Feeling Nostalgic – Recalling my first real project

February 4th, 2014

In light of our recent ten year anniversary I am looking back over my engineering career and fondly remembering all the unique and challenging projects that I have worked on over the last thirty years.  In honor of the occasion I have decided to share the stories behind some of my more memorable projects on this blog.

This story goes back to the very first project I was truly responsible for.


I was a young engineer, having graduated from Iowa State University less than a year earlier and working for Potter & Brumfield in Princeton, Indiana.  The company had been directed by its parent company, AMF, to find a way to implement a robot somewhere  in one of its factories.  This was quite progressive at that time and no one in the company had ever worked with a robot.  As I had proven my abilities with PLC controllers and troubleshooting machinery, and basically “free labor” for the automation department, I was asked by my boss to see what I could come up with.

Not only did I develop an application for the robot, but I was given the opportunity to run with it.  I did the mechanical design, the electrical design for the machine itself, worked with the test department to develop the interface between their equipment and mine, I programmed the PLC, and programmed the robot.  I even wired the machine when the electrician in the department was laid off just when we needed him.  I would have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever worked on.

You can see more photos and a video on our website – by clicking here.

An anniversary

January 24th, 2014

I’m proud to announce that Innalytical Solutions is celebrating it’s tenth year in full-time operation this week.  My how time flies by.

Thanks to all our customers who have provided some very interesting projects over that these last seven years.

Troubleshooting Vision Systems

January 24th, 2011

Assembly magazine published a good article on troubleshooting vision systems in its latest edition.  Click here to view the article.  (The full link is http://www.assemblymag.com/Articles/Feature_Article/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000963495)

If you deal with vision systems I’m sure this article will be useful.

Linear servo systems

January 10th, 2011

I have quite a bit of experience with linear servo systems (see my IntelliMove pick and place here or an assembly machine example here) so an article on linear motor always catches my attention.  Design News magazine just published a good article about linear servo motors that you may enjoy – you can see it here: http://www.designnews.com/article/511827-Linear_Motor_Benefits_in_Systems_Design.php

From personal, painful experience I can tell you that a little detail that is easy to overlook but can bring a system to its knees it the cable management.  Because of the high speeds and high number of cycles you can’t afford to overlook the cable management.  You also have to be sure that all your components are rated for the high speeds attainable with linear servos (i.e. bearings and encoders).

With that said I think linear servo motors are extremely useful and should not scare people.  They are a great tool.

Lift platform

January 3rd, 2011

It has been way to long.  I apologize to anyone that may actually be following my posts.

I came across an article about a good design for a lifting platform.  It was worth filing away for future reference and I hope someone might be able to make use of the idea.

The link is http://motionsystemdesign.com/mechanical-pt/chains-for-lifting-1210/index.html

Hydraulic Tube Sizing

June 12th, 2010

I know it’s been a LONG time since my last post – I apologize.  Fortunately this is due to the large amount of work we are doing.  Anyway…

If you have anything to do with designing or troubleshooting machinery with hydraulics you will be interested in this article published in Machine Design Magazine.  The proper selection of hydraulic tubing can actually have a major affect on the performance of your hydraulic actuation.


Linear Position Sensor

February 18th, 2010

I know that this is pretty technical stuff but if you design machinery and occasionally use linear position sensors you might want to check out a recent article in Design World about Magnetostrictive Linear Position Sensors.


What can we learn from an aluminum can?

January 26th, 2010

Machine Design recently ran an interesting article about the development of the aluminum can.  Obviously it’s something that we take for granted but a lot of engineering and innovation went into this highly developed product.


Coupling Tips

January 22nd, 2010

I saw this good article about couplings in Motion System Design Magazine.  It’s worth a look if you design machines with couplings – and most machines use a coupling somewhere.  (There is a short ad screen you have to wait through before it takes you to the article – sorry.)


Tips on ways to reduce the manufacturing cost of machined parts

January 18th, 2010

I’ve found a site with some very good suggestions on ways to reduce the cost of machined parts.  It’s definitely worth taking a look at if you design manufactured components.

The site is http://procnc.com/resources/newsletters

I hope you find the tips worthwhile.   If you disagree with the tips, or have some of your own tips, please post them.  I would love to discuss these cost saving ideas.