Internet Things

The term “Internet of Things” was not unfamiliar to me, but I did not really comprehend the potential until a seminar at Advantech almost 3 years ago. Apparently…

Mechatronic Tips

Fixing Wind Power Gearboxes

Two new articles were published on gearbox and bearing failures in wind power turbines in the last couple of weeks.   One in Power Transmission Magazine, March 2014…

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Composites and Mechatronics

The composites industry has been growing at CAGR of 11.1% over the last 10 years.  Given the soft economy, this is truly standout performance.  The largest markets for…

Mechatronic Tips

FIA Formula E Racing

Is it a radical break with the past, or the studied creation of a new racing tradition that builds on the classic principles that bring cars and technology…

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Electric Car Competitions

The mainstream automobile racing community, in spite of the assumed goal of pushing the limits of technology, has been slow to engage really new technology.  One would think…

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WAGO to sponsor FIRST Robotics Competition for students

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, FIRST Robotics Com-petition (FRC) challenges students to build and program robots to perform tasks and compete…

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MPG and What’s Really Important

How we spend our money on transportation is a big part of the economy.  The purchase of an automobile is the second largest expenditure after a home.  There…

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MPG or MPGe?

The familiar MPG, miles per gallon, is a very sensitive subject.  The number of miles per gallon that you get from a car predicts how much money you…

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The Heart of Mechatronics

One of the core principles of mechatronics is the ability to displace mechanical components where the functionality can be replicated by a blend of software in the control…

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The Future of Controls – Part 2

A major difficulty for the controls industry is that in the mix of electronics manufacturing, it simply doesn’t have the volume of the consumer electronics industry.  Like Rodney…

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The Future of Control

If the future of the control industry could be compared to a weather report, it would have to be “fair to partly cloudy”.  Figuring out what direct things…

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The Future of Manufacturing

The future of manufacturing is here.  The rate of change is nothing short of amazing.  The implications for the near future of American industry are hard to predict,…

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Future Robots

The robot revolution is upon us.  There should be no misconception about this.  Robot development has expanded to an audience of tinkerers, college degree programs, industrial developers and…

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Lasers and Mechatronics

I am certainly no expert on the subject of lasers, but I have recently been involved in a couple of projects that involve their application and I am…

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Everything is Mechatronic

My brother-in-law says “Surgeons operate, lawyers litigate.”  His way of saying that we tend to deal with everything based on our areas of expertise.  I plead guilty as…

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What is Engineering?

Einstein said “Scientists investigate that which already is; engineers create that which has never been”.  What engineering consists of can be hard to define because it covers so…

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Motion Control and Hydraulics

In a recent and very erudite article, Peter Natchwey of Delta Computers sets forth an analysis of PID position control of hydraulic actuators.  Hydraulic actuators have their own…

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Economics and Mechatronics – Part 3

The widely heralded “next industrial revolution” is certainly here, though there may be some controversy about what exactly that revolution is.  For many commentators the next industrial revolution…

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Mechatronics and Economics – Part 2

Milton Friedman said  that no system in history has done more to relieve grinding poverty than capitalism.  Wise words.  Friedman was the foremost exponent for capitalism in the…

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Mechatronics and Economics

Mechatronics, or if you prefer motion control, is the key enabling technology that makes manufacturing work.  The mechanization of work is the history of mankind.  From grinding grains…

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Energy Density and Storage

Energy density is the metric by which we compare a wide range of technologies.  It is often used as the basis of comparison for battery technology and the…

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The Future of Electronics is Mechatronic

The semiconductor industry is the largest consumer of mechatronics technology.  This should not come as a surprise to anyone.  The amount of slicing, dicing, probing, handling, packaging and…

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Hydrogen Power

Industry, or manufacturing, gets little respect in the mainstream of American politics and economics.  Yet it is industry that is often the proving ground for new technology.  This…

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Technology and Responsibility

Sometimes technology is hard to put in proper perspective.  Technology as a marketable product has a lot of complex implications.  From the research and development that goes in…

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Control Processor Evolution

Processors, computing power, is getting cheaper.  Will Moore’s Law hit the wall of physics during the next couple of years?  I would like to think so, at least…

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