The advancement of technology has turned the world into a global village. Distances got shorter as
communicating a message thousands of miles away became an easy everyday affair. The next step in
this advancement came with remote automation.
Automation is the automatic control of machinery that performs the predefined tasks without any
human interaction. It is a complete smart system that will take decisions according to the conditions.
In the beginning, a human supervisor was always required around the automation system. Some
inputs were to be given manually.
This situation has now changed with the advent of remote automation. A supervisor can sit miles
away from the system yet have full control over it. The advent of signal transmission has eased the
world into remote automation.
Remote automation has been a blessing. Systems can now be installed in environments that are not
suitable for the workforce and still the goal can be accomplished. Radioactive emissions and high
temperatures are such conditions.
Pros of Remote Automation:
Remote Automation has been quickly adopted by many industries. Manufacturing industries are a
common example of high remote automation consumption.
One of the major pros of installing remote automation is the fact that the system will never let the
company be shorthand on workforce. The system will do most of the job itself with one skilled
worker operating the system from anywhere in the world.
Remote automation paves way for real time solutions. In case there is a problem in the output, it can
be analyzed and fixed remotely. This will allow for minimum halt in the output or the production.
Automation reduces the factor of human error. A human is bound to make an error in any of the
tasks in the chain of command. The remotely controlled automated system works on fixed
principles. As long as the predefined commands are correct, the output will be given at maximum
The system keeps track of the output and store the results. This enables the output to be accessed
remotely and kept in check without visiting the system regularly.
Cons of Remote Automation:
The major social disadvantage that lies with remote automation is the fact that it will leave a chunk
of the workforce unemployed. Unemployment is already a social issue and remote automation will
add to it.
Systems as complex as a remote automation system requires timely calibration and maintenance.
Calibration of such a system requires a professional calibration team which is expensive to hire.
If timely calibration and proper maintenance are not practiced, the system will start producing the
wrong output. This will cost money as the wrong output is worthless in most cases.
Skilled and expensive labor is required in case of repairs. Engineers and IT workers are expensive to
hire for full time only for the purpose of repairs.
In case of a breakdown of signals, remote automation will be hampered and might stop the work. A
very good connection is therefore required in the place of the system and the place where it is being
An Automated water level management system allows for the feedback and control of the depth of water in a container. Such systems are vital in industries that have little to non margin for error.
The sensor will sense the level of the water as the input. The input will be processed and compared to the standards that have already been set. If the input value does not match the standard value, the system will take steps to make amends to the matter.
Due to the climatic changes and global warming, pure water is becoming a commodity that could not be wasted. These systems ensure that no water is wasted and only the right amount is available for work.
A water level management system is vital to industries such as a food and beverage industry. Such industries have to keep their product in check and maintain certain standards of quality. The water level sensor ensures the correct amount of water is in the reservoir for the process to proceed correctly.
Water reservoirs and Dams make use of this management system. This is a very critical application as an overflowing reservoir may destroy nearby vegetation and disturb the lifestyle of nearby living citizens. In case the water levels rise to above a certain value, the system will open the reservoir gates to bring the level back.
Hydro electric power plants make use of the water level management systems as well. HEP power plants work on the principle of the conversion of potential energy of water into the electrical energy. The water level sensor ensures the water is at the correct height to have the required potential energy.
Nuclear Power stations is one major consumer of the water level management systems. These stations can not afford for anything to go off detail by the slightest amount. Water is used as a coolant in this industry. Correct water level is required if the station is to work to it’s maximum efficiency.
Water level sensors are actually ultrasonic sensors. The sensor operates by transmitting sound waves which travel until they are reflected back to the sensor by the liquid surface. A simple principle of distance = speed * time is used as the sensor multiplies the time taken for the sound pulse to return with the velocity of the pulse in the water. The result is divided by 2 to obtain the depth of the water.
An alternate sensor works on the principles of a float type sensor. The input is based on the resistance change of a potentiometer fitted within the sensor. Turning of a pulley or a spring loaded shaft causes the change in resistance.
Bubbler sensors is another option for the same application. The level of water is measured by detecting the pressure of air filled tubes with one end open and the other end submerged into water. The distance in the tube that is needed to be travelled for the pressure change allows the sensors to calculate the the level of the water.
A Programmable Logic Controller or PLC is an industrial digital computer designed specifically to control manufacturing processes. Assembly lines and robotic arms are prime examples of PLC based automation.
The setup of PLC automation is expensive and thus is used only where high accuracy and precision is required. An industry that replaces the human control with a dedicated software is bound to make improvements in the end product.
Superior quality of the end product will be coupled with a higher productivity. Labours can work only a limited period of time before the efficiency of the work decline. A PLC based automation system can run as long as it’s fed the proper electricity and input. This will also improve the safety conditions of the industry while making sure there is minimum to zero wastage of the raw materials.
Principles of PLC based Automation:
PLC works on the same basic principles any computer works on.
It starts with the input. PLC first checks the input status. Every input output device is checked if it’s ready to execute the task that will come it’s way.
Program execution is the second stage. The PLC will begin on the set of instructions that have been pre programmed in the first place. Each task will be accomplished in a series of steps as they have been defined.
The last step in the chain involves the updating of the output status. If all the steps in the second stage were performed accurately, which in most cases they are, the output will base on the type of input that was given.
Everything that carries merits is bound to have it’s demerits trailing close by. PLC automation came in the industries as a blessing. However there is no such thing as perfect when dealing with industrial work.
The first drawback is the capital that has to be invested to fully shift an industry towards automation. In the long run this may seem a bargain but it will require a very stable company to actually go on with it.
Maintenance becomes a factor sooner or later. Every instrument that is a cog in the PLC system will have to be calibrated from time to time. Calibration of high end instruments prove to be expensive. Other maintenance costs will pile up as well and add to the expenses.
Skilled labour has to be hired to install the system. Programmers will be required to program the automation process. In case the system is damaged, more skilled labour will have to be called upon to make amends. Good skilled labour in the competitive market are hard to find and will demand a high wage.
The network of wires will make life complicated for everyone working near or on the system. Too many wires have to be connected with the right circuit breakers. Fault diagnosis in this case becomes very difficult.
In the end, any industry that brings in a PLC based automation will be kicking out a chunk of their work force. This will lead to unemployment which is already a major social issue.
The Front engine mounting in a vehicle serves two major purposes. It’s first objective is to secure the engine transmission to the chassis of the vehicle. The engine has many rotating and moving parts in it’s operations. Absorbing road shocks and engine vibrations is the second purpose of the mounting. This ensures the driver is not subjected to feel the movement of the engine. The mountings are commonly made of steel and rubber.
Toyota Honda makes use of an active vacuum controlled engine mounts in it’s manufacture. This varies the dampening effect.
Engine mounting has an advantage that it does not need regular servicing. It only needs to be replaced when it is worn out or damaged. However it is of unparalleled importance that eingine mountings should be replaced at the first sign of trouble. The mounts are small but the problems they may cause are great
Problems by Bad Mounts: Engine Vibration: The primary function of the mounts is to absorb vibrations from the engine. If they are not performing their duty, the engine will be loosely held. This give the engine permission to move about and cause excessive vibration throughout the shape of the car. This symptom will first be felt towards the front passenger seat of the vehicle. As time passes without repair, the vibration will be felt by all the seats.
Misalignment: The engine mounts ensure that the engine is properly aligned. This ensures that the dissipated energy is dissipated equally in every direction. If the mounts are not functioning properly, the engine will sage and droop to a particular side. This will cause disturbing sounds from the engine. The moving parts will strike neighbouring members. Excessive tilting will result in Engine blockage. The vehicle will stop in it’s tracks unexpectedly as a result.
Engine Damage: This is an extreme case to begin with. This will happen if the mounts completely wear off or completely dysfunction. In this case, the engine will move freely and may shift from one side to the other. This will pose as a safety hazard in case the car is being driven at a high velocity. The engine will damage neighbouring components and soon, parts from under the hood might start flying out.
Broken Belts and Hoses: Engine fan belts and radiator hoses are very closely placed against the engine. In case of bad mounting, the engine will damage these components. A leaking radiator hose will cause the coolant to spill. The vehicle will start heating up and will eventually breakdown. The damage to the fan belt will result in an inadequate supply of power to the other components of the automobile.
Excessive Noise: This is a very common factor and a direct result of all the problems stated above. If the engine is free to move and is constantly coming into contact, there will surely be noise. A clanking or knocking will begin to hint to the fact that the mounts are not performing efficiently. As the noise becomes louder and vigorous, the worse off condition the mounts are in.
A shock absorber, commonly known as a shock damper, is a hydraulic device placed in vehicles. The
application of this device is to absorb shock impulses suffered throughout the motion of the
The operation of a shock absorber is executed by the conversion of kinetic energy into thermal
energy or heat. The heat is then dissipated into the surroundings leaving behind the smooth
movement of the vehicle.
Shock absorbers lower the negative impact upon a car travelling over a rough terrain. This ultimately
leads to improved driveability and handling of the vehicle. The sole purpose of the absorbers is not
only to limit the movement of suspension but to dampen spring oscillations.
Bumper to bumper collisions are very common in busy traffic. A bumper absorber in this case will
save the car from a total wrecking. High quality Styrofoam is used in the manufacture of these
absorbers. The material is soft but has a capability to absorb impact and reduce damage.
Bumper absorbers are manufactured from different types of materials. The application of the
bumper absorber however remains the same. All of the materials dampen impact but with different
affectivity and at a different cost.
Foam: foam is the most common material used in the manufacture of bumper absorbers. Foam is
the softest of the material a bumper absorber is made from. Although foam manufactured damper is
cheap, the softness result in less impact being absorbed upon impact.
Aluminium: Aluminium bumper absorbers come with an exclusive advantage of being ultra light.
They will not weigh down the car as it moves. The problem with aluminium manufactured bumper
absorbers is that they are expensive and hard to find in the market. This is the result of aluminium
being a material that is hard to weld and fabricate.
Plastic: Plastic is a popular material to manufacture bumper dampers out of. Plastic absorbers are
not the cheapest in the market. Plastic dampers come with the advantage that they are very good at
absorbing energy upon impact. Plastic absorbers have to be replaced from time to time. Impacts
create cracks in the plastic and leave the car vulnerable to future impacts.
Installation of a Bumper Absorber:
The installation of a bumper absorber is not a piece of cake for anyone. It is a difficult task often best
left to the professional mechanics.
To start with the operation, a few tools will be required. A screwdriver set, Wrench and socket set
and a floor jack will be needed.
The first step is to disconnect all connections from the headlights of the vehicle. After this
disconnection, the front bumper is to be removed including the lights, licence plate and the bumper
The floor jack will now be used to support the weight of the vehicle. Screws are to be removed
which hold the fender liners to gain access into the cover bolts of the bumper. Mounts and bolts are
now to be removed that hold the bumper cover.
The next step is to drill the rivets out to remove the absorber from the vehicle. Now the new bumper
absorber is aligned and placed to perfectly fit. The whole operation is now reversed and every
component unscrewed will be screwed back. Care is to be taken not to damage the absorber in the
The Conveyor belt is set to be defined as an endless chain or belt that carries an object over a short distance. In the technical dictionary, the conveyor acts as a carrying medium in a bigger system known as the belt conveyor system.
A belt conveyor system is a conveying system which consists of a minimum two pulley setup. An endless loop of the conveyor belt rotates about the pulley. Either one or both the pulleys are powered by an external source. The powered pulley is known as the drive pulley while the unpowered pulley is known as the idler pulley.
Conveyor belts are classified in two major industrial classes: Material handling and Bulk material handling. The material handling belt conveyors have the strength to transport objects such as boxes. The bulk material conveyor belt handling, on the other hand, is used to transport large volume of resources and volumes.
Structure of Conveyor Belt:
The conveyor belt usually consists of 2 layers while a third layer of carcass in recommended for many processes. The three layers of a conveyor belt are the top cover, the carcass and the bottom cover.
Nylon, steel, Polyester, cotton and aramid are the common materials used to make the carcass layer. The carcass provides shape and strength in the linear direction. The carcass made out of any of the named material is woven in between the top and bottom cover. Resistance and elasticity of the belt comes from warp and the werf (longitudinal and latitudinal thread in a roll during weaving).
The weft is responsible for the resistance against cuts, tears and impacts while maintaining a high level of flexibility.
Choosing A Conveyor Belt:
Picking the right conveyor belt for a conveyor system designed to perform a task is essential. A mismatch may result in damage to the product being transported as well as the complete system. This will be an expensive failure if the situation arises.
Key points to consider a conveying belt includes the size and the weight distribution of the object that is to be transported.
The material of the object also determines the conveyor belt required by the operation. The material of the belt and the object should not produce resistance when they come in contact.
Impact on loading is another field to be considered. How the product is loaded on the conveyor system will determine initial weight distribution.
The orientation of the object will also play a role. If the orientation changes during transportation, the belt should be chosen that can cope with the changes.
Speed and inclination are another two factors that require a piece of thoughtfulness. High speed creates heat while an inclination changes the weight distribution of the object. To facilitate both of these variables, the material for the conveyor belt chosen must be resistant to heat and have the strength to bear the load.
The environment of the operation is to be considered in the calculations. The surroundings to be considered are whether the system is operating in a hot or cold environment, wet or dry, inside or outside etc.
A load cell is a device that falls under the category of a transducer. This transducer creates an electrical signal directly proportional to the force being measured. Hydraulic load cells, pneumatic load cells and strain gauge load cells are good examples of the load cell.
Automation has a dictionary meaning of the technique to make a system operate automatically. Research and development in the fields of mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, and computers have enabled the world to move towards automation.
The introduction of automation has proved to be cost effective in the majority of the fields it has been introduced in. Improvement in quality, accuracy and precision has been achieved with the reduction of labor costs, material costs and electricity bills.
Automation Applications of Load Cell:
Research and development has seen a boom in the applications associated with the applications of a load cell. The rising popularity and ease of automation in this department has seen automation become a separate branch in the uses of a load cell.
Some examples of such implementations are
USB insertion/extraction Test:
The durability of a USB flash drive is checked by a motorized insertion and extraction test. An automated load cell allows the engineers to configure a test stand that quantifies the exact force needed to insert and extract a USB.
Automated Robotic Arm:
Robotic arms have been a revolution in manufacturing industries. The industrial robots have allowed to make assembly lines far more effortless and reliable. The arm is equipped with a full bridge strain gauge based sensor and operators. These operators send clear signals to the logic controllers that govern the assembly line.
Satellite Reaction Wheel Torque:
The application of reaction wheels is one of the most efficient methods to control the satellite altitude. The scale on the reaction wheels make them an ideal choice for altitude control systems in a cube sat. A small torque is created which changes with time. This keeps the communication antenna pointing towards earth or any subjected star. The response time and torque can be measured using an automated load cell. The values are recorded and the system can then be adjusted to produce the ideal results.
Trackpad/Touchpad Test Stand:
The touchpad on a laptop or any similar electronic devices is the most sensitive part of the device. The sensitivity of the pad is scrutinized for an ideal performance. To test a touchpad, a load cell is fixed into a testing actuator. This actuator will run cyclic tests and record feedbacks. It will then be quantifying the magnitude of force which will simulate a response from the touchpad
Hydraulic/Pneumatic Press Force:
The verification testing of a Hydraulic or Pneumatic press is a vital requirement in the automation process. A USB based output allows the operator to verify the uniform loading of a large platform. Each load cell in place functions as a monitoring point within the system.
Measuring and maintaining a pressure is a major requirement in many mechanical based systems. Differential pressure sensors can be used to monitor the ratio of fluid gas within a pressurized vessel.
The bushing in vehicles is an anti vibration component between two parts or members. It serves the purpose of damping the transmitted energy due to various movements of the members. Suspension constitutes to the major application of bushing.
For suspension systems, the bushing is made out of rubber. The rubber allows the movement of the suspension members while absorbing the unnecessary vibrations and noise. Unnecessary vibrations may occur at bumps travelled over with a high speed.
The bushings are often cylindrical in shape. The round smooth shape makes it easy to slide and fit in spaces where bushing application is required. It involves an internal crush tube in the middle which allows it to resist plastic deformation in case of stress applied by the members at both ends.
Applications of Bushing:
Internal combustion engines are prone to vibrations through the rotating crank shaft. The longer the crankshaft of the engine, the more it will be subjected to torsion. Rubber bushing is required to counter this issue. A thick rubber disc, a bonded steel plate and a floating iron weight constitute the bushing of the crank shaft.
The anti roll bar is the suspension member that makes use of bushing. The anti roll bar connects both the front wheel through short lever arms which are linked by a torsion spring. During fast cornering and an unstable road, the roll bar prevents the body roll of the vehicle. The bushing makes sure that vibrations do not hinder the connections and the system works smoothly.
Manual transmission vehicles require an additional bushing over an automatic one. The gear stick connected to the gear assembly requires bushing for fluid shifting of gears.
Shock absorbing hydraulic devices commonly known as the shock absorbers also operate on the principles of bushing. The device absorbs kinetic energy and converts it into heat. The heat is dissipated to the environment.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bushing:
A major advantage of using bushing between members is the reduction of noise. It smoothens the movements. As the parts are not in direct contact, the major noise production of metal against metal is extinguished.
Vibrations are absorbed readily by bushing. Less vibration transmission into the chassis means less instability of the vehicle. This ensures smooth driveability of the vehicle.
Bushing reduces the cost of lubrication. If the metal members were in contact, lubrication would have been necessary to reduce the friction between the components. The element of bushing ensures the components are free to move without the requirement of lubrication.
Bushing creates feasibility for both the driver of the car and the components of the car. It still has it’s fair share of limitations. Bushings made from rubber can deteriorate if the internal temperature in the vehicle becomes too high or if the temperature falls rapidly due to cold weather. The presence of oil can also influence the performance of the bushing.
Rubber is the popular bushing material used in vehicles. It comes with another disadvantage which owes to it’s flexibility property. Camber, caster and toe changes in the vehicle will affect the vehicle handling under excessive loads. The counter to this problem is replacing the rubber bushing with a rigid material but every material comes with it’s own drawback.
The Drive Shaft boot is also known as the CV joint i.e. the constant velocity joint. The soul purpose of this joint is to transmit power generated by the engine to the wheels. The CV joint is assisted by a set of bearings. These bearings absorb vibrations and transmit rotational energy. This ensures fluid driving and control over the steering.
Drive Shaft boots also functions as a shield. It shields the axle from contaminants such as dirt and water. The axle connects the wheels together. It is essential that the axle is properly shielded during the drive. If the axle fails, the probability of crashing becomes very high.
Companies such as Honda that manufacture the drive shafts, manufacture them in two types. The difference is that of material. Rubber and Resin are the two different materials these drive shaft boots are made from.
The Boots should be replaced before they deteriorate. This is a cheap repair. If the degrading boot is not replaced in time, it will affect the drive shaft adversely. Replacing of the complete drive shaft is a relatively very expensive action.
Signs of a damaged Drive Shaft Boot:
In case of a damage to the boot, propagating cracks will start to spill grease. As the boot deteriorates, the crack enlarges with the passage of time and more grease follows. A time will come when black stains will start to appear on the inside of the tyre.
The boot will start producing a sound every time the car turns. The level of the noise increases with the acceleration of the turn. A shudder or side to side shake during acceleration will be the third visible symptom. This is the time when the car owner or driver should know that it is time to replace the boot.
Replacing The Boot:
The replacement of the drive shaft boot is always the most economical choice of action. There is no need to take the car to a professional mechanic as the process is relatively simple.
Once you have all your protection gear ready and the car properly lifted by a jack, the real job begins.
The axle nut and the wheel are to be removed. This can be achieved by unscrewing the lug nuts with a suitable tool.
The wheel is now removed which will expose the steering linkage. A combination of needle nose pliers and a socket wrench will be enough to remove the steering linkage.
Stabilizing bar linkage is next in focus. This bar is to be removed as well. There is no requirement to loosen any nuts or washers. It is removed by simply pulling it from it’s fixed ends.
Further disconnection processes follow. Lower arm bolts, Steering knuckle, Old bands and old boot are to be removed respectively.
All these steps lead to the most important part of the plan of action. A knife is required to cut the funnel so that the ends meet. The new boot is now pushed in the correct orientation. This is followed by the installation of new bands. The excess boot is cut away and the task is achieved.
The plan is now reversed and all the disconnected parts are put back together.