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Noise, and I'm not talking about that terrible band you heard at the summer fest last year, but electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise. There are 8 key steps to consider when trying to eliminate EMI noise issues. If you follow these guidelines, you are much less likely to have problems with electrical noise in your application.

There aren't many of us that open up the hefty manual that you receive with your new lawn tractor or dishwasher but if you did there would be a section in there on "preventative maintenance." There's a similar section in the documentation that comes along with most IVD analyzers and other lab equipment. The documentation often includes recommended activities to be done on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to keep your instrument running as intended.

As soon as you walk into a quiet space, you know it. In the world of automation, noise tends to be considered a necessary byproduct. A number of my colleagues have become very adept at describing the various noises made by stepper motors, leadscrews, cams, gearboxes, etc. Wheeeeeew. Wheeeeeeeeeeew. Wheeeeeeeeew, clack. This tends to be fine if you're talking about a single axis of motion, but imagine a hospital lab with hundreds or perhaps thousands of axes of motion all moving at the same time. Try having a quiet conversation in a large lab around the 8:00am sample rush - just about impossible.

Machine builders focus on functionality and reliability when first designing a new machine. Ideas are put on paper and components are strung together in block diagrams with thin lines to show the association of all the pieces. It is the most creative time in the cycle. Things can be moved and shifted with ease because everything is on a whiteboard. Even if you are far enough in the cycle to work in a CAD model, changes require no physical effort and the task of putting it together is still just an idea.
There is a nostalgic group out there thinking about when they first were introduced to the BASIC language. BASIC? What is that? Kind of like today when you say album or 45, or even vinyl – certain “younger” folk will look at you and say “whhaatt?” – after they pull the ear buds from their ears and pause there MP3 players. BASIC – Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code. I first used Basic to program a computer back in 1976, and it had already been around for over 10+ years at that point.

Most machine builders are familiar with modern touch screen HMI's. They have all but replaced older style toggle switch panels. It has also enabled machine builders give operators much more information on the process going on in a machine. HMI's can look at a multitude of machine variables and they can be presented in a more relatable graphical format than digital readout or analog meters. For instance, instead of a tank volume number, you visually show the operator much fluid is in the tank. HMI's however can go even beyond these operator related touch-screen graphics. Some of the more sophisticated features can really benefit machine builders and end-users of machines. Here are a few capabilities you might not have known about modern HMI's.

So up until now, we've seen how a couple of German immigrants came to America and turned their dreams into a reality. Fredrick came to America at the turn of the Century, Hugo a few decades later, and now Otto Kollmorgen had the reins of Kollmorgen firmly in his hands. Just how did these two companies come together? Here is a first hand account from Herb Torberg (Chief Engineer, Kollmorgen). "In the late 1950's, Kollmorgen was very busy updating submarine periscope features capabilities. Submarines were going deeper, faster and the capabilities of the periscope were greatly expanded. Included was the need to take better photographs, including sextant navigation, provide Passive electronic countermeasure, and to aid the operator in training (turning) the periscope."

Coating and lamination applications demand precise speed regulation in order to avoid velocity ripple that causes uneven coating and undesirable horizontal bars across the substrate. The key to achieving the most uniform coating is minimizing the variations in velocity as well as in metering of the coating material.
Quick recap form our last post: In 1948, the company called Inland was formed by an out-of-work immigrant whose net worth was approximately $4000. Six employees ran the facility in the basement and garage of the Unruh home. The company's first employee, Tom Bain, described conditions there as "quite crude". He recalls the cold triple garage and the problems posed by a leaky basement after a spring rain. Just about a year later - Hugo moves to Pear River and by 1957, the plant is bursting at the seams with 60 employees and a growing workload. Now let's continue…
A critical element of any servo system is the feedback device - after all, that's what makes it a servo to begin with! How about a very simple example to start off with: I have a bow and arrow, a target 30 feet away, and I left my glasses at home. So while I do see a large round "thing" in the distance, I have trouble making out the edges of the rings on the target. My feedback is not very accurate at the moment - so I'm likely not going to hit the bull's-eye. I discover my glasses in my pocket, slip them on - and now I can see the target much better, and I at least have a better chance now of hitting the target. Yes, there are other factors, environmental, arrow construction, etc., but you get the point (pun intended)!

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