Automatic Size Change on a Budget – Part 1

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Increasingly, flexible manufacturing systems are being employed to allow the same equipment to produce a variety of different products, depending on demand.  The key to the economic success of these systems is keeping changeover time to a minimum.  Short changeover times mean more average production per hour and a smaller economical lot size.  The time spent changing over a machine is part of what is called planned downtime.   Planned downtime, if left unmanaged, can become a real sap on overall productivity.

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The 3-Tiered Position Sensing Hierarchy

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There are three general classes of position sensors that – taken together – form a position sensing hierarchy.  This hierarchy applies to any underlying sensing technology, for example inductive, capacitive, ultrasonic, or photoelectric.  Going from the most basic to the most advanced sensor operation, the hierarchy includes:

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Utility-Scale Power from Wind Requires High Reliability

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The 2010 Windpower Expo & Conference in Dallas, held recently at the end of May, was a hotbed of technical and commercial activity this year.  I had not attended the “Wind Show” since 2004, and I was amazed at the explosive growth of the event and overall industry in just six short years.  This was a very substantial gathering, with about 1,400 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees.

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Servopneumatic Motion Control Challenges Electric Servos

Applications involving precision motion control typically use electric servo systems for speed and accuracy, which electric servo systems can handle very well.  However, in some cases, the accuracy delivered may be more than needed, and the cost of the electric servo may break the design budget.  Fortunately, leading manufacturers of pneumatic valves are developing new high-speed control valves and sophisticated electronic controllers that allow incredible speed, precision, and variable load control to be delivered from a pneumatic cylinder.  Most importantly, the overall cost of these servopneumatic systems can compare quite favorably with all-electric systems.

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How do I choose the right sensor?

Selecting an industrial sensor can be a daunting task.  With so many different sensing technologies and the endless variety of products in the market, how is it possible to find that one ideal sensor for any given application?

Turns out, it’s not really so much a process of selecting the right sensor…it’s really about eliminating all the wrong choices.  Selecting a sensor is a process of asking a series of questions to eliminate any technology or product that doesn’t fit the application requirements.  For example:

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