Using an Arduino in a Production environment

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

The requirement was to add a digital readout to an otherwise manually bend roller machine so that we could accurately monitor the amount of material fed into the machine. The readout should be simple to use, require no setup other than initial calibration and above all be reliable. First a little background on me, I`m a Mechanical design engineer

Using an Arduino in a Production environment
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by training but I`ve always had a `thing` for software and electronics. I`ve dabbled in electronics at a hobby level for a number of years so as you can see I am by no means an electronics or software expert. I thought I would document my use of an Arduino (see here for the Arduino software and hardware ) in an industrial production environment as I felt it demonstrated what it is possible to achieve with limited experience. Traditionally this sort of project would have been prohibitively expensive and would require both electronics hardware and software experience but by using an Arduino Mega and some off the shelf components it is possible to produce a usable solution to the problem without excessive cost. The main unit is mains powered via a Traco TXL SMPSU this feeds a 12V DC to a small matrix board containing a 5V regulator circuit to power the Arduino and LCD. The encoder was powered from the 12V DC. The encoder is a Hewlett Packard panel mount optical encoder with 360ppr (pulse per rev) and is available from RS Components (205-6853). The documentation is the usual concise HP offering and gives all the relevant details of the device. The display I selected was a 20 x 4 Black/Green LCD with a selectable Serial / I2C interface. This was chosen to simplify the interfacing with the Arduino (only 4 wires required) The workpiece is setup in the rollers and the display is zeroed using the Reset button, the workpiece is fed...

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