Blog 2013/2014

Trainee blog

Welcome to Aros electronics trainee blog 2013/2014. This blog is maintained by Oscar Leon and Sebastian Holmqvist, two new M.Sc graduates straight out of Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. We started here at Aros electronics in late Aug. 2013 and will be working as trainees for a total of 12 months. This is our little adventure.

2014-11-11 - Trainee recap.

It's now been 15 months since I first joined Aros. The first 12 months has been as a Trainee where I've went through a number of different stages and gained vital practical experience in hardware design, familiarizing myself with our different software platforms and gotten my hands dirty in a few projects. I got to travel as an exhibitor to Nürnberg, Germany, to attend the SPS fair and then me and Oscar teamed up to create the now famous OddWheel for the Charm fair. Finally I topped it off with a total of 6 weeks in Kortrijk, Belgium, further introducing myself to the VdW group and their products.


2014-06-23 - Back from Van de Wiele!

So my 6 weeks in Belgium are over and all in all it's been a great experience. Since the time of my last post I've managed to adapt to the working climate at VdW and have gotten to know some more people I'll continue to work with in one way or another, now that I'm back in Sweden.

So what's the summary of my stay?

  1. Belgians enjoy food (quantity) and beer (quality)
  2. The weather is really erratic
  3. I have my work cut out for me

When I went home I brought most of my work with me. On the left you see my lab station in Kortrijk with my collegue Wim helping me debug. On the right I'm back at Aros. Sadly, most of the things I've worked on haven't been introduced to the market yet, so this post will mostly contain photos of places and food.


2014-04-28 - First week in Belgium

As part of the Trainee program I've been sent down to Kortrijk, Belgium to work at Van de Wiele HQ for six weeks (actually, 3 + 3 weeks). So last tuesday I got up early in the morning, hopped on a plane and flew to Brussels where a taxi picked me up together with an Italian sales agent also visiting VdW.

For those of you who don't know, Aros is a member of the VdW group and does many of the drives for their various textile weaving looms. Just 10 years back, all the parts were mechanised and driven by one huge motor, transferring power via cardon shafts. In order to increase flexability and minimize downtime, several parts of the machine have been disattached and are now electronically synchronised and individually driven.


2014-04-03 - Company ski trip

Last week ended with a bus trip where over 100 Aros/Iro employees went skiing together! On thursday afternoon we filled two busses and started our journey up north to Trysil in Norway. 

The weather was absolutely amazing with 10-15 degrees and blazing sun. Almost every pause (beer stop) involved stripping down to your long johns making sure you soaked up the sun as much as possible.

I even rented a (ugly ass) helmet - safety first!


2014-03-13 - After 'After Charm'

In the wake of After Charm I've returned back to helping out in various projects again. For instance, I was asked to evaluate a new type of inductive encoder (incremental and/or absolute) that would potentially be very cost effective. It's a 13 bit (in theory) chip of magic that's comprised out of a circular array of Hall sensors bundled with a two pole magnet that sits on top of the rotor axis. So far it's mostly been scrutinizing the data sheet trying to work out if it meets our requirements when it comes to fault tolerances and effective resolution.

As I need to test the sensor in the lab, I enlisted a collegue to help me with the mounting. We're talking offsets less than 2/10 of a mm so my original approach with a glue gun and popsicle sticks wasn't really an option ;) Using a motor with a pre-mounted incremental optical encoder I'll be able to compare it to an already valid solution.


2014-02-28 - After Charm resumé

Yesterday we had visitors. Around 3 pm, over 40 interested students gathered in our reception. We huddled them all up and started off with a company presentation and then moved on to describe some of the workflow involved in our motor design. After that, the students were divided up into groups and guided through both the production downstairs and then showcased some of the products in our labs.

The night ended with some food, drinks and a pubquiz. A big thanks to our house band of the night - The Office!


2014-02-03 - Presenting Aros OddWheel!

From the project start in early January, one month later we're finally finished! So without further ado, here it is - the Aros OddWheel!


2014-01-27 - OddWheel progress

In between waiting for the manufacturing of the mechanical parts, I've set off with getting the 3-phase Permanent-Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) running on Oscar's development board. Since the current rotor axis doesn't extend out the backplane I had to make a quick jig for mounting the encoder (the blue part) on the front. It's amazing what some screws and heat-shrink tubing can accomplish.

With some help from the guys at work I successfully got the incremental encoder working, set up an initial rotor alignment and successfully turned the motor using a speed controller. With some more tuning of the current controller we'll start working on the control loop for the actual OneWheel.


2013-12-30 - Aros new pick and place machines! (Sidetrack)

Recently the company invested in a new Siemens ASM production line. It consists of four double-tray Pick-and-Place machines connected in series, together with tray feeders, operator stations, conveyors, etc. These are used to "populate" the PCB boards with all the components before sending them through the oven where they're "baked". With a theoretical speed of around 40 000 components per hour - that's over 10 components a second - they're pretty damn fast.


2013-12-16 - Christmas spirits and DC I/O EtherNet

With most of December behind us, the office is buzzing with activity in order to meet all the deadlines before signing out for Christmas. It seems as if most of my collegues will make the most out of this Christmas' generous amount of "klämdagar".

This tuesday the whole staff was invited to Hamnkrogen at Gothenburg's own amusement park, Liseberg. Despite the missing snow (what's up with that?), if there's one place that really gets you into that Christmas spirit, it's Liseberg. The buffé actually stretched beyond my eyesight and I made sure to stuff my face full, as is customary :)


2013-11-22 - Software phase

With most of the hardware design done and our boards soon shipped to prototyping, we're leaving the hardware phase of the trainee program and now entering the software phase. Basically, this means we'll start to familiarize ourselves with Aros' real time embedded operating system, ArOS, try and make some code contributions to some on-going projects and learn everything there is to know about motor control, sensor fusion, field buses, etc.


2013-11-10 - Back from vacation

This week I just got back on track after my vacation in Dubai. So while Oscar was submerged in CAD layout work, I layed by the pool and worked on my tan ;) I've recharged my batteries and this past week I've been a busy bee catching up.

Some time has passed since my last update, so I thought I'd show you the results from my own PCB layout.


2013-10-04 - DC I/O EtherNet and SPS/IPC preparations

As part of my training I have been assigned to construct a PCB of my own. A generic board with 16 digital inputs and 16 digital outputs. It's nicknamed DC I/O EtherNet and is basically a new version of an older product. What's exciting is that this board will not only sport the new XMC platform, 3 electrically isolated zones and a switched power supply - it will also be compatible with the ODVA EtherNet/IP standard.


2013-09-20 - Hardware phase

These past two weeks have included company internal courses in Requirement analysis/specification and Hardware construction. We also had a quick look at Safety at work. Speaking of safe work - thanks to a former employee, we conducted a field trip to Sweden's biggest Nuclear rector site, Ringhals. Going there on friday the 13th really spiced things up as we ventured into the transformer station of nuclear reactor 1.


2013-09-02 - First days - Up and running!

In the picture below you can see both Oscar (left) and Sebastian (right) posing with our house-robot Glenn. This is taken just a few weeks in as new trainees at Aros. In this post I'll try to summarize what these first few weeks involved.