The German industrial automation company Festo previewed a novel new pneumatics technology, reportedly the first to feature built-in diagnostics. Engineers achieved this capability by integrating a non-contact, microwave sensor into the end cap of the cylinder, which acts as a waveguide. Much like a radar tracker, the sensor emits short pulses of electromagnetic energy directed at a target (in this case the piston), measuring the time it takes for the reflected signal (or echo) to be received by the sensor.
Dr. Josef Binder, one of the developers of the technology, says that while due to an extremely high DAQ rate the positioning accuracy of the system is about 2X better than magnetostrictive and 10X better than potentiometer sensors, the real power of the technology lies in its ability to provide a host of diagnostic information. That's because the high-energy echo also picks up harmonics created by any vibration, off-axis motion, friction, signal degradation, and other indicators of looming maintenance issues.
Because the sensor is fully encapsulated within the cylinder, Festo is initially targeting applications involving strong magnetic field environments and washdown requirements. The technology is available on cylinders up to 150 mm in diameter. For more information e-mail haugafesto.com.
Lantronix Inc. has expanded its line of controllers for sensor networks with the release of a rugged controller that improves management of automation systems used in a number of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is