Innovative tools of the trade
New and old
In the drive for process efficiency, industrial engineers sometimes have to concentrate on older, legacy tools, such as heavy industrial machinery. But even in those arenas, the digital technology revolution provides quite useful ccommunication upgrades.
After all, many IEs, whether they’re consultants or company-employed, spend a lot of time on the road in remote locations. Their handy iPhones can keep them tied in to headquarters to send and receive reports, metrics, specifications and other technical documents.
But nobody wants to review 38 pages of technical specifications on a 3.5-inch screen. That’s where the Lantronix xPrintServer comes in. This plug-and-print solution enables any Apple device running iOS version 4.2 or later to print on virtually any networked printer minus the hassles of current workaround solutions. The device is compatible with thousands of printer models from companies that include HP, Brother, Epson, Canon, Dell, Lexmark and Xerox. As new printer brands and models are released, Lantronix will post updates on its website.
The xPrintServer, about the size of an iPhone 4, uses the iOS native print menu and requires no other applications, software downloads or printer driver installations. Once plugged into the network, it automatically discovers printers, allowing users of iPads, iPad2s, iPhones and iPod Touches to print wirelessly.
More than 50 percent of the current 73 million strong iPad market use the devices for business purposes. And, according to Lantronix, more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies planned to deploy iPads by this year.
But for heavy industry – think steel, cement, mining and coal power – you still need the big stuff, like Thayer Scale’s Model MH, a complete line of high-capacity, heavy industry belt feeders. They’re capable of accurately measuring and controlling feed rates up to 3,000 tons per hour. They’re designed specifically to withstand the harsh industrial environments associated with heavy industry, and they incorporate unique design features that enable reliable performance and stable calibration.
Weighing is done by Thayer’s patented low deflection, nonwearing Force Measurement Suspension System weight-sensing scale, which locates the weight transducer outside of the feeder enclosure. This puts the scale out of the way for cleaning and also makes it less susceptible to damage. And because material cannot fall onto the scale, it’s less susceptible to tare buildup.
The Model MH uses 100 percent of the scale’s capacity to weigh material to ensure accuracy. The dead weight of the weigh idler and belt is mass-counterbalanced for a high signal-to-noise ratio. A unique inlet and side skirts design allows the equipment to operate with a lower horsepower, reducing energy consumption.
Last, but not least, the heavy duty weigh belt feeders allow for easy rerating of feeder capacity if the material or its density changes, providing unsurpassed flexibility for altered requirements.
Michael Hughes is managing editor of IIE.