What happens when a microcontroller turns on a power FET, sending a current pulse to a motor coil that develops a magnetic field which turns the rotor shaft, advancing a timing belt that drives a pair of nip rolls suspended on bearings in a web-processing operation on a form, fill, and seal machine installed on a potato chip line at a Frito Lay plant in central California? And how can you be sure that the encoders, prox sensors, and other feedback devices you plan to use will accurately see and report every relevant motion, machine state, and process condition? And will the signals get through the networks fast enough, without being corrupted, giving the controllers time to execute their algorithms as intended? It’s a lot to think about, and it only scratches the surface of what many engineers grapple with today. If you happen to be one of them, then the place for you — where you can find answers and meet others with similar concerns — is www.Mechatronic-Design.com.
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