We Offer Dyna-Lift® Ergonomic Lifting Technology

Ergonomic, height-adjustable workbenches are quickly becoming the standard in industry. And as more people demand height-adjustability, Dyna-Lift ® is the standard for delivering it.

In addition to work tables, other common applications include hospital beds, assembly line fixtures, rehabilitation tables. Less conventional applications have included casket lifts, massage table lifts and lectern/podium lifts.

We have developed Dyna-Lift ® applications for many light and heavy industrial and medical applications, including a successful product to help Boeing make the production of airplane wings height-adjustable for workers.

Every customer has a special, unique need that they need Dyna-Lift ® to satisfy. That is why Bucher Hydraulics excels at timely response, outstanding research of our clients” needs, engineering of the right applications and ultimately the best solution for each situation.

The Benefits of Dyna-Lift ® Technology

  • OEM and Retrofit Kits Install Quickly
  • Improve Productivity
  • Increase Comfort
  • Comply with ADA & OSHA guidelines
  • Smooth and Quiet Operation
  • Units Shipped Fully Charged and Ready To Install

FasTest Quick Connectors for Leak & Pressure Testing

FasTest Quick Connectors for Leak & Pressure Testing

FasTest Inc. is the leader in leak and pressure testing quick connectors for a wide variety of manufacturing industries. FasTest uses advanced engineering to create safe, reliable connections for various tubes and threaded profiles. Learn more about the different FasTest product lines available through Air Automation Engineering below!

 

Shedding Light On Encoders In Solar Energy Applications

Article by: Kuebler Inc.

As solar energy continues to grow as a modern-day source of power, components must be designed to ensure continuous and efficient operation of the energy generation process. Because heliostats are often placed in remote desert areas, they are exposed to a number of harsh environmental factors, such as high temperatures during the day, dust exposure and daily temperature swings.

To keep the system running smoothly, encoders, which are used in the control of the mirrors, must combine ruggedness with innovative technologies, yielding a reliable product that can perform under these tough conditions.

There are a number of factors in the energy generation process that can help determine if an encoder is up to the challenge.

Elevation and azimuth position control. Heliostats demand high precision in order to maximize the amount of sunlight being received. Therefore, the efficiency of the overall system depends on their positioning accuracy in both elevation and azimuth. Here, precision optical encoders are best suited for the job.

Angular position control of Parabolic Trough Systems. Parabolic mirrors concentrate sunlight onto a heliostat’s receiver pipe—a process that requires rugged, yet flexible encoders. Depending on installation space, simple magnetic rotary encoders or inclinometers can be used in order to accurately measure the system’s angular position.

Rugged outdoor design. Encoders must integrate a number of characteristics that make them suitable for outdoor applications. These include robust housing, a wide temperature range, high resistance to shock and vibration, insensitivity to interference or magnetic disturbances and long service life.

Customizability. It is important for encoder manufacturers to work together with engineering teams to design custom control or motion solutions for solar. Depending on the application, the encoder may need to work with a wide variety of additional sensing systems, integrated drives or other types of feedback devices. To make integration easier, look for encoders that support SSI, BISS-C or common Fieldbus protocols.

 

pneumatics

Real World Examples: Pneumatics

Pneumatic systems can be divided into two general categories: systems that are powered by a rotating rotor and systems that are powered by a reciprocating piston. Devices powered by a rotating rotor contain a housing compartment, vanes, and a central spindle. Air enters the housing and applies pressure to the vanes, which causes the spindle to rotate. Then, the mechanism that is attached to the spindle begins to move. Essentially, pneumatic systems work by compressing air to a higher pressure. The high pressure then forces a spindle or piston to move, which powers a tool or motor.

They are most commonly found in buses, trucks and other large vehicles. They use a type of friction brake that allows compressed air to press on a piston, which then applies the pressure to the brake pad which stops the vehicle.

Air Brakes

Air brakes on buses and trucks are formally known as compressed air brake systems. These systems use a type of friction brake in which compressed air presses on a piston and then applies the pressure to the brake pad that stops the vehicle.

Air Nail Gun

In an air nail gun, air pressure flows into the gun from a compressor which the air pressure is then stored in a “chamber” until the plunger which is located at the muzzle is depressed and the trigger is pulled.  When the plunger is depressed, the air pressure is then allowed to flow through the chamber, above a piston that is attached to a blade. Located above the piston is under the plunger. The compressed air then forces the plunger up and allows access to the top of the piston.

Bicycle/Ball Pump

Air is compressed and forced into the ball or bicycle inner tube as the handle is pumped on top of the cylinder. Pneumatic pumps have offered a “lower total cost of ownership” compared to traditional pumps.

Jackhammer

This device is fed with compressed air as a source of power and uses pumps to deliver air to drill through hoses. Although this is commonly known as a drill, this machine is actually more like an automatic hammer in it’s method of working and because of that, it is known as the air-hammer or jackhammer.

Orbital Sanders

This is a popular tool with body shops. The tool is comprised of a handle that fits into the palm of the hand, and a block that holds sheets of sandpaper. It spins the sandpaper in random orbits, hence the name orbital sander, which prevents the tool from leaving noticeable swirls or hot spots. This tool is very useful for someone who needs to finish an uneven surface without spending a lot of time sanding by hand. An orbital sander can generate more than 10,000 rotations per minute.

Robotic Technology Creates Cost-Effective Method to Study Missouri Crops

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, MARCH 13, 2017

A two-pronged robotic system pioneered by University of Missouri researchers is changing the way scientists study crops and plant phenotyping.

Gui DeSouza, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and his Vision-Guided and Intelligent Robotics (ViGIR) Laboratory have partnered with researchers from the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources to study the effects of climate change on crops in Missouri. The effort is part of a larger study, funded by the National Science Foundation, to understand the overall effects of climate change in Missouri.

AirAutomation_pneumatics-robotic-technology-cost-effective-study

To accurately create 3-D models of plants and collect data both on regions of crops and individual plants, the research team developed a combination approach of a mobile sensor tower (in background) and an autonomous robot vehicle equipped with three levels of sensors and an additional robotic arm. Photo courtesy of Gui DeSouza.

To accurately create 3-D models of plants and collect data both on regions of crops and individual plants, the research team developed a combination approach of a mobile sensor tower and an autonomous robot vehicle equipped with three levels of sensors and an additional robotic arm. They’re used to complete a complex process called plant phenotyping, which assesses growth, development, yield and items such as tolerance and resistance to environmental stressors by correlating these to physiology and shape of the plants.

“The Vinobot collects a large variety of data,” DeSouza said. “For example, it uses three sets of sensors to collect temperature, humidity and light intensity at multiple wavelengths, and it collects those at three different heights of the crop.”

The tower inspects a 60-foot radius of a given field to identify areas affected by environmental stresses, while the vehicle collects data on individual plants. Additionally, the vehicle has a robotic arm that it uses to move around the plant and create a 3-D model of each individual plant.

The names of both robots are a combination of the ViGIR lab and their given function — Vinobot (ViGIR pheNOtyping roBOT) for the vehicle, Vinoculer (ViGIR pheNOtyping trinoCUlar observER) for the tower.

“We can measure from the tower if the plants are under any stress, such as heat, drought, etc,” DeSouza said. “Then the tower can tell the mobile robot to go to a particular area of the field and perform data collection on the individual plants.”

While the tower covers only a relatively small area, it can easily be moved around to cover an entire field. The cost-effectiveness of the towers means it wouldn’t be expensive to have more than one operating at a time.

Cost-effectiveness and efficiency are key to this new system. Using unmanned aerial vehicles such as quadcopters can take time, as those devices often require Federal Aviation Administration clearance and experienced pilots to operate over a field. Those vehicles also can be expensive, driving the cost up to between $16,000 and $80,000 as opposed to Vinoculer’s estimated $5,000 price. Those figures were outlined in the team’s recent paper, “Vinobot and Vinoculer: Two robotic platforms for high-throughput field phenotyping,” published in Sensors.

“They are not only inexpensive; they are also available 24/7, and can generate a lot more data than any aerial vehicle” DeSouza said.

~Ryan Owens

To read the complete article, click HERE.

Exhibition charts 500 years of evolution of robots

LONDON — Inspired by his belief that human beings are essentially terrified of robots, Ben Russell set about charting the evolution of automatons for an exhibition he hopes will force people to think about how androids and other robotic forms can enhance their lives.

Robots, says Russell, have been with us for centuries — as “Robots,” his exhibit opening Wednesday at London’s Science Museum, shows.

From a 15th century Spanish clockwork monk who kisses his rosary and beats his breast in contrition, to a Japanese “childoid” newsreader, created in 2014 with lifelike facial expressions, the exhibition tracks the development of robotics and mankind’s obsession with replicating itself.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unstoppable Terminator cyborg is there, as is Robby the Robot, star of the 1956 film “Forbidden Planet,” representing the horror and the fantasy of robots with minds of their own.

There are also examples of factory production-line machines blamed for taking people’s jobs in recent decades; a “telenoid communications android” for hugging during long-distance phone calls to ease loneliness; and Kaspar, a “minimally expressive social robot” built like a small boy and designed to help ease social interactions for children with autism.

“When you take a long view, as we have done with 500 years of robots, robots haven’t been these terrifying things, they’ve been magical, fascinating, useful, and they generally tend to do what we want them to do,” said Russell, who works at the science museum and was the lead curator of the exhibition.

And while it’s human nature to be worried in the face of change, Russell said, the exhibit should help people “think about what we are as humans” and realize that if robots are “going to come along, you’ve got a stake in how they develop.”

A total of 100 robots are set in five different historic periods in a show that explores how religion, industrialization, pop culture and visions of the future have shaped society.

For Rich Walker, managing director of Shadow Robot Company in London, robotics is about what these increasingly sophisticated machines can do for humans to make life easier, particularly for the elderly or the impaired.

“I’m naturally lazy and got involved so that I could get robots to do things for me,” Walker said. His company has developed a robotic hand that can replicate 24 of the 27 natural movements of the human hand.

As humans have a 1 percent failure rate at repetitive tasks, committing errors about once every two hours, the hand could replace humans on production lines, he said.

Walker concedes further erosion of certain types of jobs if inventions such as his are successful, but says having repetitive tasks performed by automatons would free up people to adopt value-added roles.

“The issue is to rebuild the economy so that it has a holistic approach to employment,” he said.

This in turn leads to questions, raised at the exhibition as well as by the European Union, of whether or not robots should pay taxes on the value of their output as part of the new industrial revolution.

By LYNNE O’DONNELL The Associated Press

Ford Uses Human “Gremlins” to Test Vision Systems

VALENCIA, Spain—Some operators at Ford Motor Co.’s world-class manufacturing complex here spend their day making sure wrong parts and faulty components are secretly placed on the assembly line. They play a key role in ensuring that all engines and vehicles built at the plant meet rigorous quality standards. Ford engineers recently installed a state-of-the-art vision system that photographs, checks and tracks every single part used at the 812,000-square-foot facility. Assemblers build six nameplates and many different body styles at the plant, including minivans, sedans and sport utility vehicles. The vision system captures more than 1 billion photos every 14 days. This helps generate a composite image consisting of 3,150 digital photographs that highlight any discrepancies. “‘Gremlin tests’ are a way of ensuring that new process is working correctly,” says Xabier Garciandia, Valencia engine vision system technical specialist at Ford of Europe. “Faulty engine parts, wrong steering wheels and even incorrect dashboards have been sent down the line, with the [error-proofing system] now extended to all 34 stages of assembly. “It is a game with a very serious point,” Garciandia points out. “The team is really excited when they find one of our parts, and all the time we are making them harder to spot. “The way in which we all use digital cameras has totally changed the way we record our daily way of life,” claims Garciandia. “It is transforming the way we build engines and cars. But, we also have to test the tests. We are doing this in a way that is very simple, but which we believe is unique in the auto industry.”

Blog   Some wrong parts and faulty components are intentionally placed on the assembly line at Ford’s plant in Valencia, Spain.

Assembly Magazine Dec 2016

At Boeing’s 777X wing factory, robots get big jobs

Air Automation has your robotic solutions. Call us for more information or an on-site demonstration. (800) 231-9205

Article By: DOMINIC GATES Seattle Times (TNS) 

SEATTLE – As the first 110-footlong wing skin panel for Boeing’s new 777X jet moved slowly across a mammoth new factory building one recent morning, a small crew walked alongside, watching for any possibility of an expensive collision.

The “spotters” escorted the panel’s bright-orange transport platform as it followed invisible tracks embedded in the concrete floor and slid with a tight fit into the big cylindrical autoclave where the part would bake to hardness.

Until the automated system for moving these big wing parts is proved, “we do have four people watching it,” said Darrell Chic, acting director of 777X wing fabrication. “But the intent is to work our way to autonomous and allow the navigation system to do its thing.”

 Autonomous. Not needing any humans to guide it.

The 777X Composite Wing Center in the Seattle-area city of Everett, Boeing’s latest venture in advanced manufacturing, marks a significant step toward a future in which much of an aircraft factory’s work is done by automated machines and robots.

Once the wing skin was inside the giant pressurized oven, the lone operator at a computer station pushed a button. Lights flashed, a klaxon sounded.

Slowly, a 55-ton, 28-foot-wide circular door slid into place and locked to form an airtight seal for the seven-hour baking cycle.

Eric Lindblad, the newly appointed head of the 777X program, said having machines load the wing parts autonomously is safer and more precise. There isn’t room for error inside the oven: When the long stiffening rods called stringers are baked in the autoclave, they’ll go in six at a time with just 3 inches of clearance between them.

The only necessary human will be the person at the computer.

“There’ll be one guy that essentially runs this station,” Lindblad said.

The trend toward automated manufacturing was evident already at Boeing’s older area plants.

In Frederickson, robots drill 80 percent of the holes in the 787 and 777 tails fabricated there.

In Auburn, robots drill the engine heat shields for the 787 and 777 jets, and will do the same for the 737 MAX. Another robot uses lasers to clean the dies used to shape the heat shields.

In its most productive factory, the 737 final-assembly plant in Renton, Boeing has replaced the traditional multistory fixtures used to hold wings in place during assembly with smaller, flexible, increasingly automated equipment as it ramps up toward an unprecedented output of 52 planes per month by 2018.

Introducing new automation is a challenge: In another new building in Everett, Boeing is struggling to smooth out the kinks in a robotic system for assembling the 777’s metal fuselage.

Still, a new generation of airplanes like the 787 and 777X built with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic composite structures have triggered a transformative shift taking automation to a new level.

Fabricating complete fuselage barrels or huge wings out of this material is simply not possible by hand. Only robots can lay up the strips of carbon fiber with enough speed and precision.

Mark Summers, head of technology at the U.K. government’s Aerospace Technology Institute, said increasing automation will allow Boeing and Airbus to ratchet up production rates without adding employees.

“Jobs will not be lost, but there will not be so many new jobs created,” Summers said during a panel discussion at the Farnborough Air Show in England in July. “I don’t see it as an impact on the current aerospace workforce. There’s just fewer jobs in aerospace in the future.”

He foresees blue-collar machinist jobs increasingly supplanted by “more technologically focused” positions operating the machines.

However wary machinists may be of what the new technology means for the future, Pete Goldsmith, who led automation-technology projects at Seattle-area companies Electroimpact and Nova-Tech, and now works for a third, MTorres America, said he got “a universally positive reaction” from mechanics at both Airbus and Boeing when he installed equipment to do repetitive riveting.

“That’s a job that beats you up all day every day,” Goldsmith said. “We were replacing an operation that was physically very debilitating for the mechanics.”

Gary Laws, a Boeing mechanic for more than two decades who operates computer-controlled machines assembling wings in Renton, said automation makes his job much easier.

And if this region wants new work in aerospace, he sees no choice but to embrace the shift.

“It’s the way it has to be,” said Laws. “Technology is obviously going to be the future.”

Today, the current 777’s metal wing parts are made largely by machinists in Auburn and Frederickson, then assembled into a wing by machinists in Everett.

Though Boeing doesn’t provide a detailed breakdown of employment figures, this work certainly provides hundreds of jobs.

With the new 777X, that work changes dramatically. But it does stay in the area.

Boeing is spending $1 billion to make the giant 777X carbon fiber wing in-house, rather than outsourcing the wing to Mitsubishi, as it did on the 787.

Lindblad said that after a production ramp-up that will take a few years, the new wing center will, at peak, employ somewhere between 600 and 900 people.

The first production 777X parts that will fly on an airplane won’t be made before April. Until then, workers in the wing center are making test parts, used to certify and fine-tune the new manufacturing process.

With wing skin No. 1 in the autoclave over on the fabrication side of the wing center, Jerry Schultz operated an Electroimpact machine making wing skin No. 2.

White lab coats are required in this “clean room” environment, where an overhead robot like a giant tape dispenser zips back and forth along a 110-footlong mold, building up the skin panel layer by layer.

As the robottraverses the part at various angles, it lays down plies of epoxy resin-infused carbon fiber in about 300 separately programmed runs.

Between setup, inspections and the robot work, completing a wing skin this way takes six shifts over three days.

The goal is to have just two people operating the cell, Boeing said, with possibly another worker floating between it and an adjacent cell also making wing skins.

Nearby, similar big Electroimpact machines are making the first 777X spars – the long, U-shaped, single-piece beams to which the leading and trailing edges of each wing attach.

Again, just three people will operate a pair of these spar manufacturing cells, says Boeing. The spars will then be inspected by robots that use an ultrasonic probe to check for invisible flaws in the material.

An exception to the full automation is the way Boeing is producing four of the 43 stringers, the rods that stiffen each 777X wing. These four are partly made by hand because of their more complex shape.

A half-dozen workers – five of them women, who are often preferred by manufacturers for jobs that require meticulous handwork – stood on each side of a long, thin stringer tool, positioning 4-foot-long ribbons of uncured, textilelike carbon fiber.

When they’d lain out each piece of fabric by hand, an overhead machine swung over and pressed down to secure it for curing.

“For this particular shape … it turns out to be more cost-effective to do it this way,” Lindblad said.

It’s a mistake to think robots can do it all, said Ben Hempstead, chief of staff and lead mechanical engineer at aerospace-tooling designer Electroimpact.

After these 777X skin panels, spars and stringers are fabricated in the wing center, Boeing will deliver them to the main Everett factory building where mechanics will first assemble the pieces into a basic wing box, then add the folding wingtip and the leading- and trailing-edge control surfaces.

That assembly process is inherently more labor-intensive.

“With wing-box assembly, if in the future it’s half-automated, that’ll blow my mind,” said Hempstead, whose company supplies Boeing and also provided much of the equipment Airbus to build the composite wing of the A350.

“Many of the steps require skill and judgment and are very hard to automate,” he said.

Hempstead said Boeing asked Electroimpact to look at automating one specific 737 wing process in Renton that’s done today by about a dozen mechanics.

“We couldn’t figure out how to do it faster with machines,” Hempstead said.

And don’t even think about robots doing intricate jobs like installing hydraulic tubes and electrical wiring in the crowded space of an airplane wheel well.

“Oh, man, nobody has even talked about automating that,” Hempstead said. “I can’t even envision how you’d do it.”

After World War II, Boeing gave Washington state a thriving middle class, allowing blue-collar workers – some with only a high-school education – to live the American dream.

As robots revolutionize the industry, the region has become a hotbed of leading aerospace-automation firms – including Electroimpact, Nova-Tech and MTorres America as well as Janicki Industries – that are hiring young engineers as fast as they can.

But is a golden age of manual labor ending with Boeing’s automation drive?

In 2005, almost 3,500 machinists in Renton produced 21 single-aisle 737s per month, according to employment data filed with the state.

In 2014, just over 6,000 machinists there produced exactly twice as many.

While production rose 100 percent, employment of machinists rose 75 percent.

As robotic systems and the automated processing of carbon fiber proliferates, that gap is certain to widen.

While Boeing employed more than 100,000 in Washington state in the late 1990s, it seems unlikely those days are ever coming back. Its payroll here is down to about 73,000 today.

Yet that’s still a big workforce, crucially important to the economy. And well-paid manual jobs remain a vital thread in the social fabric of the state.

“We can’t all be baristas and software engineers,” said Electroimpact’s Hempstead.

At the industry discussion of automation in Farnborough, Craig Turnbull, director of engineering at Electroimpact U.K. who oversees the company’s work at the Airbus wing plant in Broughton, Wales, emphasized that “there is a point where man and machine have to meet.”

Even in a highly robotized auto plant, he said, the car radio is installed by a mechanic. It’s too difficult for a robot.

And when it comes to hiring an operator for this new equipment, he suggested looking to machinists.

“The best person to operate a machine that drills holes is someone who has done it for 20 years by hand,” Turnbull said. “They know what they are looking for. They are then becoming more of a quality-control person than actually pushing the drill through a hole.”

To prepare the next generation of factory workers for such jobs, the state is pushing STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and providing community-college-level training for hands-on careers.

Becoming a machine operator will probably require a two-year associate degree with course work on the basics of electromechanics.

“These are some of the highest skilled and best compensated jobs in the factory,” Hempstead said.

John Janicki, president of Janicki Industries, sees the drive toward more automation speeding up, “driven by the need to get the price down.”

Though expensive to install, he said, robotic systems should allow plane makers to sell more jets over a production run that can last more than 20 years.

“If you amortize all the equipment over the life of the program, it’s not that big a deal,” Janicki said.

His firm – currently employing about 750 people in the state and expanding – still regularly hires local people straight out of high school and trains them to operate its sophisticated machines.

And he points to a big upside for the Pacific Northwest in having the 777X wing center: After investing so heavily, Boeing needs to use it to the fullest.

“It’s absolute state of the art. It’s not going anywhere,” said Janicki. “You have all that equipment and the personnel trained to use it. It’ll build 777s, yes. But 50 years from now, they’ll still be building something in that plant.”

About Epson SCARA Robots


For Pricing Details, Call Us at 763-571-4970

One of the many robots we sell is the Epson SCARA Robot. CLICK HERE to view all of the robots we sell.  Epson has their SCARA Robots in a G-Series, RS-Series, and a LS-Series.

Epson SCARA Robots G-Seriesepson SCARA robots

  • Repeatabilities to +/- 5 Microns
  • 175 – 1000mm Reach
  • Payloads to 20Kg
  • Super Fast Cycle Times
  • High Rigidity Arm Design
  • Tabletop, Ceiling and Wall Mount
  • Clean/ESD and Wash Down Model

Epson SCARA Robots RS-Series+

  • Unique Full Rotation J2 Design for:epson SCARA robots
    • Full Envelope Access
    • Faster Cycle Times
    • Larger Pallet/Tray Usage
  • Repeatabilities to +/- 10 Microns
  • 350 and 550mm Arm Lengths
  • Clean/ESD Models Available

Epson SCARA Robots LS-Series

The idea behind the LS-Series was to for them to be the cost solution for the factories who were looking for the best “bang-for-there-buck”. Don’t let the fact that they are more cost-efficient scare you away, the Epson SCARA Robots LS-Series are packed with the same power as the rest!

For a complete description of these products, CLICK HERE!