MachineBuilding.net Technical Articles Index
Top three industrial trends in 2016
UK manufacturing has faced relatively uncertain times in recent years. The economic collapse of 2008 led to a hostile period of market instability, which coincided with a period of great technological growth – with few of these technologies being properly adopted due to costs. Almost a decade later, these advancements are at last becoming increasingly common in industrial sectors. John Cove, Marketing Manager of metrology and saw blade specialist Starrett, explores these current industry trends.
DCS versus PLC
The difference between distributed control systems (DCSs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) can be boiled down to a simple football metaphor. Your DCS is your captain. The first name on the team sheet, your DCS is dependable, hardworking and controls the whole outfit. Your PLC is more like a utility player – he’s nippy and doesn’t mind where he plays, but don’t expect him to be as reliable as your captain. Here, Mark Proctor, managing director of industrial spares supplier EU Automation, gives his player analysis of DCSs and PLCs in the modern plant.
Benefits of tape-and-reel delivery of non-electronic components
Tape-and-reel packing of surface-mount electronic components is now well established and widely used by circuit board assemblers and electronic device manufacturers. The technique is now also becoming rapidly taken-up by mechanical assemblers and manufacturers of electro-mechanical devices to help automate assembly. But have you ever stopped to remember what life used to be like in the days before this simple idea hit the factory floor? It is actually a really important question as we look towards the EU referendum, because the best way to summarise the answer is 'We moved production to Asia to save money.'
Two-speed gearboxes bring flexibility to machine tools
Getting the most out of machine tools means providing the ability to process a range of different materials and to be able to perform both high and low-speed cutting. Ian Carr, Managing Director of Drive Lines, describes how two-speed planetary gearboxes allow the cutting edge power of modern machine tools to be fully realised.
Tuning into food metal detection frequencies
Metallic inclusions are the number one contaminant in food products, causing product quality and consumer safety issues. Phil Brown, Sales Director of Fortress Technology, looks at the technologies behind effective metal detection, explains the three key frequency options and why it is essential to select the correct frequency for your food application.
Health and safety issues relating to lone working
Every company has an inviolable obligation to look after the health, safety and welfare of its employees. This fundamental duty of care is sacrosanct. It makes employers responsible for protecting people from harm by assessing risks and, where necessary, taking steps to avoid or control them.
Worm gearboxes produce high torque at low cost
Worm gearboxes are low-cost options for producing high torque from relatively small electric motors. Their output shaft is at a 90 degree angle to the motor input shaft and higher reduction ratios are obtained compared with conventional gearbox designs. Tony Young, director of electrical and automation maintenance company, CP Automation, explains the benefits of worm gearboxes.
Reports of fieldbuses’ usage disappearing are premature
Although Industrial Ethernet is the clear future direction of the industrial network market it’s also clear that it will be many years before we finally say goodbye to fieldbuses. Michael Volz, General Manager of HMS Industrial Networks GmbH in Germany, says fieldbuses will be popular for many years to come, but that Ethernet will gain ground where it has something extra to offer.