POLITICO (1)

Foldable cars from POLITICO Magazine’s ‘What Works’

Designing everything from driverless Uber-like systems to folding cars Scientist Kent Larson the fusion of computers, engineering, and robotics to get more living out of less space. His…

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Robots Everywhere

The International Federation of Robotics reports another record year of robot sales in 2014.  225,000 robots were sold worldwide.  26% over the previous year.  The estimated inventory of…

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different-types-of-safety-switches

Take care of your machines and people with safety switches

by Andrew Waugh, Product Manager for Sensors and Safety at AutomationDirect.com Operator safety is a top priority for machine and robot installations, and safety switches help implement the…

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Complexity and Control

Complexity in the controls world is expanding exponentially.  The amount of data necessary to describe the real world is staggering when fully considered.  Sensors and feedback devices of…

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Interoperability, Complexity, Big Data

“The unknown future rolls toward us…” as Sarah Conner put it in the Terminator sequel, and so it is with the Internet of Things.  The dichotomy between hype…

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Electric Motors – the Workhorse of Industry

OK, so Tesla won.  The AC motor became much more popular because it turned without the need for complex and expensive speed controls.  With mass production, the AC…

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Electric Motors in Context

It seems odd that after over 100 years of electric motor manufacturing, we have very few people in the industry that can really ‘boil it down’ to the…

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Buy or Build

When is it appropriate to build something custom or buy the next best thing that will get the job done?  Manufacturers are constantly faced with this problem in…

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How Big is Big Data?

Another component of the “Big Data” is what “big” really means.  In the early days of the PLC an I/O map of 1024 inputs and 1024 outputs was…

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Not So Big Data

“Big Data” is all the buzz in Information Technology circles and business editorials.  Generally the discussion is around how we will ever be able to make meaningful use…

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Time to Trade Up!

Obsolete systems can be a liability, or they can be an opportunity to make improvements.  Aging production equipment often has a history of increasing downtime that makes it…

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The Age of Industrial Controls

At the dawn of the Age of Industrial Controls computers were programmed with punch cards in Fortran and programs were run in batch process.  Computer hardware was the…

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Obsolete!

It has been roughly 50 years since Dick Morely created the first programmable controller, and while the demise of the PLC has been predicted many times, it is…

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Complexity and Cost

The next generation of design is going to be something remarkable.  Consider the impact of part fabrication in which complexity has no impact on cost.  In fact, the…

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Cars and Printing – Part 2

The cost analysis of most 3D printing processes is based on the direct material cost, usually in dollars per pound.  By making machine costs low and eliminating tooling…

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Cars and Printing

The United State automotive industry has recovered its production capacity to 16,000,000 vehicles a year for domestic consumption.  That’s a lot of cars.  It’s important because it is…

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Energy & Storage

Energy continues to make the news this week as the barrel price for crude oil goes up and gasoline prices at the pump increase.  Electricity, which has increased…

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Robot R&D

Breakthroughs in robotics continue to make headlines.  Most of the interest generated by the dramatic reduction in system cost for the new class of “human safe” robots. Most…

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GEC-Solutions-linear-actuator

Position sensors enhance motion system accuracy

by Steve Meyer, Contributing Editor Improved position sensors can reduce motion system cost and increase performance. Motion control is, first and foremost, about control. The old engineering adage…

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Internet Factorynet

The Internet of Things has spawned a lot of hype in the last couple of years.  Lately there have been a number of themes around specific segments and…

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Magnets and Magnequench

In a recent television broadcast a story is told about the importance of rare earths and magnets.  Molycorp and Magnequench are the lead businesses in the story.  Problem…

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You Can Fix Stupid

Ron White has famously said “You Can’t Fix Stupid”.  And he’s right, of course.  We all do stuff that’s a little crazy and generally, we live longe enough…

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Tech

ShareTechnology is everywhere.  Better get used to it.  Especially in the presence of high powered processors under $1 and System-on-Chip solutions that can cost as little as $10….

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Tech

ShareTechnology is everywhere.  Better get used to it.  Especially in the presence of high powered processors under $1 and System-on-Chip solutions that can cost as little as $10….

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RV8 Solid State Relay

IDEC’s solid state relay for high repetition and power requirements

IDEC Corporation announces the addition of the RV8S solid state interface relays to its existing RV8 DIN rail product line. The RV8S features 100mA to 3A switching capability in a compact 6mm wide space. Other leading RV8S features include high switching cycles, extended operating life and high-speed load switching. A common application is as an