Is there a need for closed loop feedback greater than 20,000 CPR?

In terms of feedback, there are applications that require absolute feedback, whether that be rotary, single turn, multi-turn, the idea of in a power loss not losing position. There are absolutely applications where that’s required and examples would be extremely high value parts. If you have coordinated motion where, imagine, that you’ve moved X, Y, […]

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Why should I buy a high-quality motor for a mechatronic application?

Let’s talk about the simplest stepper motor. You can buy stepper motors on Amazon, right? How do they differ from a high performance stepper motor that may actually be the same price, or a slightly higher price? When a manufacturer makes a high quality motor, they want to go ahead and have the air gap […]

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What impact will the IOT have on mechatronic solutions?

As it relates to mechatronic solutions, what we’re seeing is people migrate, to go ahead and utilize smart motor technology with the most prominent industrial networks tied into them, whether that be, if you’re an Allen-Bradley fan, even an IP, Beckhoff and others, EtherCAT, the variants of fieldbuses that are out there, Modbus, Profibus, over […]

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Driverless Car runs afoul of the Law

Among the many rights that are reserved to the States of the United States is the right to license motor vehicles for operation on public roadways.  Last week these rights came into conflict with Uber’s driverless vehicle testing program in San Francisco.  In particular there are safety concerns for the citizenry of any state where […]

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The Future of Electric Power

The future of electric power is full of uncertainty.  How we generate power, where we generate power, how we generate power are all important issues that are driving change in the utility industry.  Those changes will factor into the future price of electricity, but even more important is understanding the demand side.  Will power demand […]

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Time and Motion

Among the difficulties in  mechatronics are the many relationships within any given system.  In most cases we approach each application from a certain perspective and somewhat randomly try to sort out he most important relationships in terms that are familiar to us as individuals.  For the mechanical engineer it is easiest to interpret mechatronics as […]

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Engineering Big Challenges

Machines are designed to fulfill a purpose.  That purpose is usually to solve a specific problem. In broad terms, machines convert input energy into motion to perform a task or produce a product.  Machines are inanimate, even though they often exhibit motion through the use of mechanisms.  Machinery is primarily about doing work, doing it […]

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What is Intelligence?

In order to have a discussion about artificial intelligence, we need to understand what intelligence is.  Just defining what intelligence is, is no small thing.  Mankind has been trying to define it for as long as we have been around.  Rats can exhibit considerable intelligence by solving a maze using cognitive and problem solving intelligence. […]

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Artificial Intelligence may not be so Intelligent

Computers have, so far, shown no signs of evolving.  No cellphone has initiated a phone call on it’s own to start a conversation with a human. The science of statistics suggests that a room full of monkeys will someday generate a Shakespeare play.  Something to do with random processes and time.  A computer will never […]

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The Language of Control and other Semantic Problems

The English language is the de facto second language of the world.  And with respect to the many great contributions of science pioneers in all the many cultures of the world, English ends up as the language of engineering and control systems.  Not really surprising since English is also the primary language of commerce, even […]

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Power Conversions

Generating electrical power for use by consumers or industry is a big business.  There is a lot of applied science required in order to make it all work.  Strangely the dominant method of generating electricity is almost always by burning something to make steam, the steam turns a turbine that is attached to a generator. […]

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Electric Power

Delivering electric power across the United States was an incredible accomplishment that spanned decades.  From the early electric ‘grids’ in urban areas dedicated to bringing electric light to millions of customers to the giant electric GRID that we have today has changed modern society forever. there are many issues with the current grid.  The fact […]

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Delivering Electric Power

More than any other form of power, electricity has the virtue of portability. Compared to steam, hydraulic or any other form of power, electrons are easier to move…

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Machine Learning

Machine learning is a special branch of artificial intelligence.  Sadly, a lot of the terminology used in discussion of these subjects is ambiguous and designed to suggest equivalence…

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Robots and Automation

In manufacturing circles, the recent headline that Foxconn, Apple’s biggest contract manufacturer, intends to install 60,000 robots to replace workers is big news.  The implications of that news…

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Manufacturing lines are getting a little Blurry

3D printing is making a big splash in the market.  There have been a number of variants of the technology that are driving very complex changes into the…

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Work is What We Do – Part 2

How we do work has changed dramatically over the last few hundred years.  We can arbitrarily refer to the Industrial Revolution using steam power as Industrie 1.0, irrespective…

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Work is What We Do – Part 1

Work is what we do to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves and our loved ones.  Work is that effort required to achieve survival and safety.  Throughout human history…

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Reflections on the Manufacturing Technology Show

For decades we have had the Machine Tool Show in Chicago every two years.  Currently the show, formerly know as the International Machine Tool Show is now being…

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The Industrial Internet of Things, for Real

How might the Industrial Internet of Things actually play out?  Big Data and Internet of Things are huge buzz words that are being thrown around pretty loosely.  Mostly…

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More Material Handling Magic

Could a future implementation of the Industrial Internet of Things include an application that manages the flow of products super efficiently so that the local grocery store can…

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Material Handling Magic

Arthur C. Clarke said “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  Every so often a shift takes place that borders on magic.  In the world of material…

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Is it Intelligence?

The next revolution in automation is much hyped, Industrie 4.0 as the Europeans refer to it.  What is it really?  The application of relatively unlimited computing power to…

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Intelligence is Coming to an object near You

Does Artificial Intelligence mean that mankind’s goal is to create human intelligence?  Depends on who you ask.  If that is the assumption, it is not likely to happen…

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Machine Intelligence

The Machine Intelligence debate goes on, with the latest topics including predictive maintenance. The implication seems to be that if a machine can predict equipment failures and eliminate…

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