This blog was reposted with permission from Engineering 360-Powered by IEEE Global Spec-original post published May 30th, 2017:
Ever wonder where your circuit boards, motors and other electronic parts end up when you’re finished using them? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most meet their end in landfills, and sadly, many could be recycled and reused. Known as electronic waste, or e-waste for short, these pieces include far more than just the mobile phones and laptops of yesteryear. The EPA estimates that approximately 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2014 (data for 2015 and 2016 is not yet available), with the U.S. accounting for 11.7 million of those tons. By 2018, that worldwide estimate is expected to increase to 49.8 million tons.
Businesses with the tons of electronic equipment they use and discard annually – have the unique ability to make the biggest impact by recycling or upcycling their e-waste. An interesting trend has emerged in the electronics and engineering space, in which legacy equipment is sold off and warehoused by a third-party to resell to another company that is still using and in need of that equipment and accompanying parts.
Consider this: Company ABC purchased a large lot of sensors to test their own product, only to discover a few years later that a different sensor would help them better perform that test. They still had 5,000 new-in-the-box sensors from that first lot just taking up space in their warehouse, and when it comes time to move to a new facility, they consider throwing out those 5,000 sensors because it doesn’t make sense to move them to the new space. As far as Company ABC is concerned, those sensors are obsolete and completely useless. However, Company XYZ still uses the same sensors on a regular basis for a completely different application, and is finding that the inventory of their usual supplier is dwindling. They are spending countless man-hours trying to seek out these sensors, and wondering just how long they have before they need to change their operating procedures or product specifications to find a different solution.
In this day and age, human machine interfaces are everywhere. Think about every point of contact a human has with technology and it becomes a reminder that as humans, we interact with machines in just about every aspect of our lives today. Self-service checkout at the grocery store, plugging an address into your car’s GPS or getting some cash at the ATM are all examples of instances when humans interact with an interface designed to help foster human/machine communication.
As it applies to automation equipment in a manufacturing facility, human machine interface products offer the necessary electronics to easily control automation equipment in an industrial environment. HMI products can range from a simple design with basic screen controls to a more complex touchscreen with numerous features and windows. In most environments, whether for service oriented tasks or in an industrial environment, HMI systems must be resistant to dust, water, moisture, high or low temperatures and even chemicals.
All over the world, manufacturers in the glass fiberizing and glass wool industry are interested in increasing the quality of their products. The Gedevelop GFM System is suited for this process. It works with glass flow and collects data in real time for optimum control of the manufacturing process. This system reduces material costs and shortens production downtime.
How exactly does this system work? The Gedevelop system uses a camera which looks at the glass stream and reads information for stream diameter and stream velocity. The information is then sent to the central unit and based on set parameters, calculates the glass flow. The glass flow meter continuously measures glass flow individually for each fiberizing unit and allows the pull to be controlled within .5%. It also checks that the quality of the glass stream is at the correct level and if it isn’t, the system can make adjustments. This glass flow meter is a
non-contact, optical measurement system that calculates the flow of molten glass that falls from the bushing into the fiberizer. Many installations worldwide have proven that glass flow measurement is a very profitable investment in a short amount of payback time.
One of the repair services we provide for our customers at Radwell International is CNC spindle drive retrofits. This service is something that is designed to not only provide cost savings for our clients but also extend the life of a CNC machine tool without requiring an entire machine retrofit. We recently caught up with Mark Councilman, the CNC Sales Manager at Radwell International, based out of our Arlington, Texas location. Mark is a CNC Subject Matter Expert and has been working in the CNC area for 17 years. We had the chance to discuss a bit about CNC machines and how CNC Spindle Retrofits can save time and money for a manufacturing environment.
What is your role at Radwell International?
My role as CNC Sales Manager is to develop & implement strategies for production, distribution, inside/outside sales, and marketing that position Radwell as a leader in the CNC support market. Currently, my day includes gathering information as I research the CNC market. Typically, I’ll review and validate current pricing on the website and process requests for CNC parts as they trickle in from ASM’s, ISM’s, and customers. I might reach out to Alan Gage with an opportunity for Radwell Verified Subs, and/or seek support from Todd Radwell for a list of parts that should be targeted for pre-certification. The facilities I worked in specialized in exchange and repair of motors, drives, power supplies, CRT’s, and control boards for the CNC market. That's how I came to be considered a subject matter expert in this area.
For many manufacturers, the prospect of moving towards eco-friendly solutions and innovations such as renewable energy is very much front of mind; however, actually implementing the necessary changes is easier said than done. Luckily, as technology develops, and the appetite for carbon neutrality increases around the globe, there are many options for saving not only the bottom line, but the environment.