Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I/O Class, Day One

So I am in Fabulous Las Vegas (well North Las Vegas) for FTSI I/O training.  Last year we bought a bunch of I/O gear to work with our existing Navigator set up so we'd be able to use additional sensors and trigger other items from our front end - as well as maybe compose some of our own full blown actuators.  Now we're here to learn how to use the gear we bought.

We started out going to the Fisher facility. Neither Kevin or I had been there before.  We did another class in town a while back, but it was at the LVCC.  The shop is out by the Las Vegas Speedway and most of the surrounding businesses are auto and auto racing outfits.  We got our badges and proceeded to another building where we would have class.

This particular class is limited to 6 participants and in fact this time around there are only four people.  So there's Kevin and myself and then there are two guys here from Japan.  They seem to be engineers from a Japanese equipment manufacturer.  They have little or no English so they also have a translator.  Its actually nice for us too because we get an extra moment to digest what's being presented while the translator is playing it back in Japanese.  It's also interesting to hear what words in Japanese are the same as they are in English.

The morning started with introductions.  Dana is overseeing the operation.  We know him from prior classes - he came to do the last round of class we had in Pittsburgh.  He's being ably assisted by Nate.  Nate is actually a Pennsylvania person too.  He's been spending a lot of time at TAIT (along with many of our former students).

The rest of the day was two parts: a classroom part and a lab part.  The classroom content was mostly broad strokes automation background and context: what are the parts of a winch, what makes for I/O, what do we mean by limits, what are encoders and how do they work.  Most of this was review for me.  I did get a new bit of vocabulary: "initial" can mean EOT or a "hard limit."  The lab part was starting to deal with I/O elements.  We set up a GUI/Portal, wired some inputs and outputs, got some lights to go on and off when we pressed specific buttons, and wired an e-stop button.  We also wrote some rules to govern the behavior of the buttons and lights and customized the look of the axis I/O panel on the display.

All pretty cool.  More tomorrow.

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