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Case Study: The Strain Gauge Whisperer

Jun 6, 2024

in: automation

Matteo has become a bit of a legend around the Robots Everywhere shop as “the strain gauge whisperer” for their ability to use Propeller microcontrollers and analog circuits to get very accurate readings out of strain gauges. Once again, a client has come to us, this time BudBot.

BudBot is a USA based company that manufactures a robotic cannabis packing solution for bags, pouches, and jars that features automatic weighing and sorting. The SmartSort™ technology calculates optimal bud combinations based on individual weights, then uses that data to inform a packaging machine. The packaging machine can handle cups, bags, jars, and pouches, and allows for precise measures to be delivered to the customer every time. In an industry where both regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction are everything, high packaging precision can mean no waste, no problems, and everyone walking away happy.

In order for this technology to work, extremely accurate scales are required, and Robots Everywhere was brought in to design the electronics for these scales. Referred for our work with Occumetric, a Santa Rosa based company that develops a lift posture testing system for workplace safety evaluation, everyone already knew we were the right team for this job. A precision strain gauge driver was designed using the Parallax Propeller microcontroller, and a board developed to read the strain gauges quickly, with the highest possible precision. The main challenge we faced when developing this strain gauge driver was speed - being able to complete a reading, re-tare the scale, and make a new reading quickly could become the main bottleneck of the sorting system if it was not fast enough.

Thanks to Matteo’s mathematical genius and familiarity with the Propeller microcontroller, we were able to develop a fast strain gauge driver and start delivering boards to BudBot at a price they were happy with. Another victory!

We really enjoy doing small jobs like these for our various startup and small business clients. If you have an idea for a product, or an improvement to your business, our engineers are available at reasonable rates. We are based in the Marin County, California area, and can often schedule small projects with low lead time. [../../contact](Contact Us!) What can we invent together?