TCP/IP-compatible servo drives from Baldor Electric Company have
simplified the construction of an automotive component
Developed by a builder of structural and custom test equipment,
Dynamic Testing and Equipment (DTE), the new machine automates the
accelerated life testing of the flexible boot seals used
to protect ball joints in automobile steering assemblies. The use of
programmable AC servos " instead of conventional hydraulic actuators "
provides an unprecedented level of control flexibility, enabling test
parameters such as joint articulation angles to be varied on the fly.
Capable of testing up to six boot seals simultaneously, testing regimes
can include continuous articulation of the ball joints, hot and cold
brine sprays, elevated humidity levels and air temperature cycling from
-25 to +80 degrees Celsius.
DTE's boot seal testing machine employs two motorized movement axes "
one vertical and one horizontal " each driven by a Baldor MotiFlex e100
3-phase servo drive and servomotor fitted with a multi-turn absolute
encoder. The precise feedback signals enable both axes to be programmed
to absolute zero, facilitating optimal positioning of the machine's
tooling for parts loading and unloading, and ensuring ease of start-up.
The servo drives are connected via industry-standard ethernet to the
test machine's host computer, which runs National Instruments' LabVIEW
software, and are controlled via TCP/IP using the built-in ActiveX
commands in Baldor's Mint programming language.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.