Bogdan Rosca

May 21, 2024

UPBAIR participating at the international conference InnoVeTAS 2024

Participating at the InnoVeTAS 2024 event a few weeks ago, to present our research paper on “Methods of Improving FDM Prototyping Using Methods of Industry 4.0” was a new and interesting experience for us. Even if we were present online, we felt welcome right from the start as our presentation was well received, with the audience showing interest and providing valuable feedback about their thoughts on some of the different topics we covered, which we will use to better our research to come. These questions and engagement from attendees made us truly feel part of the event, even though we couldn’t be there physically.

The first thing was an opening Plenary session on “Pneumatic Piston Control Optimization”. The presentation was very informative and engaging and got the conference off to a great start. The presentation in this session was very good and useful for us as it was well done and provided concrete information and insight that is relevant to our work. We liked the opportunity to gather more information about topics we care about and hear from others in the field.

We enjoyed the interactions during this event, and we felt welcome thanks to the efforts of the Chair, László Berényi. We are sorry that we could not attend the conference physically but would have liked to join in person and be part of the event. To show our gratitude for having us and to share our results we are providing the research paper at the end of this post. We hope that these exchanges and collaborations will continue in the future.…

April 29, 2024

Methods of improving rapid FDM prototyping solutions in industrial systems using strategies of Industry 4.0

Ghinea Mihalache, Niculescu Alex Cosmin, Rosca Bogdan

National University of Science and Technology Politehnica Bucharest

Abstract

Modern production relies on technologies introduced by Industry 4.0 (known as Smart Manufacturing in the USA). As one of the nine pillars of this concept, additive manufacturing plays a crucial role, spanning from rapid prototyping to creating custom final products in the shortest and most cost-effective time.  Advances in this field have led to the development of various advanced manufacturing technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), enabling the utilization of a wide range of metallic, plastic, and/or composite materials. Klipper is open-source software designed for 3D printers, providing capabilities for faster and more precise printing. The technique employed involves offloading computationally intensive processes to a separate microcontroller from that of the printer, resulting in performance, versatility, and customization benefits, significantly reducing the time of the prototyping process. The purpose of this article is to analyze the weaknesses of common/affordable printers with average performance using the software tools integrated into Klipper. Additionally, the study focuses on enhancing the performance of the printer Tevo Black Widow. As an additional outcome, it also focuses on improving the quality of printed parts (surface quality and dimensional accuracy). The study is comparative, analyzing the standard performance of a Tevo Black Widow printer with those offered by the same system while using the Klipper firmware.

1. Introduction

Various additive manufacturing techniques have been devised to fulfill the need for producing intricate structures with low waste (Hui et al., 2018). The advancement of these technologies has been primarily motivated by the desire for rapid prototyping, mitigating printing imperfections, and enhanc...

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April 21, 2024

Robert Ifrim

Robotics Student.

He came in from the FTC robotics team in high school and now he understands fluid dynamics and fluid simulation in cfd programs. He also tests different system configurations to improve the efficiency pneumatic system.…

April 21, 2024

Codrin Ivan

Robotics Student.

He came in not knowing very much but now he understands fluid dynamics and fluid simulation in cfd programs. He also tests different system configurations to improve the efficiency pneumatic system. …

April 21, 2024

SPL at Polifest 2024

Between 18-20 April 2024, the Polytechnic University of Bucharest proudly hosts the annual Polifest educational fair. Now in its 23rd edition, Polifest continues to champion education, innovation, and technology, promoting a symbiotic relationship between academia and industry and providing a vision of the evolving engineering profession amidst technological advancements.

This year, our university will present two exciting demonstrations on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), showcasing the cutting-edge applications of these technologies in engineering. In addition to these demonstrations, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about our latest scientific research, further bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical technological application.

The three-day event will offer access to scientific conferences, workshops, and exhibitions of state-of-the-art equipment and new technologies. Educational offerings and job opportunities will be presented, along with unexpected surprises, prizes, and interactive games arranged by the organizers.

More than 70 companies, alongside representatives from faculties and student associations, will participate in Polifest. This interaction promises a comprehensive exposure for future engineers to the industry and potential career paths.

We invite all interested to join us at the Politehnica University Rectory from 18-20 April, from 10 AM to 4 PM, to experience the innovative spirit of Polifest and explore the contributions of our university to the fields of AR, VR, and beyond.

April 2, 2024

PID Tuning in Klipper for 3D printers

What is PID tuning and how it works

First, we printed a calibration cube, and we identified that there appeared to be inconsistent layer heights, and after verifying the Z screws were moving freely and without a problem, we the first weakness of our printer, the fluctuating temperatures, so we used the PID tuning feature of Klipper (see Pranav, 2022) to solve this issue.

Fig. 1 Bed temperature fluctuations (blue)

PID controller stands for Proportional Integral Derivative Controller and in our case, it’s a digital temperature controller application, and its job is to take and maintain a steady state for a particular function (Microcontrollerslab, n.d.). It’s a closed-loop feedback system that continuously measures the error in your system and tries to correct it (Microcontrollerslab, n.d.). An error like the one seen in Fig. 1, where the temperatures fluctuate above and below the target.

Fig. 2 Klipper PID tuning routine

After running the PID_CALIBRATE

HEATER=heater_bed TARGET=60 and 

SET_HEATER_TEMPERATURE HEATER=extruder TARGET=210 commands in the console, as 210°C for the extruder and 60°C for the bed are the temperatures we’re usually printing at, the software runs a heat cycle routine (seen in Fig. 2) for the heated bed and the extruder that will generate the PID values and correct the fluctuations seen before while trying to hold a steady temperature (Klipper 3D Printer Firmware, n.d., b).

After saving the generated values by the commands in the configuration of the printer, we tested to see if it held a steady temperature, and it did. As that wasn’t enough proof we printed another calibration cube after the changes to see if there is any visible quality improvement.

Fig. 3 Cube before PID (left) next to cube after PID tuning (right)

The tuning has completely removed the horizontal rings that appeared on the cube on the left, as shown in Fig. 3, but this enabled another printing error to be more visible. The repeated horizontal patterns and lines are known as ringing or ghosting. That 3D printing quality issue results from vibration in layers, too high of a printing speed, high acceleration, or a displacement in the printing area (Klipper 3D Printer Firmware, n.d., e). …

April 2, 2024

Cybersecurity in AllDay

Considering the importance of the information that AllDay needs in order to fulfill its goal, the website’s database requires a number of layers of protection, resulting in the exploration and development of the cybersecurity field.

First of all, as any service that uses user authentication, it is imperative that the means in which the data transferred and stored are safe. To provide safe navigation from the session to the database the code uses JWT (JSON Web Token), which assures the database that the connection is safe, acting as a session token and a way of mapping every request. Storing passwords directly into the database can be a big security risk, which is why the back-end uses encryption before storing, so even if someone can access the information in the database, they can not exploit it. Because any risks have to be eliminated, the IP addresses are stored in the same way.

Second of all, a more complex and scientifically intriguing manner of using cybersecurity at its fullest is the way in which the algorithm acquires users’ IPs. Because of high-risk security reasons, websites can not get information about the device that is using them, so other ways had to be found to communicate with the user. For example, making a low-level session between the server and the device (by hosting a page from the website locally) can get the information needed. Of course, before taking any form of action, the users will be notified. 

This shows the paths that should be followed in order to ensure the cybersecurity of this website (with tokens and encryptions), as well as some ways of displaying the capabilities of this field, by developing unique methods of communication. 

April 1, 2024

Gicu Călin Deac – Technical Expert Advisor

Born 14th January 1970

Current position (2003 – present): Co-founder and IT Director at Impro-Media srl a multimedia production and software development company providing solutions in the following domains: customized online applications, streaming solutions, development of multimedia applications, video production and 3D graphics. Cofounder & CTO at 8agora Inc. (2022-present)

PhD thesis at University Politehnica of Bucharest (2021) – Material and information flow coordination platform in industry. 4.0

Managerial Communication graduate master (2014-2016) – Training techniques in virtual environment, University Politehnica of Bucharest.

Master thesis (2016): Theoretical and experimental research on new devices used in virtual and augmented reality applications.

Degree in technological equipment (1990-1995), Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Baia Mare

Competences: graphic design, programming languages in the virtual environment and web platforms: JavaScript, NodeJs, AngularJS, CSS, jQuery, HTML5, WebRTC, Open CV, advanced user of After Effects, Cinema 4D, 3D Max, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop. Skills: video/ photo shooting and editing, color correction, designing for physical space, 3D design, motion graphic design and animation.…

April 1, 2024

Crina Narcisa Deac – Technical Expert Advisor

Current position (2003 – present): Co-founder and General Manager at Impro-Media srl. Her position duties are company administration, project implementation in advertising and activities of advertising agencies, software and multimedia production. Development of web applications and online platforms, object-oriented software programming, multimedia application development, AI.

PhD thesis at University Politehnica of Bucharest (2021) –  Maintenance platform in Industry 4.0

Master thesis at University Politehnica of Bucharest (2016) –  Theoretical and experimental researches regarding software development strategies for AR & VR platforms

IBM course (2018) – Fundamentals of scalable data science  – Corusera

Stanford University course (2018) – Machine Learning – Coursera

IBM course (2019)  – Advanced machine learning and signal processing – Coursera

Digital competencies: Web Design (HTML CSS PHP JavaScript Bootstrap Laravel), software CRM (Customer Relationship Management), web technologies (html, css, javascript, node.js, json), Database (SQL, MySql, Oracle), Machine Learning and Deep Learning: Tensorflow and Keras Java, JavaScript, JSF, JPA, JSP, WebServices (SOAP, REST), JavaScript, JQuery Algorithms and Data strctures for AI, Python programming,  Websites programming (Macromedia Dreamweaver), Adobe (Adobe Photoshop Adobe InDesign Adobe Illustrator).…

March 20, 2024

Springing Forward into Industry 4.0: Exploring Cutting-Edge Research at Smart Pneumatics Lab

In the vibrant landscape of industrial innovation, Smart Pneumatics Lab stands as a beacon of progress, pioneering advancements at the intersection of technology and manufacturing. Like a coiled spring ready to unleash its potential, our laboratory is committed to unraveling the complexities of Industry 4.0.

1. Predictive maintenance on conveyor

In a recent meeting, we delved into the intricacies of four groundbreaking research projects poised to redefine the industrial landscape. One project focuses on a mechanical conveyor system interwoven with an array of sensors, paving the way for predictive maintenance strategies that optimize operational efficiency and minimize downtime.

We have designed a conveyor system to be powered by our Aventics Cylinders by a pinion-rack system going back and forth. This way we can have a heavy load going along the whole conveyor. This load with put wear on the bearings, on the rollers, on the pinions, on the belts etc.

We will use A LOT of sensors along side the IOTIA predictive maintenance app to see HOW each part will degrade over time.

Also, the actuating equipment will also be kitted out with sensors. From pressure sensors to vibration sensors to see if tubes are cut or to see if bearings need to be changed.

2. Simulation vs Real Life

Another endeavor explores the dynamic realm of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation versus real-world simulation, illuminating the nuances and benefits of each approach in industrial contexts.

Our team, Ivan Codrin and Robert Ifrim, has taken on the important task of exploring the subject of energetic efficiency in pneumatic systems.

We started by doing some research that would give us a brief idea of what we were getting ourselves into. The approach we decided on was crucial for the outcome of our research and after further discussions with our teammates, we agreed that the most suitable way to find the energetic efficiency of a whole system would be to take the main components it was made out of and put them to test by using pneumatic sensors and the equipment of our laboratory.

Using the results of the real-life experiment, we will correlate them and put them in comparison to simulations in specialized CFD (computational fluid dynamics) software, so that the combination of the two could help us trace common energy loss causes and methods we can use in order to minimise them.

3. MPU6050 Accelerometer vs Magnetic Linear sensor for vibration analysis on Pneumatic Cylinders

Meanwhile, our investigation into the disparity between linear sensors and accelerometers for vibration analysis promises to unearth invaluable insights into machinery health monitoring, offering clarity amidst the noise of industrial operations.

Sensors play a crucial role in monitoring the behavior of various applications. Two commonly used sensors are the linear position sensor and the accelerometer. While both of these offer a valuable insights, they differ in key aspects, making them more suitable for different uses.

A linear position sensor directly measures the distance of an object relative to the initial position along a single axis, without any additional noise. The acceleration can be calculated from these precise movement differences, offering a high accuracy. By knowing this, the linear sensor is well suited for predicable and controlled environments.

An accelerometer measures the acceleration of an object in each one of the 3 axis. This makes it excellent at detecting rapid movements, and vibrations, making them ideal for dynamic situations. The accelerometers have a higher polling rate than the linear position sensor, that cause them to have a higher noise in readings. Furthermore, they need to be calibrated before using them, while the linear position sensors don’t need to.

4. AllDay: Productivity measurement and sensor availability tool

Lastly, we delve into the realm of human-machine interaction with an innovative application designed to monitor personnel productivity, streamline meeting scheduling, and ensure the seamless operation of MQTT sensors throughout our laboratory environment.

Starting as a small, over the winter break project, the local WI-FI tracker is now the subject of a case study, regarding the power of locally transmitted information packages. The base concept is centred around how one can determine who is connected to the local network and what can be done with that information.

The project was divided into two smaller appliances, first of which is now ready and working, a presence tracker website with smart data analysis called AllDay. Users create an account which will allow them to see who is present in the router’s proximity at any time and then can analyze metrics such as: productivity, best hours for meetings, presence in the past and much more.

The next, more ambitious, project will build on the base AllDay created, making it a software offering centralized data gathering and instantaneous maintenance for any IIoT device available in the workspace.

As we embark on this journey of discovery, Smart Pneumatics Lab remains dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technological possibility, driving progress, and catalyzing transformation in the realm of Industry 4.0.…

February 28, 2024

Barbosu Dan Alexandru

A freshman at Polytechnic University of Bucharest studying Robotics.

He is a former Olympian in mathematics and is a hard working student. Currently, he is trying to better understand the field of vibrations.

Personal Research Activity

Analysis of the results obtained by two different methods of measuring the performance of pneumatic cylinders

February 19, 2024

SPL Team building in Business and Engineering

On February 10th, the Smart Pneumatics Lab team experienced a highly productive day. In the morning session, as part of an inspiring workshop hosted by the Open4Business NGO, our team members embarked on an engaging journey towards innovative entrepreneurship. Guided by Ramona Cantaragiu, the facilitator of this unique experience, we delved into pertinent inquiries commonly faced by individuals considering entry into the entrepreneurial sphere (“How does one become an entrepreneur?”, “What strategies are employed in industry analysis?”, “How can funding be secured?”, etc.). After a two hours break, the workshop transitioned into a Q&A session and an interactive “game” involving the simulation of constructing a business plan. Through active participation, we gleaned valuable insights from instructional sessions and discussions, aiding in the clarification of our vision and the formulation of our developmental strategies.

Following that, we closely followed the presentation of the outline of a scientific article by our colleague, Niculescu Cosmin, under the mentorship of SPL Director, Mihalache Ghinea. This endeavor equipped each team member with foundational knowledge and the confidence necessary to embark on similar projects.

In conclusion, our engagement in both activities proved transformative, equipping us with the tools and wisdom essential for the pursuit of our entrepreneurial and engineering ambitions in the future.…

February 10, 2024

AVENTICS™ Series AV03 Valve Series

This SYSTEM of valves is an amazing way to control pneumatic actuators in a system. It is an elegant and flexible way to add a lot of distribution valves while minimising the space used and decreasing the complexity of air tubes.

AVENTICS R42210242 5/2-directional valve

A pneumatic valve for automation

  • Has 5/2 switching
  • 300 l/min flow
  • -0.9 to 10 bar pressure
  • 24 V DC voltage
  • single solenoid
  • soft seal
  • spool valve
  • plate connection
  • spring return
  • base plate blocking
  • Can be modular

AVENTICS R422102429 5/3-directional valve

A 5/3-directional valve, part of the Series AV03 of pneumatic valves and valve systems from Emerson. It is designed for efficient and reliable automation solutions, especially for compact handling systems and complex automation applications.

The technical specifications of aventics R422102429 are as follows:

  • Activation: Electrically
  • Switching principle: 5/3
  • Version: Closed Center
  • DC operating voltage: 24 V
  • Manual override: without detent
  • Actuating control: Double Solenoid
  • Sealing principle: Soft Seal
  • Pilot: External (In this scenario, pilot means the external source of compressed air that is used to shift the valve piston. The pilot valve is a small valve that controls the flow of the pilot air to the main valve. The pilot air acts as a signal to change the position of the valve spool, which in turn changes the direction of the fluid flow in the system.)
  • Connection type: Plate connection
  • Return: With spring return
  • Control pressure: 3 to 8 bar
  • Ambient and medium temperature: -10 to 60 °C
  • Medium: Compressed air
  • Max. particle size: 40 µm
  • Oil content of compressed air: min. 0 mg/m³

https://www.emerson.com/en-us/catalog/aventics-sku-r422102429

AVENTICS R422102431 2×3/2-directional valve

A 2×3/2-directional valve, part of the Series AV03 of pneumatic valves and valve systems from Emerson. It is designed for efficient and reliable automation solutions, especially for compact handling systems and complex automation applications.

The technical specifications of aventics R422102431 are as follows:

  • Activation: Electrically
  • Switching principle: 2×3/2
  • Version: NC/NC
  • DC operating voltage: 24 V
  • Manual override: without detent
  • Actuating control: Double Solenoid
  • Sealing principle: Soft Seal
  • Pilot: External (In this scenario, pilot means the external source of compressed air that is used to shift the valve piston. The pilot valve is a small valve that controls the flow of the pilot air to the main valve. The pilot air acts as a signal to change the position of the valve spool, which in turn changes the direction of the fluid flow in the system.)
  • Connection type: Plate connection
  • Return: With spring return
  • Blocking principle: Base plate principle, multiple
  • Control pressure: 3 to 8 bar
  • Ambient and medium temperature: -10 to 60 °C
  • Medium: Compressed air
  • Max. particle size: 40 µm
  • Oil content of compressed air: min. 0 mg/m³

https://www.aventics.com/pneumatics-catalog/pdf/pro.813494_en_EU_R4.pdf

Aventics R422102427 5/2-directional valve

A 5/2-directional valve, part of the Series AV03 of pneumatic valves and valve systems from Emerson. It is made of high-performance polymers, reducing the weight and energy consumption of the system. It has a nominal flow of 300 l/min and a working pressure range of -0.9 to 10 bar. It also has smart features for machine safety and connectivity. Some of the technical specifications of aventics R422102427 are:

  • Activation: Electrically
  • Switching principle: 5/2
  • DC operating voltage: 24 V
  • Manual override: without detent
  • Actuating control: Double Solenoid
  • Sealing principle: Soft Seal
  • Pilot: External (In this scenario, pilot means the external source of compressed air that is used to shift the valve piston. The pilot valve is a small valve that controls the flow of the pilot air to the main valve. The pilot air acts as a signal to change the position of the valve spool, which in turn changes the direction of the fluid flow in the system.)
  • Connection type: Plate connection
  • Blocking principle: Base plate principle, multiple
  • Control pressure: 3 to 8 bar
  • Ambient and medium temperature: -10 to 60 °C
  • Medium: Compressed air
  • Max. particle size: 40 µm
  • Oil content of compressed air: min. 0 mg/m³
February 10, 2024

Introduction to Grafana

It is used to graph and monitor the data stored in InfluxDB. 

Basic graphing data

In the dashboard, click on the top bar of a graph and select edit. 

In the lower half of the screen there will be an area to change the rules for the graph. Click on the pencil on the right side and delete the default code.

Replace it with:

SELECT * FROM “DataTypeToGraph”

This will graph the data added to the database by a single InfluxDB node in Node-RED using the tag it was defined with.

Basic tabling data

In a new dashboard, under the sql code, from the dropdown select “Table”. After that select Table view from the tab on the right called Format. This should table each entry in the database instead of graphing it.

Use this SQL code to show only the last value recorded:

SELECT last(value) FROM “Data”

Show average in table

SELECT sum("value") / count("value")
FROM "Data"
WHERE $timeFilter
February 10, 2024

Introduction to Node-RED

Node-RED is a visual programming tool that allows users to create and connect hardware devices, APIs, and online services. It uses a web-based flow editor to drag and drop nodes, which represent different functionality, to create automated workflows. It simplifies the process of building Internet of Things (IoT) applications by providing a user-friendly interface for connecting and controlling devices.

Debug Node

The debug node is a built-in Node-RED node that allows users to view the message passing through the nodes in real-time. It is useful for troubleshooting and understanding the flow of data through a flow. 

Users can view the contents of the message, filter messages by type or topic, and output messages to the console in the sidebar. It is easy to use by simply dragging and dropping it into the flow and connecting it to other nodes.

The green square on the right means it will debug. Pressing it will stop the node from debugging without deleting it.

Debug On:

Debug Off:

Aventics Node

This node is used to access the sensors and values in the system.

The node looks like this:

Aventics Node Modules

  1. 01 Valve driver 4 valves – Controls the pneumatic distributors.
  2. 03 IO-Module dig. (8DI8M8) – Digital sensors module. It is connected to 8 magnetic sensors each situated at the end of every piston on the stand. Each address of the module is a different sensor output. In the software they are numbered from 1 to 8 but on the plastic module they are labeled from 0 to 7.
  3. 04/05 IO-Module ana. (2AI2M12-E) – Analog sensors module. Each module has 2 analog sensor inputs.

Parameters:

  • Topic – Cosmetic name of node for internal use only. It doesn’t affect other functionality.
  • Function – Determine how the data should be pulled from the sensor.
  • From – Select which sensor it pulls data from. Each address is a different sensor in the selected module.
  • Poll interval – The minimum delay between each reading. The sensor sends data each time it changes states. This will only delay the next reading. For x seconds it will not send any data after some data was sent.

Function Node

This node uses Javascript to transform data or use any other js function. 

To access the value in the input use msg.payload and change it for output value. Use return msg to output.

Airflow function

After the aventics node that takes data from the airflow sensor (04 IO-Module, address 01) place a function with this code. It will output the current airflow in L/min. 

Sensors give an analog signal to node red, usually from 0 to 32767. Each sensors needs to be calibrated. Our sensors outputs 0 when there is no airflow and using the built-in settings of the sensors we can see the max airflow going through the sensors was 315,43 L/min and it outputted a values of 2742. So by dividing it we can calculate a transfer equation.

msg.payload *= 0.115;
return msg;

Speed function

After the aventics node that takes data from the linear analog sensor (05 IO-Module, address 2), place a function node with this code. It will output the current speed of the cylinder in cm/s.

// This function node counts the time between two signals that are equal to 1
var lastTime = context.get('lastTimestamp');
var lastPos = context.get('lastDistance');

if(msg.payload 3200) {
	msg.payload = (msg.payload - 3200.0) / (29750.0 - 3200.0) * (51.1 - 7.13) // cm/s
    
	if (!lastTime) {
    	// Store the timestamp of the first 1 signal
    	lastTime = new Date().getTime();
    	lastPos = msg.payload;
    	context.set('lastTimestamp', lastTime);
    	context.set('lastDistance', lastPos);
	} else {
    	if (lastPos == msg.payload)
        	return
   	 
    	// Calculate the time difference between the first 1 signal and the current 1 signal
    	var deltaTime = new Date().getTime() - lastTime;
    	var deltaPos = msg.payload - lastPos;
   	 
    	context.set('lastTimestamp', null);
    	context.set('lastDistance', null);
    	msg.payload = (deltaPos)/(deltaTime);
   	 
    	return msg;
	}
}
return null;

InfluxDB Integration

The simple InfluxDB node takes whatever data it is given and along with a tag it is sent to the database along with a time stamp.

Select the second Server for data to be logged.

Each time a new piece of data is added to the database it will automatically get a timestamp when it was logged. 

Parameters:

  • Measurement – Name of the date stored and used for identification with SQL. 

Join Node

Every connection between the nodes sends a message msg with different parameters. Two of the most important ones in this node are msg.payload and msg.topic. 

msg.topic = “Name of the variable transported”

msg.payload = value of the variable transported

Using the Join Node, we can combine multiple variables into a single object. Like a json, each item in the object has a name (from the topic) and a value (from the payload). 

With this node, we can combine all the data and send it to a single influxDB node as a single table entry instead to keep the data organized. 

Parameters:

  • Mode – Automatic, Manual (usually preferred option)
  • Combine each – Choose which parameter to be the value of each item
  • to create – Output type of the node (usually Object)

Manual Mode parameters:

  • using the value of – name of each item in the Object
  • After a number of message parts – Number of item the node should wait for to output an object
February 6, 2024

Air preparation

AVENTICS™ Series AS2 Air Preparation Units

In the following, our team will present how an AVENTICS™ Series AS2 Air Preparation Unit works, what components our team possess, how we use and the way we have installed them.

In the pictures underneath one can see the parts that together build our air preparation unit.

You can find the general brochure that includes all the general information about the unit here.

It contains a multitude of different pieces and sets that Emerson makes and in the next part, the UPBAir team will present its equipment.

AVENTICS™ 3/2-shut-off valve, mechanically operated, Series AS2-BAV R412006257

The shut-off valve is used to power the system with compressed air from the tank or compressor.

Unlike a normal faucet, this aventics valve also removes the pressurised air from the system using a hole in the back of the module through a silencer.

Product page

AVENTICS™ Precision pressure regulator, Series AS2-RGP R412006148

A pressure regulator has the purpose of limiting the pressure at which the air is entering the system.

Using the black knob on the top, like a screw, the user can decide how much pressure to let into the system. The analog barometer indicates in real time the air pressure exiting the module.

Product page

AVENTICS™ Series AF2 flow rate sensor, IO-Link R412027176

The first such component we will present is the AVENTICS™ Series AF2 flow rate sensor, IO-Link R412027176. A flow meter (or a flow sensor) is type of flow instrument that is used to indicate the amount of gas moving through a pipe or conduit by measuring linear, non-linear, mass, or volumetric flow rates.

The way it can be assembled can be found here, while the instructions here.

January 24, 2024

New Recruits

To introduce the new recruits to the world of engineering and the activities of SPL, they were assigned an interesting task aimed at enriching their knowledge in the field of pneumatics. The team leader, Bogdan Rosca, provided them with challenging topics to be addressed in the form of scientific articles. These topics included energy efficiency in pneumatic systems, safety in pneumatic systems, vibration control in pneumatic systems, and pneumatic control systems. Additionally, they were required to deliver an oral presentation demonstrating their thorough understanding of the chosen topic based on their research. Each recruit received valuable advice from the laboratory director, Mihalache Ghinea. The event proved to be beneficial for the team’s development, and its members, and we will certainly organize such meetings again in the future.…

January 6, 2024

A Dive into Our Sensor Arsenal. Analog and Digital Sensors for IIoT monitoring and improvements

At The Smart Pneumatics Laboratory, we take pride in our commitment to innovation and precision in the field of pneumatics. Our laboratory is equipped with a diverse range of sensors that play a crucial role in our research and experiments. In this article, we invite you to delve into the fascinating world of pressure sensors, airflow sensors, air temperature sensors, as well as proximity inductive and magnetic sensors that form the backbone of our experiments.

Aventics AF2

By far our most prized sensor has to be the Aventics AF2. In out configuration using the IO-Link variant it can measure air pressure, air flow and temperature, two at a time. In most of our configurations it is placed right after the air preparation Aventics AS5 unit.

Our biggest project we used it in was to measure the energy of the compressed air entering the system to find out different configurations of pneumatic systems to improve energy efficiency.

Configuration manual: https://www.emerson.com/documents/automation/operating-instructions-flow-rate-sensor-series-af2-aventics-en-6899510.pdf

Aventics PE5

This inexpensive and versatile pressure sensor can be placed anywhere in the pneumatic system to monitor air pressure. It connects using the same IO-Link cable like other sensors.

The biggest project it was used on it served the purpose to see the pressure drop at different points in different configurations of the same system to find the system with the highest efficiency.

Configuration manual: https://www.emerson.com/documents/automation/instruction-manual-pressure-sensor-pe5-aventics-en-6892998.pdf

Aventics SM6

This is a linear sensor that is placed on the side of Aventics PRA Pneumatic Cylinder and it outputs exact position within a 2^15 accuracy range (from 0 to 32767). They are custom selected for the different length of cylinders. We have one 500mm and three 320mm such linear senors.

The biggest project they were used on was to explore the variations in acceleration of cylinders using different configurations. The sensor gave us the exact distance the rod has traveled in a time frame and using the second derivative we could find out the change in acceleration of the rod. Obviously a smoother extension/retraction with close to zero acceleration is ideal.

Configuration manual: https://www.emerson.com/documents/automation/instruction-manual-distance-measuring-sensor-series-sm6-aventics-en-6896734.pdf

Aventics ST6

The Aventics ST6 magnetic sensor is a proximity sensor purpose made to attach to Aventics PRA Pneumatic Cylinder to check the position of the inner magnetic rod. Unlike the other sensors, this one is digital and it is really easy to install.

This sensor has been crucial to first of all drive the cylinder back and fourth. Two of the them are placed at each end of the Cylinder to switch the valves to extend the cylinder or retract it.

In IIoT these sensors are a really simple and inexpensive (monetarily and easy to calculate) solution to find the extension and retraction speed of the cylinder.

Configuration manual: https://www.emerson.com/documents/automation/operating-instructions-sensor-atex-certified-st6-aventics-en-7553694.pdf

January 6, 2024

Boosting Scientific Productivity: Embracing the Power of Multiple Monitors in the Lab

We recently doubled the number of screens at our pneumatic experimental workstation and it has more than doubled our productivity. 

Before we had to switch between our three programs (Grafana, NodeRED and Machine Edition) along side mountains of documentations whenever we wanted to make a change or see the effect of our changes. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem because split screening has been a basic feature of windows for the last two decades. 

The problem arises when we want to analyze multiple things at once or we are setting up for a new analysis project. Switching between multiple programs can cause windows to break the organization that is originally set up. Another problem is window scaling. Two apps can work on the same monitor but some things are hidden and makes it annoying having to always full screen an app just to access a simple button.

Using multiple monitors enabled us to dedicate one app to a single screen. On our second monitor we just leave Grafana or a document on at all times and it has been fantastic. On the main monitor we still fight for screen space but it is still much better. Usually programming a new analysis requires only one app at a time anyways.

As Paul Krugman would say “productivity isn’t everything, but, in the long run, it is almost everything”. That being said, let’s see how multiple monitors improved our productivity.

  1. Enhanced Multitasking: With two monitors at my disposal, I found myself effortlessly juggling multiple tasks simultaneously. Whether cross-referencing data, writing reports, or analyzing results, the ability to view different applications side by side has streamlined our workflow and allowed for a seamless transition between various research-related activities.
  2. Increased Screen Real Estate: The expanded screen real estate provided by the second monitor has been a game-changer. Complex datasets and intricate graphs that once required constant zooming and scrolling are now visible in their entirety. This has not only accelerated data analysis but also reduced eye strain, contributing to a more comfortable and efficient work environment.
  3. Facilitated Collaboration: Collaboration is at the heart of scientific research. The addition of a second monitor has facilitated collaborative efforts within our team. Whether working on joint projects or sharing findings during team meetings, the ability to display information on one screen while keeping reference materials on another has fostered better communication and idea exchange.
  4. Improved Research Document Management: Managing numerous research documents and literature is an integral part of scientific work. The second monitor has allowed me to keep reference materials open and accessible while simultaneously drafting reports or conducting experiments on the primary screen. This has significantly reduced the time spent searching for relevant information and improved overall document organization.
  5. Efficient Data Visualization: In scientific research, visualizing data is crucial for drawing meaningful conclusions. The dual-monitor setup has allowed me to compare and contrast different data sets in real-time, leading to more insightful observations and faster decision-making. Whether working with complex detailed graphs, the enhanced visual clarity has been instrumental in our research processes.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the integration of a second monitor into our laboratory workstation has undeniably elevated our efficiency and productivity. From improved multitasking to streamlined collaboration and enhanced data visualization, the benefits are evident across various aspects of our scientific work. As we continue to embrace technological advancements, it is clear that the dual-monitor setup has become an indispensable tool for researchers striving to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge.…

January 6, 2024

Ferecus Tudor

Software engineering student.

He is passionate about systems and constantly trying to improve and increase the productivity of everything surrounding him.

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