Mechatronic Design

Today’s advanced, automated assembly equipment requires high quality software design and a deep understanding of mechanical systems. Too often, poorly designed software generates machine downtime, thus reducing the overall equipment efficiency of expensive, custom designed, automated assembly lines. Palmetto Mechatronics, led by Robert B. Belk, Jr., P.E., specializes in bringing solid software engineering to the plant floor. Utilizing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and 30 years of custom automation experience, Robert designs and implements robust software solutions. These solutions are based on formal object-oriented design principles and implemented using state machines for powerful and robust control of advanced systems.

Robert B. Belk, Jr., P.E.


Meet Robert

Selecting the Best Controls Platform
The demanding requirements of precision assembly dictates a controls platform that will not hinder the implementation of creative and robust design solutions. There are many platforms available today, from traditional PLCs to advanced PC based solutions. PC based platforms have provided the computing speeds and customization required to control advanced equipment for the past few decades. Beckhoff has taken a robust PC controls platform and expanded their offering to include high-end, multicore processing hardware, custom kinematics, advanced motion control, machine vision, advanced servo driven transport systems, human machine interface, and an array of ancillary controls products to support total machine control. Through its membership in the Beckhoff Integrator Group, Palmetto Mechatronics provides clients with software and design solutions to fully utilize Beckhoff’s large automation control offerings.

Motion Control
Automated assembly systems rely heavily on servo driven actuation. Robert has many years of experience working with advanced motion control systems. Now, his focus is on Beckhoff servo systems for kinematic units, such as 4 and 5 axis Delta robotic units, and Beckhoff’s XTS and Xplanar transport systems. Adding to the breadth of his motion capabilities, Robert also has experience with ABB and Kuka robots.

Machine Vision
With advanced assembly comes the need for machine vision. Most manufacturers of industrial control products now offer some fashion of machine vision. For advanced vision requirements, Robert specializes in the mature vision software offered by Matrox Vision, now owned by Zebra. The Matrox Mil library of C++ and C# functions, the Matrox Design Assistant flowchart-based software package and the new tools for neural network AI projects, combine to offer a complete vision package for simple inspection to advanced metrology. Palmetto Mechatronics is equipped with a well-stocked vision lab for testing and developing client’s machine vision needs.