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Welcome to Kollmorgen's Blog in Motion.  We have been adding information and knowledge to the great web based world for many years - through white papers, technical documents, and even webinars.  Kollmorgen enjoys sharing our knowledge with you, as well as identifying other motion related tidbits through our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube feeds.  Our newest source is Blog in Motion, covering a wide range of topics, as well as some interesting contributing authors with lots of Motion experience.  If Motion Matters to you, stop by, follow, like, and sign up so you can stay tuned for what Kollmorgen has in store for you!

The human vs. robot topic in workplaces has been in the spotlight for quite a while. Look at the comments under the YouTube video where Google introduced its AI (Artificial Intelligence) assistant that could call restaurants and salons to make appointments - there is widespread concern from the audience over the risk of human workers being replaced by AI-equipped machines. But on the other hand, even Elon Musk admitted in a Tweet that “humans are underrated” at Tesla, where “excessive automation was a mistake”. Inspired by such arguments, I keep pondering over one question: what is the role of robotization, or automation in a broader sense, in today’s employment?

Usually, in discussion about these terms, we tie in the word actuator – so more precisely, what is the difference between a linear actuator vs a rotary actuator?

Linear actuators, in essence, move something along a straight line, usually back and forth.  Rotary actuators, on the other hand will turn something a number of degrees in a circle – it might be a limited number or an infinite number.

So, linear actuator – back and forth, Rotary actuator - round and round

Huge demand for robots, cobots, AI and Industry 4.0 is driving innovation hubs across the globe.  Whether the focus is software, industrial robots, cobots, medical robots or something else - the best way to facilitate and attract talent is to huddle around academic centers and universities.  Thus is born a Robotics Cluster, which is a group of entities that – formally or informally – locate in close geographical proximity.
A collaborative robot (Cobot) is a robot intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. This is in contrast with other robots, designed to operate autonomously. A "cobot" is a robot that works in tandem with a human worker. The assumption is that a cobot and a human can produce an end result better and faster than either could do working alone.

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.

We’ve covered feedback devices before in our Blog in Motion posts, but today we want to touch base on current trends we are seeing related to feedback devices for servo applications. We asked Dan Wolke a few questions about where we see the market heading.

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.
Last time in our Block and Tackle Series on “What is a Linear Actuator?” we identified the general types of mechanisms that are used to move loads in a straight line.  Today’s blog expands on that just a bit with a few more details on the different types used in the motion control world.
Mechatronics is taking a holistic look at a complete machine solution, taking account of all elements that make up that system that are part of the machine, including mechanisms, motors, drive electronics, controls, interfaces, and ergonomics.  A variety of disciplines are involved when considering a machine design utilizing a mechatronics approach. It is a melding of the physical expectations of a motion system whether mechanical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic or any hybrid of technologies used to accomplish a physical task. Often, these systems are trying to duplicate, simplify, or assist a human function, most often a repetitive motion that a machine can do better.

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