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Throughout the Iron Man series, Tony repeatedly tells the articulated cobot that he’s doing it wrong, he even goes so far to place a dunce cap on its head and put it in the corner. And this brings me to an important aspect of a cobot: teachability.

Over Christmas my family and I traveled to Cape Canaveral, Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center. Since the trip (and even before) my house has been a buzz about rockets, astronauts, count downs, stages, boosters, and did I mention rockets? Naturally, I was one of the 3 million people to watch the launch of the Falcon Heavy live. And over the last few days, there have been several things that I have found myself reflecting on – and it isn’t nostalgia for the space race – its excitement.

A collaborative robot (or Cobot) is a robot that is made to work with or interact with human co-workers. For most of us normal folks, the most well-known example is Tony Stark’s robotic arm. (For those reading who are wondering why I don’t refer to the arm as JARVIS, it’s because JARVIS is the AI and controls other things but not the robotic arm.) Tony has bit of an unhealthy relationship with the robotic arm, he insults it, puts it in a dunce cap, puts it in time out, or threatens to dismantle it. At which point the robotic arm usually hangs his robotic limb downward into sadness. But, the robotic arm is there to do work for Tony in his basement. He may have a large house, but he doesn’t want a 10-foot-tall robot behind a fence. He wants an assistant, a co-worker of sorts that can help build his Iron Man suits.
A few years ago I watched the DARPA challenge. If you’re not familiar with the challenge, the idea was to build a robot that could drive a car, climb a ladder, turn a handle, use a drill and various other activities.  In the challenge each robot was given an hour to complete the tasks.  It was a slow process. I had two reasons to watch, one, Kollmorgen has some frameless motors in the Carnegie Mellon robot and two, I’m a Virginia Tech graduate and they also provided a robot.

Question: What does TENV, or Totally Enclosed Non-Ventilated mean in regard to a servo motor?

Answer: Well – the answer is simply the motor is Totally Enclosed, and Non-Ventilated. Based on NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) definition, TENV states that the motor housing is fully enclosed and is not ventilated with a fan.

So everyone’s heard the phrase “think outside the box.”

And at Kollmorgen we do that. But the reality is we have to think about inside the box. It’s our job to protect inside the box. Our OEMs need us to be ever conscious of inside the box so that the box works and is dependable. But OEMs also look outside the box - does it fit, is it smaller, what’s the advantage?

Normally my blogs are light hearted and meant to provide some thought provoking ideas in entertaining ways. Today's blog does not have that tone. On February 21st, a recall for a soft cheese was issued due to high amounts of Listeria monocytogenes. Virginia and Maryland have been investigating the products from the manufacturer, but the sad truth is there has been a death associated with this disease. Adding to the sadness is that the CDC is not reporting the age of the person who died, but nearly half of the reported sick were newborns.

What is a laughable offense to the public is a representation of the hidden challenges behind packaging and automation. Sure, the package was mostly correct, it contained 8 buns, they were pre-sliced, and odds are pretty good that the two products weigh the same. The package is at least see-through, so as a consumer, you still know what you're buying. But what if it was a bottle of 50mg heart medication that actually contained tablets of 100mg medication?

I was going over some inventory the other day, and I ran across our old blog of 101 ways to brake your motor -episode 82.  The author of that piece, Mike, was just having fun with the title and the number 82. But it dawned on me, that we might be due for another installment.

Let me preface by saying that I am not an engineer. I do however read, on average, about 20 old and new industry articles a week, as well as the content that I share in training and on our social media pages.  I have discovered several ways to break motors throughout the years.  Some of them have some really great stories and I'll try to get their witnesses to write them down for future blog posts.  I have, however, discovered one of the most boring ways to break a motor.  And I guess I really discovered it as a child.

It sat outside for over a year, the very large wooden crate that looked like a step stool for a giant. The folks taking breaks occasionally would question what was in it. But at some point it just became the thing sitting out on the porch. Then one day we decided to open it, so off the back came

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