Categories

Entries for the 'Automation' Category

Edmund Double-Gauss Lenses Produce Sharp Focus
Ken Brey

Edmund Double-Gauss Lenses Produce Sharp Focus

I have been working on a 3D vision application using the SICK Ranger camera. My application involves precision measurement, so I want to get the best results possible from the equipment. The Ranger came with a Fujinon 35mm lens which focused sharply in the center of the field of view. However there was significant blur near the edges. (The CMOS sensor on the Ranger is 15.4mm diagonal. That exceeds the specification of most common machine vision lenses.) I tried a Tamron 35mm lens, and ach...

Continue reading →


Working with Legacy Hardware: Tips and Tricks
Danny Budzinski

Working with Legacy Hardware: Tips and Tricks

For a DMC engineer it is not atypical to be faced with outdated, legacy technology. Maybe a customer has come to us to upgrade a system that an intern did in the 90's; maybe a company's engineers have built up a system over the past decade and need help configuring or adding more pieces to it; or maybe a factory has used a controller that was made when you were in middle school and all of a sudden that controller breaks down and needs to be replicated and replaced. Regardless of the situ...

Continue reading →


Empowering your PLC with IEC 61131-3
Tim Jager

Empowering your PLC with IEC 61131-3

Nobody loves catchy numeric buzzwords as much as me. I - E - C - Six - Eleven - Thirty - One - Dash - Three.... It just rolls off the tongue! OK I admit, it's a mouthful, but trust me it's worth knowing about. This is a brief intro to IEC61131-3 and the first part in a series of posts that will cover its features and benefits. So what is it? The International Electro Technical Commission (IEC) is a non-profit organization that develops standards for electrical and electronic techno...

Continue reading →


What's New in LabVIEW 2009
Jesse Batsche

What's New in LabVIEW 2009

Over the course of NI Week in Austin, National Instruments gradually introduced and demonstrated the new features that are being implemented in the LabVIEW 2009 release. Many were logical steps forward in hardware and software development, some were long awaited and often requested functionalities or improvements, and a few were completely unexpected new features that were greeted with ooohs and aaahs and applause by the convention audience. Here's a quick run-down of some of the features I ...

Continue reading →


DMC at NIWeek 2009
Darren Jones

DMC at NIWeek 2009

Every summer, National Instruments holds the NIWeek conference in their home town of Austin TX. This year, DMC has three of us attending: Jesse Batsche, Eric Nielsen, and myself. Monday was “Alliance Day”, tailored to NI Alliance Members, as well as the day for various closed sessions, such as the Big Physics conference to address technologies and trends related to large scale physics applications (particle accelerators, extremely large telescopes). Tuesday through Thursday is ...

Continue reading →


Arrival at NI WEEK 2009
Eric Nielsen

Arrival at NI WEEK 2009

Darren, Jesse, and myself (Eric N.) arrived in Austin TX yesterday to participate in National Instruments' yearly technology symposium and trade show NI Week 09. The activity started early today with a great keynote presentation. Most notably was Alex Davern's (National Instruments CFO) "lesson" on economics and NI's approach to weathering the economic downturn. "Competitors are throwing the baby out with the bath water and we want to be there to catch the baby." ...

Continue reading →


Remote Machine Monitoring–Connecting to a Modbus Network with Java and Jamod
Jon Carson

Remote Machine Monitoring–Connecting to a Modbus Network with Java and Jamod

For a recent project, I had an interesting challenge. It involved a (relatively) simple control system, with an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC, and 30 or so inputs and outputs. The challenge was that the customer wanted to be able to access (and potentially control) live machine data from anywhere on their network, while buying as little hardware or software as possible. After a bit of research I came up with the following solution: The only entryway to the data that was available with no a...

Continue reading →


Tips for CAN:  Dynamic Frame Definition with National Instruments NI-CAN
Darren Jones

Tips for CAN: Dynamic Frame Definition with National Instruments NI-CAN

Back in the stone age (i.e. NI-CAN 1.2), us LabVIEW 6 programmers had to write our own parsing routines for dynamically-specified data inside a CAN frame. At the driver layer, we were locked-in to only one layer of arbitration. An oft-overlooked but extremely powerful feature in contemporary versions of the NI-CAN drivers handle this automatically. Example: a BMS (battery managment system) for a hybrid automotive battery broadcasts status information. Status information will always be availab...

Continue reading →


Ken Brey

NASA sees the advantages of Structured Light for 3D vision

Recent press releases by NASA show how the agency is realizing the advantages of using Structured Light for 3D vision. A recent NASA Invention of the Year was a hand-held, battery-operated scanner that they use to create surface maps of shuttle tile damage. The same high-speed 3D scanner technology can also be used for longer range 3D measurements. NASA is investigating using this method for Rover Navigation and in-flight shuttle inspection with a system mounted on the robotic arm. DMC ...

Continue reading →


Using FBVEL Gain for PID Servo motion tuning Acroloop
Ken Brey

Using FBVEL Gain for PID Servo motion tuning Acroloop

I have been using Acroloop 9000 controllers to control a number of machines where one axis is a high-speed rotary motor that drives a mechanical cam-driven process. During operation of the machine, the motor accelerates from a stop to a constant high speed, and then back to a stop. The mechanical cam performs dozens of cycles during the process while the motor is at a constant speed. The difficulty in tuning this process is that the motor experiences changing loads and inertias as the mechani...

Continue reading →


Using LabVIEW with Windows XP Embedded (XPe)
Jody Koplo

Using LabVIEW with Windows XP Embedded (XPe)

I recently finished a project that checked for gas leaks on a mission critical system. Any leaks needed to be diagnosed and discovered as quickly as possible. Our solution also had to be mobile and easily carted around the facility. To develop a system that was incredibly reliable and also capable of displaying and logging important data, we settled on an architecture that used a National Instruments cRIO for data acquisition and a Windows XP Embedded PC as the front end for display and contr...

Continue reading →


State Transition to Ladder Diagram Translation
Eric Anderson

State Transition to Ladder Diagram Translation

Ladder diagrams are an industrial programming language typically used on programmable logic controllers (PLC). This graphical language mimics a relay logic electrical schematic. For engineers that are not familiar with relay logic, though, ladder diagrams can be difficult to implement, debug, and maintain, especially when programming complicated machines with many inputs, outputs, and states. In these applications, the state transition diagram or sequential function chart are better tools. Bo...

Continue reading →


Robotic Vehicle Driver - Success!
Leon Grossman

Robotic Vehicle Driver - Success!

Some time ago, the staff of the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility at Argonne National Laboratory asked me if we could create a robotic driver to control speed of a vehicle on their dynamometer. There are off-the-shelf solutions for this task but it would be difficult to get the level of configurability and integration needed with these systems. We used LabVIEW to develop a relatively sophisticated PID control system to handle the significant non-linearities found in the control of most ve...

Continue reading →


Matrox Introduces 3D Scanning in MIL 9
Ken Brey

Matrox Introduces 3D Scanning in MIL 9

Matrox has added 3D scanning tools to the Matrix Imaging Library (MIL), version 9.0. The concept is similar to that employed in single-purpose devices by Micro-Epsilon and SICK. (see Two 3D Scanner tools.) The camera images a laser line from an out-of-plane location and processes the line position and shape as 3D points. The difference is that while the others process the line directly in the camera and transfers only a single line of height information, Matrox transfers the raw image to the ...

Continue reading →


New 3D Measurement Tool from IFM
Ken Brey

New 3D Measurement Tool from IFM

I saw an amazing new 3d vision tool at the Robot and Vision Show today. It is the IFM Defector PMD 3DD. This device is a 64X48 pixel distance sensor. It operates by the time of flight principle. A pulse of light infra-red light is emitted by the device which bounces off of an object in the field of view and returns to the device through a lens. Each pixel measures the time required for the light to make the round trip. By this way, it produces a 3D image of the object in front of it. ...

Continue reading →


Spotlight: Two 3D Scanner tools
Ken Brey

Spotlight: Two 3D Scanner tools

Purpose-built 3D scanning tools are an exciting new development in machine vision. People have been building their own 3D scanners for years with cameras and line lasers. Now, a couple of integrated and factory-calibrated units are on the market which offer a great head-start to a successful 3D scanning application. SICK | IVP Ruler E The SICK | IVP Ruler E is the integrated and calibrated version of the Sick Ranger product line. Specs: 13 varieties available 15...

Continue reading →


Schneider Electric's Energy Management Seminar
Nick Shea

Schneider Electric's Energy Management Seminar

Yesterday, I attended the 2009 Energy Management Seminar presented by Schneider Electric. The seminar focused on strategies and technologies to monitor and improve energy efficiency. The keynote speaker, Peter Garforth, made a compelling case for energy productivity as a profitable business opportunity. Some highlights of his presentation were: Only 30% of energy generated is actually sold as electricity. The rest is wasted heat. We use less than 10% of the energy we pay for. "Lo...

Continue reading →


Solar Panel Project Featured in Design World
Frank Riordan

Solar Panel Project Featured in Design World

A Solar Panel Assembly Project that DMC recently completed was the basis for a feature article in Design World Magazine. The article can be found here. DMC provided controls engineering and programming services for a company that makes machines that are used in photovoltaic production facilities. The system developed utilized a Siemens 317T Controller which provided both discrete control as well multi-axis coordinated servo motion control. The customer benefits of the solution DMC devel...

Continue reading →


PC-Based Controls vs Dedicated Controllers
David Simmons

PC-Based Controls vs Dedicated Controllers

Mike Bacidore over at ControlDesign.com has written an insightful article discussing the recent shift of many of their readers from using traditional PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) to using more powerful PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers). I believe this points to an overall industry trend towards customers wanting robust and reliable systems which are more intelligent, and able to transfer data easily from device to device. Mike also notes how a smaller number of his readers p...

Continue reading →


Page 10 of 10First   Previous   5  6  7  8  9  [10]  Next   Last   

Categories