The Next Age of Robots

If you were a teenager in 1977 and went to see Star Wars the first vision of C3PO and R2D2 would have made quite an impact.  In the…

Mechatronic Tips

The Future of Mechatronics

Mechatronics, like every other field of human endeavor, is undergoing rapid change driven in large part by the availability of increasingly more powerful processor technology.  In the September…

Mechatronic Tips

Human Mobility in the Age of Mechatronics

Mobility is critical to our survival.  Mobility is required to perform all the basic survival tasks in a pre-industrial culture; hunting, gathering, fishing, finding water, farming, all these require…

Mechatronic Tips

Electric Mobility

Electric Mobility is a broad category of things that move around using electric motors.  Forklifts, wheelchairs, trolling motors for small boats, golf carts are some of the types…

Mechatronic Tips

Electric Mobility

Electric powered transportation takes many forms.  The race among auto makers to produce a high volume, cost effective consumer vehicle is one of the hottest topics in the…

Mechatronic Tips

PLCs, PACs and IPCs

It seems an unlikely thing that after decades of control technology advancements we are still confused about the nature of PLCs, PACs and IPCs.  In one of the…

Mechatronic Tips

The New Product Challenge

Large industrial product suppliers sell what they make.   These companies became large because they provided equipment that many customers found useful.  But as manufacturers become large, they…

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The “Mech” in Mechatronics

The field of mechatronics exists as a complex collection of engineering disciplines that has boundary conditions which are set by the mechanical load or work that is required. …

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Innovation and Monetization

The recent trend is use “monetize” as if it were a verb.  Thus, we hear catch phrases like; “monetize new technology”.  It is a term that has been…

Mechatronic Tips

Innovation

Innovation as a verb is the action of transforming a process or product from its current state to something new and improved.  Processes, methodologies, products can all be…

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Technology and Marketing

Marketing is defined as the communication of value to customers.  It is intended to make us aware of products and convince of our need for the product.  Sales…

Mechatronic Tips

Mechatronic Tips – Control technology

Control technology, like the computer technology that it comes from, is becoming more and more physically transparent.  How it is deployed for use is more a function of…

Mechatronic Tips

Magnetism

Magnets have been in use since the time of Aristotle in 600 BC.   Magnets were also being used at that time fos some type of medical treatment…

Mechatronic Tips

Magnetics

It is said that Einstein began his inquiry into relativity as a teenager working in his father’s electric motor shop because the Maxwell and Gauss equations did not…

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Design

We are surrounded by it.  Most often we associate design with graphics or web design, but it’s much more inclusive. The spaces we live in are the result of…

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The Way Forward

When it comes to control product development there seems to be no middle ground between large automation vendors and small OEMs with unique product requirements.  This seems incongruous…

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More Than Obsolete

The legendary PLC 5 product line officially becomes obsolete this year after more than a decade of protests from customers with large installed bases of these products.  This may not…

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More Robots

Developing a new robot design for a specific task is a major challenge.  Combining traditional rotary motors and gear reducers will produce very limited results.  New robot mechanical…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips

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…

Mechatronic Tips