Machine and Process Management

5 Things to Know About Machine Control

In its most basic form, machine control is the implementation of positioning sensors and a visual display to assist the operator with a reference between the location of the bucket/blade and the target grade. The target grade may be as complicated as a 3D design model, or as basic as a vertical offset from a defined level.  Based on the configuration, machine control systems can offer the operator with a simple visual guide to bucket or blade position, or they can efficiently move the blade to grade by directly “talking” to the machine’s hydraulics.

There are systems readily available on nearly all types of machines: graders, dozers, excavators, soil & asphalt compactors, scrapers, trimmers, milling machines, and pavers. While embracing the escalating expansion of both the applications and the industry, it is recommended to keep the following points in mind.

 Greater precision at the same time lowering expenses 

The requirement for precise, repeatable motion control components has existed for a while— however, the demands continue to intensify. As and when technology evolves, so does the need to drive down its costs. This is significantly true in applications that utilise precision rotating axes—metrology, calibration devices, automation technology, micromachining, and semiconductor manufacturing. High accuracy and high stiffness are definitely within reach but at a cost that may prove to be restrictive at times.

Picking the right motion feedback solution 

To meet the global standards of newly automated applications, engineers now have a variety of motion feedback solutions to evaluate – namely scanning technologies. From optical and inductive to magnetic and capacitive, picking the ideal one for a given application can be mystifying.

 Conquering functional safety issues

 As guided vehicles and other similar automation protocols become more popular in factories and work stations, functional safety is increasingly gaining significance in motion control design. In fact, most countries across Europe are already using it in applications, and its implementation is rising in the US and the Middle East as well. Adopting safety-related position measuring systems can lead to reducing the burden on a machine designer. 

Securing customised solutions 

As advanced technologies have begun infiltrating the industry and day-to-day functioning, the need for machine control systems becomes more defined and specialised. Sometimes, a one-size-fits-all solution simply isn’t specific enough for the task at hand. It has been observed that engineers are collaborating with component manufacturers to create new solutions to meet their particular needs. 

Improve operator performance/ shorten training window

Bulldozers and motor graders are considered to be among the more troublesome machines to hire and train qualified operators for. Machine control technology helps significantly shorten the training process and enables less-experienced operators to achieve similar targets as those with more knowledge and experience.

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