Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Advantages Of Numeric Displays
Fiber-Optic Amplifiers are an integral part of many application areas. They have developed from what were originally simple devices into complex multi-functional switches packed with all kinds of features. One of these features is the numeric display, which is primarily used for visualizing the signal received and allows the device to be adjusted not only by instinct, but according to a reproducible measured value. This results in considerable advantages, particularly in critical applications.

Problems Of Conventional Devices
In general, the use of numeric displays is not just limited to visualizing the value of the signal received. Conventional high-end devices also allow excess gain, minima and maxima, timer and counter values to be displayed. Although this is useful, its practical use is fairly confusing. Granted, there is no shortage of operating instructions describing the extensive functions in detail. But who wants to study voluminous and sometimes virtually incomprehensible manuals - and this only to select a perfectly simple function?


Alphanumeric Display
The newly-developed device from Contrinex (Picture 1) takes this unsatisfactory situation into account. The original idea was simply to incorporate essential elements of the operating instructions directly into the device. However, this requires text to be displayed, which is only possible to a limited extent with the 7-segment displays used previously. In order to transfer the operating instructions to the device, the use of an alphanumeric display seems therefore evident. The context-sensitive display thus realized guides the user from function to function starting from every imaginable
operating state (Picture 2).

Except for very complex, seldom-needed functions, the device can thus be used immediately after installation and without further instructions. The nevertheless
available operating instructions can remain in the packaging. Teach precision
A further, little-known problem of conventional devices lies in the accuracy and resolution of the teach process. The gullible user understandably assumes that the switch point he has programmed using the teach process also corresponds to the switch
point of the device. This is, however, rarely the case. The effectively available switch
points in no way form a continuum. In the case of long operating distances in particular, they can even be quite a few mm apart.

In practice, this means that the real switch point can be a few mm above or below the
value set by the teach process. Although decisive for success in many applications,
manufacturers are rather parsimonious with details in this regard. Indeed, there is
mention of, for example, a 12-bit resolution, which, however, has but little significance in reality. As a rule, this means that, in a narrowly restricted range, very high resolution is available, whereas in the near and, above all, in the distant areas, very poor values may be obtained. The new device from Contrinex also takes this problem into account. Teach resolution (in practice tantamount to teach accuracy) is specified and guaranteed throughout the whole setting range. With the LFK-3066-103 device, it is, for example, 1 mm maximum for the whole range from 0 to 200 mm. As a rule, this value is more than sufficient and is, in addition, reliably maintained.

IO-Link
The large information content of the received signal and the diverse setting possibilities of conventional devices can, unfortunately, only be rudimentarily integrated into systems. As a result, in practice, only the switch signal is used. The loss of useful data could, unfortunately, not be prevented until now without considerable effort and costs. This somewhat unsatisfactory situation has, however, been considerably changed with the development of IO-Link. By using the IO-Link mode, superordinate systems now have access to all information and functions obtainable locally, as well as a few additional ones. Moreover, the extra costs arising are insignificant.

Benefits
Devices equipped with the new Contrinex technology offer the user significant, previously never seen, advantages:
  • Wide functional scope that can actually be used effectively in practice, thanks to
    simple operation. The printed operating instructions are only necessary in exceptional
    circumstances.

  • Excellent, predictable, specified and guaranteed teach resolution and accuracy for
    the whole sensing range.

  • Continuous access to information as well as integration of functions in superordinate systems by means of the IO-Link.
Costs
The use of state-of-the-art technology is a prerequisite for the above-mentioned
benefits to be used really effectively. Neither the alphanumeric display nor the IO-Link
connection cause any appreciable increase in production costs. The new technology is therefore optimized economically as well. A marked increase in performance at no additional cost: Where else can you get that?

Applications
The new devices from Contrinex do not change the characteristics and benefits of
fiber-optic applications that can be assumed to be well-known. However, they offer a
number of additional advantages for the user:
  • Many functions of fiber-optic amplifiers with numeric displays were previously only
    used with reserve. Operating concepts were not very transparent and there were
    doubts with regard to later field use. Thanks to the integrated operating instructions,
    there are no longer any obstacles to the wide use of the new devices’ additional
    functions.

  • The teach function works precisely, reliably and predictably, even in the case of long operating distances.

  • Thanks to real-time access to the signal received and the control functions via the
    superordinate systems, complex detection tasks can be resolved elegantly and
    economically. If required, the devices can be dynamically reconfigured via IO-Link at
    any time and without delay. Problems in use due to contaminants, unstable setting,
    temperature and other influences can thus, if required, be easily eliminated via the
    system.

Adept Scientific has added the DNA/DNR-1553-553 two-channel, dual redundant, 1553 bus interface boards from United Electronic Industries (UEI). Each board provides two independent, dual redundant bus interfaces for 1553 communication.

The DNA version is compatible with UEI PowerDNA and UEIPAC 'Cubes' while the DNR version is designed for use in UEI's 12- and six-slot Racktangle chassis. Each port may be independently configured as a bus controller (BC), remote terminal (RT) or bus monitor (BM). Designed to function in harsh environments, the DNA/DNR-1553-553 is fully tested for operation from -40C to +85C, 0-70,000ft and can withstand 5g vibration and up to 50g shock.

UEI's Cube architecture is a compact (4 x 4 x 4in or 4 x 4 x 5.8in) Ethernet-based I/O platform. It may be deployed in four different configurations. These are: Ethernet I/O systems slaved to a host PC; standalone data logger/recorder; Linux-based programmable automation controller (PAC); or Modbus TCP-based I/O slave. Each Cube consists of a core module (that holds the processor and network interface) along with three or six open I/O slots.

Users select the deployment option that meets their requirements. Users then match the Cube's I/O configuration to their application by selecting the appropriate boards. More than 25 I/O boards are available. The six-slot Cube provides up to 150 analogue inputs, 192 analogue outputs, 288 digital I/O, 48 counter or quadrature channels, 72 ARINC-429 channels, 24 Serial or CAN-bus ports or 12 1553 channels.

TBA Electro Conductive Products (ECP) has announced the availability of a range of magnetically detectable moulded products for use in food manufacturing and similar applications. The range includes a number of finished products moulded from the company's magnetically detectable compounds that are ideal for use in food manufacturing environments.

These include detectable and electrostatic conductive blue matting in 1.5, 3 and 5mm thicknesses, detectable and electrostatic conductive orthopaedic blue floor tiles, detectable and electrostatic conductive blue proofed neoprene sheet, red or blue detectable one-litre measuring jugs and detectable calculators and nail brushes. Magnetically detectable plastic products solve the problem of contamination of food products by items used in the manufacturing process entering the mix by accident.

Such incidents can result in unnecessary costs being incurred through scrapping of large quantities of finished product should the contamination be detected in-house through standard inspection procedures, product recalls and possibly expensive litigation if an item reaches the consumer and is eaten. In addition, business can be diminished as a result of damaged reputation and questions arising over the safety of food products.

By making use of magnetically detectable products from TBA ECP, these problems and costs can be avoided. The company's magnetically detectable plastic products can be sensed by conventional metal detection system so food products containing broken components made from TBA materials can be found and rejected before entering the supply chain. In addition, use of detectable products demonstrates that a manufacturer has taken all due diligence in the production process to minimise contamination of products. Besides being suitable for use in food manufacturing applications, the electrostatic conductive products are also compliant with ATEX requirements for explosive atmospheres.

Kepco has announced the availability of its 200W and 400W bipolar operational power supply (BOP) models optimised for driving inductive loads. The modified BOP units are designed to operate in a stable manner in current or current limit mode for loads up to 1 Henry. They are also stable with any R-L series load combination.

All specifications of the unit in voltage mode are unchanged from the standard model. In current mode the bandwidth of the BOP is reduced modestly. Correspondingly, the rise-and-fall time of the unit is increased (model dependent). Further, it is possible to reduce the bandwidth in current mode, in a predictable way, using one customer-installed component on the rear programming connector of the BOP.

This option makes the BOP more suitable for a variety of applications such as motor testing, testing of magnetic components (coils, speakers, and so on), industrial applications with inductive loads, driving CRT coils, cryogenic applications and powering correcting magnets for medical imaging applications or particle accelerators.

Kepco has launched the KDN series of low-cost, UL-508 listed, DIN-rail mounted power supplies. The series consists of three 24V output models rated at 5, 10 and 20A.

The KDN series offer 90-264VAC input with PFC, 23-28V adjustment range and a 120 per cent peak-current capability for up to one minute with no forced air cooling required.

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX11040 four-channel 24-bit simultaneous-sampling ADC. Developed to enable simplicity in system design, up to eight MAX11040 devices can be daisy-chained to provide a sampling capacity of up to 32 channels. The MAX11040 achieves this high capacity and scalability with a cascadable SPI/QSPI/Microwire interface, which eliminates the complexity of using individual chip-select inputs to control each ADC.

Because all eight MAX11040 devices can be accessed using only a single chip-select input, from the host processor's point of view, the control logic remains the same regardless if there are only four or as many as 32 channels. The MAX11040 provides compensation for phase shifts caused by resistor dividers, transformers, or filters at the analogue inputs through a programmable delay of 0-333 microseconds.

Together with a minimum of 90dB of SINAD and 91dB of SFDR, these features make the MAX11040 ideal for industrial power-grid protection equipment, as well as medical EKG/EEG equipment and other applications that require accurate conversions of simultaneously sampled channels between 0.25ksps and 64ksps.

Additionally, overvoltage protection on the analogue inputs protects the MAX11040 from voltages as large as +/-6V when referenced to the device's analogue ground, simplifying design and reducing cost. The MAX11040 is available in a lead-free, 38-pin TSSOP package.

CUI Europe's power division V-Infinity has announced a the VGS series of efficient and compact internal switching power supplies that feature a no-load power consumption of 0.5W. The VGS series includes 25, 50, 75, and 100W versions with cooling by free air convection and efficiencies of up to 89 per cent. The series is compact with the 25W model (VGS-25) measuring 3.09 x 2.00 x 1.11in.

It is ideal for a range of applications where energy consumption is a consideration, including industrial control, networking, automation, and test-and-measurement equipment. The VGS series offers a universal input (88-264VAC) and single output voltages of 3.3, 5, 12, 15, 24, and 48VDC. Other features include: an LED indicator when power is on; 105C long-life electrolytic capacitors; and an operating temperature range of -25C to 70C, derating linearly from 100 per cent load at 50C.

Protections include short-circuit, overload, over-voltage, and brown-out (low AC input voltage). All models are approved to UL, cUL, and TUV safety standards and come with a three-year warranty.

Ismosys, launched in March 2009 as a new demand creation vehicle of the Spectrum Electronics Group, now has available ready-to-use wireless modules from LS Research. The company said the move makes it simple and cost-effective to add wireless capability to any product. The portfolio of module includes Pro-Flex, 2.4GHz Zigbee Pro modules; Si-Flex, sub 1GHz modules for long-range applications; and Wi-Flex wi-fi modules.

LS Research's Modflex design approach enables users to select the module that best suits their application, and then own the design files for complete control. LS Research will certify the design and the customer is free to choose from a selection of licensing options, including royalty-free. The Modflex gateway has dual module support for Zigbee to wi-fi bridging.

All modules have a common footprint and I/O to give developers freedom in their designs. Furthermore the modules are all open-source hardware platforms, so developers have the option to create their own application code on the hardware.

Link Hamson is introducing the Martin Hot-Beam-05 underheater for stress-free rework and manual soldering. Thermally complex soldering processes can be reliably performed using the Hot-Beam-05 underheater. This underheater is the 'big brother' of the Hot-Beam-04 and users benefit from the integrated and powerful 2kW heater with four individually controlled infrared (IR) zones making this underheater suitable for very large PCBs.

The unit delivers 50 per cent of the required heat from below to ensure gentle heat application to both the component and PCB; this also keeps the soldering-tip temperature as low as possible. The Rapid-IR technology heats PCBs to the permitted temperature at the maximum allowable rate of increase. Precise temperature profiles can be programmed for the controlled and reliable maintenance of temperatures.

This results in shorter processing times while still protecting components to ensure quality and reliability. Hot-Beam-05 users benefit from a simple and clear menu structure. Relevant process information is grouped together and guides the user smoothly through the process. The unit offers up to 11 process programs for controlled heating in automatic mode.

The use of a thermocouple is only required when setting up the profile; thereafter it is not required, achieving more effective processing and increased productivity. The Martin Stereo Zoom Microscope is available as an optional accessory to assist in the processing of the smallest components. This microscope produces sharp 3D views and is an ideal complement for the precision rework of small components, according to Link Hamson.

Murata Power Solutions has introduced the NCS6 series of isolated 6W, wide 4:1 input, single output DC/DC convertors suited for use in a range of applications. These include telecommunications; battery powered systems; process control; and distributed power systems. The NCS6 series is available with input voltage ranges of 9-36V (12V nominal) and 18-75V (48V nominal) both with under-voltage lock out.

The modules are housed in industry-standard packages that allow them to be used as drop-in replacements in existing designs. Single output voltages of 3.3, 5, 12 and 15V are available and the NCS6 series achieves a power density of 0.94W/cm3 with efficiency levels from 73 per cent. A metal case helps the DC/DC convertors achieve high levels of EMI shielding and the encapsulated design gives good thermal performance.

The NCS6 series specifies 1.5kVDC isolation and has typical load line regulation of 0.006 per cent. Low-noise performance and a design that overcomes the need for electrolytic capacitors help to simplify their inclusion in customer designs. Overall dimensions of the modules are 32 x 20 x 10mm and operating temperature range is -40C to +85C. All models in the range are RoHS compliant and use UL 94V-0 rated package materials.

Aaeon has announced the ETX-CX700M - an Embedded Technology Extended (ETX) product based on the VIA C7/Eden (V4) series processors combined with the VIA CX700M chipset. The ETX-CX700M provides support for a multitude of expansion and storage interfaces that will allow for numerous options to be designed onto the baseboard. The module is available with either the VIA Eden 1.6GHz processor or the VIA C7 2.0 GHz processor and features support for one 200-pin DDRII 400/533 RAM at a maximum capacity of 1GB.

It has support for four 32-bit PCI buses, one 8-bit/16-bit ISA bus, one SMBus, and one I2C bus that enable the customers to expand on their systems without the extra cost of hubs. For Ethernet support, the ETX-CX700M features the Realtek RTL8139DL 10/100Mb Ethernet chipset with the option for customers to change to the Intel 82551QM 10/100Mb chipset as needed for their application.

Video support is handled by the VIA CX700M chipset and can provide resolutions up to 1,600 x 1,200 on a 24-bit dual-channel LVDS LCD panel, as well as a CRT monitor. The module supports simultaneous and dual-view output to CRT/LVDS, LVDS/TV, CRT/DVI or TV/DVI. The integrated video on the board can share up to 128MB of system memory for use as video memory and it supports an MPEG-4 accelerator.

Storage support is available by means of two SATA II connectors on the ETX-CX700M as well as with support for one PATA channel and Compactflash on the carrier board. The ETX-CX700M aims at markets such as test and measurement, gaming and entertainment, industrial automation, military, government and security.

Adlink Technology has released the PCIe-7350, the latest addition to its series of PCI/PCI Express high-speed digital I/O cards. The PCIe-7350 offers 32 channels of bidirectional parallel I/O lines with a data throughput of up to 200 MB/s and a clock rate up to 100MHz. The PCIe-7350 offers a low-cost, high-throughput architecture with flexible acquisition/generation timing and triggering features - making it an ideal solution for high-speed digital pattern acquisition and generation for use in ATE, IC testing, image sensor testing, and video image recording/playback.

The PCIe-7350 is based on the PCI Express interface (x1 lane), supports a selectable input/output direction per group of eight bits, and provides eight channels of auxiliary programmable I/O. An onboard FPGA provides addition I/O features such as triggers, clock signals, handshaking lines, and I2C and SPI control interfaces. These on-board interfaces enable the PCIe-7350 to communicate with external image sensors via I2C and SPI, without the need for a external control interfaces.

The PCIe-7350 supports selectable software voltage levels of 1.8, 2.5, and 3.3V (5V compatible), which provides the flexibility of interfacing with a variety of ASICs or external devices. The PCIe-7350 also supports a 16-step phase-shift feature to ensure accurate sampling timing and prevent invalid timing issues during data transition.

The RN73 series precision chip resistors from Tyco Electronics is now available from TTI. The range has been extended to offer resistance tolerances down to 0.01 per cent, making the devices up to 10 times more accurate than previously available models.

Designed for telecommunication, industrial and military applications, RN73 series resistors are available in a choice of packages, from 1206 down to 0402 case size. Based on nichrome thin-film technology, the devices are produced with three sputtered layers of resistive metal film. This enables stable high-frequency performance to be achieved.

Temperature coefficient of resistance values down to 10ppm/C, and even 5ppm/C, are available over a wide value range (5R1-470K) in the E96 and E24 value grids. For applications requiring higher power, the RP73 series resistors offer increased power dissipation; higher temperature capabilities (up to +155C); and increased operating voltages (200VDC) compared with the standard RN73 series.

Accurate and uniform physical dimensions facilitate automatic placement of the RN73 devices. Pack quantities are flexible, ranging from a small-volume 250 piece 7in reels up to higher volume 1000, 5000 and 10000 piece tape on reels.

RDP Electronics has developed a range of LVDT and magnetostrictive transducers for use in the testing of vehicle suspension systems. The transducers have been designed to withstand the type of mechanical shock, vibration and the tough treatment generally meted out during testing of vehicle suspension systems under all road conditions. RDP transducers are available for vehicle suspension movement applications that involve testing of vehicle components as well as ride, handling and even load detection.

RDP has modified LVDTs to operate reliably and accurately in conditions including the presence of high levels of water and dirt, as well as being subject to vibration and shock during road testing in all weather conditions. Typically for test purposes, the LVDTs are mounted through the floor at the rear of the vehicle or through the body components at the front, and are well suited to providing measurement data derived from the range of components under test.

BVM has introduced the MPX-885 - the latest addition to its family of Mini PCI-E 30x51mm form factor cards. The card integrates all the functions required to perform external A/V capture for industrial and commercial markets such as home security, commercial surveillance, vehicles' DVR, commercial machine vision and industrial image control. Based on Conexant's CX23885 chipset, the video-and-audio decoder supports NTSC, PAL and SECAM video formats to give a high-performance, cost-effective AV capture capability.

Colour and monochrome video are supported with a full end-to-end 10-bit video data path; the stereo or mono selectable audio path is 16-bit throughout to ensure high-fidelity audio. The card operates at up to 30 frames/s and supports 1-8 composite, 1-4 S-Video or composite with two YPbPr (component) inputs. The MPX-885 joins other Mini PCI-E cards that offer a range of functionality: two Giga LAN; DVI interface; 24-bit dual-channel LVDS; 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN and four RS232 ports are all available in the small form factor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

V-Infinity, a division of CUI Europe, has announced the release of the V78XX-500-SMT series, a surface-mount version of its 0.5A V78XX-500 DC switching regulator. The V78XX-500-SMT is said to offer efficiencies of up to 96 per cent and is designed to be a high-performance alternative to linear regulators.

Unlike linear regulators, the V78XX-500-SMT series does not require a heat sink, making it suitable for applications where board space is at a premium and energy efficiency is a concern. The V78XX-500-SMT series measures 15.24mm x 8.50mm x 7mm. A wide input range is available from 4.5 to 28V DC and regulated output voltages of 3.3, 5, 12, and 15V DC are offered.

Output current is 500mA with an operating temperature range of -40 to +71C at 100 per cent load, derating to 60 per cent load at 85C. The converters offer short-circuit protection, thermal shutdown, very low ripple and noise (10mV p-p typical), and an MTBF of two million hours. The V78XX-500-SMT series switching regulators are available now through Digi-Key.

ON Semiconductor has introduced two electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection devices housed in its ultra-small 0201 dual silicon no-lead (DSN-2) package. The DSN-style package, which measures 0.6mm x 0.3mm x 0.3mm, enables 100 per cent utilisation of the package area for active silicon. The company's first offerings in the package are the ESD11N5.0ST5G and ESD11B5.0ST5G, which are an expansion of its high-performance off-chip ESD protection portfolio.

By expanding its ESD protection portfolio into an ultra-small package, ON Semiconductor can offer devices that are suitable for safeguarding data lines in portable applications where board space is often extremely limited, such as mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAs and digital cameras. The ESD11N and ESD11B are the next generation of ESD protection technology from ON Semiconductor, which provides best in class clamping voltage. The reduced size and bidirectional single line designs provide ultimate flexibility and ease of routing to fit the products into a variety of space constrained applications.

The ESD11N is a 0.6pF device that utilises integrated ESD technology from ON Semiconductor to enhance clamping performance while maintaining low capacitance. The low capacitance value ensures that this device has negligible impact on the signal integrity of high-speed data lines making it suitable for applications such as USB 2.0 and HDMI. In addition, the ESD11N maintains less than 0.5dB insertion loss up to 3GHz and excellent capacitance linearity over voltage and frequency, making it suitable for protecting high-frequency antenna lines with minimal effects.

The ESD11B is a 15pF device that expands ON Semiconductor low clamping ESD protection technology into the 0201 DSN-2 package to provide a protection option for general purpose and low-speed data lines that have tight board designs with limited space. Both ESD products clamp an input ESD waveform of 8kV per the IEC61000-4-2 contact standard, to less than 10V in a matter of nanoseconds. This clamping voltage performance ensures protection for the most sensitive integrated circuits. ON Semiconductor is also developing Schottky diodes in the 0201 DSN-2 package that are scheduled to be released later this month.

Fox Electronics has introduced the FXA5032B and FXA7050B ceramic SMD (surface mount device) automotive-grade crystals. These operate at extended temperature ranges and withstand higher levels of shock and vibration. The FXA5032B and FXA7050B crystals are used in a variety of automotive timing applications, including GPS navigation, high-end audio and video systems, wireless phones, collision-warning systems, radar, onboard computer systems and the Antilock Brake System controller.

Fox's FXA5032B series features a 5 x 3mm package with a frequency range of 8-150MHz, while the larger 7 x 5mm FXA7050B series offers a 6-133MHz frequency range. Standard frequency stabilities for both series are +/-50 to +/-100ppm, with operating temperatures ranging from -40C to +85C and -40C to +125C, respectively, and a 3ppm aging per year. Additional tolerances and stabilities are available upon request.

Both products meet AEC-Q200, the Automotive Electronics Council Stress Test Qualification for Passive Components, and feature a load capacitance of 10pF, a drive level of 100mW and a maximum soldering temperature of 260C per 10 seconds. These RoHS-compliant auto-grade crystals have a gold termination finish and are seam sealed to reduce foreign matter and moisture inside the package.

Atmel has introduced the 32-bit AT32UC3L AVR32 microcontroller with Picopower low-power technology and embedded capacitive touch-controller peripheral. The AT32UC3L provides less than 0.48mW/MHz in active mode executing real-life applications. The device is also the first 32-bit microcontroller to feature a built-in capacitive touch interface, making it suitable in a range of embedded applications. Atmel's Picopower technology enables the AT32UC3L to operate on less than 1.5uA with the 32KHz real time clock active, and below 100nA with all oscillators stopped.

The device features Atmel's 1.6V technology, which keeps the device fully operational in systems with supply-voltages ranging from 1.62 to 3.60V. The AT32UC3L's built-in capacitive touch peripheral unit makes capacitive touch as easy as incorporating another peripheral. The device supports capacitive touch buttons and sliders and the hardware support enables the addition of capacitive touch to the application, with no additional software overhead. The capacitive touch hardware also allows the microcontroller to wake up from sleep on touch.

Atmel's QTouch technology provides a robust touch solution with a high signal-to-noise ratio that improves the system's design margin, increases EMC performance and raises ESD tolerance. It is ideal for applications where reliability is required, such as consumer user interfaces, industrial and automotive applications and those where high moisture-levels are present. The AT32UC3L includes a new flash-security technology called Flashvault. Flashvault allows the on-chip flash to be partially programmed and locked, creating secure on-chip storage for secret code and software intellectual property.

Code stored in the Flashvault will execute as normal, but cannot be read, copied or debugged. This allows a device with Flashvault code protection to carry a piece of valuable software such as a math library or an encryption algorithm from a trusted location to a potentially untrustworthy partner where the rest of the source code can be developed, debugged and programmed. The AT32UC3L also introduces Atmel's Peripheral Event System for the first time on a 32-bit microcontroller. The system allows peripherals to send signals (events) directly to other peripherals without involving the CPU.

By offloading to the peripheral event system the repetitive task of forwarding these events, the CPU will drastically reduce the time-consuming handling of interrupts. This will free up more time for the CPU to handle other tasks in the application and often allow the CPU to remain longer in one of the AVR32's many energy-saving sleep modes. The UC3L has a clock system with clock-failure protection, frequency meter, real time clock with calendar mode, a precision crystal oscillator tuner and accurate digital frequency locked loop. The peripherals include a nine-channel 12-bit ADC and eight-channel analogue comparator.

The device is the first microcontroller from Atmel to feature an eight-bit PWM output on every I/O pin. Atmel's AVR32 UC3L is supported by the AVR32 Studio integrated development environment used for Atmel's AVR32 product line. It is available for free on Atmel's website. IAR's Embedded Workbench also supports AVR32 devices. Debugging tools include Atmel's Avrone, STK 600 Starter Kit, and JTAGICE mkII on-chip debugger. Samples of the AT32UC3L are available now.

Aerco now supplies Seaguard DS cable products from Habia Cable that are designed to comply with the requirements of naval applications. Fire performance, size and weight, fluid and oil resistance, flexibility, abrasion resistance, strength, and screening effectiveness are all factors that are considered in addition to electrical performance when designing cables for naval systems.

Seaguard DS cable complies fully with the criteria set out in the UK Defence Standard 61-12 (Part 9)/5, (Part 18)/l5, (Part 25)/4 and (Part 31)/2, as well as other national navy standards. Seaguard DS cable products include screened and unscreened, multi-core and multi-pair cables, as well as coaxial cables for use in virtually all naval applications.

Custom-designed cable products can be supplied when standard products do not provide the ideal solution or when a customer requires to incorporate various power and signal wires into hybrid cables.

Tyco Electronics has expanded its Val-U-Lok connector family with single-row, board-mount headers in both vertical and right-angle configurations. The header assemblies come with pre-loaded contacts and may be installed on the printed circuit board manually or automatically using robotic equipment.

All housings are polarised for easier mating and locking latches are intended to help maintain reliable connections. The Val-U-Lok connector system is a low-cost, wire-to-wire and wire-to-board connector system with a 4.2mm x 4.2mm centreline. This system can be used in a variety of applications, including the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), vending, gaming and appliance industries.

Val-U-Lok connectors are low-cost connectors, intermateable with Amp-Duac connectors and Molex Mini-Fit Jr series connectors. The single-row headers are available in three, four and five positions. This system is available in UL 94 V-2 or UL 94 V-0 flammability-rated nylon with contacts in brass or phosphor bronze with tin or gold plating. The connector system, an RoHS-compliant product to help promote a cleaner environment, is UL component recognised and CSA certified.

Steatite Rugged Division is now able to offer its customers a comprehensive, specialist in-vehicle installation service. Steatite recognises that a mobile device or computer within a vehicle can help businesses achieve better workforce efficiencies and provide improved customer service. For the emergency services it can give access to information and facilitate communications that can improve and speed the response to an urgent situation.

These factors have created a customer demand to which Steatite has reacted by establishing its installation service. The capability uses Steatite Rugged Division's experience and expertise in supporting computing requirements for harsh environments. As installations are generally required to be completed at the customer's premises, Steatite's service provides nationwide coverage.

Offering a single source for the supply of a semi-rugged or fully rugged computing solution plus the carefully planned installation and set-up of that solution ready for use, can greatly simplify matters for the customer with minimum disruption of day-to-day operations.

A full vehicle installation can be complex and may encompass a pre-installation survey to understand customer requirements for the positioning of hardware. Docking and mounting arrangements and sometimes the need for peripheral devices such as printers and antennae may also need to be considered at this stage.

Powerpax UK has announced an 18W addition to its series of miniature lugged switch-mode power supplies. The lugged series of miniature desktop power supplies includes models to meet power requirements from 6W to 18W (with no minimum load) and with regulated outputs of 5VDC to 24VDC. The units feature an integral power cord, which removes the risk of accidental disconnection from the mains supply. A UK mains lead is fitted as standard but European, US, Australian or bare-ended mains-lead options are available on request.

All units come with a 2.1mm x 5.5mm x 12mm female barrel connector polarity positive centre as standard, but a list of other DC output connector options are also available. The 18W unit measures 92.2mm x 49.8mm x 26.3mm including the fixing lugs (or 72.2mm x 49.8mm x 26.3mm without the lugs) and is believed to be the smallest external power supply available at this power rating. The lugs allow the case to be fixed down to any flat surface, making them suitable for a range of applications, particularly CCTV and light-emitting-diode (LED) lighting requirements.

All models feature a universal mains input of 90VAC to 264VAC and 47Hz to 63Hz and meet energy-efficiency level IV requirements. All of the power supplies in this range feature short-circuit, over-voltage and over-current protection with automatic recovery. This series has been designed to provide excellent reliability and has a minimum meantime between failures (MTBF) of 50Khr. This range is compliant to UL and CE safety standards and is tested and compliant with EMC requirements. The product also complies with the requirements of the RoHS directive. Powerpax offers low minimum-order quantities across the range and provides a free branding service for orders of 500 pieces or more.

Chomerics Europe, a division of Parker Hannifin, has introduced a thermally conductive dispensable gap filler that results in much lower stress being exerted on delicate components. Therm-A-Gap T652 is a fully cured, single-component material suitable for filling variable gaps between multiple components and a common heatsink. It has a high thermal conductivity of 3W/m-k and an operating temperature range of -50C to +150C, making it suitable for use in harsh environments.

Typical applications include automotive ECUs, electrical drives, light-emitting-diode (LED) modules and power semiconductors. The material is highly conformable at low assembly pressures and is suitable for providing a thermally efficient filler for gaps of between 0.2mm and 4mm. For applications that require electrical isolation between mating components, Chomerics Europe supplies a version of the material that incorporates 0.25mm-diameter glass beads that create a compression stop.

Therm-A-Gap T652 is RoHS compliant and has a shelf life of 18 months, with no settling in storage. The material can be applied manually using a syringe or via automated processes. Various package sizes that suit either high- or low-volume requirements range from 10cc syringes to 5kg (one gallon) pails.

The A_S-1W Series of 1W DC/DC converters from Mornsun America are designed to provide distributed power and 1,000V DC of input-to-output isolation in a miniature SIP package. Standard models operate from 5V DC, 12V DC, 15V DC, or 24V DC inputs, providing dual outputs of +/-5V, +/-9V, +/-12V, or +/-15V DC.

Features include efficiency as high as 80 per cent and a MTBF calculated to 3,500,000 hours. Full load operation for the A_S-1W Series is specified over the -40C to +85C temperature range. The Series is UL approved to UL60950-1 standards and are compliant with RoHS requirements.

Globtek's GT(M)P9150/250/275 series delivers up to 275W of continuous output power. The series has regulated output voltages ranging from 3.3V to 48V in 0.1V increment with remote sense available. This high efficiency, 85 per cent typical, series of power supplies features: aluminum U-channel chassis with optional top cover; 150W convection cooled or up to 275W with forced air; active PFC to IEC 3000-3-2 Class A; low ripple; Class B EMI filter; and built-in protection.

The devices accept universal input from 90-264V AC, and footprint size starts at 206 x 111 x 42mm. They meet safety agency requirements UL/cUL/TUV 60950/60601.1 and comply with EMC Directives for CE and FCC Class B applications. All models carry UL, TUV, PSE and CE logos with reports generated by independent certified laboratory. Custom designs are also available and all models come with a five-year warranty.

Harting has added two gender changers to the Han Pushpull range of industrial connectors. The latest additions will allow interfacing of different cable types in accordance with the Profinet guidelines for data cabling with RJ45 interfacing and 24V power supplies.

The RJ45 device has transmission characteristics based on Cat 6: Class E for operation at frequencies up to 250MHz, while the power device is designed for use with a 24V power supply rated at up to 16A, and includes a four-pole insert with function ground.

Both devices are supplied in rugged metal housings, and include four M5 mounting screws for mounting to flat bases. Han Pushpull is a range of rugged connectors for transmitting optical, electronic and power signals, and is rated to the IP65/IP67 protection class. The Pushpull connectors comply with the Profinet guidelines, and are already in widespread use in industrial machines and plant automation applications.

Tensilica has brought out the ConnX DSP range of high-performance communications DSP (digital signal processors) IP (intellectual property) cores. The range includes standard cores, click-box configurable options or a starting point for customised Xtensa LX DPUs (dataplane processor units) for SOC (system-on-chip) designs. The latest addition to the range, the ConnX Baseband Engine, provides sixteen 18-bit MACs per cycle computational throughput, because of its application-specific instruction set optimised for compute-intensive LTE (long-term evolution) and 4G wireless base stations.

Tensilica plans other ConnX family members for the low-power requirements of the handset market. Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, said: 'With its configurable instruction set, Tensilica has morphed its basic Xtensa RISC architecture to become a compelling DSP engine.' Jack Guedj, president and chief executive officer of Tensilica, said: 'With this family of pre-designed communications DSP cores, our customers will be able to achieve faster time-to-market on their new next-generation of communications SOCs.' There are two different types of requirements for DSPs in wireless systems.

The ConnX Baseband Engine fills the more traditional software-centric DSP requirements for base stations and for multi-mode, multi-standard terminal devices. Tensilica's Xtensa technology can also be optimised to build more narrowly tailored, optimised functional blocks that fit into a hardware-centric design style typically found in wireless-handset implementations. Tensilica plans several products in this area. The ConnX range of communications DSP engines includes other functions that are in high demand for next-generation compute-intensive tasks.

The ConnX Baseband Engine joins the proven quad-MAC Vectra LX DSP option, which is now re-branded as the ConnX Vectra Engine. The ConnX Vectra Engine has been used in many customer designs and is an integral part of the re-branded ConnX 545CK standard DSP. The ConnX 545CK was previously known as the Diamond 545CK, which received a BDTIsimmark2000 score of 3820. The BDTIsimmark is a summary measure of overall DSP processing speed based on BDTI's DSP Kernel Benchmarks. The ConnX range of DSP engines includes other functions that are in high demand for next-generation compute-intensive tasks. Tensilica can quickly leverage its customisable processor technology to develop key functions that will significantly expand its business in several market areas.

The FPS009-2409 card holder is replacing the FPS009-2405-0 top-mount component for SD and MMC cards. The PCB layout is unmodified compared with the old version, which means the new card reader can be used with the existing layout. The 2.8mm low-profile design has almost the same height as the SD card itself (2.1 mm). The top-mount card reader is conceived for SMT mounting on the top side of the PCB assembly.

It offers comfortable functions, for example smooth card-insertion and extraction via push-in/push-out mechanism with defined ejection, soft lock mechanism for the SD card, innovative two-point contacts to protect against electrical interruptions and automatic card detector and write-protection switch. The SMT component is delivered on tape and reel for automated pick and place assembly.

This SD/MMC Flash memory card-reader supports wireless communication, portable computer, end-consumer and other applications. Yamaichi Electronics is offering this low size component and a range of card connectors for all available Flash and SIM card types with different form factors, such as microSD, miniSD, MMCmicro, Compactflash and XD Card. Several multicard versions are also available.

Oxley Developments has brought out a multi-functional light that provides different lighting options from within a single 20mm-high unit. The low-profile Combi Light offers normal, emergency and blackout lighting modes. It is suitable for military shelters, forward-command positions and ground-control stations. It is suitable for use in applications where space and height restrictions, light leakage and durability are key concerns.

The standard white mode delivers crystal-clear illumination and incorporates a dimming function to suit individual environments. The Combi Light's emergency mode utilises separate LEDs powered by a rechargeable battery and provides more than 45 minutes of illumination when fully charged. The red blackout mode is triggered by signal and the LED technology eliminates unwanted residual glare. This is important in scenarios where shelters are positioned in potentially hostile terrain.

Other colour options are also available. Packaging this additional functionality within a single low-profile unit removes the need for separate lighting fixtures. The use of LEDs ensures maintenance-free deployment with a minimum working life of 50,000 hours. The absence of mercury allows for safe disposal. The lights are sealed to IP64 and have CE marking. They utilise a 100/230V universal AC input.

The Combi Light is part of a portfolio of area-lighting products being developed by Oxley. These products include standard white mode flat lights for shelters and field hospitals, tent lights and miniature floodlights for vehicle interiors. Oxley is also developing a smaller version of the Combi Light to suit more restricted shelter environments. Oxley will exhibit its area-lighting products at DVD 2009, which will take place at Millbrook on 24-25 June.

Schmartboard has released a development board for the Parallax Propeller chip. The Propeller chip makes it easy to rapidly develop embedded applications. Its eight processors (cogs) can operate simultaneously, either independently or co-operatively, sharing common resources through a central hub.

The developer has full control over how and when each cog is employed. There is no compiler-driven or operating-system driven splitting of tasks among multiple cogs.

A shared system-clock keeps each cog on the same time reference, allowing for true deterministic timing and synchronisation. The new Propeller board will give the user the ability to hand-solder the components onto the board. Schmartboard's 'EZ' technology simplifies the soldering of the Propeller, allowing anyone to do it.

Keithley Instruments has added a web-browser based multi-channel graphing toolkit capability to its Series 3700 System Switch/Multimeter range. This new data-visualisation capability, which is included at no charge in the firmware for all new Series 3700 mainframes, offers users a quick and easy way to observe measurement data against time. The optional built-in digital multimeter allows this data to be measured while channel measurements are made, without the need for programming or data file manipulation.

This early-look capability makes it easy for users to quickly gauge the progress of long-duration tests and to take quick corrective action if measurement results are not as anticipated. Series 3700 mainframes support high-speed multi-channel measurements. The addition of the graphing toolkit capability allows users to observe the data acquired either in numerical form or in graphical form on their choice of up to 40 channels.

The acquired data can be viewed in either real-time mode or in user-defined increments. This simplifies comparing and contrasting readings on a per-channel basis, to allow potential problems to be identified quickly. For example, this capability would be useful in applications such as burn-in testing, which could involve monitoring multiple temperature, voltage and resistance measurements, then looking for trends in the measurements over the course of the test.

Engineers involved in characterising devices in research and development applications should find this new graphing toolkit capability particularly helpful. It eliminates the time consuming and confusing process of pulling data from reading buffers and analysing it with an external package.

In this way, the new capability speeds and simplifies mainframe and test-system set-up time, channel and signal interaction and remote channel monitoring against time applications. This new capability leverages the Series 3700's compatibility with the LAN Extensions for Instrumentation (LXI) standard by expanding upon the built-in instrument-control web page included on many LXI instruments. There is no need to install new software on a PC or on the Series 3700 mainframe - the capability is included in the mainframe's firmware and can be accessed via any standard web-browser.

The toolkit builds upon the web-based instrument controls already included in Series 3700 mainframes for controlling and monitoring the switching cards installed in the mainframe and the optional built-in digital multimeter. The graphical user interface also provides access to a special version of Keithley's Test Script Builder application for writing test scripts to create unique testing functions. Series 3700 mainframes offer scalable, high-performance switching and multi-channel measurements that are optimised for automated testing of electronic products and components.

Keithley's next-generation Series 3700 System Switch/DMM satisfies the demands of medium to high channel-count applications with its ability to control up to 576 multiplexer channels in a six-slot, 2U form factor, saving precious rack space and lowering the cost of test. A high-performance integrated DMM option, the Model 3706, provides fast, low-noise, enhanced sensitivity measurements with resolutions up to 71/2 digits and speeds to 15,000rdgs/sec at a price lower than typical 61/2-digit DMMs.

Series 3700 System Switch/Multimeter instruments include a variety of capabilities optimised for high-speed testing, including LXI Class B compliance with IEEE 1588 time synchronisation. Other capabilities that enhance testing speed include Keithley's embedded Test Script Processor (TSP) technology, which brings PC-like functionality into the instrument, and TSP-Link, a master/slave communication bus that simplifies system expansion. TSP-Link provides for seamless integration with Series 2600A System Sourcemeter instruments, for adding high-speed I-V source and measurement capabilities.

Aaeon has introduced the EMB-9459T, which features the Intel Atom N270 processor. Intel Atom series processors offer small form-factor designs that are fanless and consume small amounts of power. Based on the Intel 945GSE+ICH7M platform, the EMB-9459T delivers mobile performance in today's most popular motherboard form factor, the mini-ITX.

The EMB-9459T supports an onboard Intel Atom N270 processor up to 1.6GHz (FSB: 533MHz) and one 240-pin DDR II DIMM that can support up to 2GB for system memory at speeds of 400/533. Two Realtek 8111C Ethernet controllers provide 10/100/1000Base-TX network connection to enable high-bandwidth communication. Ample storage expansion can be achieved through one Compactflash socket, one EIDE connector and two SATA II interfaces.

With eight USB2.0s, six COM ports and one parallel port, the demands of standard and special embedded markets are easily met. In addition to the storage and flexible I/O interfaces, the EMB-9459T offers peripheral expansion through one Mini-PCI, one PCI and two PCI-E[x1] in PCI-E[x4] through the use of a Riser Card. The onboard features, along with the available expansion capability of the EMB-9459T, offer advantages for reducing the cost of system integration.

With the integrated display chipset of the Intel 945GSE, the EMB-9459T allows for a variety of display interfaces, such as CRT, TV-out, 18-bit dual-channel LVDS (or 24-bit dual-channel through the use of the PER-V04B SDVO module), DVI and SDVO. The EMB-9459T supports CRT/LCD, CRT/DVI, LCD/DVI, CRT/TV, LCD/TV simultaneous/dual view displays. The integrated features of the EMB-9459T make it ideal for industrial automation, digital signage, entertainment, networking, transportation, banking, healthcare, interactive and multi-media applications that require high performance and reliability.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quality Transmission Components (QTC) has announced that its precision 20-deg pressure angle stainless-steel bevel gears are stocked in 24 sizes in modules 1.5-3. These gears, identified as the SUB series, are made of SUS303 and conform to precision-grade JIS B 1704 grade three standards.

They are stocked in sizes ranging from Module 1.5 to Module 3. The number of teeth ranges from 15-45. Bore sizes range from 8-20mm and hub diameters from 25-80mm.

In addition to these stainless-steel bevel gears QTC stocks a variety of bevel gears in other materials including: plastic, injection moulded, sintered metal, steel, and in specialised types including: bevel gears and pinion shafts, finished bore, and spiral bevel gear types.

Bulte Plastics has launched a series of plastic self-locking nuts. The lock nuts are suitable for applications that require extra security as they eliminate backlash without sacrificing efficiency. The company said this type of nut is more effective than standard hex nuts because it includes a no-threaded part that closes around the thread, creating a lock between the two threads.

Self-locking nuts are being used as a secure fastening nut for joining many kinds of parts. They are manufactured from natural Polyamide 6.6 that, when combined with steel screws, provides low drag torque and smooth operation throughout the life of the assembly (preferably not reusable). They also save weight over the conventional steel/nylon lock nuts.

The cost-effective plastic nuts are used in a variety of industrial applications, including: electronic and electrical equipment; construction; furniture; and medical industries; which require properties such as strength, corrosion resistance, oil resistance, low weight alternatives and low thermal conductivity. The working temperature range is -30C to +100C. Metric sizes include M5, M6, M8, M10 and M12. The self-locking nuts can also be supplied in PP, PE and PVDF (these materials are recommended for their food and medical qualities) and in a range of colours.

Npower Software has announced the 6.0 release of its Power NURBS, Power Solids, and Power Translators products (with support for Autodesk 3ds max 2010 and Autodesk 3ds max Design 2010). Version 6.0 of Npower Software's Power NURBS, Power Translators, and Power Solids products includes tighter integration with Autodesk 3ds max, with direct support for Autodesk 3ds max modifiers.

Users can now directly apply bend, displace, noise, ripple, skew, twist, taper, and other modifiers onto Npower plug-in objects. These modifiers can be applied to imported geometry (and then even exported back to the system in which they were created), and to Power NURBS/Solids objects created within Autodesk 3ds max.

Power NURBS, Power Solids and Power Translators empower artists, designers, and engineers around the world by providing advanced tools for designing, conceptualising, and rendering intricate, complex geometry.

Hanley Innovations has announced the availability of Stallion 3D, an all-in-one 3D compressible flow analysis software package for Windows XP/Vista PCs. Stallion 3D allows users to enter single or multiple CAD drawings (saved in the .stl file format) into the program for a 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. In addition, components such as wings, cylindrical shapes and closed bodies can be added to the analysis using the built-in geometry engine.

Users can position and rotate any of the components to match a desired test setup. The built-in pre-processor automatically detects the immersed boundaries and generates a Cartesian grid for the entire flow field. Users are not required to explicitly identify the components or their locations during the grid-generation process. The cut cell approach at the boundary is not used in Stallion 3D. Boundary conditions are satisfied using a novel ghost cell method that supports first, second or higher order flow solvers.

The scheme is unstructured and can efficiently produce a grid for any arrangement of closed 3D components without the need for user intervention. Stallion 3D is equipped with both first- and second-order (spatial accuracy) finite volume methods to solve the 3D Euler equations. A flux vector splitting scheme is used to determine the correct domain of dependence across grid cells and to sharply capture shock waves. The equations are solved in Cartesian co-ordinates throughout the entire flow field and do not require the use of co-ordinate transformations.

This reduces the operation count of the finite-volume method and increases the overall computational speed of the solver. The flow variables are marched to steady state using a four-stage Runge-Kutta method with local time steps. Stallion 3D has built-in tools for post -processing and aerodynamics analysis. Contour plots of flow variables such as pressure, density and vorticity can be presented on the design components as well as in the flow field. Streamlines can be initiated at any location in the flow field and stopped or started after a desired time interval or at a specified location.

Multiple planes parallel to the x, y and z axes can be viewed to highlight pressure, density, vorticity and velocity contours. Stallion 3D computes lift, drag and moment co-efficients for individual objects. Stallion 3D requires a PC running under Microsoft Windows XP or Vista operating systems. It is available as a three-month or annual lease.

ABB's Motor Service Partners (MSP) has released the 2009 edition of its motor service brochure, outlining services and products available to its customers. ABB Motor Service Partners is a network of independent motor-service companies, working together and with ABB to provide full lifecycle care of industrial motors and stocking a largest range of electrical motors to suit virtually all applications.

Many of the products are available at short notice. The ABB MSP network can advise on the best purchase for individual needs, help install, maintain and repair motors, and dispose/recycle them once their useful life is spent. The ABB MSP network exists to provide end users with a supply network of high quality products backed up by comprehensive support.

The network comprises of 12 independent motor specialists, located throughout the UK, who have collaborated to offer customers a full range of services related to low-voltage motors, including sales, application engineering and modifications, overhauls and repairs of standard as well as explosion-proof motors, energy efficiency programmes and stock management.

HMK has teamed up with Schaeffler UK to incorporate Schaeffler's INA range of mechanical actuators and driven linear units into HMK's portfolio for the machine building and factory automation markets. For customers, the partnership brings together the bearings knowledge and mechanical engineering expertise of Schaeffler with the systems integration, automation and electro-mechanical expertise of HMK.

HMK's application engineers design, build and commission complete automation systems for OEM machine builders, systems integrators and blue-chip end users, across a range of sectors, including food and beverage, life sciences, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, oil and gas, utilities, quarries and aggregates, plastics and rubber, aerospace and entertainment. HMK's service covers all aspects of electro-mechanical motion control solutions, from consultancy and product supply supported by software development, through to the test and commissioning of complex, engineered projects.

HMK engineers are also able to design and build panels for bespoke projects or serial machine production, as well as tailored mechanical assemblies for part-machine solutions from flange plate interface to complete handling robots. Schaeffler's range includes belt and ballscrew driven linear actuators, linear tables, fasteners, connectors and mounting brackets. INA linear actuator designs are based on either a track roller, recirculating ball monorail (with two, four or six rows of balls) or on a plain guidance system.

These units can be driven by toothed belts for high speed requirements, or by a ballscrew drive, where the principal requirement is for high positional accuracy. The actuators can also be supplied with new corrosion-resistant coatings and materials for harsh operating environments, such as in food and beverage production machines and machine tools. More complex designs include a telescopic version, a quill type with a stationary drive housing and moving support rail, and a tandem design in which a wider support rail accommodates two guidance systems and three toothed belts.

For moving larger masses in one or multiple axes, Schaeffler offers its INA linear tables or stages. These are capable of supporting high torques and are available with ballscrew drives or trapezoidal lead screws. To complement Schaeffler's range of mechanical actuators, the company also offers a range of precision direct-drive solutions including linear, rotary (torque) motors, planar drives, high-performance servo drives and amplifiers.

SKF has launched a low-cost, easy-to-use digital camera offering thermal and 2 megapixel visual imaging, suitable for use by maintenance technicians with limited of thermal imaging. The SKF TKTI 10 thermal camera has the appearance of a digital camera and operates in a similar way but with a feature that allows thermal and visual images to be blended for easy image interpretation.

Using proprietary array-based detector (ABD) technology, images are easily viewed on a large backlit 3.5in screen, and can be saved to a micro SD card. Unlike low-end thermal imagers, two spot temperatures can be displayed on the screen and these can be independently moved to select an area of interest. For experienced thermographers, the camera also has auto temperature ranging, eight colour pallets, selectable emissivity, reflected temperature compensation, hot and cold spot finding, temperature area measurement, automatic and user-selectable level and span, isotherm display, temperature gradients, and user-selectable temperature units and image browser.

The main areas of application for which the TKTI 10 can be used include electrical, industrial, automotive, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, building services, and the food sector. The camera is supplied complete with all accessories and software in a padded carrying case.

Airchannel has installed a Compair L132 SR rotary screw compressor at Potters Ballotini to meet new compressed-air requirements. Potters Ballotini recently installed a new bagging line at its Barnsley production facility to handle increased volumes and, as a result, air consumption increased from 400 CFM to 800 CFM. To meet this need, and to maximise efficiency, a new compressed-air solution was required.

As the appointed service provider to Potters Ballotini, a key challenge for Airchannel was to align the fitting of the new compressor in conjunction with the arrival of the bagging equipment from Italy to ensure there was no loss of production. From initial consultation to final installation, the project took less than three months.

The Compair L132 SR recommended by Airchannel uses a variable-speed motor, which allows air supply to match the varying production demands. Additional benefits include more air on demand, reduced noise and a smaller footprint. A Domnick Hunter dryer was included in the package.

Newport Corporation's Spectra-Physics Lasers Division has added the Hippo 532-14 to its Hippo family of Q-switched diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) industrial lasers. The Hippo 532-14 provides 14W of 532nm output at 100kHz with a short pulse width of less than 30ns.

Used for solar thin-film scribing applications, the laser is suitable for the high-speed, multi-beam scribing of P2 and P3 layers in thin-film a-Si and CdTe photovoltaic structures. Scribe speeds in excess of 12m/s have been achieved on tandem-junction a-Si P2 layers with isolation lines 65 microns wide and 2.5 microns deep. Features of the Hippo 532-14 include its short pulse width (less than 30ns at 100kHz) and high peak power (up to 16kW at 50kHz). Both help to reduce undesired thermal effects such as heat-affected zones, material recast and the micro-cracking of a substrate.

The pulse-to-pulse stability of the Hippo 532-14 at higher pulse repetition rates (up to 200kHz) translates to good scribe consistency at high processing speeds on solar panels, according to the company. The TEM00 beam profile and beam quality (M2 less than 1.3) translates to a larger depth of field for the Hippo 532-14, making it more forgiving of variations in glass substrate flatness and surface irregularities.

With proprietary Eternalign permanent optics mounting technology and field-replaceable key components such as diodes, fibres and harmonic modules, the Hippo 532-14 is rugged and has a low cost of operation. The Hippo 532-14 laser was showcased at Laser World of Photonics 2009 on 15-18 June in Munich, Germany.

Precision Micro, a West Midlands-based specialist photochemical machining (PCM) company, has installed laser direct imaging (LDI) in its quest for continuous process improvement. PCM is the process of manufacturing sheet-metal components using a photo resist and etchants to remove the unwanted material.

The process can accurately produce highly complex parts with very fine detail and can provide an economical alternative to stamping, punching, laser or waterjet cutting or wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) for thin gauge precision parts. 'Next-generation' LDI is used in the manufacture of minute advanced electronics components. LDI is said to have already provided benefits to customers, allowing them to develop designs that were previously prohibitive on either technical or economic grounds.

Anthony Marrett, managing director, said: 'LDI has enabled us to deliver rapid prototyping even quicker and tool modifications can be carried out in a matter of minutes. 'Dimensional and positional accuracy across large formats are at new levels with a fourfold improvement in pitch accuracy across an 800mm x 600mm sheet. 'We have also noted that the improved capability has led to substantial yield improvements,' he added.

The LDI system is reported to have created an increase in demand for tight tolerance components as a result of the machine's ability to image ultra-fine, 15-micron features. Its charge-coupled-device (CCD) cameras and image recognition system also provide exceptionally precise front-to-back feature alignment. Precision Micro is believed to be the first specialist etching operation to utilise the LDI process.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A technical brochure from Victrex highlights how Victrex Peek polymer is displacing metals, traditional composites and other plastics in a growing number of aerospace applications. Because the strong, inert and flame retardant Victrex Peek polymer can be fabricated into tight tolerance parts, it has been officially qualified by many aircraft manufacturers and can be supplied to meet military specification MIL-P-46183. The brochure uses a variety of charts and graphs showcasing the polymer's stability at elevated temperatures, high-temperature resistance, flammability, toxic gas emissions, co-efficient of thermal expansion, strength-to-weight ratio and chemical resistance.

A full range of property data of typical aerospace grades is also included. The brochure highlights several new grades of Victrex Peek polymer, including high flow grades that permit higher levels of reinforcing fibres to be incorporated, and wear grades for improved lubrication at elevated temperatures. Included in the new products section are three Victrex Peek-based products: Aptiv films, which provide all of the properties of Victrex Peek polymer in a flexible format; Vicote Coatings, which offer enhanced wear, scratch, abrasion, high heat, and chemical resistance and composites prepregs where Victrex Peek resin matrix delivers high fracture toughness, fatigue strength, and long-term stability in hot/wet, chemical aggressive environments.

The brochure details a number of interior and exterior aerospace applications, each serving as a mini case history. Interior applications include electric-wire bundle and tubing clamps, impeller blades, aircraft door handles and insulation cover films. Exterior applications include landing-gear hubcaps, manhole covers, radomes, and pylon fairings. Complementary system examples are also covered including: fasteners, cable ties and harnesses, pipes, and convoluted tubing.

An Atlas Copco compressor is at the heart of an aeration system that is being used to de-silt the Denver Sluice on the River Great Ouse, near Downham Market in Norfolk. The system is using compressed air to agitate the water and overcome the build-up of silt against the tidal doors that protect the river's guillotine gates. The sluice controls the water levels over parts of the fens and prevents high tides from flooding low-lying areas.

Over the past couple of years, the Environment Agency has had to dredge up to 4m of silt from in front of the gates and downstream of Denver Lock, because only a limited amount of water had been allowed to flow from the three 'eyes' of the sluice as a result of a prolonged period of dry weather. The decision to bring the 'eyes', which include the upstream guillotine gates, back into full service was hampered by the inability to move the silted-up tidal doors (mitre gate type) protecting them.

Rob Barker, project manager from the Environment Agency, Anglian Region, sought advice from NEECA framework consultant Royal Haskoning in order to develop his concept for an aeration system. The task fell to David Goodman, principal mechanical engineer with Royal Haskoning, based in the company's Leeds office, who developed the initial concept to outline design stage and produced the specification and tender drawings for the system. The final details for the design, along with the supply and installation of the equipment, was provided by Atlas Copco's main distributor in the area, Anglian Compressors, based in Peterborough.

The complete installation comprised a GA15 VSD 15kW rotary screw compressor together with an LV500 air receiver and a PD 60 oil filter, housed in a purpose-built GRP kiosk located on site, together with associated pipework and control valves/manifolds. The aeration system comprised three concentric loops of galvanised-steel pipework installed in front of each gate. In addition, 4mm holes were drilled at 100mm intervals in sections of the pipework loops, with each concentration of holes covering a different section of the individual gate/sill.

A set of ball valves was configured to allow independent control of each loop for concentrated aeration at higher pressures and also flushing of the system in either direction. The decision to install a variable-speed drive version of the GA15 compressor - capable of delivering air at the rate of 16-48 litres per second at a pressure of 7bar(e) - was influenced by the ability of the VSD compressor to match output to demand for optimum energy efficiency and to minimise starting currents without energy penalty. The system is now operated regularly during outgoing tides, which carry the silt downstream.

Newport Spectra Physics has introduced the latest addition to the Pulseo family of Q-switched, diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) industrial lasers, the Pulseo 532-34. The rugged, high-power industrial laser provides >34W at 532nm output with a short pulse width of <30ns at 120 kHz.

Key applications for the new laser include electronic package and printed circuit board singulation, ceramic scribing, and edge isolation of c-Si wafers. Ideal for high-throughput industrial micromachining laser operations, the Pulseo 532-34 is built with the same design features as Newport's Pulseo product family.

These include good beam quality, pointing stability, pulse-to-pulse stability, and field-replaceable key components, such as diodes, fibre, and output window.

GPTR three-phase grid generator and load simulator has been designed for testing of control systems that govern the behaviour of equipment that must work connected to a three-phase grid. Automated Computing Machinery's GPTR includes two sets of three generators, synchronous among them: three for the actual grid generation (V1, V2 and V3 voltage lines) and three to emulate the currents measured through current transformers (I1, I2, I3).

The parameters of each generator (voltage or current, and relative phase to V1 generator) as well as the common frequency are controlled by an external program, through a RS485 half-duplex line. The equipment includes a calibrated power measuring unit (three phase, four quadrants, class 0.5 per cent) that is used for on-line calibration of each generator. Voltage generators: 0-420V rms, in 1V steps (built-in over-current tripping behaviour adjusted to 12mA rms in each channel, for safety reasons).

Current generators: 0-1A rms with 4ohms output impedance, in steps of 2mA rms. Frequency: adjustable between 39-61Hz, in 1Hz steps. Phase adjustment: all signals can be specified with a relative phase to V1 generator, between 0-360, in one step. Calibration: the equipment includes a measuring unit with certified calibration that is used to measure the real generated signals.

Its measurements are read by the microcontroller and used to calibrate internally the parameters for each generator. This is done with a specific command. This unit is four quadrants, class 0.5 per cent, power analyser provided with certified calibration. Option HT facilitates the easy specification and execution of 'holes in the grid', according to the typical specification parameters.

Saft has been awarded a contract by EADS Astrium Space Transportation to provide the in-flight battery systems for the next 35 Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicles. This latest order builds on the success of a previous contract awarded in 2005, under which Saft has already developed, manufactured and supplied batteries for 30 Ariane 5 launch vehicles.

For each Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle, Saft will provide a total of 17 battery systems to power key elements including: main cryogenic stage (EPC), boosters (EAP), Vehicle Equipment Bay (VEB). The battery technologies supplied by Saft will include silver oxide-zinc (AgOZn) primary batteries and rechargeable nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries.

The Ariane 5 ECA batteries will be designed and manufactured at Saft plants in Poitiers, France, with the first delivery scheduled for June 2010.

The MPS 32 from Staubli's connectors division provides efficient and secure tool changes for all types of robot arms, reducing the need for investment in additional robots. Its compact size minimises any loss of daylight and adds 40mm to the robot arm. Increasing the utilisation and productivity of automated manufacturing cells frequently requires several operations to be completed by robots, all within the production cycle time.

The end of arm tools required during the cycle can range from drilling or grinding heads to grippers or gauges. Additional operations usually require additional robots; but with the facility to quickly and automatically change the tools on a robot arm, the need for a second or even third robot is eliminated, reducing the capital investment required, improving payback and often reducing the overall cell footprint. Staubli's range of automatic tool changers are specifically designed for these types of applications and the introduction of the MPS 32 extends their benefits to installations using smaller, lighter-weight tooling in compact cells.

All are directly mountable on the robot flange and provide secure locking and unlocking. Staubli's tool changers now extend from 32kg right up to 630kg tool-weight capability and in many applications have performed successfully for more than one million connection cycles. The MPS 32 is a compact unit, measuring 63mm diameter and 40mm wide, and both robot-side and tool-side elements together weigh only 0.7kg. It can handle payloads up to 32kg, operating within a pressure range of 4.5-10.0 bar.

The locking unit is a double active, pneumatically actuated system that ensures secure retention of the tool; additional internal springs make certain that the tool is securely held by the changer even if the pressure drops. All systems required by the tools are connected automatically, employing the technology used in Staubli multi-coupling plates; fluid lines; signal connections such as required for actuators, sensors, bus systems or fibre optics; and power connections are automatically connected to the tool and disconnected without any loss of fluid or ingress of air into the circuits.

RDP Electronics has developed a range of IP65-rated inline signal-conditioning amplifiers that are suitable for mounting close to transducers in wet and grimy locations. For instance, the amplifiers are suitable for the conditions experienced on machines used in many process industries. Signal conditioning is required to boost or convert transducer output to a level and format for monitoring or data-logging purposes.

As it is important to ensure that the connecting low-voltage cable is kept as short as possible for a better-quality signal and noise immunity, the amplifier needs to be mounted close to the transducer. Thanks to the IP65 design utilising a compact, robust die-cast aluminium housing, also providing interference screening from electrical noise, the SD series of amplifiers can be located near to the measurement position in situations that may be wet, dusty or dirty.

RDP amplifiers are available for both DC or mains-supply input and are suitable for use with a range of LVDT transducers, strain gauge sensors and some internally amplified transducers. The capability to adjust gain over a wide range offers compatibility with the majority of these transducer types from any manufacturer, according to the company.

Vision Research has introduced the Phantom v640 Cinemag camera, for industrial, military and research and development applications that demand ultra high-speed imagery with maximum detail. It offers a recording speed of more than 1400 fps at its full resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. For higher frame-rates, users can reduce the camera's resolution, increasing the speed. At a reduced resolution, the Phantom v640 offers a maximum frame rate of 300,000 fps.

This camera can also record at more traditional frame rates for normal use - as low as 10 fps. For example, when recording at 1920 x 1080, users can achieve frame rates of 10 fps, increasing to more than 2700. At maximum resolution of 2500 x 1600, the wide aspect of the Phantom v640's CMOS imaging sensor allows users to keep a moving target in the frame for a longer time than possible with traditional square imaging sensors. The camera's peak quantum efficiency (QE) has been improved to 60 per cent.

The improvement in QE is paired with reduced noise-equivalent power, large pixels and micro-lens technology. Micro-lens technology is designed to increase the efficiency of the Phantom v640's CMOS sensor. It utilises a tiny lens bound to each pixel to direct incoming light more efficiently into the active areas of the photo site. An internal mechanical shutter provides a method of calibrating all of the CMOS sensor's pixels, ensuring accurate images.

To ensure optimal performance while using a digital high-speed camera, a current session reference (CSR) should be completed. The Phantom's internal mechanical shutter allows a CSR to be conducted remotely through a software command, saving time. The Phantom v640's internal mechanical shutter allows the user to simultaneously perform a CSR for all cameras in use. The Phantom v640 features 8Gbit of high-speed dynamic RAM, with the option to upgrade to 16 or 32GB. The internal high-speed dynamic RAM can be divided into up to 64 segments, allowing for the recording of multiple back-to-back shots without having to offload image data to the Cinemag or from the camera.

The Phantom v640 is also ideal for particle image velocity applications. The camera features a timing resolution of better than 20 nanoseconds, one microsecond straddle time, as well as a frame-synchronisation signal available via a dedicated BNC for easier cabling and increased signal integrity. The Phantom v640 is compatible with Vision Research's Cinemag system, a small and light non-volatile, hot-swappable memory cartridge with up to 512GB of memory. Cinemag mounts directly to the body of the camera. It can quickly offload images from RAM and begin the next shot. It also lets the user record full-resolution video at a maximum frame rate of 250 fps directly to the magazine, enabling long recording sequences.

The Phantom v640 includes a component video-out port for use with a viewfinder, allowing recordings to be viewed immediately. Users can access four different configurations: two identical 4:2:2 outputs; independent 4:2:2 outputs where one is live and one is playback; one dual HD-SDI 4:4:4 output; or 4:4:4 playback on the dual HD-SDI while the user has a live image on the component viewfinder. Also available with the Phantom v640 and Cinemag is the Cinestaiton, which accepts a Cinemag and allows download to computer via 10GigE Ethernet, or connection to recorder via dual HD-SDI.