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  • Feedback Sensors Keep Servo Motors on Target

    Fundamentally a servo system can perform no more accurately than the accuracy of the feedback device controlling it. In addition, errors in speed or position can be introduced into the system by the less than perfect mechanisms that transfer the motor power to the load. Environmental factors like electrical noise or temperature  may also introduce positioning errors. Sometimes the errors are acceptable. More frequently, however, they are not. After all, servo motors can be expensive, and the expectation is that they will be the most reliable and accurate of all positioning devices.

    When it comes to high-performance servo applications, feedback devices fall into several different categories. In this white paper, learn how each offers unique advantages and disadvantages, both electrical and mechanical, which make one better suited for a particular application than another.

    Gene Matthews, product manager for Kollmorgen
  • Dual Die Compensation for MEMS Pressure Sensors

    Several pressure sensor manufactures promote product incorporating "dual die compensation." This compensation technique is employed for very low-pressure sensors where common mode errors cannot be compensated by any other means, for either gage or differential pressure measurements.

    There are two forms of dual die compensation. One form of dual die compensation incorporates two pressure sensors but only one of the two sensors provides a pressure sensitive output. The second sensor is passive and is used solely to correct for common mode errors. The second form of dual die compensation incorporates two pressure sensors and both sensors provide a pressure sensitive signal. Both these compensation techniques are embodied in patent 6,023,978. This compensation technique applies to all common mode errors and is the only technique available to compensate for long term drift of output offset voltage.

    This white paper illustrates dual die compensation methods where common mode errors are reduced in comparison to traditional methods and illustrates a reference to traditional sensor construction where common mode errors are not reduced.

    All Sensors
  • The 'Less Is More Approach' to Robotic Cable Management

    In recent years, cable management has come into the limelight because machine reliability has increased dramatically, even though robots have grown more complex. Unfortunately, the methods used to attach and guide cables have not quite followed suit. While managing cables and hoses is often an afterthought in most designs, it is truly a vital part of any well-functioning robot.

    Since the 1960s, cable management methods for robots have not changed dramatically. Most experts agree that one of the top blunders made is underestimating cable-management issues. For instance, during a conference hosted by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), a group of leading system integrators cited cable issues as the number one reason for downtime in robotics cells. Headaches range from tangled and corkscrewed cables, to complete breaks that cause downtime, lost revenue and damaged reputations.

    This is why the ways in which robot cables are attached and guided is important. This white paper discusses the less is more approach to cable management and how robotics engineers and integrators can apply this best practice. It centers on designing cable management systems for six-axis robots – including cables, hose, tubing, carrier, and connectors – in three separate sections.

    Don Nester, product manager for Igus
  • 3D Printing With FDM

    A 3D printer is a machine that creates objects from plastic or other materials using an additive manufacturing process. Additive manufacturing produces objects in a succession of layers from the bottom, up. This is the opposite of traditional subtractive manufacturing processes, which produce objects by cutting material away from a block to create the shape desired. A 3D printer simplifies and accelerates the process of making prototypes and finished goods. The 3D printing process is so easy and yet so powerful that both home-based businesses and Fortune 500 companies count on it. Installations range from a single machine in a hobbyist's basement to manufacturing centers with dozens of systems.

    How does a 3D printer work? Beginning with computer-aided design (CAD) data, which defines a tool path, the 3D printer extrudes and deposits molten thermoplastic in layers to build the part from the bottom up. This makes very complex parts easy to produce.

    Stratasys manufactures several lines of machines, including 3D printers and their big brothers, 3D production systems (or production 3D printers). This includes the product lines Dimension, uPrint and Fortus, as well as Hewlett Packard's Designjet line. At the core of each system is fused deposition modeling (FDM). Stratasys FDM machines create functional parts by extruding and depositing thermoplastic materials in layers.

    This white paper walks you step-by-step through the FDM process.

    Joe Hiemenz, Stratasys
  • Ferrules: Your Best Insurance Against Costly Connection Failure

    Thanks to its superior flexibility, longer flex life and resistance to vibration, insulated stranded wire is the ideal choice for most panels. From both a physical and electrical perspective, however, bare stranded wire is a poor choice for connections. Stripped of its insulation, stranded wire quickly loses the coherence that provides its strength and resiliency. Once it begins to unravel, it is subject to breakage and corrosion that can produce overheating, short circuits and connection failure, as well as cause serious safety issues.

    Ferrules can rectify this situation by giving stranded wire the qualities of solid wire where it is needed most, at the point of connection. Ferrules significantly simplify installation, improve safety and diminish the risk of costly panel failure.

    This white paper highlights the advantages of ferrules for electrical connections and includes guidelines for their selection and purchase.

  • Drives and Motion With Profinet

    Profinet, the "industrial Ethernet" communication system based on standard Ethernet, combines with the Profidrive drive profile, which has already been used successfully with Profibus for decades, as well as other technologies such as device and application profiles, to form the basis for an extremely high-performance and future-proof drive technology.

    Drive technology with Profinet has a comprehensive range of applications, scalable performance with cycle times as short as a few µs, and user-friendly, cost-effective implementation.

    In this white paper, learn how Profinet, combined with Profidrive, becomes a drive bus for the most stringent requirements that is also suitable without limitation for all other automation engineering control tasks.

  • Maximize the Success of Your Control System Implementation With Standards-Based Object-Oriented Design

    The successful implementation of control systems for continuous or batch processes starts with good design. While there are many possible ways to approach the design effort, the best result should blend appropriate quantities of tried-and-true methods with value-adding emerging technologies.

    While object-oriented design may no longer be considered an emerging technology, it is nonetheless treated as a newcomer in the process control field. The purpose of this white paper is to describe the many benefits of utilizing object-oriented design principals in the design of a modern process control solution.

    Rick Slaugenhaupt, owner of TechMinder Consulting
  • Implementing Ethernet Technology in Industrial Applications

    Manufacturers are faced with the constant demand to increase productivity and reduce operating costs. A powerful industrial tool being implemented today to streamline production is reliable, enterprise-wide connectivity, providing the highest level of visibility, control and flexibility. To accommodate evolving networking requirements, such as decentralization of control, integrated diagnostics and simplified maintenance, network protocols integrate with industrial equipment, and control systems to communicate crucial status updates and production data.

    As practices migrate away from point-to-point topology, advanced architectures ensure connectivity, collaboration and integration from the device level to enterprise business systems. With protocols available, each offering diverse features, benefits and performance capabilities, this white paper will assist users in selecting the ideal communication solution to suit individual application needs.

  • Key Considerations for Selecting an Arc-Flash Relay

    Arc-flash relays are an effective defense against dangerous arc-flash events, and the decision to include such a relay in a design is an easy one. Less easy, however, is selecting the optimal relay for an application.

    According to OSHA, industrial arc-flash events cause about 80% of electrically related accidents and fatalities among qualified electrical workers. Even if personnel injuries are avoided, arc flash can destroy equipment, resulting in costly replacement and downtime.

    In response, many designers are adding arc-flash relays to electrical systems. These devices greatly mitigate the effects of an arc flash by detecting a developing incident and sending a trip signal to a breaker to disconnect the current that feeds it. Arc-flash relays are complex devices; an understanding of the technical details of their operation and features is essential.

    This white paper covers key points of arc-flash relay technology so that specifying engineers, OEM designers, and end users can make an informed selection decision.

  • Rotary Ball Spline Technologies

    Before you specify a rotary ball spline, ask the question: "Should the rotary spline nut be riding on angular contact ball bearings or crossed roller bearings?" After ascertaining your application's requirements - stroke length, velocity, applied load, mounting space, duty cycle, required life, dimensions, installation direction, environment and accuracy - you're ready to factor in the pros and cons of the two technologies.

    If you are considering a rotary ball spline, you know that in addition to a ball spline's forte – transference of torque – the rotary ball spline adds a nut that rotates on the ball spline shaft making the unit capable of simultaneous linear and rotary motion with sub-millimeter accuracy.

    These linear and rotational capabilities would seem perfectly suited to a multitude of automation applications. This white paper teaches you the basics of ball spline technology and discusses how design considerations make choosing which kind of rotary ball spline critical.

    NB Corporation of Ameria
  • Maplesoft Software Used in Advanced Engineering Research

    Engineering researchers must not only develop models quickly, but they also require in-depth analytical tools to help them understand on a fundamental level the intricacies of their models. Fortunately, tools like MapleSimTM and MapleTM, from Maplesoft, are available to researchers to aid in their model development and analysis.

    With MapleSim, researchers can quickly develop their models and can gain insight into their systems' behaviors. Researchers at many academic institutions have adopted MapleSim, advanced physical modeling software from Maplesoft, as a key tool in their engineering research activities.

    This white paper illustrates how engineering researchers are making significant strides in their work with the help of Maplesoft technology. It highlights the work of six researchers from around the world, and discusses such diverse projects as space rovers, humanoid robots, parallel manipulators, golf clubs, and electric and hybrid-electric vehicle batteries.

  • MapleSim: Technological Superiority in Multi-Domain Physical Modeling and Simulation

    Engineers constantly demand innovation in modeling and simulation. This is driven by the need to simulate, for example, ever more sophisticated vehicle systems while minimizing development time and cost. The computer models necessary to generate these designs consume project time at an increasing rate, due largely to the limitations of existing simulation tools and the need to switch between tools to address multiple physical domains. While many existing simulation tools are based on a design metaphor that works well for control system design, engineers do not find them intuitive for physical modeling. Additionally, these tools often produce simulations that are too slow to model complex systems and, in some cases, lack the mathematical power to solve the governing equations.

    This white paper will explore the historical development of the early tools for simulation, and then expand on their design deficiencies. This is followed by a discussion of MapleSim, its unique design characteristics, and how it bypasses the limitations of current modeling and simulation technology.

  • CAE: The Future Is Now

    Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) software is the designer's best friend, a tool proven to enhance the productivity of the user. It has liberated engineers from the most tedious aspects of their job, shortened project turnaround times and improved the quality and accuracy of their work.

    For example, electrical CAE (E-CAE) systems have assumed all functions once performed manually or by using more than one program, like a computer-aided design (CAD) package to create graphical schematics and the table-based Microsoft Excel to create parts lists. Those programs couldn't share data with each other, which necessitated a great deal of manual (and redundant) data entry, crossreferencing and error-checking. That is a low-value use of an engineer's time and a complex machine or plant design required an awful lot of it. Today's advanced electrical CAE programs have automated these and many other non-value-added tasks like wire numbering and device tagging. Engineers are completing assignments that once took days or weeks in a small fraction of the time.

    In this white paper, learn how the latest generation of CAE programs has broken decisively from CAD and earlier CAE tools by adding a powerful central database that enables them to provide substantial additional automation. This database can hold a large archive of recurrent content, ready for insertion into a project with a single keystroke.

  • Gaining a Strategic Edge Through Interdisciplinary CAE Software

    For many years, using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) systems has raised the productivity of the individual engineer. Now, these legacy systems have been eclipsed by a new concept: database-centric, interdisciplinary CAE systems. These powerful tools are spearheading transformative change in engineering workflows, product design and order fulfillment. Companies embracing the full potential of these advanced systems are realizing efficiencies worth tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

    While legacy CAE systems function as standalone tools for a single discipline, database-centric systems support multiple disciplines on the same platform so electrical, fluid power and instrumentation and process control engineers can share data, even work collaboratively. Users can transfer data in real-time to mechanical engineers or controls software developers or send it via their company's enterprise system to the sales, purchasing, production and service departments. Furthermore, these powerful CAE systems can store and reuse vast amounts of recurrent data, encouraging companies to standardize as much product content as possible to maximize productivity, ensure error-free outcomes, shorten order turnaround times, and better manage costs through the entire order fulfillment process.

    This white paper discusses how a new generation of CAE tools built on a powerful central data backbone has been shown to deliver overall engineering cost savings by measurably improving data quality, design efficiency and time-to-market.

  • System Rigidity

    Reliable motion control is a necessary component in applications ranging from process control and defense to medical equipment and industrial automation. As a significant contributor to maintaining positional accuracy and repeatability, system rigidity is critical to ensuring continued system performance.

    This white paper explains why understanding how various motion control technologies, mounting methods and design factors impact rigidity is key to implementing actuator solutions that provide the ideal level of control and performance.

  • Remote Emergency Shutdown Device Improves Safety and Performance at Oil Production Platform

    Updated government regulations created a need for a major international oil and gas company to install a direct, real-time communications link at a platform located off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

    ENI Petroleum is an Italian multinational oil and gas company with around 78,400 employees at sites in 77 countries. ENI operates in the oil and gas, electricity generation and sales, petrochemicals, oil field services construction and engineering industries. It has oil and natural gas production of almost two million barrels per day, with exploration and production efforts at sites throughout North American, Africa and Asia.

    One of these production locations is an oil well platform called the "Devil's Tower" that is located just off the coast of Louisiana in the Mississippi Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico. The platform rises 5,610 ft. above the sea bed. Until 2010, it was the deepest production truss spar in the world. Drill ships perform periodic operations within close proximity to subsea pipelines that transport oil and gas to and from the production platform.

    In this white paper, you will learn how a new data concentrator system allowed the control room and drill ships to communicate at a distance of more than 100 km, providing security in case of an incident while avoiding costly shutdowns.

    Jim McConahay, P.E., senior field applications engineer, Moore Industries and Richard Conway, facility engineer, ENI Petroleum
  • Essential Criteria to Consider When Choosing RAM

    When looking for a new computer, there are many important factors to consider before beginning your project – one of the most essential being the specifications of the RAM that will be included.

    Storing and transmitting the data used to function, RAM is a critical component of any computer. However, due to the variety of options available, picking the right specifications for your system can be an extremely time consuming task. In this white paper, Ian Bacon, computer design engineer at CCS-Inc, has compiled a checklist of essential criteria one should consider when beginning their next project.

    Ian Bacon, computer design engineer, CCS-Inc.
  • Sensors and Vision: Usage and Application Trends

    An electronic survey of our readers was conducted in October 2012 in order to identify usage and application trends of sensors and vision among the industrial machine builders that comprise our readership. In this Market Intelligence Report, you will find detailed survey results with key findings summarized. The survey consisted of the following questions:

    1. Which types of sensors does your machines use?

    2. How are they most often connected to the I/O?

    3. Do you employ machine vision?

    4. Which type of vision system do you use?

    5. What is your machine builder industry?

    6. What is your job function?

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