TJ McDermott; Yes, too many alarm messages can also be a problem. The ABB IRB 6400 S4c controller had several message lists, and a general list. And some alarms would generate a secondary message, or even a tertiary message; e.g. on a servo fault, each of the 6 axes would reply with a shutdown message. It took some time to sort through the alarms to get to the primary error.
GlennA, I was working for a company that made simulators at one time. I was involved in a R&D project to track errors and predict faults. It was very interesting and an early application of AI in a real-time system. We acutally logged every fault, even intermittent ones. I learned about this working on satellites, actually. Having an indicator that just blinked is not really useful, you need to keep that information.
Intermittent or momentary faults can be very hard to find. On some machines, where possible, I added a latch to the alarm. Other times, you just had to watch for the error. One of the machines that I worked on had an air blow for spindle cleaning during tool change. If the air pressure dropped below the switch setting the machine Emergency-Stopped on low air. As soon as it stopped and shut off the air blow, the pressure built back up above the switch setting, and the error automatically reset . Machine operators were notorious for not paying attention, so the complaint was usually "the machine just stopped". Often the fix was just replacing the air supply hose with a shorter, larger diameter hose.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.