Back to top
In our previous post of this series, we learned that the selection of a feedback device is critical for precise motion applications, and that where it's located is important as well. Today's post covers some additional information regarding the difference between absolute and incremental feedback and why should I care, as well as a few other considerations.

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.

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.

In July of last year I posted a blog about the CHIMP robotic platform. CHIMP stands for CMU Highly Intelligent Platform. It was one of 16 entries under the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Agency Projects) sponsored Robotics Challenge program with the goal of developing robotic technologies that can be used in harsh environments such as man-made or natural disasters in lieu of humans. The robots will be required to open doors, turn valves, connect hoses, use hand tools to cut through panels, drive a vehicle, clear debris, and climb a ladder.
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)!
The utilization of robotics in manufacturing is currently a $5B industry and is projected to grow to a $20B industry (Source: A Roadmap for U.S. Robotics, From Internet To Robotics - 2013 Edition). A major contributor to the projected growth will come from small to mid-size users in a variety of industries where historically the demand was from the very large corporations in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Counter to traditional industrial robots that are big, noisy, and costly, companies are developing innovative lightweight robots designed for small to mid-sized users.

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

Do you remember the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage? What about Innerspace? Both of these movies feature stories about a small vessel working inside of the human body. At the time these movies seemed impossible because there were microscopic humans operating the ships. Of course now it is 2014 and surely you've heard of Arthroscopy. In my last blog post, I discussed drive-by-wire in a car. Essentially, the mechanical linkage between you and the steering wheel clutched in your white-knuckled fists is going away-replaced by sensors on the steering wheel that tell an actuator motor which way, how hard, and how far to turn the car's wheels based on how far and how hard you are turning the steering wheel.
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…
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.


Blog Taxonomy Helper

Aerospace & Defense
Automated Guided Vehicles
Embedded Motion
Food Regulations
Installation Tips
Oil and Gas
University Partnerships
Subscribe to Blog in Motion