Bob Percell, president of CAMotion, wants to put motion control within the reach of manufacturing processes that involve repetitive operations, but don't need expensive robotics. The company is using software algorithms developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology as the foundation of a motion-control system that will help manufacturers reduce labor involved with routine-inspection and material-handling tasks. Two types of algorithms are used in the CAMotion software. The first is a vibration-control algorithm that plans the robotic-axis trajectory. By damping out vibration, it allows use of lighter and less-expensive components. A learning algorithm helps the equipment improve its own performance. "Once the machine makes the moves through about five iterations, it learns the open loop, gets more accurate, and reduces the dynamic error by a factor of ten," says Purcell. The software also combines machine vision, encoders, and accelerometers for helping the system know its own location relative to the work. Percell says that software combined with smaller components can reduce automation costs from 10 to 30% in many applications.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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