I recently spent a morning at EAM getting some video of their latest machine as it was going through its shakedown time. Since I was not familiar with the project yet, some of the people who were instrumental in producing this new machine took the time to explain what it was all about. Although the machine as a whole was impressive, what really struck me was how sophisticated the control system was. You’ll see that I spoke to Peter Robbins briefly in the video. Peter manages EAM’s controls department and he is actually one of EAM’s original employees. Unlike some of us (yes, I’m referring to myself!) who’ve become walking, talking museums, Peter has managed to keep the company at the forefront of technology as far as what makes these machines tick.
He explained that, unlike the traditional controllers that step through the various functions and have been in use for many years, this master controller is actually a computer overseeing many servo-controlled motions. Picture them as dedicated robots. Another interesting thing about this technology that Peter just casually mentioned (but got my attention!) is that these units actually have their own web address and he can log into them no matter where they are being used. This way, he can help the user in real time to analyze what’s happening and help the user improve his efficiencies.
Rather than try to explain this all myself, I am compiling a transcript of the question and answer session that I had with Peter and so he will be able to explain this in his own words. That’s what’s coming up in the next post!