Though proportional control gets the nod in more applications (33%) than servo control (22%), neither one is dominant say many engineers (45%). That's according to a recent survey of Design News readers by Reed Research Group. That could change, as more vendor companies, including Festo, Parker Hannifin, and HR Textron focus on developing new and better servo technologies for fluid power apps. Major reason for the niche to grow? Lower cost. In fact, two thirds of engineers say that if they could obtain servo control for the price of proportional control, they'd do it.
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.