Equipment designed for use in teaching and in developing logical circuit designs utilizing fluids as media and moving-part logic devices as elements
Friedman, Sander B.
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It was evident, after considerable investigation, that adequate equipment was not available in the field of moving-part logic fluid control devices for the instruction and construction of control systems using this technique. Because of this, the design of such an apparatus was undertaken with specific goals and limitations in mind. Primary applications were to be at the community college and technical institute levels where wide variation of instructor knowledge and experience could be expected; air was to be the control medium; moving-part logic elements were to be used; all components were to be such that the student could reasonably expect to encounter them in industrial practice; wide distribution and local service of components were to be available; components were to be visible at all times during the construction and operation of the systems utilizing this equipment; modular construction was to be used; other equipment was to be complemented by this apparatus; and costs were to be held to a minimum, consistent with other parameters. There had been little work done in this particular area, but the techniques of switching circuit theory could be directly applied. The sources of data included various equipment catalogs, brochures, and information from manufacturers of equipment, and the prior knowledge of the investigator. The investigator contacted various manufacturers who were either located in, or had factory representation in, the immediate area; and after some time, he was able to gather enough information to proceed with the design of the equipment. The equipment was designed, constructed, and tested in a classroom-laboratory situation at William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, Illinois. Students were presented with design problems, which they proceeded to solve; and they constructed their theoretical solutions using the apparatus that was built for this purpose. Models of textbook experiments were also constructed, and an evaluation was made of the ease of use of the equipment. Ultimately, a piece of equipment must be tested by performing a function and evaluated on the basis of that performance. Conformance with all the original design limitations was achieved, and the equipment performed under a wide range of applications and instructor involvement. No special instructions were required for the operation and interconnection of the apparatus. Therefore, it was concluded that the design did, in fact, provide an apparatus of broad and general application that could be profitably employed by instructors with wide ranges of knowledge and experience. Based on this conclusion, the following recommendations are made: 1. This apparatus be considered by institutions desiring equipment for use in the instruction and construction of fluid power control systems. 2. Further experimentation be carried on in the development of additional applications and refinements of the apparatus. 3. Further experimentation be carried on in the development of additional problems in control system design using the moving-part logic fluid control technique. 4. A comprehensive laboratory manual be developed for use in teaching students fluid control technology, using this equipment.