I really wish they would make light
curtains available in more colors, don't you?
Their appearance always clashes with the machinery. The
silver and black parts picker looks HORRIBLE next to those yellow light
curtains. Some people say black is neutral--but me, honey please! Don't even
get me started on these orange coveralls!
I say there is nothing wrong with being fabulous while also doing a
little hard work.
So is the life for that fashionably-perfect in the
manufacturing world. However, those light curtains do keep this tight tush
nice and safe.
A light curtain's main advantage is that it does not
impose a physical barrier on personnel. As such, an operator is able to access
guarded components without mechanical or observational limitations. Maintenance
processes are also eased by their use. Light curtains can be used
to monitor cargo in or out of a restricted access area, as well as
provide strictly one-way access.
A transmitter is established and an array of
parallel infrared beams provide a boundary across the restricted
access point. The transmitter can emit its rays in virtually any configuration
provided the infrared beams conclude at a receiver. Mirrors are frequently used
to relay beams around corners or obstacles which reduces the need for multiple
transmitters, but for every mirror the beam range is reduced by
25%. An alignment laser or LED indicator is frequently
integrated in the transmitter for accurate positioning. Manufacturers may elect
to incorporate light curtains in standalone machinery and these devices
will have increased sensitivity. Light curtains have variable and
convenient installation patterns.
The infrared light beams are sequenced and
modulated and the receiver is designed to recognize
a specific infrared beam, decreasing the chance for issues from
ambient infrared light. When a beam is obstructed by an opaque object, a
safety relay halts the machinery or process within milliseconds. Some light
curtains allow the process to resume once the obstruction is removed, while
others require an operator to manually restart the process. A PLC
(integral or external) is required for the light curtain to interface
with the machinery it encloses. A timed mute feature
allows operators to control the flow of materials through the perimeter
without stopping the machine. Some muting scenarios allow the passage of
humans, while if other muting sensors register a human or
irregularity then the process will cease.
And while it may not be available in say, polka dots or
glittery pink (my fave!), many light curtains offer much more important
features. Self-checking circuitry has the capability to run a self-check during
startup, operation, or continuously to ensure no loss of function. Latching
safety relays will not remove the stop signal until the controls are manually
reset outside the protected area. And muting is the temporary, automatically
controlled deactivation of a safeguarding device during the non-hazardous
portion of the machine cycle.
Technical training equipment is used to instruct technicians on
the operation of vacuum, semiconductor fabrication, pneumatic, hydraulic, fluid
process, electromechanical, energy power generation, automation, optics,
physics, chemistry and thermodynamic systems. Technical training covers a wide
variety of processes and it is critical that technicians have a complete
understanding of the process in order to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Image Credit: Parker
The type of technical training equipment can include:
Demonstrators- Demonstrators are used to show how a
process, technology, scientific principle should work. A cut-away pump, clear
plastic engines or other training models are examples for demonstrators.
Fluid mechanics and pumps units. Image Credit: Geneq Inc.
Experiments - Technical training experiments allow
students to explore how variations in process or system parameters affect
performance or output. The product consists of the materials, parts and
equipment required to perform the experiment.
/ modular units- Technical training
kits consist of equipment, parts, and/ or materials such as pumps, motors,
actuators, valves, fasteners, fittings, fluids, etc. that are kitted together
for assembly, experimentation and learning exercises.
Simulators - Simulators do not physically perform
the process, but provide a virtual version of the process, technology or
scientific principle. Simulators allow students to interact and react to
changes in system parameters.
Mining simulator. Image Credit: Thoroughtec
benches- Technical training
benches consist of a series of components and sub-systems pre-mounted on a
laboratories - Training
laboratories allow students to perform multiple laboratory exercises and can
demonstrate many different processes, technologies, and scientific principles.
manuals / plans - Manuals,
training guides and training system plans provide a list of the required
components and sub-systems that can be purchased and assembled to provide a
complete training system. Training system can be modified to suit the specific
Technical trainers, simulators, training kits and complete
laboratories are available for a variety of technologies, subjects, and
disciplines. For more information on technical training equipment, please
to Select Technical Training Equipment on IHS GlobalSpec.
What type of technical
training equipment do you use?
Rodless cylinders are linear devices that use pressurized
fluid to move a load within power transfer operations. A rodless cylinder
should be used if the footprint of the area is small, when the load needs to be
moved some distance from the cylinder itself, and when the load must move
within the length of the cylinder. They are suitable for long-stroke
applications because they are protected from bending, piston binding, and
uneven seal wear. Rodless cylinders are used in a variety of material
handling, loading, feeding, lifting, and web cutting applications. They are
also used in sliding carriers, conveyors, and spraying equipment. They are made
of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, or plastic and driven by an electric
motor, pneumatic or hydraulic assembly, or electrohydraulic pump.
Guided cylinders are
directed by attached rods or rails. Unguided cylinders are directed by external
hardware associated with the application.
There are several basic coupling styles for rodless cylinders.
cylinders or direct-coupled
cylinders are connected to the cylinder flange with a table, stage, or other
moving element. Their name is derived from the zip-locked type band that keeps
compressed air within the barrel of the cylinder. An advantage of band
cylinders is that the barrels can be easily sized to carry a load.
Magnetically-coupledrodless cylinders are moved by a magnetic
field and enclosed to prevent the ingress of contaminants. This design prevents
contaminant entry into the cylinder. It is important to select a cylinder which
will provide the correct coupling force between the carriage and the piston to
support the mass of the load and the speed the load needs to be moved. The
advantages of magnetically-coupled rodless cylinders include their
compatibility with low pressure hydraulic services and that the
re-coupling of the carriage to the piston simply requires placing the carriage
over the location of the piston inside the cylinder. The disadvantages
include a higher cost, and uncoupling at high speeds or hard deceleration.
cylinders pass cables from
the ends of a gland seal to a pulley that connects to the carriage. In
turn, the carriage is attached to the cable from the opposite
cylinder end. When the actuation mechanism (i.e. compressed air) enters the
cylinder, the piston and the attached cables move from one end of the cylinder
to the other. The direction of the carriage depends on the direction of
the piston. Cable cylinders save space, and the carriage can be located some
distance from the actual barrel and piston. This is unique to the cable
cylinder. Cable cylinders are also inexpensive per inch of stroke.
Image Credit: About Air Compressors
Specifications for rodless cylinders include maximum stroke,
carriage load, operating pressure, operating temperature, bore size, breakaway
pressure, and mounting style.
Many products provide special features such as Air/oil
tandem which provide
smooth, hydraulic-like motion. This combination is only used in pneumatic
cylinder. Other special features include Bumpers which cushion the
impact at the ends of a stroke, Linear position feedback which can be analog or
digital to provide continuous output of position, and Home, limit, or
position switches have switched outputs that can limit travel.
So many industrial products and process find alternative
uses in the arts.
Paint isn't just a surface coating, but a means of visual
expression and interpretation. Modern art sculptors have been using welding and
brazing techniques for decades to create obtuse structures. Steampunk has
become a clothing and aesthetic style that idolizes 19th Century steam-powered
And, in what is perhaps the performing art's introduction to
industrial machinery, scissor lifts now participate in ballet. No really, have
While as, um--beautiful, as that was, it's likely that the
composer was simply living out a childhood fantasy of playing on scissor lifts.
They do look like giant toys after all. It's unlikely though that the composer
understood the industrious nature of his playthings.
Scissor lifts owe their mechanical capability to the
pantograph. A pantograph is a series of linked parallelograms with
hinged intersections that allow the operator to elongate
the mechanism while still maintaining the integrity of the geometric
figure. The structural components of the pantograph serve as
opposing line segments within adjacent parallelograms; geometric
changes are therefore uniform across the mechanism. True vertical lift
is accomplished by using components of equal length.
When two pantographs are arranged so as to actuate from
a single drive they extend correspondingly and loads can be balanced between
them. A calculator exists for computing the linear input force
required according to where the drive supplies power to the scissor
mechanism, be it upon the base
or a center
Motor-driven propulsion is a
valuable attribute in many situations requiring scissor lifts. This allows
workers to position the lift on an as-needed basis which is particularly useful
in maintenance and construction applications. 'Slab' lifts are restricted to
paved, smooth surfaces; rough terrain lifts rely on robust tires and four-wheel
drive to traverse off-road conditions.
To improve lift agility,
manufacturers rely on a sharp turning radius and a short wheelbase. Parking
brakes ensure lift location, and tires and casters come in non-marking,
off-road, anti-slip, press-on, and urethane varieties. Economical and legal
reasons prohibit scissor lifts from road travel; they are hauled or towed
between job sites. However, some scissor lifts may be flatbed or
railcar-mounted for specialty applications. Many mobilized lifts utilize outriggers
for further foundational stability.
Furthermore, the control, maneuverability, and power
source of a scissor lift is critical to its utility, other
characteristics better describe the vertical capabilities of the
this is the range of height safely attained by use of a scissor lift. This
is directly correlated with the number
of scissor intersections and the length of the
components used in the pantograph.
this is the dimensions of the work platform elevated by the lift. Many lifts
feature an extendable platform to increase the area's square volume.
the maximum burden that the lift is designed to safely support, be it
personnel or freight.
in cargo-lifting situations it may be helpful to have a lift table that can
pitch its load to an angle to make the load more accessible.
You can see IHS GlobalSpec's complete scissor lift selection
Also, if you have a scissor lift, remember that
you should not operate it with your judgment impaired or on the road, like this idiot [language].
(Image credits: Wikipedia; Taylor Rental; IHS GlobalSpec; Craig Boyce)
Rotary switches move in a circle and can stop in several
positions. They are used to control many different circuits or select different
valves for one circuit with a single switch. These devices have some
advantages over other switches since turning the actuator can
turn circuits on or off depending on the position and many different
actuation positions are possible. Rotary switches can also be designed to
have many contacts happening at once on a single switch position. While rotary
switches can be found on many types of industrial equipment, they can
also be found in consumer equipment such as in a car for adjusting things like
fan speed. Rotary switches are becoming less common since complex
switching operations are being done with digital equipment such as
touchscreens. Mechanical rotary switches are still used however, especially in
equipment where a computer failure could be a safety issue. Image Credit: Omega Engineering
switches have a rotating
spindle. The rotors are on a spindle and each rotor has an
arm projecting outward that can make contact with a terminal when the switch is
in a certain position. Depending on the number of rotors, the switch can have
dozens of different positions and each one can be attached to a particular
Parts of a rotary switch. Image Credit:
In order to put the rotary switch in the proper position, a detent
mechanism is used. This mechanism makes the switch "click" into
position and stay in place until enough force is applied, preventing the switch
from turning freely and being put in the wrong setting accidentally. A detent
uses a wheel with notches or grooves cut into it and attached to the
rotor. When the wheel reaches the correct position a spring-loaded ball
bearing or piece of spring steel pressing against the wheel presses into the
groove holding it into place.
Important physical switch specifications to consider when selecting
a rotary switch include mechanical life, number of poles, angle between
positions, number of decks, number of poles per deck, and switch frame.
Multi-deck (left) and Single deck (right)
rotary switch Image Credit: Elma
Number of poles per deck- The number of poles per deck is the number of
separate circuits that can be activated through a rotary switch per
deck. The output connections are usually called ways instead of throws.
The construction of the switch provides a total of 12 ways but there may be 1,
2, 3, or 4 poles. The rotating contact will channel the signal from
the pole to the output terminals. The number of terminals required determines
how many positions a switch will have.
Rotary switches with an adjustable or continuous stop are commonly
available. The stop style should be selected based on the need of the
Adjustable stops give the user the option to stop when desired.
Adjustable stops allow the user to take a 12-position switch and adjust it to
have any number of positions between 2 and 12. This stop should be used for low
Continuous stops, also known as no stops, do not have any stop
positions on the rotary switch.
Fixed stops have the stop positions come fixed from
the manufacturer and are not changeable by the user. They are better for volume
production requirements so the user does not have to adjust the switch.
"Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight." -- Lance Armstrong, 21st century cyclist and 6 time Tour de France winner