Winning Gold for Mechatronics is Calum Knott and John Peerless both from Middlesex University— WorldSkills UK (@worldskillsuk) November 16, 2013
It was pretty exciting and got a fair-bit of media attention at the time, and while im not really one to brag about these things, this is a blog about my robotics and programming work.. so I suppose it's good to mention it!. There are a couple of articles that sum it up better than I can, so Ill link to them here: The Middlesex University publicitly blog The Barnet Times - Before The Barnet Times - After
So what is Mechatronics?
Simply put, Mechatronics (in terms of this competition) is a series of time- based challenges in building, programming and, 'fixing' electro-pneumatic systems. Too Much? Ok... So "Festo" is a company that makes pneumatic cylinders (among other things ). We have to assemble pnumatic circuits under time constraints. Then we have to program them. For our competition, we used the Siemens s7-1200 plc Its a good system, although I found programming it REALLY fustrating... Not being able to get at the underlying code fustated me. For thoes unfamiliar with PLCs, They are programmed VERY DIFFERENTLY from regular microchips or computers. We program them in a archaic, outdated, and yet for some reason industry standard protocol known as ladder-logic. In theory, this is meant to make the systems safer, and I do understand that... but really. Why these things are not programmed in C I will never understand. Anyway, ladder-logic is a graphical programming system, and I may blog about it later in the year, as I have a project coming up that might involve trying to 'bypass' some of the ladder- logic functions, on the PLC. If I do, Ill blog about it, of course...
A little more vanity
And, Finally to end my ill-faited vanity rant, a wonderful video of me winning... for archive purposes... of course.
Once again, I appologise for the self-indulgent post... Ill try not to win anything else in the future ;)