For flexible automation choose linear modules
Steven J. Annen, AdeptModules Business Manager, Adept Technology Inc.
When designing automated postioning equipment, engineers have access to a variety of flexible, off-the-shelf robotics and linear modules. In contrast to dedicated positioning systems, flexible solutions can be re-programmed and re-deployed, increasing a manufacturer's return on investment. Several questions help determine which type of automation engineers need:
How many axes of motion are required?
Is programmable positioning necessary?
How big is the work envelope?
What are the payload requirements?
What is the budget?
Linear modules prove to be most cost-effective for applications with one to three axes, a large work envelope and high payloads. Payload affects the type of linear module needed. Most come in three styles: a high payload, X-axis; a lighter duty, Y-axis; and a small Z-axis. AdeptModules combine to provide 15 two- and three-axis configurations with payload ranges from 15 to 40 kg.
The drive mechanism is also critical. Belt drive modules offer speed but limited configurability, repeatablity and lower payload capacity. Ball-screw drives are slower but more precise, with higher capacities and greater configurability. To ensure long life, select a system with at least twice the capacity of the actual payload.
To speak with an Adept applications engineer, call: (800) 226-6385.
Leverage workstation CAD on the PC
Brad Weinert, Engineering Product Manager, AGE Logic
The increased demand for workstation-based CAE applications can easily tax any organization's high-end computing resources. As engineers vie for time on a limited number of workstations, frustrations and bottlenecks result. Many companies, consequently, are implementing a PC X-server solution that leverages workstation CAD across their PC network.
With the advent of more powerful PCs and video cards, PC-based X servers are a viable alternative to X terminals and UNIX workstations. A few simple guidelines will assist in determining the hardware requirements for your PC and which PC X server is optimal for your application:
The faster the processor speed of the PC the better. A minimum configuration of a 486DX/2 66 with 16Mb of RAM is recommended for CAD applications. To attain acceptable graphics performance, select a high performance video card (at least 32 bit) with 2Mb of RAM and support for 256 colors. The video card is important because the drawing speed of your X server depends on it.
To choose a PC X Server, contact your CAD/CAM/EDA software vendor to see what they recommend. You should only consider a native 32 bit X server (vs. 16-bit) and be sure to try it with the applications you're running before purchasing anything. Remember, benchmarks are only good at determining how fast the benchmark runs, not your application. You should always run your applications in a production environment before making a decision.
To speak with an AGE Logic applications engineer, call: (619) 755-1000.