The father of the PLC talks about the Internet of Things
In this exclusive interview, Dick Morley shares his thoughts on machine communication and the IIoT.
Dick Morley is considered by many to be the father of the programmable logic controller (PLC). His involvement with the creation of the first Modicon PLC for General Motors in 1968 was a historic step in the development of industrial controls.
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Modular design shrinks big machine problems
Ease of installation and simplified configuration changes outweigh initial design costs.
Going modular in its machine design was a matter of survival for Matrix Packaging, says Marc Willden, vice president and general manager. The Saukville, Wisconsin-based company designs and makes vertical form-fill-seal machines, the type of systems…
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There are many experienced and productive control designers and programmers in industry today. The companies they work for know the value of a good controls engineer. Unfortunately, there are many inexperienced engineers, such as recent college…
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One convenient eBook with the latest technology trends, back-to-basics tutorials and application stories on industrial controllers — from PLCs to PACs.
The programmable logic controller (PLC) is essentially an industrial mini-computer, capable of being programmed with one of the IEC 61131-3 languages. Its primary benefit when first introduced was the elimination of problems associated with altering…
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How much effect will linear power supplies’ EMI have on machine controls?
A machine builder asks about the trade-offs between a switched mode power supply and linear regulated.
We’re trying to save cabinet space by changing from a linear regulated power supply to a switched mode power supply. From what I understand, we’ll get a higher power density with a smaller footprint, while the power factor is about the same. My biggest concern is, with so many devices offering built-in intelligence these days, will a switching power supply create so much electromagnetic interference that it will cause a controls problem on our form, fill and seal machines?
Any mounting recommendations to reduce EMI? What about unregulated? And how close are power supplies to offering their own control capabilities, or is that already available?
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Cybersecurity: Who can hack it?
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Imagine the gains in productivity and profitability you’ll realize when you connect machinery to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). More information means smarter decisions. And collective intelligence is better than siloed data.
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Which Encoder Communication Protocol Is Right for Our Application?
If the application dictates the device, does the device dictate the communication?
Question: We’ve been using resolvers to track motor-shaft position in the CNC machines we build for years. And no one has asked, so we’ve never considered changing that technology. But now a customer has requested we also utilize encoders. While the variety of encoder types—capacitive, magnetic, optical—is pretty straightforward, we’re having some discussions as we try to understand the communication protocols available and which direction to go.
Can I replace a resolver with a sin/cos encoder? What about Hiperface, EnDat, SSI? If the application dictates the encoder or resolver, does the device dictate the communication protocol?
Join in the discussion below.
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NIST Project to Give Design Software New Digital Threads
Researchers Will Demonstrate Feasibility of Using Standardized 3D Models for Electronically Exchanging and Processing Product and Manufacturing Information
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers and their industrial partners have embarked on a Design to Manufacturing and Inspection Project to add a new dimension to manufacturing capabilities. They will demonstrate the feasibility—and benchmark the advantages—of using standardized, 3D models for electronically exchanging and processing product and manufacturing information all the way from design through inspection of the final part, a tightly integrated, seamless string of activities that manufacturers are calling a "digital thread.”
Tom Hedburg, one of the researchers in the project, explains, “What we’re talking about is a 3D drawing with all the product information embedded in it. It’s a way of…
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Industrial vacuum machine builder uses a configurable control cabinet system to compress costs, as well as design-and-build cycle.
"Creating a configurable control cabinet reduced engineering and delivery time by nearly 50%," says Kevin Weaver, president at Northwind Air Systems, manufacturer of the DuroVac brand of industrial vacuums in Mississauga, Ontario. Weaver…
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Motion Control Association and Motor & Motion Association announce new merger
Moving forward with motors, drives and motion control
Emerson drive and motor technology commended by Swedish Energy Agency
How gearmotors offer additional savings with improved energy efficiency
In this State of Technology Report, we examine the current state of motors, drives and motion control.
Motion control has continued to evolve over the past decade. Additionally, each new iteration of motors and drives opens up improved performance, intelligence, monitoring, networking and integration.
It hasn’t been that long since servo systems…
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Power Transmission Applications Use Lead Screws and Timing Belts, While Motion Control Applications Include High-Precision, Highly Repeatable Systems Equipped With Feedback and Servo Loops
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Nuclear-plant actuators available to manufacturers
Electromechanical actuator uses integrated motor design and an inverted roller-screw transmission mechanism.
"Creating an actuator design based on technologies used and proven in nuclear power plants is certainly a good starting point," says Daniel Stankovich, DA Series actuator product manager, Diakont. Diakont’s DA Series actuators combine a…
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Is a stepper or servo best for torque optimization?
A machine builder wants to know the tradeoffs between stepper motors and servo motors for its CNC machines
We've been using stepper motors in the CNC machines we build. However, we sometimes lose steps because of the heavy table. We’ve considered putting a feedback device on the stepper application to optimize torque, but is there a better solution? Would a servo motor solve this? What are the tradeoffs?
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See the Latest Product Innovations in the Industry
Display of PressureAG200 media-isolated, digital pressure gauge has 4–20 mA output signal and large LCD that can display psi, bar, kg/cm, ATM, inches H20 and Hg measuring units. With a test button, users can evaluate loop current to ensure the system is set up correctly and adjust the current in 2 mA increments. Loop current update rate is 32 times/s; the display updates 3 times/s. American Sensor Technologies973/448-1901www.astsensors.com
Valve DriverD1 PWM Valve Driver is designed to drive and manage proportional valves. It converts proportional command voltage to a -1.1…1.1 A signal to drive the valve’s linear force motor. It works with 12 or 24 Vdc power supply and valve deadband; dither amplitude and maximum current are…
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New organization dubbed Motion Control and Motor Association (MCMA).
The Motion Control Association and the Motor & Motion Association have announced a new merger that combines the two groups to form the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). Combined, the newly formed MCMA serves the full supply chain from material suppliers to manufacturers to distribution channels to end users.
The new organization is part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) based in Ann Arbor, Mich. A3 is the umbrella group for MCMA, Robotic Industries Association (RIA), and AIA.
MCMA's key activities include market data collection, analysis and reporting, and their members will receive free quarterly reports. The new website is Motion Control Online and features educational information, company listings,…
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The role of presence sensing in collaborative robot applications
What should we expect from presence sensing with the increase in collaborative robot applications—where humans and robots work in the same space?
What should we expect from presence sensing with the increase in collaborative robot applications—where humans and robots work in the same space?
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Machine vision market off to record start in 2015
22% growth in first quarter means 2015 may be a record setting year for the industry.
North American sales of machine vision systems and components grew 22% in the first quarter of 2015, the market's highest quarter in history, according to trade group AIA.
When totaling machine vision sales, sales of machine vision systems and components are both included. The machine vision systems category saw a year over year increase of 24%. Machine vision systems include smart cameras and application specific machine vision (ASMV) systems. In the first quarter, smart cameras expanded by 23%, while ASMV systems increased 24%.
Similarly, machine vision components had a strong quarter with 11% growth over the first quarter of 2014. The leading product categories within machine vision components in terms of growth were lighting (28%),…
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Rockwell accepting nominations for 2015 Manufacturing Safety Excellence Awards
Rockwell currently seeking nominees for its third annual Manufacturing Safety Excellence Awards.
Rockwell is now accepting nominations for its third annual Manufacturing Safety Excellence Awards, which will be held Oct. 26 to 28 in Greenville, SC.
The awards celebrate the world’s safest manufacturing companies – those that make workplace safety a core business value by building a comprehensive program based on three key pillars: a strong safety culture, well-executed compliance procedures, and effective use of current safeguarding and automation technology.
The awards are open to manufacturers, machine builders (OEMs) or system integrators, as long as they demonstrate a true commitment to safety across the three key pillars of culture, compliance and technology. Nominations are due Sept. 14, 2015.
Past winners include…
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Replacing legacy HMI displays requires programming software.
I’ve been replacing legacy HMI screens that are many, many years past life expectancy, but they still work. The issue though is whether we still have access to a working programming terminal of the same vintage. Virtual PCs can be of some help,…
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Universal Panel Meter is configurable for measurement, display or control
"Units don’t require any power other than what the signal can produce, just like analog meters."
The Universal Panel Meter (UPM) series is the culmination of 40 years that Dr. Otto Fest, president and owner of Otek, has dedicated to current loop power. The UPM includes automatic tricolor alphanumeric display and field configurability for analog and digital inputs, data logging and control.
“In 1974, I started tinkering for a customer who asked me to replace an old meter,” says Fest. “My field was solid-state electronics design, and I was intrigued by the amount of energy wasted in the current loop. I came up with the first LCD loop-powered meter in 1974; that had a 12-V burden. What held me back was that our suppliers were not developing new technologies to do what I wanted to do, which was 100% loop or signal power to compete…
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If a Wireless Industrial Device Needs to Connect to Send a Process Update or Alarm and Can't Though the Signal Appears Strong, the Consequences Could be Severe
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Consider the Need for Safety Switches
No Matter What Type of Switch is Used, It’s Important to Recognize and Account for the Needs of Engineering Staff, Maintenance Personnel and Operators to Access a Machine for Upkeep and Cleaning.
When you've got to stop, you've got to stop. For machine builders, that's usually a job for safety switches. They allow safe access to dangerous machines by putting systems in a harmless state, which could mean cutting off power completely. In selecting a safety switch, it's important to keep in mind frequency and function, according to Roberta Nelson Shea, global marketing manager for Rockwell Automation. For something that needs to be opened only once a year, the best solution likely is to use simple guards, such as by completely encasing the area. More frequent access has to be easier. It's when access is frequent, but not constant that an interlocking safety switch comes into play."You expect somebody needs to get in there at least…
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