by Tom Lemos, LFI Medical
"We were tasked to come up with a device, an automatic sorter, that would allow us to determine whether the parts we were laser welding were either a "GO" or or a "NO GO" based on our customers requirements. We wanted to come up with something in-house that would be effective but affordable and decided to try using an Arduino, something which nobody within the company had any experience with. We soon learned that there was a little more to this than we expected, and that's where Steve came in. His experience with the Mitutoyo product line, his ability to write code, his custom made circuit boards and his willingness to work with with us were all instrumental in making the project a success.
In the beginning of the attached video you will see the R&D version of what we came up with in operation. There is the dual interface board Steve made which allows us to gather data from the two Mitutoyo indicator gauges and send it to the Arduino, along with a de-bounce cycle start button board for reliable initiating of the cycle, also made by Steve. There is also the Arduino itself, along with a 4 output relay board for the pneumatics and a breadboard back there.
The video shifts to the front where a "GO" part is being manually loaded (green top) and the cycle start initiated. The part is captured, the stepper drive starts rotating the part and the data from the Mitutoyo gauges is generated and sent to the Arduino, all of which takes about 20 seconds or so. In this case the part is good so the pneumatic diverter at the bottom does not move and the part drops through the hole on the left. When the process is repeated with a "NO GO" part (red top) the same measuring takes place but this time the data is outside of what is acceptable so the pneumatic diverter sends the part into the hole on the right for further evaluation. Pretty neat!
Again, I cannot emphasize enough how helpful, and patient, Steve was with this whole project. He is an excellent source for code and hardware and seems more than willing to help make your project a success."
LFI Maintenance Manager