Once I got my feet wet after being hired as a technical editor on H&P, I was told I was to become our electronics editor. It was the 1980s, and electrohydraulic control was really taking off. Although digital electronics was fairly well established in much of industry, it was still new to fluid power. The trouble was, my first love was in all things mechanical—and it still is. So I’d have to motivate myself to get into all these new digital electronic sensors and controls.
After attending a very-informative week-long course on digital electronics at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), I joined NFPA’s electronics committee. Our mission was to come up with standard guidelines for implementing pressure and linear-displacement sensors in fluid-power applications. Most of my fellow committee members were experts in electronic sensing and control, so the one-on-one contact with these people proved to be an ideal learning environment.
We finished our work in the early ’90s upon having two NFPA Selection Guides published. In the midst of this, I got to know Jack Johnson, a licensed professional electrical engineer, former director of MSOE’s Fluid Power Institute, and recent author of his first book. With one foot firmly planted in electronics and the other in hydraulics, Jack went on to publish about 10 books, all of which cover some sort of electronic control of fluid power systems. Knowing that the material covered in these books would be useful to readers of Hydraulics & Pneumatics, Jack and H&P established an informal partnership where we would publish excerpts of his books and other material as Motion Control, a column authored by Jack.
As reported in our last issue, Jack’s passion has shifted to developing mathematical models for hydraulic components. He’s on an ISO working committee, and he says it’s a full-time endeavor. In the meantime, Peter Nachtwey, president of Delta Computer Systems, seemed a likely candidate to take over Motion Control if Jack felt ready to relinquish it. Although he seemed a bit reluctant, Jack agreed to have Peter take over writing the Motion Control column. Peter’s first installment begins in our forthcoming Jan./Feb. issue and, of course, also appears on our website. Motion Control definitely is now Peter’s baby, but Jack knows he’s welcome to make contributions to H&P as he sees fit.
Peter is no stranger to Hydraulics & Pneumatics. He has authored more than a dozen published articles, and his colleagues at Delta have contributed at least that many. I’ve known Peter for at least 20 years, and I certainly recognize his technical knowledge to be light years ahead of mine. And as it was with Jack, I look forward to advancing my knowledge of electrohydraulics by reading Peter’s Motion Control column every month.