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Monthly Newsletter September 2016

There are some new health and safety obligations, so we will be writing about these in the coming newsletters. However we have provided a template health & safety check list, it probably needs to be modified to suit your needs, but it is a good starting point.    

Tony McDonald, Editor


LVD2014/35EU EU rolls out new rules to prevent unfair competition

As of April 20 2016 there is a new version of the Low Voltage Directive (LVD). This effects electrical equipment designed for use with a voltage rating of between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current, other than the certain specified equipment. This directive is designed to enhance safety and prevent unfair competition in the market so so is likely to be good news for us. Here are some of the key points:

Read more from the AMA website

PMC4 controller used to bring an Old surface grinder back to use

Surface Grinder
MAP the user friendly programming language now supports hydraulic oscillating axis found on many machines including surface grinders. There are five new commands made to make it easy to control “Bang Bang” axis. These are axis on which the motion controller only has control of valves, therefore it can not make precision movements as it does in servo applications. Some older machines are still very good but can end up being scrapped when the controller fails. Map is easier to understand and powerful enough to implement a complex program in less than a few hundred lines of code.


World leading research from the Biomechanics team at Staffordshire University

In the UK there are 2.5 million people already living with diabetes and it is estimated that up to 0.5 million people more have diabetes but are unaware of it (Diabetes UK, 2013). According to literature approximately 15% of people with diabetes world-wide will at some stage develop diabetic foot ulceration that could lead to amputation (Boulton, 2000). Indeed diabetes mellitus (type-2) is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations. In the UK alone up to 100 people/week have a limb amputated as a result of diabetes. But up to 80% of these amputations could have been prevented with correct management (Diabetes UK, 2011). Moreover the clinical care of diabetic foot complications cost more than the five most costly forms of cancer together (Barshes et al., 2013). In the UK the annual direct cost of amputations and ulcer management is estimated to be between £600-700 million (Kerr, 2012).

Fig 1: Mechanical testing of the soft tissues of the sole of the foot using a custom ultrasound indentation device.

In order to address this key societal challenge the research of the Biomechanics team at Staffordshire University is focused on utilising biomechanics to enhance the clinical management of diabetic foot. For this purpose a novel in-vivo mechanical testing device was developed to enable the in-depth study of the biomechanical characteristics of the soft tissues of the diabetic foot (Fig.1). This custom device combines medical ultrasound and dynamometry to enable real-time imaging of the soft tissues of the foot during mechanical testing. More specifically, loading is applied through an ultrasound sensor which is in series with a load cell. When this instrumented ultrasound probe is pressed against the sole of the foot the applied force is measured from the load cell while the internal deformations of the soft tissues of the foot are measured from the ultrasound images enabling the calculation of the tissues' force/deformation graph (P. E. Chatzistergos et al., 2014). In the original design of this device loading was applied manually, but recently this device was motorised and fully automated with the support of TRM Electronics Ltd (Fig.2).

Fig 2. The fully automated ultrasound indentation device

Taking advantage of the enhanced capabilities of MAP software we were able to program the device to perform a wide range of different tests using either displacement or force to control the movement of the indenter. More specifically the device was used to perform quasi-static compression, dynamic cyclic compression as well as creep and stress relaxation tests. Combined with advanced computer modelling these tests enable the calculation of the visco-hyperelastic material properties of the soft tissues of the sole of the foot and the detection of possible changes that are caused by trauma. Utilising this novel device in longitudinal clinical studies will contribute significantly in identifying those changes in the mechanical properties of the soft tissues that are consistent with the existence of trauma and set the basis for an early warning system for ulceration.

Training and Support

Learn to program in MAP and 'C'

MAP is an easy-to-use programming language, it was originally designed for people that don't do programming, because they thought it just to complicated for them. Now it is the choice of many programmers from beginner to expert.

Map is probably one of the most flexible programming languages in the industrial market. It includes full plc programming capabilities such as driving outputs and checking inputs, also it includes motion control commands that enable motion control projects to be seamlessly integrated with input output commands.
All the commands are entered via the on-screen editor. Every command has a help message that talks you through data entry. Even better there is no scan time so fast applications can be supported.
Read more

Health and safety Risk Assessment

A commonly asked question is “Do I need a Risk Assessment?
The short answer is yes: “If you are an employer or self-employed. It is a legal requirement for every employer and self-employed person to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising out of their work. The purpose of the assessment is to identify what needs to be done to control health and safety risks.  Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.” (From the Health and Safety Executive Website - ).

Read more

Download your free Health and safety Risk Assessment form

The AMA has provided a free health and safety risk assessment template, please click below to goto our download page

Forthcoming Articals

Encoders: An easy to understand guide about encoders from Renishaw.

Machine Safety: Making machinery comply with safety requirements can be difficult, this guide will assist you in compliance

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