Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Controls Go Green: SERCOS and Energy Consumption

Earth Day
With Earth Day approaching this weekend, now is a perfect time to talk about the energy profile aspect of SERCOS III. As you know by now, the latest SERCOS system aims for all-inclusive, “plug-and-play” control, with full integration from the machine level, through I/O, drives, sensors, and controls. An article from Sustainable Planet provides an overview of SERCOS Energy, the portion of SERCOS that outlines energy consumption requirements. In a nutshell, the level of control that SERCOS enables, allows for targeted, intelligent component energy management, and unprecedented energy use optimization.

By planning for both expected and unexpected production circumstances – the former, lunch breaks, and the latter, machinery malfunctions – SERCOS Energy features predefined energy saving states that can be scheduled or manually kicked in. Think of your computer going into Sleep Mode, or fully shutting down after an extended period of inactivity. That’s the basic principle behind SERCOS Energy, with highly targeted and carefully defined events and triggers. For more information, be sure to read the article, or see the SERCOS white paper.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Other FIRST Competitions

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) participants. 
We at IIS are primarily involved with the FIRST Robotics Challenge – the competition involving high school students and their mentors (including us!). Besides being a great outlet for mechanically-minded students to expand their skills, the FRC also shows students that careers in manufacturing and automation can be viable, interesting, and fun. What’s more, FIRST gets students involved even before high school with their LEGO Leagues, and also runs a Tech Challenge, putting a different spin on the competition.

FIRST’s LEGO Leagues (FFL)– a Junior league for grades K through 3rd, and the standard LEGO league for students aged 9 through 14 – let students get involved in envisioning, designing, and building robots, with more age- and skills-appropriate guidelines and challenges. Inevitably, these programs groom and prepare students for the more intensive Robotics Challenges as they get older, building a strong base from which to work. The TechChallenges are also aimed at high school students, but with a more head-to-head, individualized aspect to the competitions. FIRST truly offers something for everyone with their range of choices, and we’re proud to be involved with them!