Reducing energy consumption is a bit like exercise. People tend to agree it’s a good idea and should do it regularly –– but often times they don’t quite make it to the gym. Yet if energy costs keep rising, engineers won’t be able to sit on the sidelines for much longer and will have to work out new ways to trim the energy consumption of the machines they build.
This growing energy awareness was on display throughout this week’s Hannover Fair, where major suppliers and users of motion control and automation equipment showcased their energy-reduction strategies and technologies. The fair also itself featured brand new energy-efficiency displays, including an “Energy Tunnel” exhibit that highlighted ways to make common industrial processes — like pumping — more efficient.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.