MachineBuilding.net Application Stories Index
Multiple use of sensors: precision guided weed control equipment
Garford Farm Machinery designs and manufactures advanced environmentally sustainable agricultural equipment that solves large-scale weed control and crop cultivation for farming worldwide. Its ‘Robocrop’ range employs a specially developed precision guided vision system – for weeding, hoeing or spraying – that uses real-time digital image analysis in conjunction with a hydraulic servo ‘sideshift’ assembly that laterally positions various multiple tools exactly on or within the crop rows as the tractor mounted equipment is driven forwards. The precision guided tools are used for mechanical weed control; to remove individual unwanted plants, hoe between rows of plants, or spray rows of plants – with impressive lateral positional accuracies of better than 10mm at average tractor speeds of 12 km/hr.
PI positioning stages help reveal secrets of teeth
Tooth decay is often revealed by an X-ray taken in the dentist’s chair. The image taken is relatively coarse and only reveals the presence of the problem, what it doesn’t show is detail about the mechanism that has led to the decay. Understanding the processes that occur during tooth decay and indeed repair involves researchers looking at concentrations of minerals such as Calcium present in the structure. X ray microtomography is now helping researchers at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) gain a deeper understanding of these underlying processes by generating high resolution images that can detail mineral concentrations in the tooth. The image generation involves scanning the tooth and X-ray detector with high precision over an extended time period. PI linear and rotary stages, chosen for their precision and long-term reliability, have been successfully employed in this research work for a number of years.
Multi-pedal footswitch/joystick on ophthalmic surgery microscope
Herga Technology designs and supplies hand and foot controls for medical equipment applications. The diverse requirements for this demanding industry calls for single and multi-pedal switch control products that cover contact and non-contact electric switching as well as pressure and vacuum switching technologies. For many medical applications areas, Herga is able to call upon its IEC/UL 60601 approval status to supply what it terms as ‘standard’ products that effectively still offer customers a wide choice of selectable feature options for the actual operating specification of the device as well as its styling and aesthetics. These options extend to switching/sensing parameters, number of switches, mechanical and electrical interfacing, colours, customer logos etc.
Croft creates cost and carbon efficient filter with 3D printing
Croft Additive Manufacturing’s Straightliner Filter has been created using additive manufacturing to deliver energy savings when compared with a conventional filter.
Hepcomotion benefits set in stone at Medway Marble
Medway Marble, a specialist in granite worktops and a long-time user of HepcoMotion linear motion products, says it has recently sold a stone-cutting table-type machine featuring HepcoMotion parts for nearly the same value as it was built some 12 years ago. In the years between, the machine has been exposed to an extremely aggressive stone cutting environment – grinding dust turns to an abrasive paste when it mixes with coolant water from the cutting wheel.
Video analysis: Keeping on track for World Cup success
With video analysis an essential part of professional football, all clubs in the first and second divisions in Germany used the VIS.TRACK tracking system during the seasons 2011/12 and 2012/13. In addition, trainers of FIFA World Cup winners, Germany, used parts of this system (VT.PanoramicView) during the tournament preparations. VIS.TRACK was jointly developed by deltatre (formerly known as IMPIRE) and Stemmer Imaging.
New chain keeps the conveyor rolling
When the demand for your product increases, it is desirable to be able to increase production levels to meet customer requirements; hopefully without significant increases in production costs. This requires the usual increase in raw materials; however, it is also important to ensure that the production equipment is able to accommodate the heightened productivity. For a cheese manufacturer in France, a small oversight could have been avoided if expert advice had been taken sooner.
Customised gearboxes take drives around a corner
In answer to a special customer requirement, Techdrives has supplied a customised assembly for two right angle gearboxes using mostly standard parts. The customer needed to offset the drive line on a mechanical handling application with a solution that was fully enclosed, efficient and maintenance free. With a target of 250mm between shaft centres, chain and belt connections were unacceptable. Techdrives were able to offer a customised assembly of two standard Vogel spiral bevel gearboxes rated at 300Nm and with a centre distance of 258mm. The Vogel gearboxes are grease filled and maintenance free, also they have a high efficiency of 95 per cent.
Revolvo SRB Split Plummer Block Bearings improve reliability
Dealing with a breakdown in any production process can cost precious time and money. But when the failure is due to a bearing which is difficult to access, and the production line is processing a seasonal vegetable, time becomes even more critical. For D’Arta, a food processing company based near Roeselare in Belgium, the latest stoppage persuaded the maintenance manager to call Revolvo in to investigate the cause and offer a solution.
Large-scale energy chain at Port of Felixstowe’s rail traverser
An igus energy chain system has recently been designed into the largest capacity rail traverse in the UK. Built by heavy rail lifting manufacturer Mechan Ltd, the traverser moves freight locomotives between eight lines at the Port of Felixstowe’s new North Rail Terminal. With its pivotal role within the Port’s rail network, the traverser’s reliability is paramount, while its environment presents a number of challenges.
Linear chain proves a grand design
Push-pull actuation of heavy loads using the Linear Chain Actuator from R. A. Rodriguez is gaining wide application appeal across all walks of engineering. Indeed, one of its main selling points is the compact nature of the drive which means it is often selected for tasks where technical performance and aesthetics are of equal importance. And it proved to be perfect for a project on the television programme, Grand Designs.
Vision system ‘unwraps’ bottle labels for 100 percent inspection
Olmec UK has designed and manufactured a line scan-based vision system for 100 per cent inspection of labels on OTC healthcare product bottles. By rotating the bottle in front of the camera, the label is effectively ‘unwrapped’ to produce an image equivalent to imaging before it was stuck to the bottle. The vision system checks that the information on the label is correct as well as identifying missing or partial print.