condition monitoring applications.
Mechatronics info: MechatronicsZone.com redesigned
MechatronicsZone.com unveiled a new design, departments and features. The site has original content on control systems, electronic systems, mechanical systems and software, areas of an emerging trend in engineering known as mechatronics.
TI microcontroller families double performance and battery life
Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced five new families of MSP430F2xx high-performance microcontrollers.
Control Engineering announces Engineers’ Choice Award Winners, 2007 New Product Compendium
Oak Brook, IL — Control Engineering has announced the winners of its 2007 Engineers’ Choice Awards, and released its 2007 New Product Compendium, an online index of more than 150 control, instrumentation and automation products introduced to North America in 2007.
Installing machine controls on the actual machine is not a new idea. Mechanical control systems, of course, were perforce installed right on the machines they controlled. They had to be, because controls were operated through mechanical linkages. Manual controls for electrically powered machinery continued to be installed on industrial machines to give human operators easy access.
2007 New Product Nominees
2007 Engineers' Choice Award nominees. Product descriptions and deep links to more information can be found in the online 2007 New Product Compendium.
Winners: Motors, Motion Control & Drives
Winners of the 2007 Engineers' Choice Awards - Motors, Motion Control and Drives
Winners: Machine and Embedded Control
Winners of the 2007 Engineers' Choice Awards - Machine and Embedded Control
Electric Servo Motors Product Research (January 2008)
Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding electric servo motors.
Serial communication expansion available for data station and modular controller series
Red Lion Controls , Inc. has developed the XCRS serial communications expansion card for the Data Station Plus and Modular Controller product series. Both series come standard with three serial communication ports; the XCRS expands the connectivity by adding two extra communication ports, one RS-422/RS-485 and one RS232, quickly and easily.
Programmable Logic Controllers Product Research, December 2007
Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding Programmable Logic Controllers.
Analysis: Use of brushless motors grows for factory floor and beyond
Brushless permanent magnet (PM) motors continue to evolve into high torque, high efficiency, smaller sized packages. They currently dominate electric motors in office automation, medical instruments, and a wide range of factory floor automation applications (including robots, semiconductor equipment, material handling, packaging machines, nut runners, machine tool drives). Now, they are beginning to move into lower-cost, high-volume automotive and appliance applications, albeit in selective cases.
CNC open architectures
Most computer numerical control (CNC) systems are closed for users. Engineers typically can only program the machine, nothing more. Even if it has a so-called programming interface (including 3D visualization and process simulation, pre-defined milling/turning cycles, or even a small CAD/CAM system), it cannot be freely modified by the user.
Servo Motors Speed Up
Rapid and often dramatic technological advancements have given new dimension and substance to automation and control systems of late. Throughout this time of change, however, some components have stayed stable and steady. Case in point is the servo motor. Enhancements and accessories may benefit the application, but the product remains nearly ubiquitous in manufacturing, providing critical serv...
Baldor helps Dolphins make big impression
Although the Dolphins will not be Super Bowl-bound this season, the team did leave an outstanding impression on fans in the United Kingdom. The real-life model of the towering 26 foot high animatronic figure 'Big JT’ - NFL Miami Dolphins star player Jason Taylor - has very fast feet. When physical effects company Artem was commissioned to create the figure, they had to be quick as well.
Motion control: Automation solution provides four-axis motion control
Baldor Electric launched a new version of the company’s 'all-in-one' motion automation solution supplied in a rugged, ready-to-use packaged form. The company says its NextMove-ESB2 offers control for servo and stepper motor axes, together with onboard I/O and fieldbus connectivity.
Cooperative agreement: KW-Software inks sole-source deal with Yaskawa
Yaskawa Electric America announced that they have signed a contract with KW-Software, making KW the sole supplier of the IEC software for Yaskawa’s MP2000 series of machine controllers.
Industrial communications: Beijer Electronics acquires Westermo
Malmö, Sweden—Beijer Electronics announced today that it is acquiring Swedish company Westermo, active in industrial data communications for about $33 million (SEK 215 million, Swedish Krona) in stock. Westermo, with 148 employees, has estimated 2007 sales of approximately $34.5 million (SEK 225 million), and an operating margin before depreciation and amortization of some 10%, Beijer says.
HMIs: Real-time text labels overlaid on live video displays
Digital View has added a text overlay feature to its SVH-1920 Advanced High Definition LCD controller
Motion control: Fast feet for largest animatronic human figure; see video, photos
Bristol, U.K., and Fort Smith AR — There's fast feet on the 26 foot high animatronic figure called "Big JT" is NFL Miami Dolphins star player Jason Taylor, according to companies involved, Baldor and Artem.
Embedded: Green Hills CEO warns about infrastructure security dangers
Santa Barbara, CA—U.S. software infrastructure is vulnerable, and, in his opening comments at the fifth annual Green Hills Software Embedded Software Summit, the company’s founder, president and CEO, Dan O’Dowd treated attendees to a laundry list of those vulnerabilities.
CNC platform: Machine tool OEMs get high performance, flexibility
Naperville, IL — Num has launched Flexium, a modular CNC platform for machine tool manufacturers that provides scalability that can be applied economically on a machine with few axes, or more than 200. Combined with open programmability, it gives users freedom to customize the human-machine interface (HMI) and add value, the company says. It has a advanced new CNC kernel, four times more powerful than the fastest version of Num's existing Axium controller.
Electro-hydraulic, servo-piston control: Hydrostatic pump family expands
Ames, IA— Sauer-Danfoss Inc. has released the H1 45/53cc and 78cc single pumps, joining its 147/165cc single pump and the 45/53cc integral tandem pump. The H1 family of compact closed-circuit variable displacement axial piston pumps features high power density. Units use an integral electro-hydraulic servo piston assembly that controls rate and direction of hydraulic flow.
Maximize workspace: Wall-mounted, operator interface enclosure for constricted areas
Horsham, PA– Strongarm Designs has announced the Wall Station, a compact, wall-mounted operator interface system for process areas and plant floors where space is limited. To maximize floor space, the Wall Station attaches directly to the wall using external tabs, or through holes located in the rear of the enclosure.
Research on Programmable Logic Controllers
Nothing takes the fun out of a control engineering project faster than having to wade through piles of vendor and/or supply house catalogs to find the components for a control system. Even small machine control applications require a lot of specifying, recommending, and purchasing of parts for the simplest of control logic systems—especially if it is to be rendered in traditional relay la...
Motor standards: Activities at UL, NEMA; can you help
UL is undergoing a major revision of their motor standard UL1004, while National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is seeking help with another motor standard.
Asset tracking: Now, where’d I leave that patient?
Combining ultra-low-power control with innovative remote communications, CenTrak Inc. (formally Remote Play) introduced its InTouch Care Real Time Location System (RTLS), which the company characterizes as an advanced, easily installed system for tracking medical personnel, patients and equipment. Based on MSP430 microcontroller units (MCUs) from Texas Instruments (TI).
Use or avoid? Inputs needed on wireless monitoring and control
VDC/Control Engineering conduct survey on wireless monitoring and control
Intel honors Kontron for multicore commitment
San Diego, CA—Intel selected embedded computer builder Kontron to receive its “2007 Multi-core Alignment Award of Excellence” in the Alliance Hardware Member category. The award honors the Intel Communications Alliance member having the largest number and breadth of multicore products.
By the Numbers – 2007-11-01
1,650 lb is the maximum load for a new wheelchair, calculated with Algor finite element analysis (FEA) software for stress analysis in design of a new Aero Innovative Research Inc. Flight Ultralight Wheelchair, called “world’s lightest and tightest-folding, fully adjustable, customizable,” at 18 lb and 9.
Improving PLC Compatibility and flexibility in aseptic blow/fill/seal machines
Upgrading components in manufacturing equipment is something that plant engineers take very seriously and think through carefully. Equipment-upgrade options are inspected and tested empirically before a selection is made. The newly modified machine must operate flawlessly to fulfill the requirements of the facility and must integrate smoothly with other designated equipment within the plant.
Compensation: Measurement and control, salaries, incentives gain
Williamsburg, VA—The annual compensation study targeted on salaried positions in the measurement, control and automation industry was published recently by the Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA). The report now includes hourly wage rates for regular and temporary employees.
Modular Systems Combine Performance and Flexibility
Driven by intense cost and competitive pressures, semiconductor producers try to maximize production while improving outgoing quality. They also need flexible equipment that can be updated quickly and cost-effectively. Maximizing throughput measured in units per hour (uph) and doing it in the smallest area possible helps speed return on investment in an extremely competitive environment.
Not Your Grandfather’s Conveyor Line!
As I sit, staring out of this airport window at a baggage handler unloading the belly of a not-so-jumbo jet, I’m struck by how woefully behind the times that baggage handling system really is. We have a human manually picking packages off a mobile conveyor belt that he earlier towed up to the jet with a little riding tractor.
Control Engineering Poland appoints new editor-in-chief
Control Engineering Poland (www.controlengpolska.com) has a new editor in chief for the November 2007 issue. Tomasz Golebiowski (email@example.com) takes over the role from Hanna Tylicka, who accepted a position with a U.S. petrochemical company. Tylicka had been with the publication for more than three years.
Upgrading on the fly
Producing more than 33% of an electric power system's generating capacity can be a daunting task. Located on the Tombigbee River near Leroy, AL, the Charles R. Lowman Power Plant is Alabama Electric Cooperative's (AEC) primary generating source. With its three coal-fired generating units, Plant Lowman's generating capacity equals 556 MW of electric power.
Customer-centricity: Innovation center reveals a reinvigorated Schneider Electric
Raleigh, NC—Schneider Electric launched a revolutionary technology center to support automation and control original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the first-ever such resource in the industry, company representatives said. The Automation and Control Innovation Center in Raleigh, NC, brings together a dedicated team of industry specialists from multiple disciplines who serve as a single-point resource for technical and application support, helping with customer focus.
Industrial Ethernet: Bottom to top, 1Gb CC-Link IE connects them all
Nagoya, Japan—The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) says CC-Link IE industrial Ethernet protocol, can connect all levels of manufacturing, from top management planning systems to smart sensors on the shop floor. Standard version of CC-Link (originally developed by Mitsubishi Electric) uses RS-485; the new CC-Link IE uses the increasingly popular Ethernet physical layer. (See also CC-Link IE: First, open, industrial Gigabit Ethernet protocol.)
New editor: Control Engineering Poland
Warsaw, Poland—Control Engineering Poland has a new editor in chief for the November 2007 issue. Tomasz Golebiowski takes over the role from Hanna Tylicka, who accepted a position with a U.S. petrochemical company. Tylicka had been with the publication for more than three years.
Embedded: Porting MatLab to an embedded system near you
The Mathworks eased development of compute-intensive applications for embedded systems by introducing Embedded Matlab, a subset of the company’s popular Matlab suite of software. The set of functions enables users to generate highly efficient, embeddable C code directly from Matlab programs, avoiding the time-consuming and error-prone process of rewriting algorithms in C after developing and testing them in Matlab.
Pack Expo 2007: Programmable sensors enhance production speed, quality
Las Vegas, NV—“Test often. Improve productivity” is the mantra Matt Simms, product manager for photoelectric sensors at Eaton Corp., an advocate for high-speed automated production. “You can spend $10,000 on an automated inspection system that will look at 29 quality measures,” he says, “but it may not be able to keep up with the line, in which case you’re doing sampling, not 100% inspection.”
Mechatronics Expo helps define the field, integrate engineering disciplines
Burlington, MA—More efficient multi-discipline systems-level engineering design is closer to reality for some, after discussions at a mechatronics event. Three Reed Business Information business-to-business publications (Design News, EDN, and Control Engineering) worked together to organize the first ever Mechatronics Expo, held at the Boston Marriott Burlington here on Oct. 9, 2007. The event included displays by a number of vendors and an all-day conference program.
Software improves electrical design performance, usability
ECT International has released a completely rewritten and redesigned version of its electrical design software package, promis-e 2007.
Acquired: AFM Canada, Mead Fluid Dynamics, Hardy Instruments
Hardy Instruments, Mead Fluid Dynamics, and AFM Canada were among recently acquired companies. To learn details on each, and how the changes could benefit customers, see below.
Skill saver: Cognos merges Microsoft Excel exploration and analysis with secure BI foundation
A new capability enables Microsoft Excel users to analyze centrally controlled Cognos 8 Business Intelligence performance information for improved decision-making.
Component selection: Easier choices for specifying, design
Product Selection Toolbox, offered free of charge by Rockwell Automation, is a comprehensive suite of product selection and system design software tools for OEMs, end users and electrical contractors ordering Allen-Bradley products. These tools are available online or can be installed on customers’ computers.
High speed and high force actuators
Linak’s high speed and high force electric actuators are built on the LA36 actuator platform. One has a speed of up to 6.3 in./second without a load and another version has a maximum load of 2,247 lb. It is ideal for traffic control and other applications where speed is a critical element. Electrical solutions often have lifting limitations, and the high force version LA36 actuator attemp...
Analog Encoders Reduce Pre-alignment Time
How do you double semiconductor wafer throughput, decrease wafer pre-alignment time fivefold (to 600 ms), and improve in positional repeatability fivefold (to 5 nm), while at the same time reducing cost and increasing reliability? The competitive nature of the semiconductor industry places increasing importance on performance characteristics and integration ease for motion controllers used in t...
Synchronized Motion Relies on Special Controls
The number of motion axes found in industrial automation systems has grown steadily over time because of availability of more powerful controllers and other processor advancements. Yet, in many of those systems, motion axes function independently of each other—as in indexing stations that move parts point-to-point through serial manufacturing stages or in distributed architectures with pa...
Efficiency, growth, effectiveness at MESA’s Plant2Enterprise conference
The convergence of production and business data, actionable metrics and continuous improvement processes were again hot topics for automation vendors, end user and analysts at this year’s MESA’s annual Plant2Enterprise Conference, Sept. 16-18, in Orlando, FL. Presentations included data collection and business process management, with a heavy focus on “real world” storie...
Embedded: Freescale unleashes 10 ColdFire microcontrollers for low-end 32-bit systems
Addressing the need for flexible connectivity and energy efficiency in the embedded world, Freescale Semiconductor has added 10 highly integrated microcontrollers (MCUs) to the company’s extensive 32-bit ColdFire portfolio. The company says that these latest additions provide developers with a broad range of cost-effective, low-power connectivity options, coupled with comprehensive software tools.
Application: Cranes get load moment indicator
Hirschmann Automation and Control introduced the iVisor mentor QVGA (graphic) load moment indicator (LMI) for mobile cranes. It provides the operator with a graphic display of the crane and the current load and geometric information, including the actual and allowable load, boom length, boom angle, and load radius.
Process instrumentation company celebrates 50 years
Wixom, MI—Acromag, a manufacturer of I/O devices for process instrumentation, industrial control networks, and bus-board embedded computer systems, is celebrating its 50th year of business.
Touch panel computer operates on low power
A fanless 12.1-in. touch panel computer from the Industrial Automation Group of Advantech features a powerful yet low-power consumption Intel Pentium M 1.4GHz/Celeron M 1GHz processor. The TPC-1270H is fanless to improve maintenance-free operation, but powerful enough to support full Microsoft Windows operating systems such as XP Professional, as well as embedded systems such as XPe.
Good numbers: industrial controls, motion control systems, and packaging machinery
Three recent reports announce positive news for manufacturers, distributors, system integrators, and users of industrial controls, motion control, and packaging machinery, with some areas in double digits.
All My Best Ideas are Stolen
Physicist and star of educational TV during the 1950s and 1960s, Dan Q. Posin was fond of quoting Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants.” Designing control systems may not be on the same level as Newton’s contributions, but “standing on the shoulders of giants”—that is, learning from others’ experience—i...
Cutting the Cost of Compliance
When questioned, Magnus Hermansson, general manager for GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, notes his facility doesn’t fall under direct FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), scrutiny. What the plant produces, after all, is the chromatography media used in protein separation and purification.
Hydraulic controller nets best-paper win
Mondeep Duarah and Vijay Jayabalan of Captronic Systems, Bangalore, India, won Best Paper in the control category at NIWeek 2007 with their article entitled “Digital Electro-Hydraulic Servo Controller.”
Control Engineering Asia honored
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—Control Engineering Asia magazine garnered an Excellence Award at the inaugural Asian Publishing Management Awards for the “Most successful launch of a licensed brand.”
Driver enhances LabView to create motion profiles
Austin, TX—Yaskawa Electric, a manufacturer of ac inverter drives, servo and motion control, and robotics automation systems, developed a driver for National Instruments’ LabView graphical programming environment.
Wireless Keeps Machines Coordinated
Wireless integration of control systems has been around for a long, long time. Wireless remote control of aircraft and marine vessels—essentially the technology used by RC (radio controlled) modelers today—was developed before World War II. Because the barriers to entry have been lowered so dramatically, wireless control has become competitive with wired control for most applications.
Motion Control Meets Medical Imaging
Medical imaging original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are turning to motion control platforms that help control costs, streamline production globally, and provide systems capable of delivering the most sophisticated 2D and 3D clinical images possible. Motion control requirements are driven by these goals, and the need to satisfy specific kinematics requirements.
Anniversary: Flowserve celebrates 10 years
Flowserve Corp., a company specializing in fluid motion and control products and services, celebrated 10 years of its incorporation and listing on the New York Stock Exchange on July 20.
Loop Controllers: Dedicated Units Gain Popularity
Process loops can be controlled by a variety of devices: standalone single-loop or multi-loop controllers, PC-based controllers, or pneumatic controllers. Which types users preferred and why were among results in the 2007 survey of user of standalone loop controllers conducted by Control Engineering and Reed Research Group.
Motion: Lenze-AC Tech moves toward packaged solutions
Uxbridge, MA—As the new mechanical product manager at Lenze-AC Tech, [www.actech.com] Chris Ball’s marching orders are to spearhead the company’s drive to integrate its next generation of gearmotors and gear reducers with its other products, creating packaged solutions and integrated systems.
GE Fanuc announces portable device to simplify application transfer
GE Fanuc Automation, a unit of GE Industrial, introduced the Portable Program Device (PPD), which simplifies the storing of a controllers application without a PC. The device enables the user to easily upload and download controller configuration and logic to/from any USB memory stick using USB connection.
Connectivity: USB enabled storage for controller applications
Charlottesville, Va.—The Portable Program Device, a new tool from GE Fanuc Automation, simplifies the storing of controllers applications and configurations by allowing a user to easily upload and download to and from any USB memory stick.
Commemoration: Gold-plated controller marks 20,000 installation
Orlando, Fla.— Prof. Dr. Michael Bruns (left), head of process automation for Siemens A&D, presented a gold-plated Simatic PCS 7 controller to Chris DaCosta,
Creativity contest: Explore Z-Wave, win gear
Zensys contest wants to find the most creative Z-Wave control creations. Z-Wave is a wireless control standard for home applications.
Faster unloading: System integrator melds vision, robotics
London, Ontario, Canada –Using off-the-shelf machine vision components and a Motoman robotic arm, the Autoflex Loader from JMP Engineerin g provides an economical solution to common labor issues. The product offers manufacturers a cost effective solution to maximize the value of their plant labor related to bin unloading, says JMP, a privately owned industrial system integration company. Autoflex Loader, now available in to U.S. customers after prior introduction in Canada, was demonstrated at the International Robots and Vision (IRV) Show in Rosemont, IL, June 12-14, 2007.
Markets: Robotics and electroindustry see solid growth
The robotics and electroindustry are growing in 2007, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in separate announcements. Robotics companies posted gains of 24% in the first quarter, while current business conditions for the electroindustry improved considerably in June compared to May.
Trends: Drive technology for ac motors
Zurich, Switzerland—Traditionally, the primary use of drives has been in such applications as powering pumps, fans and conveyors.
Linear Motors: Miniature direct-drive linear motor helps shrink automation systems
Canton, MA—Copley Controls introduced a new ServoTube small-silhouette STB11 linear motor.
Specialty Motors and FO Engineering announce strategic alliance
Specialty Motors (SMI) and FO Engineering have agreed to jointly pursue of new business and development of a new proprietary line of power and motion control products.
Machine control: Siemens Energy and Automation appoints new VP for assembly systems
Siemens Energy & Automation appointed Jeff Timms to be vice president of its Electronics Assembly Systems Division (EA) effective immediately.
High-resolution monitoring speeds bearing press-fitting
A transmission, transfer case or differential may contain four to six bearings that are press fit into place on assembly lines turning out as many as 3,000 transmissions a day, so the problem of automatically finding the exact end point when the part is seated properly is especially widespread in automotive powertrain assembly.
Who Puts the ‘Industrial’ in Ethernet?
Industrial Ethernet hardware can take plant-floor punishment without pampering in enclosures, allowing shorter cable runs with simpler distributed (rather than centralized) designs, and higher reliability than commercial-level Ethernet switches, routers, hubs, gateways, and connectors. Industrial ratings (such as NEMA 4x or IP67 and beyond) applied to Ethernet hardware mean that equipment can h...
Brushless PM Torque Motors
Electric motors come in a rich variety of configurations to suit different purposes. One specialty motor type—known as a direct-drive, permanent-magnet (PM) torque motor—is characterized by a large diameter-to-length ratio and large number of magnetic poles to optimize torque production. These relatively low speed motors, usually operating under 1,000 rpm, come in housed and framele...
PC-based logic, puzzle-solving robotics
Bosch Rexroth displayed a robotic system to solve Rubik’s Cube puzzles—demonstrating the prowess of its NYCe compact PC-based control. Repetitive puzzle solutions took less than 2 minutes. Software programming of the robot was provided by Korean company Sejin-iGB (www.gear-box.com). Besides its wide range of electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic control technologies on display, other B...
Equipped for the Future
WMF AG (Worttemberg Metal-goods Factory), headquartered in Geislingen an der Steige, Germany, sees itself as a provider of branded products that must be able to meet the most rigorous of demands in terms of design, quality and ergonomic functionality. The company recently revamped its polishing operation for pots and lids, incorporating the latest robotic technology.
Changing of the guard: New CEO takes reins at Siemens E&A
Siemens Energy and Automation Inc. (SE&A) has a new leader. The company announced recently that Dennis Sadlowski, 46, will take over as president and chief executive officer of the company on July 1, 2007. Sadlowski succeeds Aubert Martin, 64, who is retiring after a very successful career spanning 40 years with Siemens.
Mechatronics Resolves Design Challenges
Intense global competition is putting pressure on machine builders to deliver machines with higher throughput, reduced operating cost, increased safety and more features that improve productivity and differentiate their machines from the competition. For this reason, today’s machine builders have switched from designing rigid, single-purpose machines that rely purely on mechanical gears a...
Embedded processor: Versatile multi-core chip helps industrial applications
Freescale Semiconductor introduced a highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) processor it says has been optimized for high-performance, power-sensitive applications requiring complex graphics, multimedia, and real-time audio processing.
Digital drives: Synchronous motors cold form precision profiles
Using a cold forming process to manufacture high-quality gear teeth calls for a drive system that can guide movements precisely and in absolute synchronism.
Small system control: PLC mounts in standard 11-pin base
Solves-It! plug-in PLC from Divelbiss Corp. is intended for small system control and monitor applications, particularly where panel space is limited. Solves-It! plug-in PLC from Divelbiss Corp ., packaged in a standard relay style housing with an 11-pin plug-in base, is available from stock in two versions. Series of programmable logic controllers is intended for use where a small yet versatile controller is required.
Motion control: Market growth to stabilize in Western Europe
The market for motion controllers in Western Europe is still expanding slowly, but is entering a period where the growth rate should stabilize at around 4.15% CAGR, according to projections by Suman Bhaskar, a research analyst covering industrial process and control markets for Frost & Sullivan
Motion: major actuator types
Electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic motion are three major actuator technologies. Which you use depends on your application’s characteristics. Electric control excels when absolute accuracy of movement is required or when continuous motion is needed. Electric servo control is useful in diverse applications: CNC (computer numerical control) for spindles in machining centers and in lift̵...
Renewable energy: Hydraulics plant tour highlights wind power
Wind energy and the hydraulic components used in renewable energy projects were spotlighted during a recent visit by international journalists and state officials to Bosch Rexroth’s hydraulics plant in Bethlehem, PA. Bethlehem, PA —Manufacturing for the renewable energy market was the topic for discussion when Bosch Rexroth hosted Pennsylvania state officials and journalists from Western Europe recently at its industrial hydraulics facility here. Organized by the state governor's office, the visit was part of an outreach effort to highlight Pennsylvania's manufacturing capabilities.
Compact photoelectric sensors
Series 31 Opti-Vue photoelectric sensors from Pepperl+Fuchs feature a compact, 35 x 62 mm footprint. The sensors are the company’s smallest photoelectric sensor line, offering a built-in SPDT relay with ac/dc models, and a 4-in-1 output with dc models. An integrated SPDT relay eliminates the need for a separately mounted and wired relay, and the company’s 4-in-1 technology allows on...
More Challenge, More Income
The average Control Engineering subscriber has progressed predictably since we last surveyed print and online readers in 2005: He (and respondents are overwhelmingly male) is two years older (just over 48), has two more years at his current job (for a total of 9.17 years), and has almost 23 years of experience (compared to 21.
Electromechanical rod actuators
DNCE electromechanical rod actuator from Festo is a screw-driven linear actuator with a non-rotating round piston rod.
Actuators: Choosing the right technology
Machine designers should take a cross-technology view of power technology, choosing the most appropriate for their application.
Dual 14-bit A/D converters
ADSD-1420S and ADSD-1420S-EX are the latest additions to C&D Technologies range of dual sampling A/D converters.
Eclipse open-source programming toolkit
At the Embedded Systems Conference held in San Jose, CA, Aonix, a provider of solutions for safety- and mission-critical applications, announced that it is leading a new Eclipse-based initiative to create an Ada Development Toolkit (ADT) project and will collaborate with the Eclipse Foundation toward that end.
Control Engineering 2006 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winners
Control Engineering 2006 Engineers’ Choice Awards Innovative control, automation and instrumentation new products introduced between December 2005 and Dec 2006 Stand Out Technologies Every year, hundreds of new products are introduced, but only a few go on to greatness. At Control Engineering , we try to predict which those will be. View the winners HMIS AND INDUSTRIAL PCS HMI Hardware Hardened Resistive Touchscreens - Christensen Display ProductsHMi Operator Interface- Eaton Corp. HMI Software Web Studio v6.1 - IndusoftWebHMI - Iconics Industrial PCs C69xx Industrial PCs - BeckhoffPowerBox 1700 - Modular Industrial Computers. MACHINE CONTROLLERS AND EMBEDDED CONTROL Controllers CX1020 Embedded PC - Beckhoff AutomationCompactLogix 1768-L43 - Rockwell Automation Embedded Products Fido 32-bit hard real-time microcontroller - Innovasic SemiconductorETXexpress-CD - Kontron Discrete Sensors & Readers Dataman 7500 Series reader - CognexChecker 101E - Cognex INSTRUMENTATION AND COMPONENTS Components & Connectors PanelMax corner wiring duct - PanduitP Series terminals - Weidmuller Instrumentation & Analysis Rosemount 3051S for HART protocol - Emerson Process ManagementPDM Series power display - Ohio Semitronics Process Sensors AWI-P wirelss pressure transmitter - Adalet WirelessSafety-certified Coriolis meters - Emerson Process Management MOTORS, DRIVES AND MOTION CONTROL Drives Kinetix 7000 servo drive - Rockwell AutomationKinetix 6000 servo drive - Rockwell Automation Motion Control Model 940 PositionServo - Lenze/AC Technology Corp.750 Series Stepper Module - Wago Corp.MSS Series gearheads - Baldor Electric Motors NEMA motors - Siemens Energy & AutomationMR-J3 Series AC Servos - Mitsubishi Electric Automation NETWORK HARDWARE AND I/O Switches, Routers & Hubs SE-44M-E924 managed Ethernet switch - TurckDirect-Link industrial Ethernet switch - Woodhead Industries I/O Products & Cabling BK9105 EtherNet/IP Bus Coupler - Beckhoff AutomationActive Ethernet I/O - Moxa TechnologiesSnap PAC R-2 - Opto 22 Wireless Solutions Channel Blanket topology - BeldenRAD-802.11XD WiFi device with security - Phoenix Contact SOFTWARE Enterprise Integration & Analysis InFusion ECS - Invensys Process SystemsEquipment Operations Module 1.0 - Wonderware Programming LabView 8.2 - National InstrumentsDevelopment modules for ControlLogix C applications - ProSoft Technology PROCESS & ADVANCED CONTROL Advanced Control Loop-Pro software suite - Control Station Inc.Profit Suite R300 - Honeywell Process Solutions Process Control InTune v5 predictive maintenance software - ControlSoftSafetyNet for emergency shutdown - MTL Open Systems Technologies 2007 Awards Nomination Instructions and Timeline Information to come Previous Editors' Choice and Engineers' Choice award winners Seal of Approval: Best Technologies of 2005 2004 Editors' Choice Awards Archive of earlier winners 2006 New Product Compendium Nominated 2006 New Products by Category Human-Machine Interfaces and Industrial PCs HMI Hardware HMI Software Industrial PCs Instrumentation, Process Sensors, Control Components Analysis instrumentation Connectors Process Sensors Machine and Embedded Control Controllers Discrete sensors and readers Embedded products Motors, Drives and Motion Control Drives Motion control Motors Networks/Communications Hardware and Software I/O products and cabling Switches, routers and hubs Wireless solutions Process and Advanced Control Advanced control Process control Software Enterprise integration Programming Additional New Products Introduced in 2006 Machine Control, Embedded Freescale Semiconductor MC9RS08KA MCU An ultra-low-end, sub-50-cent 8-bit MCU small enough to fit in the head of an electric toothbrush, ideal for traditional electro-mechanical and portable applications such as motor control. Machine Control, Embedded Freescale Semiconductor MR2A16A MRAM The 4-Mbit MR2A16A device uses magnetic materials combined with conventional silicon circuitry to deliver the speed of SRAM with the non-volatility of Flash in a single, high endurance device. Instrumentation and control components, Process sensors Schneider Electric Sensor Competency Center Hyde Park Virtu 30 The new Virtu 30 mm by Hyde Park is an ultrasonic sensor available in a 30 mm barrel body style that breaks new ground for the cost-conscious customer. These compact sensors solve a greater number of applications with an increased sensing distance of 4' (102 mm) to 39' (1m) with the option of being normally open, normally closed or a teachable output.
Motion control: Servo drives add high-current power levels
Parker's Electromechanical Automation Div.'s Compax3 family of industrial high-performance, all-digital servo drives now comes in four new high-current power levels. Rohnert Park, CA —Four new high-current power levels have been added to Parker's Electromechanical Automation Division 's Compax3 family of industrial high-performance, all-digital servo drives. Series is now available with up to 75 kW of output power to satisfy the demand for high- and low-power drives within the same family.
Industrial relay is 6-mm wide
Industrial style G2RV slim relay from Omron Electronic Components LLC is only 6 mm wide.
Ready-made motion control
IndraMotion for Metal Forming roll feed system is a ready-made motion control system from Bosch Rexroth.
Kinetix 7000 Servo Drive adds flexibility, high performance
Rockwell Automation With continuous output power of 22 to 150 kW, Kinetix 7000 servo drive seamlessly integrates with Allen-Bradley Logix controllers, servo motors, and actuators to add flexibility to machine design and efficiency to manufacturing. The units go beyond supporting synchronous permanent magnet motors, with asynchronous induction motor support as well, giving customers a cost-effec...
fido 32-bit hard real-time microcontroller integrates software tasks
Innovasic Semiconductor The fido architecture greatly eases the design and test of real-time control applications while providing higher reliability and lower power consumption. The fido family is the first microcontroller designed specifically for industrial applications, including real-time and safety-critical performance, inventory management, reduced development time and life-cycle support.
A Rainforest Grows in Cleveland
Behind the scenes, a lot of control engineering goes into creating and maintaining a tropical rainforest near Lake Erie, just 40 miles from the Canadian border. It is a feat accomplished by Cleveland (Ohio) Metroparks, a recreational authority that provides an “emerald necklace” of woodlands, golf courses, hiking trails, and other attractions surrounding this Midwest city—know...
Hydraulic Motion Control
The market for powder compacting press equipment is highly competitive, with machine manufacturers vying for market share using a variety of cost/performance options. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) succeed by reducing costs, adding features, increasing productivity, or combining all three. A case in point is Precision Compacting Technologies of Bentonville, AR.
Angle sensor: Magnetostrictive device helps stop world’s fastest car
Two Model MS Temposonics magnetostrictive sensors mounted in the Bugatti Veyron's rear-wing supports help raise the wing to improve braking effectiveness at high speeds. Source: MTS Systems Corp. Sensors Division Being the world's fastest street-legal passenger car is all very nice, but what happens when the lady pushing the baby carriage steps off the curb at just the wrong moment? At that point, it's time to have the world's best brakes as well! The Bugatti Veyron actually is touted as the world's fastest street-legal motor vehicle.
Energy storage: Ultracapacitor for heavy-duty use
Maxwell Technologies has introduced a rugged 390 V Boostcap ultracapacitor module to provide scalable, easy-to-integrate, energy storage and power delivery solutions for heavy hybrid and electric vehicles and heavy duty industrial applications requiring up to 1,170 V. The new Heavy Duty Transportation (HTM) module delivers industry-leading performance and reliability and long operational life for vehicles and industrial systems that use electrical energy to enhance efficiency and environmental compatibility. The unit features enhanced integration technology and up to 2.8 times greater energy storage than earlier products. 'Ultracapacitor-based solutions increase the efficiency of systems that consume electrical energy, which saves fuel or grid power, thereby reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants associated with conventional internal combustion vehicles and energy generation,' said Dr.
Controller board: Kontron adds Intel duo-processor support on CompactPCI controller board
Kontron added Intel CoreTM 2 Duo processor support to its Kontron CP6012 CompactPCI processor board. According to the company, the upgraded board, called the Kontron CP601264, meets the highest performance standards, and, in combination with the Intel E7520 chipset, manages data throughput with server quality. The PICMG 2.16-compatible Kontron CP601264 features an L2 cache that is twice as large (4 MB), a much improved internal architecture, and 64-bit Intel technology for increased performance over the Intel Core Duo option.
Tech Tips April 2006
April 25, 2006 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Using diagnostic features of digital valve positioners Digital valve controllers/positioners (DVCs/DVPs) have added significant intelligence to their features over recent years. End-users can tap into this intelligence to ease their valve maintenance and diagnostic chores. Diagnostics available from most DVC manufacturers include: Final control device tracking parameters for monitoring total (accumulated) travel and the number of reversals (cycles); DVC health parameter tests, providing alerts about memory, microprocessor, and/or sensor problems. These permit operator alarms or, for more severe problems, unit or process shutdown actions; Final control device alerts.
New pneumatic control: Need to interface electronic with legacy pneumatic?
Pneumatic interface is compact and resistant to environmental vibrations. If you need to interface an analog electronic instrumentation device with an existing pneumatic control system, valve positioner, or other similar equipment, this new current-to-pressure transducer could be very helpful. It converts 4-20 mA analog output from any type of device into a linearly proportional pneumatic signal using one of three formats. The new 590X I/P transducer from ControlAir can generate three pneumatic output ranges, including 3-15 psi, 3-27 psi, or 6-30 psi, from a 4-20 mA signal.
Tech Tips August 2005
August 30, 2005 Tech TipLow-voltage fuse application guidance Fuse voltage ratings are related to their capacity to open a circuit during overcurrent conditions. Voltage rating determines the fuse’s ability to suppress internal arcing produced after a fuse link melts. Select a voltage rating higher, but never lower, than system or circuit voltage. With a lower voltage rating, arc suppression will be impaired and—under some fault-current conditions—the fuse may not safely clear the overcurrent. Low-voltage fuses of a given (labeled) voltage rating can be safely applied on lower service voltages.
Tech Tips November 2006
November 28, 2006 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Use the right feedback device for the application Closed loop systems use feedback signals for stabilization, speed, and position information. There are a variety of devices to provide this data, such as the analog tachometer, optical encoder, Hall sensor, and resolver. The table in Figure 1 summarizes their various features.
Tech Tips September-October 2005
October 25, 2005 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Avoiding ground loops Ground loops (also referred to as 'noise') in an electrical system result from unwanted current flow in a conductor connecting two points that should be at the same electrical potential, but aren't. Minimizing electrical noise effects on control system performance and reliability requires: Using isolated ac power sources; Establishing a single, common system ground point; Providing isolation for low-voltage signals (for example, thermocouples); Minimizing influence of stray magnetic fields; and Selecting appropriate cables and pathways, including adequate cable separation. Improper grounding, such as grounding cable shield wires at both ends or at the wrong end, is well-documented as a source of introducing electrical noise. Cable shield wires should be grounded at one end, preferably at the power source end. The other end should be taped and protected.
Tech Tips March 2007
March 20, 2007 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Factors affecting network bandwidth. Bandwidth is defined as the carrying ca-pacity of a circuit. It's usually measured in bits per second for digital circuits, or in hertz for analog circuits.
Tech Tips March 2005
MARCH 29, 2005 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Motion control terminology Motion control, as other technologies, has its fair share of special terms. Not all of them are rigorously defined; some require blending to suit the specific audience. Here's a sampling of some well-known and not-so-well-known terms. A motion control system typically consists of a controller to process motion algorithms and signals; an amplifier to boost signals to a level needed to power an actuator that provides the motion output; and feedback (sensors/transducers) to allow adjustments for process changes, based on comparing measured output with the input. An operator interface or host terminal front-end completes the system.
Tech Tips February 2007
February 27, 2007 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Use motor current to monitor load. Every wire carrying an electric current cloaks itself in a magnetic field. You can find the direction of the field by using your right hand to grab the wire so that your thumb points in the current direction.
Tech Tips December 2006
December 26, 2006 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: More servomotor inertial matching. The following is a reader response to a Technology Update called 'Matching moments of inertia' that appears in the December 1, 2006, issue of Control Engineering magazine. Click here to read that. As 'Matching moments of inertia' points out, for best performance the moments of inertia of the load and servomotor armature should have a 1:1 match.
Question of the Week 2005
December 27, 2005 QUESTION: For short, it's a graphical plot of failure rates over time for many electronic (and mechanical) parts and products—yielding a curve that resembles the axial cross-section of a "bathtub." A bathtub curve represents data of calculated empirical population failure rates of products aging over time. Three regions characterize the curve. Early failure period (or infant failure period) begins at time zero when a customer first puts the product into use, and often results in a high but rapidly decreasing failure rate.
Question of the Week 2007
February 27, 2007 QUESTION: Can I automate operation of a high vacuum system? The pumping system recommended for general use consists of a mechanical foreline pump that holds back atmospheric pressure and a turbomolecular main pump that scavanges the final 0.1% of the gas in the vacuum chamber. A bypass valve allows isolating the main pump while evacuating the vacuum chamber with the mechanical pump. Essentially any vacuum system can easily be automated.
Question of the Weekly Q406
December 26, 2006 QUESTION: Can a vision system reject cartons with incorrect bar codes? Khalid Jamal Khayyat, Pharmaceutical Solutions Industry Ltd., Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, wants to know, 'Is there a vision inspection system available that can read barcodes on carton labels as they move down a production packaging line, and can reject cartons that have incorrect bar codes?' This is a classic control application using machine vision, and there have been a number of systems built to do it. With a popular application like this, your best bet is to look for a pre-packaged application from a major vision-equipment vendor, such as Cognex or Systech International. To pick the right system, however, you'll need to supply a few details about your application. First, how repeatable is the position of the barcode and label? At issue is where will each barcode appear in the camera's field of view. In some situations, the barcode is sure to appear in exactly the same spot in the field every time.
Question of the Week Q206
June 27, 2006 QUESTION: This is a trim installed inside a valve that uses a "torturous path," multiple holes, expanding flow area, or sudden expansions and contractions to lower the sound pressure level generated by a valve. Source: "Valve Handbook," Philip L. Skousen, McGraw-Hill (1998), ISBN 0-070057921-0 June 20, 2006 QUESTION: The torque required to start a motor or machine from standstill. Due to static friction effects, it is always greater than the torque needed to maintain motion. Source: Glossary of Terms, "General Motion Control," Rockwell Automation Inc., Publication GMC (April 1998). June 13, 2006 QUESTION: A high-performance valve used to regulate flow, temperature, or pressure of a process.
Question of the Week Q106
March 28, 2006 QUESTION: A graphical language for depicting sequential behavior of a control system (or control action) is referred to as a sequential function chart (SFC). It's used to define time- and event-driven control sequences, and is considered as an extremely effective graphical language to express both high-level parts of a control program and to program low-level sequences—for example, device interfaces. SFC elements are used to structure the internal organization to perform sequential control functions in order to partition a set of steps and transitions connected by directed links . A transition is the condition whereby control passes from one step of the SFC to another—along the corresponding directed link.
Lab to fab: Printed electronics facility opens, uses new platform technology
Nanoident's new OFAB is fitted with a class 100 cleanroom using highly sophisticated air filtration. Here, materials with electrical properties are deposited onto a substrate in extremely thin (20 to 200 nm) layers. Linz, Austria —"Faster, cheaper, better" may reach a new level in semiconductor manufacturing with the recent opening of a new high-volume printing plant.
AS-Interface network I/O nodes help high-speed communication
Twinsburg, OH —New combined transaction functionality in the VBA family of I/O modules from Pepperl+Fuchs allows transmission of fast analog signals and dedicated high-speed communications profile updates of analog data at the full speed of the network, using AS-Interface specification 3.0. Among other benefits, it is now possible to define a “configuration channel” between I/O devices and the gateway, allowing complex devices to be configured and used easily on AS-Interface. The network often is used inside machines or in the field to connect binary sensors and actuators to higher control-level communications.
New: Rugged bus cables for process automation networks
Northwire offers the DataCell Field Profibus PA and other rugged cables for use with industrial networks, serving process control and machine control applications. Networked process automation networks may get a boost in reliability with Northwire Inc. DataCell Field rugged bus cables for Profibus PA .
Proximity switches: New line suitable for liquid level monitoring, positioning
Capacitive proximity switches from Contrinex monitor levels of liquids, pastes, and bulk material in machines and more, even through non-metallic dividing walls. Old Saybrook, CT —New line of capacitive proximity switches from Contrinex is intended for monitoring the levels of liquids, pastes, and bulk materials in machines, installations, and vehicles, even through non-metallic dividing walls. Devices are also suitable for use as limit switches, contact-free position switches, for monitoring and position, as pulse generators for counting, distance, and speed measurement. Switches are enclosed in PPO or PTFE synthetic housings and 304 stainless-steel or nickel-plated brass metal housings and potted in epoxy resin.
Microcontroller has integrated LCD driver
Family of highly integrated, power efficient 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) devices from Freescale Semiconductor is optimized for LCDs.
How to export technology: 4 checkpoints
Break the rules on export of technologies and software and you may experience the feel of handcuffs. What you need to know is neither cut and dried nor uniform. Sensors, logic, actuators, software, networking technologies (much of what Control Engineering subscribers design, use, purchase, integrate, and export) are subject to those rules and restrictions.
Stepper Motion Evolution
It’s the only motion-control method able to run in open loop, without the need for position feedback. This makes stepper-motor-based systems simpler than servo motion systems, with the lower cost of step motors adding to the attraction. Coupled with other evolving design enhancements—such as hardware miniaturization and higher torque density—stepper systems stay competitive fo...
Ladder logic: Strengths, weaknesses
Anyone who has ever worked on a project knows that one of the differences between an amateur and a professional is using the right tool for the job. This holds true whether repairing a faucet or programming a measurement and control system. Recognizing this need, software vendors often allow multiple programming methods to be used with their software. Tips, diagrams follow.
Engineers’ Choice 2006 – Motors
Engineers Choice CompetitionNew Products for 2006: Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Control Engineering — February 15, 2007The annual Control Engineering Engineers Choice Awards highlight significant new products from the previous year as selected by readers of Control Engineering print publications and electronic newsletters. The following new products are nominees for that competition. To be eligible, a new product must have been introduced to the U.S.
EU rules open opportunities for control system vendors
European Union (EU) legislation is the most important driver in the automation and control solutions market for the European water and waste water sector. At the same time, technological advances and the widening provision of open systems will help overcome challenges such as ensuring highly compatible automation solutions, establishing strong systems-integrator networks and providing PC-based systems, according to a report by market research firm, Frost & Sullivan . The report , entitled, Automation and Control Solution in the European Water and Waste Water Sector M04B-10 , finds that the automation and control solutions market in the European water and wastewater sector earned revenues of $540.4 million in 2006, and estimates this will reach $780.9 million in 2013. “Stringent EU directives aimed at improving water and waste water infrastructure are the primary driver for the growth of the market across Europe,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Karthikeyan Balasubramaniyam.
Motion control: Actuators pack high power into small footprints
Parker Hannifin Corporation 's Actuator Division introduced the P5TT and P5TD Series Twin-Rod cylinders designed for light duty, non-rotational and bearing-guided linear motion applications. The series completes the company's family of compact, high-speed, short-stroke actuators that provide superior power in a smaller footprint. Designed specifically for use on conveyor equipment, packaging machinery, and assembly systems, these cylinder series provide cost-effective, leading-edge technology to meet a wide range of application requirements. They feature dual-cylinder bores to deliver maximum force in a compact, lightweight package; direct mounting of multiple actuators to optimize cost-effectiveness in multi-axis systems; and unique engineering to provide economical solutions for light-duty, non-rotational tasks. Series standard features include internal bumpers for extend stroke along with adjustable retract bumper stop.
Products: Controller trouble-shooting software on site or long distance
The TOPAS process control toolset from ACT is available for purchase outright or through a service arrangement with the company for assistance with difficult situations via long distance. In one situation, ACT's managing director, Hans Eder, recounted that a customer sent process parameters for a unit that had a swinging controller which would not settle down. ACT loaded the information into its software and calculated settings that stabilized the process in only 10 minutes. TOPAS reportedly uses more than 20 tuning methods, evaluates them specifically for the given situation, and selects the best results.
Automated optical inspection: Benchtop system boasts speed, precision
B3 automated optical inspection system for printed circuit boards from YESTech offers a variety of improvements, including faster speed and advanced image processing technology for better defect coverage. San Clemente, CA —B3 benchtop automated optical inspection system for populated printed circuit boards from YESTech is said to offer up to a 3X improvement in speed over previous versions, and new Fusion Lighting and advanced image processing technology to provide high defect coverage. Equipment is set to debut at the 2007 Apex Printed Circuits Expo in Los Angeles later this month. B3 features enhanced board handling and software/board set-up compatibility with other YESTech automated optical inspection systems.
Enclosures Product Research (February 2007)
Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding Enclosures/Consoles.
Sensors for industrial robots
SR-61 collision sensor is the latest addition to the line of collision protection devices from ATI Industrial Automation.
Fix it before breakdown
The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” may have had its day—and may still apply to some situations—but is unacceptable in today’s lean manufacturing environments. Critical production processes and automated manufacturing systems can’t afford the cost of unplanned downtime amounting to thousands of dollars per hour.
Collision sensors protect robots
SR-61 collision sensor is the latest addition to the line of collision protection devices from ATI Industrial Automation. It reportedly has a lower operating range for increased sensitivity in applications using 3-5 kg capacity robots and is designed to prevent damage to robotic end-effectors caused by robot crashes.
Upgrade Streamlines Application Software
The objectives of the control system upgrade request were clear: make process flow diagrams easier to read, increase security, and improve end-user configurable inputs and alarms. System integrator Magnum Engineering & Controls was put to the test when a global Fortune 500 Company asked for help to improve its semiconductor manufacturing process.
Control Engineering Podcast
Control Engineering Podcast Honeywell EMEA User Group Podcast: New Technologies for Creative Process Engineers Honeywell Process Systems' Dan Sheflin and Brian Chapman discuss their new control and wireless technologies with Peter Welander, Control Engineering process industries editor. Recorded in Seville, Spain, November 14, 2006. Listen to Podcast.
New pneumatic valve positioners save air, improve communications
Foxboro, MA and Alpharetta, GA —Two new valve positioners improve performance with sophisticated technology advances: The Foxboro SRD991 Intelligent Positioner, from Invensys Process Systems, provides easy configuration and operation of pneumatic valve actuators from local and remote locations. Supporting HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1, or Profibus-PA communication, the SRD991 is certified for installations involving explosive atmospheres. Siemens ’ SIPART PS2 positioner is known for its extremely low air consumption. When balanced, air use is virtually eliminated reducing operating costs.